Excess Estrogen – An Epidemic!
High estrogen levels are becoming more and more common, not only in women but also in men. Have you seen men with larger than normal breasts? Or have you experienced PMS, water retention, low mood and energy or breast tenderness before your menstrual period. Well, these are all symptoms of high estrogen levels. Estrogen positive breast cancer rates is also correlated with higher than normal estrogen levels. So, it’s important to keep our estrogen levels in check.
Chemicals found in our food, water, packaging and personal hygiene products have the ability to mimic estrogen is our bodies. These chemicals are called xenoestrogens. They can bind with our estrogen receptors mimicking estrogen actions in our bodies, resulting in excess estrogen symptoms. In order to have optimally balanced estrogen and decrease our risk of estrogen related illness, such as breast cancer, it’s important to avoid exogenous sources of estrogens as well as to help our bodies metabolize our hormones. So, how can you do this?
1. Eat Organic
Pesticides and herbicides contain many chemicals that mimic estrogen in our bodies. By avoiding these chemicals you are not only decreasing your xenoestrogen exposure but also your risk of chemical exposure linked cancers.
2. Eat Organic, Hormone-free Meat and Dairy Products
Hormones, antibiotics and other sources or xenoestrogens are added to animal feed. These not only alter your hormone metabolism but will also contribute to overall inflammation in the body. So, by eating organic, hormone free meat and dairy products you will decrease your xenoestrogen exposure and increase your overall health.
3. Avoid All Plastics
Plastics contain many different xenoestrogens. You should never heat or store food in plastic containers because the xenoestrogens can leach into the contents of the containers. There are many great, stackable glass and stainless steel food storage containers in the stores now. So try them out.
4. Replace Your Plastic Water Bottle With Glass or Stainless Steel
Bottled water contains xenoestrogens that have leaked out of the plastic. It is particularly dangerous when the water bottle has been heated or lying in the sun because heat increases the amount of xenoestrogen leakage. I know there are many BPA free plastic bottles available now, but it’s important to keep in mind that BPA isn’t the only dangerous estrogen-mimicking chemical in plastic bottles. There are many more! An easy way to continue to drink clean, filtered water without the bottle is to attach a water filtration system to your sink tap. Then before you leave for the day fill up a glass or stainless steel water bottle bottle and bring it with you. This will significantly decrease your xenoestrogen exposure.
5. Switch to Natural, Chemical Free Cosmetics and Personal Hygiene Products
Personal hygiene products and cosmetics are another source of xenoestrogens and other harmful chemicals. I highly recommend you switch to a natural, chemical free brand. These green products are becoming more and more popular and you can check out the best brands at the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database – http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/. On this website you can also look up the products you are currently using to see just how toxic they are. You will be surprised!
6. Eat Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale and cabbage contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to promote estrogen metabolism as well as act as an anti-oxidant. It has a powerful role in the prevention and treatment of estrogen positive breast cancers. So, be sure to load up your plate with these delicious vegetables everyday!
Dr. Kristy, Naturopathic Doctor San Francisco