Estrogen can play a role in bone health, skin health, and fertility as well as healthy aging; however too much estrogen can drive belly fat, depression, as well as estrogen-related cancer risk. Diet and lifestyle can play a great role in estrogen dominance as well as treatment to support estrogen detoxification. In this article we want to clarify how to balance estrogen with food-as-medicine and lifestyle changes to prevent estrogen dominance.
What is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a state in the body where hormones are imbalanced and express more estrogen than other hormones. The body’s fat stores secrete hormones which drive more estrogen expression so having excessive body fat can drive this process.
Estrogen Dominance Symptoms:
Belly fat, erratic mood, depression, anxiety, PCOS, infertility, fibroids, breast tenderness, migraines, insulin resistance, sleep disturbances, fluid retention, and weight gain.
Who is at risk for estrogen dominance?
Women and men with low physical activity, low fiber diets as excess estrogen is detoxed with fiber through the colon, and those that consume excessive alcohol or have toxic exposure as the liver also plays a role in estrogen detox. As well as women taking birth control which can drive synthetic estrogenic expression in the most at risk form estradiol (E2). Men can experience estrogen dominance through gynecomastia (male breast formation) and belly fat as well as testosterone deficiency and erectile dysfunction.
Foods to Avoid!
Soy: tofu, soy milk, soy protein isolate
RBGH: in conventional dairy (not grass-fed or organic)
Excessive sugars and toxins
Xenoestrogens: in plastic water bottles and plastic food containers
Foods to increase your estrogen detox or rebalance your estrogen!
Indole-3-Carbonole: I3C in cruciferous veggies sulfur-containing cancer fighting compounds are abundant in these plants. Sulforaphane is an abundant phytocompound (plant-based compound) found to prevent cancer and inhibit the growth of tumors in the body.
I3C foods: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, Broccoprotect
Fiber: Both soluble and insoluble fiber play a role in cancer prevention and both are abundant in whole non-processed foods. Aim for 35g of fiber per day for optimal estrogen balance.
Soluble fiber absorbs fluids and works like a gel filling up our stomach and slowing our breakdown of foods. This compound can help contribute to satiety.
Soluble fiber foods: Chia seeds, pumpkin, apples, flax seeds
Insoluble fiber works to block the absorption of estrogen-based compounds whether phyto-estrogens (plant-based compounds) or xenoestrogens (substance-based compounds). The blocking of external estrogen absorption can play a significant role in cancer prevention, in fact research studies support women that consume 30g of fiber daily have a significant 32% risk reduction.
Insoluble fiber foods: kale, asparagus, raspberries, almonds
Zinc: this mineral plays a role in detoxing estrogen and blocking estrogen expression. This important mineral can aid in testosterone expression in men and can aid with sleep regulation for those experiencing insomnia.
Zinc foods: pumpkin seeds, beef, oysters
Chrysin: this natural occurring flavionoid found in raw honey can trap estrogen and prevent conversion of testosterone into estrogen through aromatization. This is found only in raw honey due to the higher pollen count and crystallization.
Chrysin foods: raw unfiltered honey, passion flower, and skullcap herb
Other considerations that are supportive of estrogen detox:
DIM diindolemethoinine which is 2 I3C molecules combined in an easily absorbable form.
DIM is more potent than I3C at protecting against breast cancer and reducing estrogen dominance due to decreased formation of 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone from estrone. DIM supplementation improves the estrogen ratio in a favorable direction that protects both men and women without the negative effect of raising 4 hydroxyestrogen as seen with I3C. DIM does not block ovulation the way I3C does, and can be used safely along with Tamoxifen, unlike I3C. DIM should be considered first line therapy for hormone imbalances that can lead to negative conditions such as PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, menopausal symptoms, weight problems and the list goes on. Recent research is positive so far that DIM improves weight loss resistance due to hormonal imbalance.