Estrogens have been mistakenly labeled as "female hormones", when are more in fact, a class of stress substances that are implicated the pathologies of most diseases.
In fact, many toxic effects of estrogen were known by the early 1940s and more are continuing to be discovered. For example, everything from cancer, to abnormal blood clotting, hair loss, edema, hypothyroid and infertility have been known to be caused by excess estrogen since prior to 1940.
Unfortunately, at the same time these effects were being found out, drug companies were calling estrogen “the female hormone,” and selling estrogen pharmaceuticals to "improve fertility." Considering the estrogen industry is worth billions, it is likely that profit is one of the main reasons estrogen's true effects are kept buried in medical journals.
However, here is what science has proven about estrogen:
- While some hormones do decrease with aging, estrogen (like other stress hormones) increases with age.
- Estrogen in excess mimics all the undesirable effects of aging.
- Estrogen steals oxygen from mitochondria, causing abnormal patterns of cell growth and adaptation.
- Estrogen increases the cells affinity to water, leading to edema and swelling.
- Estrogen evokes a stress response by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
- Estrogen impairs the feedback loop between the pituitary and adrenals, which causes the adrenals to chronically produce cortisol. Normally, the pituitary tells the adrenals to stop making cortisol at a certain point, but estrogen destroys this communication line.
- Estrogen opposes thyroid hormone function and increases another pituitary stress hormone, prolactin, which demobilizes calcium from the bones/teeth and calcifies the soft tissue like the arteries, skin and scalp.
Tips for Lowering Estrogen
Since stress, aging and disease involve similar processes caused by estrogen, then gaining knowledge of how to lower estrogen would serve as a useful datum to protect our bodies from accelerated aging.
Here are a few physiologically sound ways to do that:
Foods that Naturally Contain Anti-Aromatase: Aromatization is the enzymatic process of androgens becoming estrogen. One simple way to lower estrogen is to inhibit this process, which can be done with simple foods and herbs. For example, fresh orange juice contains a flavonoid known as naringin. Mushrooms, nettle root, chamomile and guavas contain a flavone known as apigenin. These two compounds contain naturally-occurring anti-estrogen mechanisms, which can lower estrogen and protect androgens.
COX-2 Inhibitors: Cycoloxgenase is an inflammatory compound that has estrogenic effects. Simple supplements like aspirin, nettle root, milk thistle, and other herbs are simple ways to profoundly inhibit COX-2, and therefore estrogen. Curcuminoids from turmeric powder also exhibit an inhibitory effect on COX-2 and on the production of other inflammatory mediators such as interleukins and TNF-alpha.
Vitamins A, D, K2 & E: The fat soluble vitamins are natural antagonist to estrogen. Basically, they are necessary for the production of all the anti-estrogen hormones in the body such as progesterone, testosterone, thyroid and others. These vitamins are best consumed via animal foods, considering that any plant-sources have trace amounts and in forms that are not readily bioavailable. The best sources are egg yolks, grass-fed butter, liver, and other organ meats.
Limit Phytoestrogen Foods: Cetain foods that are often considered "healthy", due to the misunderstandings around estrogen, are actually potent estrogenic foods that you would want to avoid. These foods are grains, legumes/beans, flax seeds, vegetable oils (polyunsaturated fats), raw cruciferous veggies, herbs like hops and cannabis (belong to the same family), and any alcohol. All of these foods have overlapping effects with estrogen and should be minimized or avoided all together.
Reduce Xenoestrogen Exposure: Next to a conventional diet, our modern environments tend to be highly estrogenic. Various toxins and chemicals found in every day household cleaning products, personal care products (shampoos, body wash, nail polish, fragrance, etc.), fluoridated water, medications, and most objects made of plastic all contain estrogen-mimicking substances. Avoid these by leading a more natural life, meaning stick to natural products made from 100% organic ingredients and incorporate nature into your home.
Care for Your Liver: The liver is the master chemist of the body and in regards to estrogen, it plays the major role of metabolizing or destroying excess, unused hormones. While excess exposure to estrogen may be a cause of liver disease, an unhealthy liver from other lifestyle factors could be whats causing estrogen dominance for some. Simple tips for improving liver function include, minimizing all toxins (alcohol, processed foods, PUFA, drugs, etc.), eating enough calories, carbohydrates and proteins, favoring saturated fats over unsaturated, learning to manage your emotions (particularly grief and anger), and taking liver supporting herbs like coffee, milk thistle, Chinese bitters and reishi mushroom.
The Bottom Line
Our modern lives are riddled with estrogen, and is probably one of the major causative factors of the increased risks for cancer, diabetes, hair loss, hypothyroidism, and various hormonal imbalances. Learning to lower estrogen, which ultimately involves leading a more natural life and caring for your body on a deeper level, would be a wise goal for anyone interested in being healthy today.