ESTROGEN ESTROGEN ESTROGEN
"Xenoestrogens are chemicals that imitate estrogen. Synthetic xenoestrogens are widely used industrial compounds, such as PCBs, BPA and phthalates [plastics], which have estrogenic effects on living organisms." Wikipedia
"The burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated." The conclusions of the 240 page President's Cancer Panel Report (2010) titled Reducing Cancer Risks; What We can do Now. One of the worst offenders of the all the chemicals that were looked at? Benzene.
We will get to the reasons that this is such a big health concern in a moment, but I want to first talk for a moment about where this flood of estrogen-like chemicals (Xenohormones / Xenoestrogens) is coming from. A simple way to think of this is by likening the relationship between estrogen and xenoestrogen, to the relationship between Gluten and Gluten Cross-reactors. Over the past several decades, GLUTEN (Wheat Protein) has, for a NUMBER OF DIFFERENT REASONS, been technologically altered until it is a very different product than the Gluten our forefathers consumed. Because of this, many people have Immune System reactions to it, and are considered to be "sensitive" to it.
Because your body recognizes various substances according to their molecular shape (example below), foods that have a close enough molecular structure / shape to Gluten will be recognized by certain people's bodies as Gluten ---- even though it is not Gluten. One of the more common of these is coffee. This phenomenon is known as GLUTEN CROSS-REACTIVITY. It's almost like a skeleton key that fits in any number of different locks. Unfortunately, the very same principle can be seen with certain synthetic or petro-chemicals as well --- particularly a chemical called Benzene.
Estrogen is chemical compound made up of six-sided rings. Benzene is a very simple six sided ring. When you look at the two side by side, you can begin to see how the body could be fooled. This is particularly scary considering that Benzene is known to be one of the most toxic, widely used chemicals on the planet. When you smell glue, paint, gasoline, detergent, automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke (50% of America's exposure comes from cigarette smoke), or almost anything else with a chemical or artifical smell (even a pleasant chemical smell), you are likely inhaling Benzene. Benzene has been associated with a wide array of illnesses and cancers, as well as being a known "ENDOCRINE SYSTEM DISRUPTOR". When you 'disrupt' the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM, there can be hell to pay in practically every different system in your body. Remember this when you look at the list below.
ESTROGEN DOMINANCE: WHAT IS IT?
Estrogen Dominance is a term every woman should be familiar with. PMS, infertility, post menopausal symptoms, and breast cancer often relate to Estrogen Dominance. Estrogen Dominance doesn’t mean that a woman is high in estrogen. Rather, it means that the estrogenic effects are stronger than the (counterbalancing) progesterone effects. If we think of the analogy of the body as a car, the estrogen would be the accelerator (stimulant) and the progesterone (calmer) would be the brakes. We could have too little ‘accelerator’ function and still be crashing into cars because our ‘brakes’ are even weaker. Bruce Rind M.D., National Integrated Health Associates
- Accelerated Aging
- ALLERGIES / CHRONIC SINUSITIS and other INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS
- AUTOIMMUNITY, including THYROID
- Breast Cancer/ Breast Tenderness
- Cervical Cancer
- Chronic Fatigue / Adrenal Fatigue (FIBROMYALGIA) / Brain Fog / Memory Loss
- DIMINISHED LIBIDO
- DEPRESSION / Anxiety/ Rage / Mood Swings
- Early Onset of Puberty (this is truly out of control in numerous countries around the world)
- Endometriosis / Uterine Cancer/ Fibroids
- HEADACHES / MIGRAINES
- BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION problems, including HYPOGLYCEMIA / SUGAR AND CARB ADDICTION
- INFERTILITY / PCOS
- SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE
- Weight Gain --- particularly ABDOMINAL OBESITY / Bloating
- Many Others
DEALING WITH ESTROGEN DOMINANCE NATURALLY
- DON'T HEAT PLASTIC SUBSTANCES, RUBBER, OR CELLOPHANE-LIKE WRAPPERS IN YOUR MICROWAVE OVEN:
- BEWARE OF COMMERCIALLY RAISED MEAT OR POULTRY PRODUCTS:
- USE SOMETHING OTHER THAN "THE PILL":
- BEWARE OF PERFUMES, SCENTS, AND VIRTUALLY ALL BEAUTY PRODUCTS:
- BEWARE OF HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS THAT HAVE "NICE" SMELLS:
- AVOID HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES:
- AVOID PHTHALATES & METHYL PARABEN:
- KNOW YOUR SUNSCREENS: Five specific chemicals to avoid here include benzophenone-3, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC), octyl-methoxycinnamate and octyl-dimethyl-PABA.
- REMEMBER THAT SUGAR TURNS MEN INTO WOMEN AND WOMEN INTO MEN (HERE)
Let me throw you one more 'bone' in your fight against Xenoestrogens. For decades, soy has been promoted as a this fantastic "health food" --- a "super food" if you will. Unfortunately, this is a complete and total myth. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You should never consume soy unless the soy has been fermented. Why? Because soy is a Phyto-Estrogen (plant-based Estrogen). For more information, you can read Dr. Tim O'Shea's paper called The Magic Bean.
Beyond simple avoidance of Estrogen and Xenoestrogens, there are some other things you can do if you believe you are suffering from Estrogen Dominance. Finding a Functional Medicine practitioner can be helpful, but there are some things you can do for yourself in the meantime. The first thing I would suggest is to follow some GENERIC RECOMMENDATIONS that are true for almost anything that ails you. Now let's tackle some of the recommendations specifically for use by the Estrogen Dominant person.
- STUDY THE ISSUE: As I have always said, knowledge is power. Do not blindly listen to any doctor --- including myself. Several hours of studying this issue on the internet, and you will likely know more about this common problem than your doctor. Speaking of your doctor; don't be surprised if you get a deer-in-the-headlights look or eye-roll if you mention 'Estrogen Dominance' in their presence. There are lots and lots of great websites on this topic. Beware of sites whose sole goal is to sell you something. There are many good sites with information concerning specific foods to add to or remove from your diet, or specific chemical products to really watch out for. After you have studied, sit down and create a written outline of how you are going to tackle your Estrogen Dominance. Wouldn't hurt you to have an accountability partner as well. Odds are, you know several women (and probably some men) with this problem.
- MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING LOTS OF FIBER: When my family juices, I usually eat the pulp on my lunchtime salad. Fiber is critical for dealing with Estrogen Dominance because it binds to the Estrogen and facilitates your ability to excrete it from the body ---- instead of reabsorbing it over and over again. Word of warning here: DO NOT buy into the myth that Whole Grains are a good source of fiber (I personally prefer ground Flax Seeds, although some will tell you to steer clear). If you are dealing with very many of the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance, you can almost assure yourself that you are GLUTEN SENSITIVE as well. This not only means that you are almost surely dairy-sensitive also, but that you are probably AUTOIMMUNE on top of everything else. Again, the PALEO DIET is the best way to deal with this entire scenario.
- DETOX YOUR LIVER: When it comes to Estrogen Dominance, dealing with your liver is critical. This is because your liver is the organ that essentially filters / removes / breaks down excess Estrogen in your body so that you can get rid of it. One of the best resources for learning about liver detox is Dr. Sandra Cabot (MD) of Australia. You can also read a SHORT ARTICLE I wrote on the subject.
- TAKE THE CORRECT SUPPLEMENTS: The link I left you under "Generic" above is going to give you some of the generic supplements you'll need to take for inflammation (the two biggies are PFGO for INFLAMMATION, and PROBIOTICS for GUT HEALTH). However, there is at least one other supplement that I would highly recommend taking specifically for Estrogen Dominance. Vitex / Chaste Tree is one of the best and most popular supplements for this problem, although there are a slew of others; all different from each other depending on who you read. The truth is, the supplements are not nearly as important as is your diet.
- RELAXATION TECHNIQUES AND DEEP BREATHING: Exercise will get you breathing hard. However, once you read the next section on Breast Cancer, you will see why good breathing habits / PROPER OXYGENATION are absolutely critical for properly dealing with Estrogen Dominance.
TREATING YOUR PROBLEM WITH
NATURAL PROGESTERONE CREAMS?
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING
Did you notice the last bullet point on the first list above? It is 'Weight Gain'. Let me tell you why this presents such a dilemma when it comes to Estrogen Dominance. Not only does estrogen cause weight gain via an increase in fatty tissue (this is why beef farmers give "hormones" to their cattle), but the real bite-in-the-hind end that few people talk about is the fact that fat cells, right along with the ovaries, actually manufacture ---- correct again ----- estrogen.
ESTROGEN AND BREAST CANCER
There is an overwhelming amount of information on Breast Cancer online. The truth is, if you want to make yourself an expert on the subject (if you are at risk, you should), there is so much information online that you could never possibly wade through it all. I am going to keep this section brief by spending only two or three paragraphs talking about the Estrogen / Breast Cancer link.
Because the majority (over 3/4) of Breast Cancers in America are fueled by Estrogen), your lifetime exposure to Estrogen, whether natural, synthetic, or pseudo (Xenoestrogens) play a huge part in determining whether or not you will get Breast Cancer over the course of your lifetime --- or whether or not you will relapse after taking the "cure". This is why women take drugs like Tamoxifen and Femara to "block" Estrogen for several years after successful treatment of their CANCER.
All Cancers, including cancer of the breast, tend to develop in similar fashion. Firstly, the body becomes oxygen deprived, toxic, and acidic --- usually due to a poor diet. The breast tends to act as a magnet for Cancer because of the close proximity of glandular tissue (the milk glands are highly responsive to estrogen) to fat cells (fat cells tend to accumulate toxins). As the cells in the glandular tissue of the breast struggle to survive in this increasingly acidic and poorly oxygenated environment, they begin to mutate. This allows them to produce energy from SUGAR (fermentation), instead of using oxygen. The whole process continues to feed itself as well as increasing the rate of cell replication (already a problem in Cancer --- read the articles in the link from the preceding paragraph on "Sugar Feeds Cancer").
Although I do not claim for one moment to be any sort of expert on Cancer, I do know that the vast majority of disease processes START IN SIMILAR FASHION. Who would I trust to take care of me if I had Cancer? That's an easy one to answer. One of the most brilliant minds on the subject is Dr. Kevin Connors of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is on the cutting edge of Functional Neurology / Functional Medicine. Hopefully you will never need his expertise in this area.