The Importance of Balancing Estrogen Levels
Estrogen is a mitogenic hormone which means it stimulates the replication and reproduction of cells. This is a good thing in pregnant women but for the rest of us, wildly replicating cells is dangerous to our health, and it sets the stage for the growth of cancerous tumors. Many people think of estrogen as a female hormone, and although it does play a more dominant role in women’s bodies, men are affected by it too. An estrogen deficiency can cause muscle and bone loss, weight gain, increased heart disease risk, lowered libido and fertility issues in both males and females alike. Too much estrogen (a condition referred to as estrogen dominance) is much more common than too little however, and it can cause a range of undesirable symptoms including hair loss, weight gain, infertility, loss of libido, anxiety, fatigue, PMS, fibroids, autoimmune disorder and certain types of cancer. Clearly, the maintenance of balanced estrogen levels is of utmost importance. Your body should be able to do this on its own through a process called estrogen metabolism, but many people require additional assistance in order to properly metabolise estrogen and balance estrogen levels.
There is a series of metabolic steps (called hydroxylation) that basically break down estrogens into a disposable (hydroxylated) form. This is beneficial because hydroxylated estrogens can be eliminated through the bile, urine and feces, which helps to keep estrogen levels balanced and prevents estrogen dominance. In addition to helping eliminate excess harmful estrogens, the hydroxylated estrogens can also transform into two types of beneficial estrogens called 2-methoxyestrone and 2-methoxyestradiol. These two estrogens help to slow down the cellular replication process, sort of like putting a break on the accelerator. For optimal health you need a balance between these two estrogens and the estrogens that accelerate cellular reproduction. In order to ensure the balance, your body needs to be able to partake in a chemical process called methylation, and to achieve that, you need vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid.
The 3 Essential Vitamins for Methylation
If you experience symptoms of estrogen dominance, have your estrogen levels and your B6, B12 and folic acid levels checked. If you’re estrogen is too high and you are deficient in one of the above vitamins, talk to your healthcare practitioner about supplementation. Be sure to take natural, and not synthetic vitamins however, because the synthetic ones are not as bioavailable and may not be properly absorbed or utilized by your body. B12 should be taken in the form of methylcobalamin, B6 in the form of pyridoxamin, and folic acid in the form of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.
Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Estrogen Balancing Compounds
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage contain powerful compounds called glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are broken down in the body into Indole-3-carbinol and Diindolylmethane, and these two by-products help to facilitate the series of metabolic steps (hydroxylation) that is necessary for estrogen to be broken down and eliminated. Consuming cruciferous vegetables (preferably raw) on a regular basis will therefor help to promote healthy estrogen levels. People with estrogen dominance however, may require more Indole-3-carbinol and Diindolylmethane then they can get from consuming cruciferous vegetables alone and should talk to their healthcare practitioners about supplementation. A supplement that provides 200-300 mgs of Indole-3-carbinol or Diindolylmethane, daily will greatly enhance the estrogen metabolism process. Obese people may require an even higher dose of up to 600 mgs a day; this dose will not only facilitate estrogen metabolism it may also help in the shedding of excess body fat. EstroBlock and EstroBlock Pro (http://www.estroblock.com/) contain both of these nutrients as well as a range of other nutrients that help to clear toxic estrogen compounds.
Estrogen and Acne
At least 80% of people in western society will experience acne at some point in their lives and there’s over 50 million Americans suffering with it at this very moment. Many people mistakenly believe that acne is a topical issue and they spend countless dollars on products that either don’t work at all, or actually make their skin worse. Acne begins on the inside and there is mounting evidence that an estrogen metabolite conversion issue is the root cause of many acne cases. Some studies have found that supplying the essential nutrients required for methylation and the conversion of bad estrogens into good estrogens, helps to reduce androgen activity. Reducing androgen is beneficial because androgens are hormones that cause extra inflammation, increase acne causing bacteria levels and stimulate the production of extra pore-clogging sebum (oil). Most acne in menstruating women is tied to high androgen activity, and controlling estrogen may be all they require in order to eliminate acne for good.
The Best Diet for Controlling Estrogen and Optimizing Health
A plant-based diet, with little-to-no animal products helps to increase sex hormone-binding globulin levels (SHBG). This is beneficial for acne sufferers, because SHBG binds to extra acne-causing hormones such as testosterone, certain estrogen metabolites and DHEA, and neutralizes them. In so doing, it helps to reduce inflammation, lower sebum levels and calms down the skin. As an added benefit, a plant-based diet also helps to regulate levels of the blood sugar regulating hormone insulin.
Approximately 34% of the population suffers with metabolic syndrome, which is linked to insulin resistance. People who suffer with metabolic syndrome are more prone to acne, extra belly fat and facial hair, and have a much higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, dementia and cirrhosis. A low glycemic, plant-based diet, in combination with a healthy dose of Indole-3-carbinol and Diindolylmethane, and regular exercise, can help to balance estrogen, normalize insulin and reverse metabolic syndrome. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and moderate amounts of nuts and seeds. Vastly reduce your intake of animal products and oils; sugar and processed foods. This diet may sound drastic, but you will be rewarded with optimal estrogen levels, enhanced energy and vitality and a vastly reduced risk for chronic disease.