Estrogen is a type of hormone that promotes female development and characteristics in the body, but too much of this hormone can cause nasty side effects as well as increased risk of breast cancer.
Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries as well as in fat cells. It helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and reproductive system as well as promoting healthy bones.
Too much estrogen or ‘estrogen dominance’ is when levels of this hormone are higher than they should be and when this happens there can be a number of potential side effects such as;
– Decreased sex drive
– Depression / anxiety /mood swings
– Bloating or water retention and weight gain
– Hair loss
– Sleep problems
– Ovarian Cysts
– Breast cancer
– Painful breasts
– Lumpy breasts
There are many reasons for high estrogen levels such as:
- Impaired liver function
- Misuse of drugs or alcohol
- Low fibre diet (estrogen is excreted in the bowel and constipation can cause it to be reabsorbed into the body)
- A hormonal imbalance such as low testosterone or progesterone levels
- Certain medications such as HRT and birth control pills
- Overexposure to man-made chemicals in the environment, that mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt hormonal balance.
These are known as Xenoestrogens. We are exposed to these Xenoestrogens on a daily basis. From skin care to antibiotic feed beef and dairy to plastics and canned foods.
How to Detox from high estrogen levels:
Plastic is everywhere in our environment. In things such as water bottles, food containers and bags. Plastic contains chemicals such as BPA and BPS which mimic estrogen in the body.
Store food in glass or ceramic containers. Avoid heating or microwaving as the extreme in temperature can cause these chemical estrogens to leach into your food.
Choose safe skin care products
A number of ingredients in skin care products such as parabens, phthalates, petroleum chemicals, chemical sunscreens all contain xenoestrogens. Choose brands that are more conscious of the ingredients that they use. For example Dr.Hauschka is one of the leading brands in this respect and we stock a wide range of their products in-store.
Choose your meat carefully
Avoid beef and dairy that is produced and fattened using antibiotics. Grass-fed and organic where possible is best. Some farms feed livestock estrogenic drugs to fatten them up and improve milk production.
Eat enough Fibre
The body gets rid of excess estrogen through digestion. However, you need to keep things moving along nicely in that department! Otherwise, you will reabsorb the chemical estrogens and that leads to all sorts of nasty toxic build up. Eat more leafy greens, fruit, nuts, seeds and beans.
Take 2 teaspoons of Psyllium husks daily in water. This is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre. These nasty Xenoestrogens will bind with the psyllium and excreted through the stools.
Avoid canned foods
Most cans contain high levels of BPA. Choose cartons or fresh. Limit processed foods as they contain dyes and additives which are high in these chemical compounds.
Buy organic where possible
Always wash your fruit and vegetables. Avoid soy unless it’s fermented. [Regular soy may disrupt normal hormonal activity.] Choose safer laundry brands such as Ecover, Bio D or Lilly’s.
Check your Cooking Utensils
Cook with ceramic or cast iron cookware. The convenient non-stick surfaces will leach hormone-disrupting xenoestrogens into your food as it is heated.
Filter your water
Filter your water as the industrial chemicals which are added are full of xenoestrogens. Chlorine and fluoride for example.
Exercise is very important when it comes to detoxifying xenoestrogens. There are so many additional benefits to exercise, that we really aim to make it part of our everyday routine.
Get proper sleep. I know this might seem obvious but with the stress and strain of everyday life, more and more of us are walking around sleep deprived. Sometimes this is unavoidable, such as in the case of having a new baby, but more and more people are willing to sacrificing their sleep time to stay up late on computers, watch movies and play online games.
Getting sufficient sleep is essential, as the hormone Melatonin which is produced in the pineal gland of the brain at night time, plays an important role in getting rid of these chemical estrogens.
Help your Liver
Take care of your liver, one of the most important roles is to ensure toxins are safely removed from your blood. Nurture your Liver with herbs such as Milk Thistle, Dandelion and Vitamin C. Eat a wholesome diet including plenty of leafy greens, whole grains, fresh fruit and avoid processed fatty foods.
An excellent supplement to help support your Liver is called ‘Active Liver by New Nordic‘.
This is a natural herbal tablet, made from a combination of extract of milk thistle, artichoke, turmeric and black pepper to support normal liver function. It also contains Choline, which helps maintain normal liver function and fat metabolism. This will help your liver to process these chemical estrogens more effectively.
Breast Pain or Lumpy Breasts
If you are currently suffering from painful or lumpy tissue in your breast, obviously the first point of call is to get it checked out, but you may find it is age or hormone related and in this case, taking Evening Primrose Oil and Vitamin B-complex can be helpful.
It is also worth mentioning that generally if these symptoms are a result of an imbalance and nothing more sinister, these hormone imbalances can be helped with Acupuncture.