We have learnt before that all hormones are chemical messengers. Hormone balance is essential to nearly all functions in the human body. When everything is in balance you feel great, look good, have sustainable energy, a healthy appetite and a healthy sex drive. On the other hand, when they are not in balance you feed the opposite and might struggle with development of other bodily changes like uterine fibroid tumours, fibrocystic breasts or hormone positive cancers. Let’s take a look at oestrogen…
Oestrogen dominance is a common hormone imbalance among both women and men. It occurs when the ratio of oestrogen to progesterone sways too much to one way. Often one could recognize excess oestrogen in relation to low levels of progesterone.
The mighty oestrogen
There are three forms of oestrogen: estradiol, estrone and estriol. Estradiol is the most potent form and estriol the least. The primary role of oestrogen is to maintain the growth and function of the uterus so that the sex organs can become adult sized, and to prepare the uterine lining to receive a fertilized egg. In both men and women, it affects skeletal growth, skin, fat and protein deposition.
Maintaining a healthy balance of oestrogens can be difficult as there is more and more factors today that can throw off oestrogen balance, including exposure to xeno-oestrogens, phytoestrogens and poor oestrogen metabolism.
The humble progesterone
Progesterone is the building block for many other major hormones including corticosteroids, which are essential for stress response, electrolyte balance, blood pressure and survival. Cortisol, DHEA, testosterone and oestrogen are all made from progesterone. Progesterone is a primary hormone needed for fertility and pregnancy. It is essential to the survival of the fertilized egg, the embryo and the foetus. A decline in progesterone levels can result in a miscarriage. In its natural form, progesterone is considered a very safe hormone. However, the synthetic form, progestin, can have greater health risks.
Symptoms of hormone imbalances
Symptoms of an imbalance of oestrogen in relation to progesterone include premenstrual breast tenderness, mood swings, fluid retention, weight gain, headaches, menstrual cramps, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal gland fatigue, heavy periods with clotting, joint and muscle pain, decreased libido, insomnia and restless sleep, irregular cycles, anxiety, endometriosis, fibrocystic breast, polycystic ovary syndrome and breast tumours.
What in your lifestyle can cause this hormonal imbalance?
A low-fibre diet can lead to higher oestrogen levels in the bloodstream. How so? Excess oestrogen is excreted in the bowel. Being constipated means that there is not adequate clearance of excess oestrogen and possible reabsorption. Therefore, a good quality diet with adequate fibre intake is protective of oestrogen related cancers.
If the body is overloaded with synthetic ingredients, chemicals, elements in food, environmental toxins and other factors, it can slow down our detoxification capabilities. A high burden on the cofactors and enzymes, responsible for these detoxification processes, coupled with a nutrient poor diet, will lead to elevated oestrogen. Improvements in the diet with green leafy vegetables and the ‘cabbage family’ (cruciferous vegetables) can improve the detoxification processes as well as sulfarophane supplements, which is obtained from cruciferous vegetables.
We live in an estrogenic or feminizing environment. Xeno-estrogens, such as PCBs, phthalates, pesticides and DDT, cause estrogenic effects. Although banned in 1972, DDT, like its breakdown product DDE, is a xenoestrogen, which is still present in the environment. Chlorine and hormone residues in meats and dairy products also can have estrogenic effects. In men, the estrogenic environment may result in declining quality of sperm or fertility rates. In women, it may lead to an epidemic of female diseases, all traceable to excess estrogen/deficient progesterone. It is critical to incorporate a pure, clean diet consisting of organic foods whenever possible in an effort to decrease exposure to harmful xenoestrogens
How to reset the balance
- Increase your dietary fibre
- Dietary supplements with lecithin or choline and sulfur-containing L-taurine and L-methionine amino acids can improve bile flow
- Consider an inositol supplement
- Take part in physical activity to get the lymph drainage and blood flow going, so GET MOVING!