DO YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS ESTROGEN? SUCH AS…
-Mood swings & depression around cycle time
-Variations or skipped cycles
-Vaginal dryness or itchiness
-Excessive or scanty blood flow during periods
-Cyclic insomnia, night sweats & fatigue
-Breast cancer, benign breast disease, & pre-cancerous conditions
I think this list pretty much describes a nightmarish myriad of symptoms for any woman. According to Ray Peat, PhD estrogen dominance is a leading contributor to many women specific cancers, “Benign breast disease, breast cancer and pre-cancerous conditions have been found to be associated with a progesterone deficiency and estrogen excess.” So keep reading and learn the causes, so you can support your body’s detoxification of estrogen for hormonal balance with diet!
WHY DOES ESTROGEN DOMINANCE OCCUR?
“Normally, the liver treats estrogen like a poison, removing it immediately from the body. If the liver gets sluggish from malnutrition or too much estrogen (or other damage), it can allow the hormone to build up to very high levels” -Ray Peat, PhD
Excess estrogen due to a malnourished liver, impairing estrogen detoxification: The liver needs an abundance of proteins, vitamins and minerals to detoxify used hormones out of the system. If estrogen can’t be detoxified it recirculates in the body causing dysfunction, and allows estrogen to build up in the body. According to Ray Peat, PhD, “Protein deficiency has been shown to cause the liver to fail to detoxify estrogen.” If the body’s ability to remove used hormones from the system is impaired, they are allowed to recirculate causing problems such as PMS.
Poor hormone production resulting in low progesterone, leaving estrogen unopposed: Estrogen and progesterone are supposed to be in balance with one another, but a poor diet can result in low progesterone. The body needs the raw materials to make progesterone like: cholesterol, vitamin A, and thyroid hormone (t3). If you are low in these nutrients or have low thyroid function, low progesterone is a very common cause of estrogen dominance.
Chronic stress: stress of any kind decreases progesterone levels to increase production of cortisol. This is because cortisol is a stress hormone needed to help you survive stress.
Birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy: This one is pretty straightforward. Adding synthetic estrogen to your body increases estrogen, and thus the estrogen burden on your body. Synthetic estrogen’s cardiovascular risks have been known since 1940 including its ability to cause blood clots, varicose veins, miscarriage and PMS. “It is the estrogen in oral contraceptives which correlates with their effects on the clotting system. In the last 20 years there has been a general agreement that increased risk of cardiovascular disease, rather than cancer or immunodeficiency or depression, is the most important concern about the effects of oral contraceptives” Ray Peat, PhD.
Aging: Estrogen levels tend to increase with age, as pregnenolone and progesterone levels decline.
HOW TO STOP THE MADNESS?A MULTIFACETED NUTRITION PLAN WORKS BEST THAT SUPPORTS THE METABOLISM, LIVER, HORMONES, AND STRESS LEVELS.
Support the metabolism:
-Stop the low fat dieting, calorie counting and eat MORE real food. Especially enough protein and carbs to meet your metabolic needs. Your body temperature is a good way to check and see if you’re eating enough.
-Balance blood sugar by eating protein/fats/carbs together during each meal, and eating frequently to help stabilize blood sugar (especially important for those with blood sugar handling issues). Read more blood sugar tips here.
-Listen to your body. It’s ALWAYS talking to you. Are you listening?
Nourish your liver:
-Increase protein to 70-100 grams+ per day based on your weight (about 20-25% of total calories). Make sure to include eggs, dairy (if tolerated, no allergy), gelatin, fish, and shellfish to help balance muscle meats (chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, etc). This will help to create the amino acid (building blocks of protein) balance needed to reflect “eating the whole animal.” In doing this, you empower the liver’s detoxification process to help your body take out the trash, and detoxify estrogen properly.
-Eat easy to digest foods to reduce endotoxin that can back up the liver (especially important for those with digestive distress). This means more simple sugars (ripe fruits & honey), roots, tubers, & dairy products (if tolerated).
Support hormone production:
-Increase hormone synthesis promoters in the diet using food: Thyroid (T3), Vitamin A (animal sources, like liver or small amounts of fermented cod liver/butter oil), Vitamin E, copper & bright lights (sun, etc).
-Decrease hormone synthesis blockers: unsaturated fats (PUFA), excess estrogen (hormone replacement, birth control, or liver malnutrition to adequately detoxify used estrogen), ultraviolet light, x-rays, and excess iron (from fortified foods, vitamins, or muscle meat heavy diet).
-Epsom salt bath with 1-4 cups of Epsom salt (magnesium) and soak for 15-30 minutes a few times a week prior to bed (increase Epsom salt amounts slowly).
-Eat 1-2 raw carrots a day can help the colon absorb endotoxin and estrogen for excretion. According to Ray Peat, “Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms.”
Reduce stress & environmental toxins:
-Identify and reduce stressors in your life. This could be a variety of things- lack of sleep, insufficient fuel, or food allergies and sensitivities (since they activate the stress response).
-Detox your home by ditching the chemicals in your cleaning and beauty routine.
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