Your Fisher Price Toy guide to Estrogen
What is estrogen?
It's a hormone, and whilst thought of, and peddled by the pharmaceutical companies, as the female hormone, it's actually present in both male and females and is referred to by many physiologists as the shock hormone, which when left unchecked can cause a number of wide-ranging issues relating to ageing.
Should we want to get rid of it altogether?
Certainly not, like most things it's fine in moderation and our body strives for homeostasis, for which some of it is necessary. However, when it isn't balanced with significant amounts of progesterone, we can have significant impacts from a condition called estrogen dominance. Progesterone is a hormone that is sadly considered by the mainstream to have a sole function of stimulating the uterus for pregnancy, when in actual fact it protects and maintains against ageing making it a true youthful hormone from implantation through to old age (1). Unfortunately, our modern way of life often means we have far more estrogen than necessary. Ever noticed men who drink a lot of alcohol and have developed breasts?
How will I know it's a problem?
Like I mentioned in my post the other day, there are a raft of indicators, including but not limited to: respiratory conditions such as asthma and pleurisy, PMS, heavy and / or debilitatingly painful and / or long periods, Acne, Edema, Autoimmune issues, insomnia, endometriosis, skin conditions including scleroderma, PCOS, high skin colouring, thinning or loss of hair, mood swings ranging from euphoria to homicidal / suicidal tendencies, loss of elasticity in the skin, loss of libido / ED, osteoporosis, cellulite, loss of muscle tone, excess fat in certain places – tummy, bum and hips, fertility / pregnancy issues, thread veins, some cancers, early menopause, migraines.
What causes excess estrogen?
Well, estrogen is both a cause and effect of stress. But whereas we probably think of stress as being only related to a busy day at work or an overload of family at Christmas-time; stress to the body can be caused by many things, including:
· Circadian rhythms: not enough sleep / sleeping at the wrong times
· Diet: too many calories / not enough / food quality / unsaturated oils / reduced salt diets / fasting / foods high in phytoestrogens (soya products: looking at you), diets high in PUFA, diets low in protein / diets high in legumes
· Blue light exposure (mobile devices, computers, TVs)
· Exercise: not enough / the wrong type (endurance exercise, HIIT: looking at you) / too much (career-exercisers: looking at you)
· Hydration – not enough / too much / the wrong kind (plain-water guzzlers: looking at you)
· Poor thought quality: stinking thinking (ranty social media posters: looking at you)
· Drugs – whether they are prescribed by your doctor or the friendly local drug dealer, the net result is potentially the same: they are covering up the main issue and putting your body under unnecessary extra stress. The contraceptive pill and HRT are both significant contributors to estrogen dominance
· Excess weight – fat cells are a major source of estrogen
· Hypothyroidism – hypothyroidism and hyperestrogenism go hand in hand
What can I do to address it?
Well, like I mentioned in my recent posts, one of the most effective things is to have a carrot salad daily. ‘the fibres in the carrot prevent the reabsorption of estrogen in the intestine and can shift the balance away from cortisol and estrogen, toward progesterone and thyroid, in just a few days of regular use’ (2)
· Check how well your thyroid is working. You can read my blog here which will guide you: Is your metabolism struggling
· Look at your use of things that are commonly acknowledged as being hormone disruptors: deodorants, BPA plastics, artificial air fresheners
· Review your diet: soya products, PUFA, including industrial vegetable oils and legumes are all estrogenic. Look, Im not here to tell you what to eat – just to guide you around what may be contributing to some of your health issues
· Try and at least acknowledge stress. So many people tell me that they aren’t stressed, very often whilst they are face down in a bucket of wine. It may not always seem easy to address the stressors (jobs and / or relationships, for example) but understanding that they are causes of stress is a good beginning point
· Get to bed at a reasonable time, and try to limit your use of electronic devices (including TVs), particularly at night time
· If you are on the contraceptive pill or HRT, you might want to consider alternatives
· If you are carrying excess fat, then it’s a good idea to get rid of it (in a sensible manner – see point around thyroid health)
· If you are a serial-exerciser, then it’s a good idea to review the type of exercise you are doing, your motivation, the results (aside from its contribution to increasing your estrogen levels), and whether you could get enjoyment from something else more stimulating. (Myopia generally goes hand in hand with hypothyroidism so sometimes we can obsess over something without really understanding the reasons why)
· You may want to look into progesterone supplements (Obviously I wouldnt prescribe this even if I were able to, you need to research and find out what works for you, but suffice to say that I would not want to be without my progesterone).
1) Billy Craig
2) Dr Ray Peat
As always, thanks for reading, I hope this helps...Feel free to contact me with any feedback / questions.
Love, Sarah x