Unbalanced hormones can be the cause for so much of our day to day health status. Bad hair days, cracked and weak nails, blotchy and breakout skin problems and not to mention the mid month blues and PMS symptoms. One of the underlying causes for these symptoms can often be tracked back to estrogen dominance.
What is estrogen:
A hormone found in the ovaries (women) and the testes (men), however it’s also found in the many other tissues, fat cells and the brain. Estrogen is not only produced naturally by us but is found in our modern diet as well as so called health foods and supplements.The promotion of “natural estrogens” is a new marketing strategy that capitalizes on the immense promotional investment of the drug companies in the concept of estrogen replacement as “therapy.” (1)
Our diets provide very significant amounts of estrogen from the vegetable and polyunsaturated oils, margarines, to the herbicides and pesticides sprayed on our fruit and vegetables, but also chemical estrogens found present in plastic bottles, cosmetics, shampoos and personal products as well as animal hormones. Stress can also cause elevated estrogen levels. And then we have synthetic estrogen found in Hormone Replacement Therapy and the Contraceptive Pill. We are in an age of estrogen toxic overload. Environmental Hormones are found everywhere and pose a real threat to our bodies, specifically xenoestrogens, known for being endocrine disruptors, impacting our immune systems and hormonal balance.
Our cells can’t always distinguish fully between our own estrogen and xenoestrogens. Every cell has estrogen receptors that recognize and open to the shape of an estrogen molecular chain, regardless of where it comes from. (2)
While genetics and obesity contribute to at least 30% of the cancers that affect the sex organs (ovaries, uterus, breast, prostate), the other 70% is unclear. Some theories suggest that chemical estrogen exposure, diet and lifestyle all contribute. (source)
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance:
When estrogen levels are high in relation to our progesterone we experience many severe symptoms, among them anxiety, breast tenderness, cyclical headaches or migraines, depression, digestive issues, fuzzy thinking, palpitations, food cravings, irregular bleeding, water retention, weight gain and more. (Source)
Other symptoms can include: cold hands and feet, hair loss, thyroid dysfunction, mood swings and blood clotting.
While I have been able to treat most of these conditions with oil pulling and through diet, there are some small persistent symptoms that I haven’t been able to conquer. That’s why when I found this recipe for carrot salad – as a detox for excess estrogen I was keen to try it out. My philosophy as far as treating illness or conditions is to try a food or diet related protocol before moving onto other natural therapies, so this is right up my alley.
Estrogen is excreted through the bowel, therefore having a healthy gut and intestines is going to assist with transporting estrogen out via stools. Fibre, specifically vegetable fibre, may assist estrogen detoxification.
There are interesting associations between vegetable “fiber” and estrogens. Because of my own experience in finding that eating a raw carrot daily prevented my migraines, I began to suspect that the carrot fiber was having both a bowel-protective and an antiestrogen effect. Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms. (3) Ray Peat a biologist specialising in physiology and progesterone therapy
How to treat Estrogen Dominance:
Firstly note that no two people are the same and hormone balance and endocrine functioning is different in everyone and quite a complex process. The following tips could assist in lowering estrogen in your system and help the elimination process.
Limit or Avoid processed sugars, flours, grains, vegetable or omega 6 seed oils, margarines, and phytoestrogens such as flax, soy, legumes and seeds. There’s a complete list here on phytoestrogens that may or be causing excess estrogen consumption.
NB: Flax is a conflict for me as I’ve been told that it also has the ability to bind estrogen, but like other phytoestrogens it can also mimic estrogen and can take up their place. I’m still sitting on the fence with this one.
Follow a more low carb, high protein diet with plenty of healthy omega 3 fats. Enjoy lots of vegetables as this will provide adequate fibre.
Reduce stress levels – exercise of any kind will reduce your stress and at the same time produce good doses of healthy hormones and aid regulation. Don’t worry so much about what exercise you are doing, pick something that you enjoy and one that elevates your heart rate and cardio fitness.
Environment and Lifestyle:
Avoid synthetic or chemical laden skin and hair care and personal products. Check out these articles on natural skin and hair care using coconut oil. Avoid using so much plastic (particularly water bottles) and choose organic or free range meats with no added hormones.
Peel your Veggies: If you can’t afford organic vegetables, then make sure you scrub your veggies well with a brush and some salty water and peel the skins.
Finally, try out the carrot detox – and see if you notice any changes.
- 1 carrot medium size organic or really washed and scrubbed well
- 1-2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Herbamare or Salt and Pepper
- You can choose to peel or not peel your carrot.
- Grate or shred and throw it in a bowl with the other ingredients.
- Serve as a side or eat as a snack.
If you’d like to read more about estrogen dominance check out this link: women to women
Have any tips on balancing hormones? Would you try the carrot detox salad? Let me know your thoughts, questions or leave me a comment below.