Estrogen dominance is a common issue, but thankfully there are steps that can be taken to reduce it naturally.
I want this information to be focused more on the solutions than the problem, so let’s first take the 30K foot view of estrogen and estrogen dominance and then discuss some simple steps to take to reduce it if it’s in excess.
What Is Estrogen?
Estrogens are a group of hormones that play an important role in the normal sexual and reproductive development of women.
There are three kinds of estrogens (estradiol, estrone, and estriol) that are produced in significant quantities by the ovaries, and a very small amount is secreted by the adrenals and adipose tissues.
Estradiol is primarily produced in the ovaries. Estrone is mostly secreted from the ovaries as well as the fat tissue and adrenal glands. Estriol is derived from both estradiol and estrone, and is converted mostly in the liver.
Scientists have found estrogen receptors all throughout the human body. Various parts of the body that receive estrogen are the skin, prostate, breast, uterus, ovary, esophagus, kidney, thyroid, pituitary, spleen, etc. It’s a very important hormone, but of course can become problematic if there is too much in the body.
The Liver and Estrogen Dominance
The liver plays an important role when it comes to sex hormones. Once hormones have done their “job” in the body, they are sent to the liver to be consolidated to form glucuronides and sulfates. The liver also converts the resulting estrogens (estradiol and estrone) into the less potent form, estriol. About 20% is extracted via the bile and then the colon, and the rest is excreted via the urine.
“If the liver’s detox pathways, glucuronidation and sulfation, are impaired due to toxic overload from environmental factors (toxic chemicals in the air, food, etc.) the result will be weakened function, which will actually lead to increased harmful activity of the estrogens in the body…When estrogen is not properly balanced with progesterone and when the liver’s detoxification functions are impaired, excess uncleared estrogen can lead to cancer and other destructive metabolic processes. This creates a state of estrogen dominance.” Kim Schuette, CN
Taking steps to support liver detoxification is a great way to help lower estrogen levels in the body.
Various Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance:
Breast and ovarian cysts
Gynecomastia (overdevelopment or enlargement of the breast tissue in men or boys)
Top 10 Estrogenic List from Dr. Anthony Jay:
Phytoestrogens – these are found in plants like soy and flax
Mycoestrogens – these are fungal contaminations commonly seen in grains
Atrazine – A common herbicide
Triclosan – these are hidden in soaps, cleaning products and anti-bacterials
Benzophenone and 4-Methylbenzylidene (aka BP and 4-MBC) – these are two ingredients found in common cheap sunscreens and hand soaps
Red numbers 3 and 40 – found in red colored processed foods, beverages and some medications
Paragens and “fragrance” – commonly found in cosmetics, candles, and air fresheners
Phthalates – very common in plastic conditioners and also fragrances
BPA and BPS – found in most plastics
EE2 – an oral contraceptive ingredient that mimics natural estrogen
9 Basic Steps to Help Reduce Estrogen Dominance Naturally:
1. Support gentle detox in the liver by drinking 3-4 ounces of beet kvass on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Click here for the recipe.
2. Do a castor oil pack over the liver 3-4x a week. Click here for instructions on how to do this.
3. Keep your sugar intake at 20-30 grams or lower a day (this does not include carbohydrates from healthy sources such as vegetables, soaked grains, raw dairy, etc.). I realize this is probably the least favorite tip of all, but it’s important to understand that the liver is one of the three organs responsible for blood sugar balance.
When you eat too much sugar, this makes it very difficult for the liver to do its job. If you struggle with sugar cravings right now (I’ve been there before!), make this recipe for buttermints and follow the directions listed.
5. Eat cooked cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and bok choy. It’s best to avoid eating these foods raw since they are goitrogenic and can lower thyroid function.
6. Eat sulphur-rich foods daily to support the sulfation pathway. These foods include: garlic, leeks, eggs, raw dairy, wild fish and shellfish, pastured poultry, soaked and cooked lentils and oatmeal.
6. Find ways to reduce your stress and slow down your pace. Detox is a parasympathetic process, so if you’re on the go all the time and under too much stress, this will make it very difficult for the liver and other detox organs to do their job.
“When the body is dominated by the sympathetic nervous system it diverts resources to the muscles (fight or flight) and away from organs (rest and digest). Stress affects our bodies in many different ways: our muscles tighten and energy is shunted away from our repair and renewal system—and this means that we will not be detoxifying optimally. For this reason, our bodies will store more toxins in fat cells when we are stressed because they do not have the energy required to convert and excrete them”. source
7. Eat healthy fats, especially from from animal sources each day to provide the body with plenty of vital nutrients to support the liver. Some of my favorite sources are: butter, ghee, tallow, duck fat, pastured eggs, and raw dairy.
8. The skincare and body care products that your spouse or partner uses can play a part in estrogen dominance. So, having a conversation about the products they use and replacing them with healthier options can be beneficial for both of you.
9. Take steps to support blood sugar balance. The liver not only plays a key role in detoxification, but it also helps keep the blood sugar balanced. Eating within an hour of waking up, eating 3 meals a day, keeping sugar intake on the low side and eating plenty of healthy fats are simple steps you can take to help balance blood sugar, and as a result support the liver to keep estrogen at a healthy level in the body.
Note: The purpose of this post is to give an overview of some common root causes of estrogen dominace from a holistic perspective. Due to biochemical individuality there can be many various reasons for the root causes of estrogen dominance. This information is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s advice.