What do personal care products, birth control, weight gain, low libido and stress all have in common? The answer is a state of estrogen dominance in the body. There are a number of factors that have contributed to a rise in the levels of this hormone in women as well as men. Lets address some of those causes, talk about the corresponding symptoms and then speak to the ways in which we can lower high levels of estrogen.
One primary cause of high levels of estrogen comes from the food we're consuming. One culprit in particular is genetically modified soy. I read something that about 90% of soy as well as corn is genetically modified in the United States. That's an alarming number and so most soybeans, soy milk and overall soy products contain genetic modification. When humans ingest soy with an altered genome, our bodies can't metabolize it very well. It's recognized as foreign in the body and leads to inflammatory cascades being put into effect. This inflammation can be a foundational element for chronic disease and autoimmune issues in the body.
Much of the water supply contains hormone-disrupting compounds. I recommend an AquaTru water filter, which is a reverse osmosis filter. It goes above and beyond what standard municipal filtration systems can accomplish for removing harmful compounds and impurities.
Personal care products are another cause of high levels of estrogen, especially since they contain phthalates and parabens. Those are both endocrine-disruptors that cause instabilities in hormonal levels.
In addition, we have causes such as: gut dysbiosis, bpa and other plastics, heavy metals, excessive body fat, hormone replacement therapy and birth control as well as chronic stress.
< Cosmetics and personal care products contain xenoestrogens, which can cause imbalances in hormones in the body.
> Plastics oftentimes contain bpa, a synthetic compound that disrupts proper hormone synthesis and ideal levels in the body.
Many of these we can exert some sort of control over to help minimize this hormonal imbalance. Before we address the how lets talk about some of the corresponding symptoms.
High levels of estrogen in the body can manifest in a number of ways. We observe things like: headaches, irritability, depression, weight gain (especially around the hips), insomnia, premenstrual syndrome exacerbations, low sex drive, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, fatigue, memory issues as well as fibrocystic breasts.
Here we have a list of unpleasant symptoms, but fortunately there are things to be done to help minimize this dominance.
One thing that helps lower levels of estrogen is exercise. I typically recommend a combination of resistance training with cardiovascular training. Resistance will incorporate some weights or bodyweight to tone up the muscles. Cardiovascular will help with aerobic health of the body and circulation. I learned that the best type of exercise for a patient to start doing is just that, whatever they will do. So if you like to swim, do that. If you enjoy walks after dinner, that's perfect. Start somewhere with something you enjoy. Down the road a bit we can incorporate more structure, but this is a perfect place to start. Exercise will lower estrogen levels as well as body fat quantity.
Organic foods as well as non-gmo foods are going to be important to incorporate as well. Organic foods don't contain the pesticides and herbicides (like glyphosate) which can pose as endocrine disruptors causing all sorts of imbalances hormonally. Non gmo foods don't have genetic manipulation, which means that our bodies can process, digest and metabolize them much better compared to gmo foods.
It's also wise, as much as possible, to minimize or avoid using plastic containers and bottles. These have bpa and other chemicals that are xenoestrogens and pose as estrogen mimickers. This directly influences estrogenic levels in the body for the worse.
Lastly I will say managing stress effectively is going to balance hormones well. When the stress hormone known as cortisol is high, it leads to imbalances in other hormones, such as: testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, androstenedione, etc. Normal levels of cortisol will balance out the other hormones and provide optimal endocrine health. I personally love spending time in the Bible at the start of my day. This allows me to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus and to keep my mind on Him, not the stress-laden external circumstances. I think practicing gratitude is another fantastic way to combat stress. I encourage you to write out a list of some things you're thankful for. This allows the mind to concentrate on the positives, not the negatives. Another way to combat stress is to develop healthy social habits like attending a small group at church. We're created to be in relationship with others, and this is a wonderful way to cultivate healthy relationships and to build community, have support and to enjoy others' company.
One of my favorite ways to determine whether or not estrogen dominance is present is to order a salivary-based hormone panel. The saliva tests measure the unbound, free fraction component of the hormone. This yields a more accurate assessment of the true, tissue-wide levels of hormones in the body compared to blood tests. DiagnosTechs has wonderful hormone panels I order for my patients. The easy-to-use test kits are shipped directly to the patient's house. Once the test is complete and returned to the lab, I wait for the results to show up in the portal online. I then schedule a zoom meeting with my patients to go over the results in a report of findings appointment.
I hope you all picked up some insights about estrogen dominance in this article. Lets see if we can all incorporate some of the methods mentioned to combat high levels of estrogen so we can ward off those unwanted symptoms.
Dr. Seamus Allen
CFMP, DACBN, DC