Can’t Lose Weight? Estrogen Dominance Could Be to Blame
It seems like everyone wants to contribute their health problems to one epidemic or another these days instead of taking responsibility for a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Generally speaking, I turn a deaf ear to these sorts of complaints. When people who are doing all the right things still struggle, I start listening.
Such is the case with estrogen dominance. Whether you’re a woman who can’t lose that roll of belly fat, or a guy who isn’t as cut as he’d like to be, excess estrogen could be to blame.
All About Estrogen and Progesterone
There are two reasons for estrogen imbalance in the body. The first is too much estrogen, and the second is too little progesterone. We’ll address both today. First, it’s important to know about the individual hormones and how they function in the body.
Estrogen is actually three separate hormones: B-estradiol, estrone and estriol, with B-estradiol being the most potent of the bunch. Studies tell us that the ideal ratio of estrogens for women is 15/15/70. B-estradiol (or simply estradiol) levels being elevated give the largest reason for concern.
Estriol is the most helpful to the body, performing many key functions. Along with female reproduction, it helps with sperm production, helps keep As with many health problems, the symptoms of estrogen dominance are many and varied. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Difficulty losing weight or weight gain
- Heightened menstrual symptoms
- Hair loss
Determining whether you suffer from estrogen dominance can be difficult. Generally a combination of blood test results and matching your symptoms to known symptoms of the disorder will be necessary for diagnosis.
The good news is that a blood test is relatively easy to obtain, you can even buy kits online and mail them to a lab for results and perhaps interpretation. The bad news is that it’s not cheap. Online blood drop tests can run you up to $400.
A holistic allopathic doctor or a naturopathic doctor is most likely to be knowledgeable about estrogen dominance and able to guide you through treatment. Each person’s hormone needs will be slightly different, and having a medical professional on your side to guide you through the process is invaluable.
Hidden Environmental Estrogens
Conventional Meat and Dairy
Unfortunately, our food supply is hugely polluted. One of the best examples of this is the amount of hormones our meat- and dairy- supplying animals are fed. Almost all beef cattle entering feedlots in the US are given hormone implants. There are six hormones in the usual mix. One of the six one is a natural estrogen (estriadol) and one is a synthetic estrogen (zeranol).
Conventionally farmed animals are also pumped full of antibiotics which act as hormone disruptors. Twenty-five million pounds of antibiotics are given to livestock annually in this country.
Hear me, here: eating produce is exponentially better for the body than not, even when considering the health impact of pesticides.
That said, many herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides leave residue that mimics estrogen in the system. The body isn’t able to differentiate because the chemical structures are so similar and treats all of these as estrogen.
Obesity causes the body to produce even more estrogen, keeping it in a vicious cycle of gaining and becoming even less healthy. Breaking the cycle is absolutely necessary for optimum health. Switching from a diet heavy in bad fats to a more moderate-fat, plant-based diet can help increase progesterone levels naturally, especially when that diet is high in fruits and vegetables.
Many plant foods are high in estrogen, but be aware that there are two forms. First come lignans, and they are healthy compounds found in food such asTreatment is usually multifaceted. You’ll want to implement as many points you feel comfortable with, and certainly consult your health care professional before adding dietary supplements.
- Get rid of toxic chemicals which contain xenoestrogens. Toss the plastic bottles, plates, and wrap. Limit your exposure to plastics of all kinds, and store your food in glass or ceramic containers.
- Go with natural cleansers instead of those with heavy chemicals. Dr. Bronner’s is a favorite in our family, it’s good for everything from laundry to baby skin.
- There’s a specific diet (rather, a lifestyle of consuming foods with less estrogen). It involves three phases as outlined in The Anti-Estrogenic Diet by Ori Hofmekler.The first phase involves large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially crucifers, organic eggs, wild-caught fish, beans, and aged cheeses. The second phase add raw nuts and seeds, as well as olives to the first phase foods. The third phase allows meat and grains in the evening meal on alternating days.On the whole, the diet’s purpose is to ensure we eat low on the food chain, get enough natural vitamins (while eschewing synthetics), and supplement with the things that will carry excess estrogen away from the body and/or raise progesterone levels. You should ensure you’re getting adequate food levels is magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc.The supplements most often recommended are DIM, Myomin, and Calcium D-Glucarate. Additionally, if the imbalance is caused by a lack of progesterone rather than too much estrogen in the body, you may choose to supplement with progesterone.
DIM contains diindolylmethane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables. This enzyme helps the body metabolize excess estrogen, making it a great addition to a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially if you’re not a fan of brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Myomin is a mix of Chinese herbs that promote healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone. It inhibits aromatase, performing two important functions in the body. First, it allows the body to produce less bad estrogens (estradiol and estrone) and more good estrogen (estriol). It also prevents the body from converting testosterone to bad estrogens.
Many people choose to use both DIM and Myomin. If you prefer just one, DIM is more potent in estrogen metabolism.
Calcium D-Glucarate is an extract found in grapefruit, spinach, apples, and crucifers that helps the body excrete the previously expelled excess estrogen before it can be reabsorbed by the bloodstream. At its core, it’s a detoxifier that works more significantly on the liver.
Bust Your Gut
Everyone can benefit from limiting their exposure to toxins, even those of us at a healthy weight. When that belly fat just won’t budge, you’ll want to get your estrogen and progesterone levels checked. If your results are out of normal range, you’ll want to employ some of the suggestions here.
Check with your health care provider to see if the anti-estrogenic diet, and the supplements it recommends, are right for you. Soon you’ll be baring that belly like never before!
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