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Excess Estrogen & How to Reduce it

Dietary and environmental exposures

can influence estrogen levels in the body

Excess Estrogen – Dietary Recommendations

  • Choose organic foods whenever possible.  Many pesticides have been found to stimulate estrogen receptors.
  • A diet low in saturated fats and high in EFAs (Omega 3) will help reduce estrogen dominance.
  • Eat cruciferous (cabbage) family vegetables including arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur based plant compounds that encourage the breakdown and removal of estrogen.
  • Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) can prevent estrogens from binding to their receptor sites. They can make estrogen relatively unavailable by increasing the levels of oestrogen’s carrier protein, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). When more estrogen is bound to SHBG, less is available to bind to oestrogen receptors.  Foods containing phytoestrogens: soy, alfalfa, grains and seeds, fennel and fenugreek.
  • Support liver detoxification  Foods rich in sulphur such as garlic, onion, leek and cabbage aid liver detoxification. Increase foods high in methionine such as beans, legumes, onions and garlic assist with the excretion (methylation) of estrogen. The liver uses methylation to break down estrogen (estradiol) into a less potent form (estriol).
  • A high fibre diet reduces estrogen levels in the blood and urine. Good examples are wheat bran, psyllium husks, pectins (skins and rinds of fruit and vegetables) and lignans such as flaxseed. These lignans exert a protective effect against the proliferative effects of endogenous estrogens, and so, may help reduce risk of breast cancer.
  • Decrease caffeine consumption from colas, coffee, chocolate, and tea.  Caffeine has been found to increase circulating estrogen levels.
Overcoming-Estrogen-Dominance-Through-Diet
  • Shift to a more plant-based diet.  Synthetic estrogenic chemicals (in the environment, such as PCBs and dioxin) accumulate in the fat of animal foods such as meat, milk, cheese and butter.
  • Manage stress and include regular physical activity.
  • Various nutritional and herbal supplements are available to improve hormonal balance in both men and women and are prescribed depending on each individual case.

Household Cleaners

  • Alkylphenols, a class of synthetic estrogenic chemicals, are found widely in household cleaners.
  • Non toxic household cleaners can be found at health food stores or in the natural foods section of most local grocery stores.
  • Follow this link for easy DIY recipes to make your own

Cosmetics

  • Potentially estrogenic chemicals, such as phthalates, alkylphenols, and parabens (methyl and propylparaben) are widely used in hair and skin care products.

Plastics

  • Generally it’s best to limit the exposure to all plastic.
  • Avoid sources of BisPhenol A (BPA), an estrogen stimulating compound found in canned goods, most hard plastic drinking bottles, soda cans, polycarbonate lined baking tins and pizza boxes.
  • Avoid #3 polyvinyl chloride (PVC), #6 polystyrene/styrofoam, and #7 polycarbonate plastics.  These correspond to the numbers you see inside the recycling symbol on plastics.
  • Never microwave or reheat food in plastic containers or covered with plastic wrap. Use glass or ceramic containers instead.
Plastic Recycling Codes

Go to www.ewg.org (Environmental Working Group) to find out how to reduce your exposure to hormone like substances in your cosmetics, foods and household products.

Sources:

  1. Gray J.  Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer. DVD from Vassar College in partnership with the Center for Environmental Oncology of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.  Poughkeepsie, NY. 2006.
  2. Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University.  Available at:  http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/.
  3. Natural Standard Environmental Medicine
  4. Vogel S.A. The Politics of Plastic: The Making and Unmaking of Bisphenol A “safety”. American Journal of Public Health. 2009. 3:S559-66
  5. Shu X.O. et al. Soy Food Intake and Breast Cancer Survival. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009. 22:2437-43