Estrogen dominance not only affects women, it’s also prevalent in men, teens and adolescents nowadays due to estrogen-mimicking compounds also known as obesogens.
Obesogens play havoc on our hormones: increase estrogen, reduce insulin sensitivity, inhibit the thyroid, disrupt leptin and reduce testosterone. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals can be blamed for early puberty, inflammation, feminization in men and boys, brain dysfunction, infertility, PMS, weight gain and more. Obesogens increase the risk of endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, and hormone-sensitive cancers (breast, ovarian, prostate). The longer these foreign substances stay in the body, the greater they inflict damage. Obesogens can even alter our genes.
Sources of obesogens
• Non-organic foods, factory-farmed animal protein that have been injected with xenohormones, antibiotics, and fed a diet of GMOs, corn, soy, grains.
• Alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs, specifically diuretics, anti-depressants, anti-fungals, oral contraceptives, steroids and liver activity drugs.
• Chronic low-level inflammation that can be caused by poor food choice, lifestyle habits, emotional or physical stress, prescription drugs, oral hygiene, underlying infections, and factors in your environment. Experts have determined that 70 percent of cancer patients also suffer from chronic inflammation.
• Glyphosate, GMOs, plastics, PCBs, pesticides, emulsifiers, triclosan, phthalates, thermal receipts, artificial fragrances, and chemicals found in personal care and household cleaning products.
• Parabens, a chemical that affects the body much like estrogen causes decreased muscle mass, weight gain, gynectomastia, and estrogen-sensitive health problems. It’s interesting to note that researchers have detected the presence of parabens in 99 percent of breast cancer tissues.
Triggers of excess estrogen
• The Standard American Diet (SAD): nutritionally-void, high in carbs, dairy, wheat, grains, unfermented soy, factory-farmed animal protein, sugar, and processed foods.
• Adrenal insufficiency, cortisol imbalances and ongoing stress are major risk factors for autoimmune disorders, depression, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and estrogen dominance.
• Carbohydrate intolerance, insulin resistance, diabetes.
• Heavy metal toxicity.
• Nutrient deficiencies, specifically iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, and others.
• Methylation problems and poor detoxification pathways. Anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function results in excess estrogen.
• Being overweight. High estrogen is present in those who are overweight and obese, including children.
Lower estrogen load and reduce your risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers.
Less than 10 percent of hormone-sensitive cancers can be attributed to genetic defects. Ninety percent appear to be triggered by environmental and lifestyle factors including smoking, poor diet (fried foods, fructose, processed foods, factory-farmed animal protein), alcohol, pesticides, food additives, glyphosate, environmental pollutants, infections (viral, bacterial, yeast, fungal, mold, Candida, parasitic, Helicobacter pylori), stress, obesity and physical inactivity.
Only 5–10 percent of all cancer cases are due to genetic defects and the remaining 90–95 percent are due to environment and lifestyle choices.
Food is medicine
• Eat organic foods as much as possible (especially the EWG’s Dirty Dozen) versus conventional due to their abundance of synthetic hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs.
• Eat more cancer-fighting cruciferous veggies that support estrogen clearance (broccoli, watercress, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage). Sulforaphane, an active compound found in broccoli sprouts helps eliminate breast cancer stem cells.
• Increase fiber intake from non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens and ground flax seeds to reduce circulating estrogen.
• If you consume meat, opt for grass-fed, pasture-raised and free-range. Charcoal cooking and/or smoke curing of meat produces harmful carbon compounds that are carcinogenic.
• Drink only purified, filtered water.
• Green tea. The EGCG in green tea suppresses the gene that triggers breast cancer.
• Stabilize blood sugar and insulin through healthier, smarter food choices.
• Avoid sugars, carbs, grains, unfermented soy, processed fructose, artificial sweeteners, corn, HFCS, vegetable oils, trans fats, food additives, preservatives and alcohol. A study of more than 1,800 women published in the Journal Cancer Epidemiology found that women who consumed 57 percent or more of their diet from carbohydrates had a 220 percent higher risk of breast cancer.
• Beans and lentils. In a study of 90,000 women from the Harvard School of Public Health looking at the relationship between diet and cancer, it was found that those who ate 1-2 cups of beans or lentils each week were 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. It is believed that the flavonols found in beans and lentils inhibit cancer cell formation by boosting the immune system.
• According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “Women who breast-fed had a 59 percent lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer.”
• Limit immune suppressors (Top 3: sugar, stress and lack of sleep).
• Explore emotional healing and the impact that unresolved emotions have on your health. Everything’s interconnected.
• Detox periodically to support estrogen clearance.
• Test for and rule out heavy metal toxicity and underlying infections (viral, yeast, fungal, Candida, bacterial, parasite).
• Optimize your microbiome, digestion and intestinal health.
• Get seven-nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Unplug the Wi-Fi before bed, turn off your cellphone and sleep in total darkness. Light at night, especially blue light disrupts your natural circadian rhythm and lowers melatonin levels, which have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and other cancers.
• Support your liver, gallbladder, kidneys and lymphatic system (rebounding, dry skin brushing). Those who have had their gallbladder removed tend to be estrogen dominant.
• The average woman puts 400-500 chemicals on her body every day. Use only naturally-based lotions, cosmetics, perfumes and personal care products.
• Be aware of the impact from the environment, toxic exposure, EMFs (dirty electricity), and the risks from synthetic hormones (birth control pills, HRT, factory-farmed animal protein).
• Practice deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, biofeedback and nature walks to activate the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, reduce stress response, restore adrenal function and your body’s natural healing mechanisms.
• Move your body every single day! Women who exercise three-five times per week have a 37-60 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. Exercise lowers the amount of estrogen and dangerous estrogen metabolites.
• Consider supplementing with vitamin D, essential fatty acids, probiotics, iodine/iodide, selenium, zinc, curcumin, DIM and calcium d glucarate. Take nutrients to correct your personal nutrient deficiencies, balance hormones and support your unique biochemistry, which can be determined through a functional Blood Chemistry Analysis.
Estrogen dominance is complex health condition. There are countless factors that contribute to estrogen overload and estrogen-sensitive cancers. By taking responsibility for your health and committing to making healthier choices, you can lower your estrogen load, and reduce your risk of cancers and lifestyle diseases.
• Paula Owens, M.S., is the author of “The Power of 4” and “Fat Loss Revolution.” An Ahwatukee resident for 22 years, she is a leading expert in nutrition, functional health, fitness and fat loss with more than 20 years of experience. For more information, visit www.PaulaOwens.com.