What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen, like every hormone that is produced in the body, is a much needed chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another. Xenoestrogens are environmental estrogens that have the ability to change the rate at which estrogen is broken down by the body and it can also mimic natural estrogen and bind to its receptors. Both of these scenarios will result in an overabundance of estrogen and an increase in the overall effects that it has on the body and will lead to the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. When this foreign estrogen combines with natural estrogen, this can create a situation known as “estrogen dominance.” Some of the negative health effects can include heavy periods that include cramping and blood clots, sore breasts, cystic breasts, mood swings, early onset puberty, infertility issues including miscarriages, headaches, foggy thinking, fatigue, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, digestive issues, estrogen-fueled breast cancers, as well as gynecomastia (which is the development of breasts in males), decreased sperm counts, and prostate or testicular cancers.
Xenoestrogens are very prevalent in our environment, some examples include: exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Bisphenol A from plastic water bottles and containers used to store and heat food, exposure to herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, nail polish, makeup, perfumes, birth control pills, certain sunscreen ingredients, parabens, gasoline and automobile exhaust, etc.
How to balance your hormones naturally.
Begin by reducing your exposure to the xenoestrogens that are playing a large role in the development of hormone related cancers, endometriosis, and ovarian cysts.
- Eat a whole foods, mostly plant-based diet.
- Eliminate all processed foods, flours, dairy products and red meats from your diet.
- The recommended diet for breast cancer is mostly raw and plant-based, but it can also include limited amounts of pasture-raised organic eggs, wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies a couple of times per week, as needed.
- Fresh vegetables– are some of the most nutrient dense foods that you can eat. Some cancer-fighters include bok choy, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, beets, eggplant, green beans, kale, leeks, onion, peppers, radish, scallions, mustard greens, Swiss chard, leafy greens, tomatoes, summer squash, mushrooms, etc.
- Fresh fruits – if you are excluding fruit from your diet, you are missing out on an abundance of antioxidants, flavonoids, and anthocyanins that can prevent and reverse cellular damage and reduce overall inflammation. Some powerful fruits to include are: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, grapes, cherries, pomegranates, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, lemons, limes, and oranges. Fruits are very easily digested, therefore they should be eaten separately or about 1/2 hour before your main meals, or they can easily be blended into smoothies along with leafy greens.
- This diet includes juicing fresh vegetables. Read more about juicing
- This diet includes making nutritious smoothies. Read more about smoothies.
- Complex carbs can include sweet potatoes, yams, black rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and adzuki beans.
- Add broccoli sprouts on your daily salad as they are super-nutritious and can also help the body to eliminate excess estrogen. You can buy broccoli seeds and a Seed Sprouter online and begin to sprout your own.
- A variety of raw nuts such as walnuts, cashews, pecans, and almonds, along with nut butters (except for peanuts and peanut butter), and a variety of seeds including hemp seeds, flax, chia, black sesame, pumpkin, sunflower. Read how to soak and sprout these.
- Acceptable fats can include unrefined coconut oil, organic butter, and ghee, while olive and avocado oils are for cold uses only such as making salad dressings.
- Use herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, cumin, freshly grated ginger root, cayenne pepper, and turmeric
- Eat organic whenever possible as pesticides and herbicides can also promote estrogen dominance.
- Stay hydrated by drinking a minimum 1/2 ounce of purified water for every pound of body weight in order to help the body to flush away the excess estrogens and toxins.
Supplements that can help to balance the hormones naturally
- Consider taking a quality iodine supplement such as Lugol’s Iodine Solution. Adequate iodine supplementation helps the body to produce the hormones that it needs in the proper ratios. Many things can interfere with iodine absorption, some of these include goitrogens, glutens, fluoride, bromide, pesticides, and viral infections. Read more about iodine here.
- Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. These can be difficult to obtain from the diet alone, so supplementation will help to cover any nutritional shortfalls.
- DIM, or Diindolylmethane helps to support detoxification and healthy estrogen balance.
- Take quality probiotics to replenish the beneficial gut bacteria and assist with digestion.
- Ashwagandha is an aptogenic herb that has the ability to improve various hormonal issues and reduce inflammation.
- Supplement with Calcium D-Glucarate. The recommended dosage is 400–600 mg per day, taken in divided doses, but those with cancer can take 1000-2000 mg per day, taken in divided doses. Calcium Glucarate facilitates the removal of estrogen and other toxins from the body, and improves estrogen by-product formation so it may help with prostate conditions, PMS and other hormonal imbalances. Women with estrogen-dependent tumors (and men with prostate cancer) may benefit from taking glucarate since it can reduce total estrogen load and improve estrogen metabolite ratios. Animal studies suggest that calcium glucarate not only reduces cancer risk, but may also prevent tumor growth in the skin, breast, liver, colon and lung.
- Grapeseed Extract blocks estrogen synthesis by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme. Link to study. Other aromatase inhibitors include stinging nettles, quercetin, and passionflower, which can be taken in supplement, tea, or extract form.
- Liquid Chlorophyll is a natural detoxifier of the blood and also helps to transport oxygen into the cells.
- Supplementing with a high CBD to a low THC ratio of cannabis oil is recommended for those with estrogen positive breast cancers as research has shown that THC can cause estrogen fueled cancers to spread. Patients with ER+ or triple-positive breast cancers have better outcomes when given lower ratios of THC to CBD, such 1:1 or 1:4 (THC:CBD). This recommendation comes from United Patients group from feedback received from their doctors and patients. You can read more about that with this post.
- Using essential oils such as myrrh, myrtyl, sandalwood, geranium, clove, rosemary, and clary sage can also be helpful in balancing the hormones. Read more about essential oils here.
Support your liver- Why is it that two people who appear to be living similar lifestyles, eating the same foods and having similar exposure to xenoestrogens are not at the same risk of developing a hormone fueled cancer? The answer is not genetics, but it has more to do with the health of that persons liver and its ability to metabolize and eliminate excess estrogens from the body. You can support this process through diet, detoxing, and with the inclusion of herbs and supplements.
- Magnesium is crucial for Phase II detoxification in the liver. During this process, estrogen metabolites are made water-soluble so that they can be excreted from the body in the form of urine or stool. If you have insufficient magnesium, your liver may be less able to complete the Phase II detoxification and this may contribute to estrogen dominance
- Liver Supporting Herbs can assist the body in detoxifying a wide range of hormones, drugs and toxins, including xenoestrogens. Some herbs that are helpful for the liver include milk thistle, dandelion root, chanca peidra, licorice root, and burdock root.
- Bio-available curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also helps the liver to detoxify and eliminate cancer causing xenoestrogens.
- Psyllium husks can assist the liver by absorbing bile and eliminating it from the body. Bile is not excreted from the body as you might expect, it is repeatedly recaptured and recirculated to be used continuously for digestion. Because of this, it becomes more concentrated with toxins (including estrogens). Psyllium absorbs this toxic bile and eliminates it from the body, and this forces the liver to produce fresh bile.
- Using castor oil packs to assist the liver. Read more about castor oil packs here.
- You can read more about how therapies that support the liver with this post
- Read about how to cleanse and flush the liver and gall bladder with this post
- Have long soaks in an Epson salt/sea salt/baking soda bath which can help those on a mostly vegetarian diet to mobilize toxins out through the skin. Add one cup of Epson salts, 1/2 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and 1/2 cup of sea salt to a warm bath and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with plain water when finished soaking to prevent the salt from drying your skin.
Exercise and emotional well-being
- Get moderate exercise daily- walking, yoga, biking, hiking. This also helps the body to remove excess estrogen
- Sweating by way of daily exercise or with the use of a sauna can also help the body to release excess toxins as well.
- Lose excess weight as fat cells have the ability to produce estrogen.
- Learn stress relieving techniques- such as Meditation or Emotional Freedom Technique