Estrogen Dominance & The Chaos It Can Create
Estrogen imbalance is very common and is not just a problem for women. It affects men as well. Yes, you read that correctly. It affects a lot of men, without them knowing it.
The problem relates to how much estrogen is in the body relative to the other sex hormones. For a woman, it’s too much estrogen compared with the amount of progesterone. And for a man, it’s too much estrogen compared with testosterone.
This state is known as estrogen dominance.
Estrogen Plays a Number of Roles
Of course, for women, estrogen is the key hormone in sexual development and pregnancy. So estrogen is a good thing, but it needs to be maintained in the proper ratio.
Here are other crucial roles estrogen plays. It:
- regulates insulin sensitivity
- assists in the processing of cholesterol
- helps reduce inflammation
- helps maintain strong bones
- promotes the production of serotonin in the brain and thus influences mood. For women in particular, low levels of estrogen are thought to contribute to postpartum and menopausal depression.
Common Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
- weight gain, particularly in the hips, midsection, and thighs
- fibrocystic breasts
- abnormal menstruation
- reduced sex drive
- breast tenderness
- mood swings
- brain fog
- gynecomastia, which means enlarged breasts (i.e. man boobs)
- sexual dysfunction
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
For women, one of the main causes is the long-term use of hormonal birth control pills. Over long periods of time, this type of birth control can throw off the delicate balance between estrogen and progesterone.
Affecting both men and women are thousands of products that contain chemicals called xenoestrogens. These mimic estrogen and throw off hormonal balance. Some common sources xenoestrogens may include:
- parabens (preservatives)
- phthalates (plastics, topical products)
- benzophenones (sunscreens)
- products with a strong chemical smell or perfume smell
Exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, aluminum, lead, and mercury is another problem. These metals can be stored in your fat tissue and when that happens they can actually act like estrogen.
Obesity and Estrogen Dominance
Fatty tissue stores estrogen, while enzymes in fat cells convert other hormones into estrogen. It’s a vicious cycle where the more fat you have, the more estrogen you make. And the more estrogen you make, the more fat you’re going to store.
The Link Between Diet & Estrogen Dominance
Inadequate nutrition is a big contributor to estrogen dominance. I’m talking about poor dietary choices. Today’s abundance of processed foods are saturated with chemicals. Combine that problem with conventional farming methods and you have a perfect storm of causative factors for estrogen dominance. Much of the meat and produce you eat are laden with chemicals and pesticides that disrupt your endocrine system. And many of these disruptors fall under the category of xenoestrogens that I discussed earlier.
Non-organic food, plastic containers and cosmetics can contain endocrine disruptors. They alter how hormones should work, especially estrogen. This throws off your entire body because hormones are crucial to how your body functions. In fact, xenoestrogens build up in your fat cells and are linked to serious problems in the reproductive system like infertility, cancer, and painful disorders like endometriosis.
Furthermore, a lack of magnesium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C will contribute to estrogen problems. Magnesium helps your pituitary gland release other hormones that regulate estrogen and progesterone. So if you’re lacking magnesium, that regulating process is thrown off. Meanwhile, vitamin B6 and vitamin C effectively raise progesterone levels to reduce estrogen dominance.
Watch Your Blood Sugar
Another thing that can lead to estrogen dominance is out of control blood sugar. Progesterone helps to stabilize blood sugar, but if there’s not enough progesterone in relation to estrogen, it opens the door to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Now That You Know…
You can identify the symptoms of estrogen dominance. More importantly, you now know the importance of eating organic food and consuming the key nutrients that can help you avoid developing this condition.
You’re also better equipped to avoid exposure to xenoestrogens that can disrupt your endocrine system.
The best news is that you can make a difference quite quickly. If you start handling even just a few of these things over the next few days, you’ll be well on your way.
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