Although there is no replacement for a healthy plant based diet there are times when supplements can complement the healing process. Estrogen dominance is one of those times. I am not suggesting that supplements replace good nutrition but they can aid in the metabolism and detoxification process until the levels of estrogen closely pace that of progesterone (or, in the case of men, as androgens rebalance). Unfortunately, estrogen disrupting compounds are everywhere, in our personal care products, household cleaners, pesticides on our fruits and vegetables, the overuse of soy ingredients in every packaged food on the market, and, quite possibly, even the genetic modifications done on soy, canola, and many fruits and vegetables. Our caffeine intake, sugar ingestion and obesity (combined with insulin resistance) is not helping the problem and estrogen dominance is contributing to even more obesity. It also can be caused by drinking and absorbing tap water as estrogen from discarded HRT and birth control pills seep into landfills and are excreted in waste that makes it into our sewers and, inevitably, our water tables. Luckily, there are ways to minimize impact of estrogen disruptors and mimickers.
There are four channels for treatment of estrogen dominance. Estrogen metabolism, which is responsible for helping the body metabolize and excrete excess estrogen through the colon; hormonal support where bio- identical progesterone can help women balance out estrogen levels when the progesterone levels drop which happens when patients are close to or in menopause (in premenopause progesterone levels can drop up to 75%) or are obese, insulin resistant, or chronic over eaters; detoxification ensures metabolic functions and processes impaired by unopposed estrogen are properly 'moved' through the liver, and digestive tract and allowed to be eliminated instead of reabsorbed and recirculated leading to an increase of estrogen dominance; and finally nutritional support to boost essential vitamins and trace minerals that can be deficient when estrogen levels are dominant.
Which supplements work for which processes?
Estrogen metabolism boosters can help stubborn weight gain, uterine fibroids, thyroid and other glandular disorders, lowered libido and impotency in men, hair loss in both men and women, prostate issues, and atherosclerosis.
DIM is a phytonutrient naturally occurring in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. DIM promotes metabolism of estrogen and aids in healthy hormonal balance. It optimizes the ratio of crucial estrogen metabolites necessary in breast, uterine, cervical and prostate health. DIM also acts as an aromatase inhibitor, often present in the drugs used to treat breast and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women and those cancers that are estrogen dependent in premenopausal women. Aromatase inhibitors reduce the overproduction of estrogen and allow testosterone to balance. DIM can boost both mood and libido. It should be used as a supplement for estrogen dominance when there are insufficient cruciferous vegetables being eaten or there is significant estrogen imbalance.
NOTE:: Make sure your DIM supplement, IF you use one, does not contain soy. I found, after further research, MANY MANY do.
Myomin is an all-natural Chinese herbal blend ideal for normalizing estrogen levels in both men and women. Myomin inhibits aromatase, which can reduce levels of bad estrogens (estradiol and estrone), and promotes production of the good estrogen (estriol). It also acts as an aromatase inhibitor in both women and men. It has been shown to reduce estrogen levels in as little as 10 days and is beneficial for reducing abdominal fat and restoring muscle tone. It is the perfect supplement for women on HRT, even women on bio-identical hormone replacement.
Hormonal support is often key in balancing estrogen dominance. Many doctors are either unaware of unconvinced of the dangers of prescribing estrogen unopposed (meaning estrogen without the supplementation of progesterone), and even more cavalier with their prescription of synthetic hormones which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Supplementing with a bio-identical progesterone product such as Life-Flo Progestacare, free of synthetics and parabens (which are known hormone disruptors), protects the delicate balance between estrogen and progesterone. Progesterone can be safely used by menstruating women, pre- and peri-menopausal women, and menopausal women. Men with estrogen dominance can also benefit from progesterone. Additionally, women who may not be significantly estrogen dominant but struggle with severe PMS often find that if a progesterone cream is used on a regular basis, their periods and PMS are less difficult.
Detoxification support is imperative to activate pathways to help estrogen that is circulating in the body and being stored in fat cells can find its way into the bowels where it can be excreted by the body. When detoxification does not occur, estrogen can be reabsorbed into the body and recirculated causing estrogen levels to climb to even higher levels.
Life-Flo Complete Body 14 Day Cleanse Kit helps the body detoxify from used hormones, toxic chemicals and heavy metals. It uses psyllium husks to whisk the toxins out of the bowels and the short-chain fatty acids in the psyllium husks can be fermented by the intestinal flora allowing for gut repair (perfect for those with gluten sensitivities and estrogen dominance as leaky gut can cause used estrogen to be reabsorbed). It includes a heavy metal cleanse which chelates metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium and helps the body expel them. Heavy metal toxicity can encourage estrogen dominance. Finally, it contains a liver cleanse formula. The liver is responsible for over 500 functions in the body including metabolising estrogen and regulating hormone production, converting sugar and carbohydrates into energy, and breaking down fats. It is negatively affected or even compromised by overuse of NSAIDs, alcohol and refined carbohydrates and ingested, inhaled, or absorbed toxins, including xenestrogens.
Calcium D-Glucarate is an extract found in fruits and vegetables that has been found to be beneficial in helping to remove toxins and excess used hormones, preventing them from being reabsorbed into the blood stream and deposited in the tissues of your body. Calcium D-Glucarate helps to support liver function and detoxification and boosts the immune system.
Nutritional support is the final building block to healthy estrogen levels. It is also one of the most important building blocks. In severe or even moderate cases of estrogen dominance, diet modifications are not always the best way forward, rather a multi-pronged approach provides faster results. Dietary supplements, in addition to a healthy plant based diet can provide dramatic positive results quickly.
A good whole food multi-vitamin such as the one from New Chapter Organics (which is my favorite for its use of probiotics which ferment a wide array of fruits and vegetables) will provide a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals to help support the body's ability to manufacture and metabolize the proper hormones in the correct balance.
Zinc, such as the one from Source Zone Optizinc plays an important role in hormone production and balance. Zinc helps to increase progesterone levels and lower estrogen. Excess estrogen can lower serum zinc levels in people who are estrogen dominant. More than 70% of women d0 not get the minimum daily requirement of zinc from their diets. Zinc also has a critical role in male sexual function and is necessary for all aspects of male reproduction, including hormone metabolism and sperm formation and motility.
Discussing these options with your doctor, nutritionist, or holistic health care provider can help heal estrogen dominance and the myriad of symptoms it causes and balance your health restoring your vitality and zest for life.
Wishing you peace and balance.