Tuesday, February 24, 2015
On of the best single sites on female hormones I've run into. Many of these causes of high estrogen are also causing havoc with the endocrine systems of men as well.
One hundred years ago, the average woman started her menses at age 16. She got pregnant earlier and more frequently. She often spent more time lactating. In total, women back then experienced the menstrual cycle about 100 to 200 times in their lifetime. Today, the average modern women starts puberty at age 12, seldom lactates, has less children, and menstruates about 350 to 400 times during a lifetime. Incessant menstruation has been associated with the increased occurrence of a myriad of pathological conditions including infertility, cancer, fibroids, anemia, migraines, mood shifts, abdominal pain, fluid retention, and endometriosis. What a difference a century makes!
It is apparent that modern woman goes through a lot more than her counterpart just a century ago. Could this have any bearing on the epidemic of female related illness plaguing our society? To answer that question, let us take a closer look at the hormones responsible for regulating the female menstrual cycle.
12 of the most common reasons [for high estrogen]:
1. Commercially raised cattle and poultry. These animals are fed estrogen-like hormones as well as growth hormone that are passed onto humans. It takes 60 pounds of grain, feed, and hay to produce one pound of edible beef. On the other hand, it only takes one pound of feed to produce one pound of edible fish. Deep-sea fish such as halibut, sardine, cod, and mackerel are good to consume. Young ones are often less contaminated than older fish, and smaller fish are better shielded from contamination than larger fish like sharks and swordfish. Avoid all coastal fish and shellfish, which are high in contaminants. Fish are far superior to beef or chicken in terms of hormone load. It is interesting to note that one-half of all antibiotics in the United States are used in livestock – 25 million pounds a year. These antibiotics can contribute to hormone disruptor exposure. The use of antibiotics is especially prevalent in poultry farms. It only takes 6 weeks now to grow a chicken to full size (down from four months in 1940). Up to 80,000 birds may be packed into one warehouse. Feeds used contain a myriad of hormone-disrupting toxins including pesticides, antibiotics, and drugs to combat disease when so many animals are packed closely together.
2. Commercially grown fruits and vegetables containing pesticides. If you eat in any developed country, you are taking in pesticides from fruits and vegetables, many of which are known hormone disruptors. Approximately 5 billion pounds of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other biocides are being added to the world each year. In the past 100 years, several hundred billion pounds of pesticides have been released into the environment. Pesticides that are banned in the US, such as DDT, are being used in some other countries freely. Illegal pesticides are being used on crops that we eat everyday. It is estimated that a person eats illegal pesticides 75 times a year just by following USDA’s recommendation of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day if these are purchased in regular supermarkets. Vegetables grown in developing foreign countries such as South America and Africa find their way back to our dinner table in this global community. Pesticide residues have chemical structures that are similar to estrogen. These are eventually passed onto humans. Produce with the most pesticides reported in A Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce include strawberries (contain vinclozolin, a known endocrine disruptor), bell peppers, peaches, apples, apricots, and spinach. Foods with the least amount of pesticides include avocados, corn, onions, sweet potatoes, bananas, green onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. If you are eating non-organic fruits and vegetables, peel and wash them well with diluted vinegar. This will help to reduce pesticides on the surface. However, this will not help to eliminate the pesticides on the inside of the produce. Discard the outer leaves of leafy vegetables, and trim fat from meat and skin from poultry and fish that tend to collect residues.
3. Exposure to xenoestrogen. When a female embryo develops in the womb, 500,000 to 800,000 follicles are created in the embryo, each enclosing an immature ovum. These fragile ovarian follicles are extremely sensitive to the toxicity of environmental pollutants. When the mother is exposed to toxic chemicals that resemble estrogen in its molecular structure, she may experience no apparent damage outwardly. However, the baby is more vulnerable to the toxins that may damage its ovarian follicles and render them dysfunctional. This will not be apparent until the baby reaches puberty some 10 to 15 years later, when symptoms of incomplete ovulation or insufficient progesterone production can be noted.Petrochemical compounds found in general consumer products such as creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, hair sprays and room deodorizers. Such compounds often have chemical structures similar to estrogen and indeed act like estrogen. Other sources of xenoestrogens include car exhaust, petrochemically derived pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides; solvents and adhesives such as those found in nail polish, paint removers, and glues; dry-cleaning chemicals; practically all plastics, industrial waste such as PCBs and dioxins, synthetic estrogens from urine of women taking HRT and birth control pills that are flushed down the toilet and eventually find their way into the food chain and back into the body. They are fat soluble and non-biodegradable.
4. Industrial solvents. A common source of industrial xenoestrogens often overlooked is a family of chemicals called solvents. These chemicals enter the body through the skin, and accumulate quickly in the lipid-rich tissues such as myelin (nerve sheath) and adipose (fat). Some common organic solvents include alcohol like methanol, aldehydes like acetaldehyde, glycol like ethylene glycol, and ketones like acetone. They are commonly found in cosmetics, fingernail polish and fingernail polish remover, glues, paints, varnishes, and other types of finishes, cleaning products, carpet, fiberboard, and other processed woods. Pesticides and herbicides such as lawn and garden sprays, indoor insect sprays are also sources of minute amounts of xenoestrogens. While the amount may be small in each, the additive effect from years of chronic exposure can lead to estrogen dominance.
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT with estrogen alone without sufficient opposing progesterone such as the drug Premarin should be banned. This increases the level of estrogen in the body. Premarin, an estrogen-only drug commonly used in the past 40 years, is the mainstay of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). It is a patented, chemicalized hormonal substitute that is different than the natural estrogen in your body. It contains 48% estrone and only a small amount of progesterone, which is insufficient to have an opposing effect. The indiscriminate and over-prescription of Premarin to many who may not need it is the problem. Symptoms include water retention, breast swelling, and fibrocysts in the breast, depression, headache, gallbladder problems, and heavy periods. The excessive estrogen from ERT also lead to increased chances of DNA damage, setting a stage for endometrial and breast cancer.
6. Over production of estrogen. Excessive estrogen can arise from ovarian cysts or tumors.
7. Stress. Stress causes adrenal gland exhaustion as well as reduced progesterone output. This tilts the estrogen to progesterone ratios in favor of estrogen. Excessive estrogen in turn causes insomnia and anxiety, which further taxes the adrenal glands. This leads to a further reduction in progesterone output and even more estrogen dominance. After a few years in this type of vicious cycle, the adrenal glands become exhausted. This dysfunction leads to blood sugar imbalance, hormonal imbalances, and chronic fatigue.
8. Obesity. Fat has an enzyme that converts adrenal steroids to estrogen. The higher the fat intake, the higher the conversion of fat to estrogen. Overeating is the norm in developed countries. A population from such countries, especially in the Western hemisphere where a large part of the dietary calorie is derived from fat, has a much higher incidence of menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown that estrogen and progesterone levels fell in women who switched from a typical high-fat, refined-carbohydrate diet to a low-fat, high-fiber and plant-based diet even though they did not adjust their total calorie intake. Plants contain over 5,000 known sterols that have progestogenic effects. People who eat more wholesome foods have a far lower incidence of menopausal symptoms because their pre- and post-menopause levels of estrogen do not drop as significantly.
9. Liver diseases. Liver diseases such as cirrhosis from excessive alcohol intake reduce the breakdown of estrogen. Taking drugs that can impair liver function may also contribute to a higher level of estrogen.
10. Deficiency of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium. Both of these are necessary for the neutralization of estrogen in the liver. Too much estrogen also tends to create deficiencies of zinc, magnesium and B vitamins. These are all important constituents of hormonal balance.
11. Increased sugar, fast food and processed food. Intake of these leads to a depletion of magnesium.
12. Increase in coffee consumption. Caffeine intake from all sources is linked with higher estrogen levels regardless of age, body mass index (BMI), caloric intake, smoking, alcohol, and cholesterol intake. Studies have shown that women who consumed at least 500 milligrams of caffeine daily, the equivalent of four or five cups of coffee, had nearly 70% more estrogen during the early follicular phase than women who consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine daily, or less than one cup of coffee. Tea is not much better as it contains about half the amount of caffeine compared to coffee. The exception is herbal tea like chamomile, which contains no caffeine.
In absolute terms, those who live in the developed world are bathed in a continuous sea of estrogen and do not know it. Yes, we all have hormonal imbalances, and specifically – estrogen dominance.