What is estrogen dominance? Part 1

Estrogen dominance is one of those terms we know is bad because it increases our risk for certain cancers like breast & prostate cancer, but what else does estrogen dominance do to the body in terms of getting results and achieving optimal health?

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  • Early onset of puberty, girls are developing faster then they should and getting their cycles earlier as low as 10 years of age
  • Endometriosis afflicting 10% of all perimenopausal women
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), rising and afflicting close to 30% of perimenopausal women
  • Uterine fibroids affecting close to 25% of women from age 35 to 50
  • As mentioned above breast cancer afflicting close to 10% of all women
  • Infertility problems
  • Ovarian cyst or tumors

The common denominator to the above conditions is estrogen dominance, or when the body has excess estrogen and is deficient in progesterone.  What blows my mind when I meet with clients and assess their nutrition  and they mention that they suffer from any of the above serious conditions they view it as normal because it is so common.  Often nutrition and lifestyle strategies are never given or overlooked by conventional health professionals or worse they resort to serious surgeries or other invasive procedures and synthetic hormone replacement therapies before they try to modify diet, supplement and make lifestyle changes.

Here are some signs that you may be estrogen dominant:

  • Holding fat in the upper thighs and back of the arms (men & women)
  • Man boobs (there I said it, but it is true)
  • Difficulty losing weight (men and women)
  • Excess cellulite (back of arms, thighs)
  • Hard time putting on muscle, despite your workout efforts you are still “soft” looking (men and women)
  • Breasts are swollen and getting bigger
  • Irritable (men and women)
  • Excessive cramping/PMS before cycle
  • Complete absence of period or they are missed frequently
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Cyst in my breast
  • Tired all the time (men and women)
  • Low testosterone (men and women)
  • Decreased libido :-( (both men & women)

What causes estrogen dominance?

The modern technology and poor food quality are the main culprits.

Food-we have taken our diets from clean and whole unprocessed foods to quick and fast processed foods.  The chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides in conventional foods mimic estrogen in the body making us estrogen dominant.

Xenoestrogens- typically found in cosmetics, creams, lotions, shampoos, room deodorizers, cleaning products, paint, nail polish, unfiltered water, etc.  This is probably the most scary of all estrogen mimickers, because we are exposed to chemicals, unfiltered water daily and the xeno estrogens are fat soluble meaning they settle into the fat cells of the body making it hard to lose weight and can also contribute to the above medical conditions.

Synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy- birth control also counts in this category.  When I meet with clients and look at their labs and see that their body is basically NOT producing any hormones and they are getting synthetic HRT because they have “bad PMS” or “hot flashes” I cringe.  This is one of the worst things you can do for your body, if you have practiced all of the lifestyle, supplement and nutrition strategies  (don;t worry they are coming), and you still need some relief then see a doctor who specializes in bio identical hormone replacement therapies, this is a much better option.  Sure conventional practitioners may roll their eyes but that is because they are jaded, find a doctor with a holistic approach to your body.

Here are other things that contribute to estrogen dominance that I will dive into more later, but just to make you aware see the list below.

  • Increased consumption of caffeine, sugar, fast food, and processed foods (especially genetically modified soy products)
  • Deficiency in vitamin B6 and magnesium
  • Liver Disease
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Exposure to industrial solvents

What can you do to detox some of that estrogen dominance?

GO GREEN! Transition your house into a xenoestrogen FREE environment. * Please note this does not have to be done overnight, it can be overwhelming to try to do it all at once, and if your family is not on board you may hit a road block in regards to budget, etc. 

Start with what you put on your skin (the skin is the largest organ in the body and absorbs everything!) Some specific cosmetics items to start with make-up (Hourglass is a safe brand), lotion, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, toothpaste, etc. (Jason and Burt’sBees is also a safe brand) but don’t limit yourself to those only check the ingredient list and do not buy it if it has anything with Phthalates, parabens, sulfates, to name a few.

Then move onto what you eat and drink out of, ceramic, stainless steel, or glass containers to cook with, store, and drink out of.  Avoid plastics, Teflon, cans and aluminum.  Especially avoid heating up foods in these containers.  Also look into getting a reverse osmosis water filter on your house or even kitchen sink and shower heads to start with.  This will reduce your exposure to xeno estrogens through our contaminated water supply.

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Finally move onto what you clean with- this was a tough one for me, sometimes the “green” products are not always the most efficient when it comes to getting the job done. The best brand of “green” cleaning supplies that I have found that still works is Method, you used to only be able to find it at Target but now Kroger and other big mainstream stores sell it.  There are other brands out there, shop around and use what you like.  You can also make your own.

Supplement with your core supplements to ensure you are not deficient in any essential vitamins or minerals that could contribute to estrogen dominance.

  • High quality multi-vitmain/mineral supplement
  • omega 3 fish oil (1000-2000mg of EPA+DHA)
  • multi-probiotic
  • vitamin D-3
  • calcium and magnesium

Specifically to address the estrogen dominance take DIM this is a natural blend of potent cruciferous vegetable extracts and herbs that naturally detox the hormones.  All of my clients who have tried DIM love it.

Part 2 of the estrogen dominance series will go over more specific food and meal recommendations.  Stay tuned :-)

In Health,

Dana

 

Fresh vs. Frozen Veggies

As a nutrition major I think that it was ingrained in our little heads to always say that fresh produce was best, but considering the way produce is picked and the journey it takes to finally get to your grocery store you may be surprised that frozen vegetables are sometimes a better option.  We do about half and half at our house, the fresh produce we do have is typically what is in season.

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Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables

Dana Yarn, RDLD

It is recommended that we eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  Preferably we should stick to a ratio of three servings of vegetables to one serving of fruit, which is 6 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit per day.    Americans typically only consume one-third of the recommended daily intake.  As customers of Service Foods we are lucky to have a stash of frozen vegetables and in some case fruit in our freezer.  But, how does frozen produce compare to fresh or canned?

During certain seasons, fresh produce is limited—or expensive—in much of the country, which forces many of us to turn to canned or frozen options. Canned vegetables tend to lose a lot of nutrients during the canning process and the inside of the cans are lined with harmful BPA (research has shown that BPA is also a hormone disruptor that contributes to obesity), frozen vegetables may be even healthier than some of the fresh produce.  The only exception to that statement is if you have your own garden in your back yard or you get your produce from a local farm.  Produce picked for freezing tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when they are also peaking in nutrient content.

The first step of freezing vegetables is blanching them in hot water or steam to kill bacteria and arrest the action of food-degrading enzymes this causes some water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and the B vitamins to break down or leach out which decreases the nutrient content.  The subsequent flash-freeze locks the vegetables in an optimal nutrient-rich state.

The “fresh” fruits and vegetables destined to be shipped to the fresh-produce section in your neighborhood market around the country typically are picked before they are ripe, which gives them less time to develop a full profile of vitamins and minerals. Visible signs of ripening may still occur, but these vegetables will never have the same nutritive value as if they had been allowed to fully ripen on the vine as nature intended. In addition to being picked early, the long haul from farm to the plate, fresh fruits and vegetables are exposed to lots of heat and light, which destroy some nutrients, especially delicate vitamins like C and the B vitamin thiamin.

Bottom line: The best fresh vegetables and fruits are those in season and grown locally. “Off-season,” frozen vegetables will give you a high concentration of nutrients. Choose all natural or organic vegetables that have been flash frozen and vacuum sealed for optimal nutrient value.  Finally, lightly steam, or lightly roast vegetables to minimize the loss of water soluble vitamins.  Over cooking and boiling vegetables can decrease nutrient value leaching nutrients into the water that you typically dump down the sink.  Vegetables should have a vibrant bright color when served.