I am here to talk to you about detoxifying your estrogen. You might be wondering what is estrogen and why do you need to detoxify it. Well let's talk more about that
So are you one of those unlucky people who can't seem to shake that body fat no matter how many crunches and miles you log in the gym? Fortunately, there's a good chance that your estrogen dominance might be the cause.
Estrogen is one of the sex hormones, and it's produced in both men and women. Estrogen plays an important role in regulating metabolism, fat distribution, bone density, muscle mass -and yes- reproduction. When estrogen levels are too high or too low (or there's an imbalance), it can cause a number of problems such as weight gain or infertility. Estrogen dominance may also be responsible for mood swings and hot flashes.
So what's estrogen dominance? "It's when a woman has too much estrogen relative to testosterone," explains Dr. John R. Lee, a Los Angeles-based urologist, certified specialist in male pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, and author of The Man Box: What Men Need to Know About the Female Orgasm. "It's like having the wrong fuel in your car. The body becomes out of balance and the cells don't work right."
What makes a woman estrogen dominant? Leading an unhealthy lifestyle is a major factor, believes Dr. Lee. "If you're eating a diet rich in fat and sugar, you'll produce too much estrogen," he says. Menopausal women, as well as those who've recently given birth or are going through the change of life, may also be more prone to estrogen dominance because their ovaries are slowing down production of progesterone-which is responsible for balancing out the effects of estrogen-and their testosterone levels have decreased. Estrogen dominance is also caused by some prescription and over-the-counter medications including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
How do you know if you're estrogen dominant? The easiest way to tell is by your body fat. When estrogen dominates, it causes the body to store fat around the hips and thighs, and more specifically, in a certain type of fat called "insulin-sensitive adipose tissue"-or belly fat. This is especially true of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects 5-10% of women here in the United States; according to Dr. Lee, these women tend to have not only high levels of insulin but also high testosterone-again bringing on the imbalance and leading to an estrogen dominance state.
If you're a woman who's been struggling with estrogen dominance, there are a few things that you can do. First, you need to get your hormone levels checked by a doctor. If they're out of whack, you might be able to bring them back into balance using natural progesterone and testosterone creams. There are also some foods that can help bring your body into balance: foods which are high in phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) or iodine help to regulate the body's natural estrogen production. These include soybeans, lentils, flaxseed oil, red clover tea and saltwater fish. And of course, exercise plays a big role; any activity that helps you burn more calories will help to keep fat off your hips and thighs.
The main estrogen that most women are concerned with is estradiol which comes from the ovaries, but as I mentioned above, there is another estrogen that's much more important to keep in check. That one is called estriol which is produced in the placenta during pregnancy. (source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1415164/)
Why do we need to detoxify estrogen?
Well because it's actually broken down by our liver into another hormone called metabolized estrogen. This is a very important hormone that affects our brain, heart and liver.
The main problem with metabolized estrogen is that it can over-stimulate the growth of tumors in breast cancer which is why we need to do MORE THAN just detoxify estradiol.
It's also important to mention that metabolized estrogen can be converted into another harmful hormone called ethinyl estradiol (EE2) which is what makes birth control pills harmful for many women. (source: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/contents-eng.php)
So in order to naturally detoxify estrogen metabolism, we need to find out:
1. What can increase estrogen metabolism?
2. What can decrease estrogen metabolism?
3. How can we balance out estrogen better?
So let's start with what can increase estrogen metabolism and the first thing that comes to mind is exercise. This is because exercising causes a release of our hormones called adrenaline and noradrenaline which both help with metabolizing estrogens. (source:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16116554)
Now on to the second question:
What can decrease estrogen metabolism?
Well there are many things that do this including certain medications, but the number one thing that does this is being fat. This is because fat cells produce a hormone called leptin which causes you to stop doing things that you know are bad for you and your health such as exercising ( http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1912411,00.html ).
Next on the list of what causes estrogen metabolism to slow down is stress. This is because cortisol which is produced by our adrenal glands will peak during stressful times. ( source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2914598/)
And lastly is alcohol (which obviously can increase estrogen if you're drinking it heavily). This is because it doesn't just have to do with your liver being able to absorb it, but it also has to do with how much alcohol you drink and the way that your body responds to them.(source: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/alcohol-and-estrogen )
So after learning about what causes estrogen metabolism to slow down, the next step is to learn how we can balance it out better. And the answer to that is through detoxification.
1- Phase 1 Eat cruciferous and fibrous foods to help with detoxification. Your body can urinate or poop 💩 out the estrogen (this is Phase 3-4)
Phase 2 - Liver Detox
It often takes 3-4 months to fully experience the benefits. Liver supporting herbs – These herbs all help to cleanse the liver of excess estrogen: Burdock - This gentle diuretic aids to remove excess estrogen from the body by supporting elimination
Phase 3 - Probiotics and supplements and foods
This is when the lifestyle needs to help fight inflammation in the gut and getting efficient elimination.
Grapefruit, apples, oranges, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts - beta glucuronidase inhibitor, Chlorella, water soluble fibers, curcumin
2- stay away from plastics, BPA, perfumes, scented candles.
3- consider DIM supplement and enzymes (ask your practitioners for more) to help your body digest and get rid of estradiol in your body
4- wash with baking soda and vinegar bath to help your body eliminate estradiol. I like to take epsom salt baths with baking soda, vinegar and sea salt added.
5- increase protein intake (especially if you're on birth control) to help with estrogen detoxification. Protein should be plant-based and not more than 70 grams a day. remember the body will only use so much protein before it begins to store it as fat.
6- find ways to reduce stress in your life and sleep more.
And now, How To Detoxify Estrogen
If you're feeling like your hormones might not be in balance, one of the best ways to restore wellness is through detoxification.
Clean out the toxic substances within you by following these step-by-step instructions for an easily accessible and effective detox:
- Start by cutting back on alcohol consumption. Drinking excess will only aggravate your symptoms. It will also make it more difficult to manage future cravings later on.
- Get rid of any chemicals in your home that could be disrupting hormonal balance: paint, cleaning supplies, cosmetics with a high content of preservatives or fragrances, etc.
- Use an anti-chemical body wash instead of showering with soap, and refrain from using deodorants (especially antiperspirants).
- Eat a healthy diet. Reduce intake of caffeine, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
- Drink lots of water to flush out toxins and help the body detoxify.
- Eliminate meat from your diet for one week to give your digestive system a rest from meat's acidic effect on the body. Try eating plant-based proteins in place of meat like grains, legumes, tofu and even tempeh. This will also help you avoid fat accumulation through reduced saturated fat intake during the week (1).
- Cut down on refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta, which are known to cause gut irritation. Limit your intake of refined grains to once a day as well.
- Avoid trans fats in all processed foods and reduce consumption of artificial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup. If you do use these, try limiting them to just one serving per day (2).
- Take herbs that are known to help eliminate toxins out of their system; for example, turmeric is a traditional herb that promotes healthy elimination in the body (3). Also try witch hazel or aloe vera gel.
- Get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep and stress can be two major causes of hormonal disruption, so make sure you are getting ample sleep every night and eliminate all sources of stress from your life. Meditation can also be a great way to handle the negative effects anxiety has on hormones (4).
- Be wary of xenoestrogens—these are man-made chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body, which is one factor that disrupts hormonal balance. By eliminating them from your lifestyle, you can help restore a healthy balance (5). Try replacing waxed paper with unbleached paper products for instance, or using non-plastic containers instead of plastic water bottles.
- Reduce toxins absorbed by the skin and pound out the source. Use a variety of natural skincare products that act as toxin busters (6).
- Eat lots of protein and natural fats to keep your estrogen levels balanced. Insulin is the one hormone that plays a role in balancing your body's estrogen levels; if you're having trouble balancing them, try changing your diet to one that's more insulin friendly (7).
- Eat foods with phytoestrogens—these are naturally occurring plant-based substances that can help balance estrogen in the body (8, 9).
- Eliminate environmental toxins as much as possible, and especially avoid phthalates that are found in plastics. Get rid of plastics around the house, or at least don't heat them up (10)
- Don't forget to cut back on your alcohol intake (11). Limit it to one beer per day or two drinks at most. A single drink is equal to: 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor (whiskey, rum, tequila, etc.).
- Be aware that stress can negatively alter estrogen levels in the body—it's important to find ways to reduce stress from your life and live a healthier lifestyle. If you need more tips on how to manage your stress, create your own relaxation self-help guide here at : http://www.mindcontrolkits.com/guide/stress.htm
- Begin by changing your diet to eliminate as many artificial substances and chemicals as possible from your life (12).
- Use an all-natural anti-inflammatory supplement like capsules of curcumin (13). This is a natural substance found in turmeric that can help prevent inflammation and boost metabolism, which is important during estrogen detoxification. This supplement also acts as a powerful anti-cancer agent! Another great choice is the omega 3 fatty acids offered by fish oil (14).
- Use flax seed oil as it is a natural source of essential fatty acids that help both men and women keep their hormonal balance intact (15).
- Take vitamin B6 supplements, as this vitamin has been found to be particularly important when it comes to balancing estrogen levels in the body (16). However, don't take more than 100mg of B6 per day! If you're having trouble balancing your estrogen levels with the recommended amount of B6, you may need to take a higher dose. Then you should work towards balancing your hormones naturally and avoiding using synthetic compounds like synthetic hormones (17).
- Get plenty of exercise to promote healthy circulation and maintain a healthy weight. This will help keep your estrogen levels balanced and prevent excess fat gain (18).
Warning: If you have had a hysterectomy without ovaries, don't attempt the natural estrogen detoxification methods mentioned above—they're generally not safe for women who don't have ovaries. You should still consult your doctor to discuss how to detoxify safely in this case. Furthermore, if you do still have ovaries, it's important to pay extra attention to how much exercise or stress you put yourself through during your detoxification process. If you are under a lot of stress or are exercising too much, it may make balancing your hormones more difficult.
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References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1415164/ http://www2.delphiforhealth.org/bytopic/view_topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=139&forumid=0 http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/contents-eng.
Sources: (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16923784 (2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16374234 (3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.