How to Identify and Detoxify Harmful Estrogens
The Good and The Bad
Not all Estrogen is created equal. There is “good” Estrogen and “bad” Estrogen and your body needs to be able to not only distinguish between the two, it needs to be able to detoxify the “bad” estrogen.
The good estrogen such as 2-hydroxyestrone and 2-hydroxyestradiol has a protective effect in the body, it promotes healthy heart and brain function, helps with insulin sensitivity and in men it protects the sperm cells from dying. The bad estrogen called 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone has a harmful effect including higher body fat and lower muscle mass ratios, difficult menstrual cycles, and a higher risk of cancer. In fact many cancers such as breast, ovary and testicular cancer are estrogen dependent, meaning they thrive in an environment that is rich in the 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone estrogen. It is vital that your body can detoxify the unhealthy estrogen. What makes it difficult is that there are many things we are exposed to and ingest everyday that mimic that estrogen in our systems. These include:
- Plant Pesticides
- Animal Growth Hormone used in commercial meats
- Many of the compounds found in cleaning solutions and degreasers
- Scented candles and air fresheners
- Aluminum can coating
- BPA’s found in the plastics used for water bottles and other containers
- Many ingredients found in personal care products like shampoo, conditioner and lotion
When a substance enters your body that mimics Estrogen it taxes the body’s ability to identify and detoxify the harmful estrogens. Limiting your chemical exposure is one way to protect your body from the harmful effects of estrogens.
Helpful Foods and Supplements
There are food and supplement choices you can make to help you detoxify the harmful estrogen and boost up the helpful estrogen. Sesame and flax seeds contain lignans which bind to estrogen so it can be excreted healthfully. Fenugreek increases levels of a substance called SHGB that can protect the body from estrogen and increase related healthy hormones. Salmon and oily fish not only has an anti-inflammatory effect but helps the body break down estrogen in a healthy way so it can be removed from the body. High fiber fruits and vegetables are important for the body to keep elimination regular. If the body can’t get rid of the toxins they get re-absorbed into the system where they can continue to build up and cause damage.
Foods high in antioxidants such as Lemon and Citrus fruits, Green Tea, and even red wine (in moderation) have a protective effect as well. Eating sufficient protein helps the body metabolize hormones and drugs from the body and foods that support the gut flora such as fermented foods and yogurt can assist as well. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy have a substance called Indole-3-carbinol that helps the body detoxify estrogen down a healthy pathway and release it from the body.
You can also look to supplements to help with estrogen and hormone balance. Indole-3-carbinol, also known as I-3-C comes in supplement form as does fenugreek, fiber and antioxidants. There are many hormone balancing formulas out there that include combinations of the most helpful substances that you can use to supplement your diet. This is important for many people because we often don’t eat as well as we should and the foods available, even the organic ones, may not be strong enough to counteract all the other factors contributing to the estrogen overload. Working to reduce your body fat and increase your muscle mass is also very important for hormone balance as body fat produces estrogen as well.
Getting your estrogen and other hormones in balance and assisting your body in detoxifying them and other harmful substances will make a big difference in your health and wellbeing.