Excess Estrogen – Getting a little help from our Friends

The past couple of weeks we’ve been discussing estrogen and what it does, what happens when it gets too high (estrogen dominance) and what to eat to help balance the estrogen to progesterone ratio. Today … it’s all about getting a little help.

As I’ve mentioned before, my preference is to balance hormones through nutrition but sometimes we need a little extra something.

Vitamins

A high potency multi-vitamin/multi-mineral will help fill any gaps.

Low magnesium has been associated with high estrogen levels in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. I recommend magnesium bis-glysinate, the most absorbable form of magnesium, to be taken just before bed. It has a very calming effect on the body and helps to keep you asleep.

Methionine (an amino acid) increases production of favourable estrogens and reduces bad estrogens.

B vitamins assist with oxygen transport, healthy nerve function and energy production in the body. All of these functions are essential for efficient metabolism of estrogen.

Zinc increases progesterone and decreases estrogen levels. Excess estrogen can lower zinc levels in those who have estrogen dominance. Copper needs to be kept in balance with zinc.

DIM is a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) found in cruciferous vegetables.  These include cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga and turnip.  DIM, when consumed in food or in absorbable formulations, encourages its own metabolism.  DIM, and the enzymes involved, precisely overlap with the metabolic pathway needed for healthy estrogen metabolism. Essentially, DIM specifically promotes beneficial estrogen metabolism and helps restore a healthy hormonal balance.

My recommendation, if you are exhibiting signs of estrogen dominance, is to have your doctor send you for blood tests to measure your hormone levels as well as B12, zinc, copper and folate.

Herbal/Botanical therapies

Seaweed – If you have Hashimoto’s or autoimmune thyroiditis, please consult your medical doctor. If you seem to be having issues with your thyroid, please confirm the diagnosis before eating too much seaweed. I use Nori crinkles in my salad once or twice a week. That will not hurt you. Just don’t overdo it.

Resveratrol is derived from grapes, berries and other plants to help direct estrogen metabolism away from the less-good estrogen and toward more protective pathways. Resveratrol has also been shown to block the estrogen receptors. Resveratrol should only be obtained from grapes and blueberries, not from wine (sorry ladies J).

Turmeric has been shown to counter the proliferative effect of estrogen on cancer cells. Turmeric is also one of the most potent anti-inflammatory agents. You can sprinkle a teaspoon on whatever you’re eating for lunch or dinner or you can take it as a supplement.

Hops (the aromatic herb that flavours beer), it turns out, has a protective effect against breast, colon and ovarian cancer cells. Hops have been shown to reduce estrogen levels via aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Hops can also be used as a natural sleep aid.

Melatonin lowers estrogen and may help prevent breast cancer. Low melatonin has also been linked to a greater risk of endometrial cancer, another estrogen-dependent cancer.

Bioidentical Hormones

As a last resort, or if your levels are extremely low, I would recommend bioidentical progesterone (not the chemical type) and only for as short a period of time as it takes to balance your hormones. The faster you can remove them from your regimen the better.

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