But lifestyle changes, not surgery, can cure the resulting problems, including cancer, osteoporosis and infertility.
This 32-year-old lady presented with severe PMS, heavy and painful periods. She had had breast cysts remove when she was 16, and a current one had recently bruised and enlarged. She was anxious and depressed and had recently been diagnosed with IBS and a discharging inflamed para anal lesion. General tests showed low vitamin D at 47.
She was advised to come off sugar and processed food to burn belly fat and stabilise blood sugar. She was given essential amino acids to support her nutrition, DIM and advised to take regular saunas to enhance detoxification of her potentially high oestrogen. Her breast cysts shrank significantly, and the para anal lesion healed. The working diagnosis was endometriosis due to excess oestrogen.
But it’s not just in females.
This 50-year-old gentlemen presented with prostate cancer and spine metastasis. His PSA was very high at 3370. Functional tests showed multiple genetic variants including MTHFR and COMT. A stool test revealed pathogenic (bad) bacteria, producing glucuronidase, the enzyme that disrupts phase 3 of oestrogen detoxification, resulting in persistently high oestrogen levels.
The patient was supported with methylation, active vitamins and natural antimicrobial agents to eliminate the pathogenic bacteria from the gut. He also received calcium glucarate to neutralise the effect of the glucuronidase. Further testing showed shrinkage of the main cancer and the metastatic deposit, his PSA level plummeted to 23.9, and the patient, not surprisingly, felt much better.
Oestrogen is the main female sex hormone but is also important in men. But we are living in an epidemic of oestrogen dominance. And the problems it causes are serious: breast and prostate cancer survivors live in fear of a recurrence, and the most crucial factor is controlling oestrogen. Infertility, painful periods, ovarian cysts, womb fibromas, osteoporosis and man boobs are all manifestation of the excess oestrogen.
In this article we are going to explore oestrogen and discover what makes it turn from something that facilitates good quality of life to causing serious health problems. We will find out what causes high oestrogen and how to deal with excess in men and women.
Oestrogen dominance occurs when there is an excess of oestrogen relative to the other sex hormones – progesterone in women and testosterone in men. There is no normal level of oestrogen: it can be high or low, and problems only occur when it is high relative to progesterone or testosterone.
This balance can be disturbed by poor diet, chronic stress, inadequate sleep and exposure to environmental toxins, such as phthalates, flame retardants, petroleum products and artificial flavours.
Excess oestrogen suppresses the thyroid gland, the power generator of body, resulting in lethargy and fatigue. Every cell in the body needs hormonal balance to function properly, and, if this is disturbed, people can become irritable, emotional, anxious, depressed, experience accelerated ageing, skin and hair problems, and sleep deprivation.
In the last 70 years, we have seen changes across the spectrum – sperm counts plummeting, female fertility down 70%, and otherwise slim boys developing man-boobs.
In hospitals, oestrogen problems have presented in the Gynaecological Department with uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and endometriosis, conditions usually requiring surgery. Breast surgery is needed to manage fibrocystic disease and breast cancer. Urology Departments manage benign prostate enlargement and prostate cancer with drugs and surgery. Oncology fights prostate and breast cancer with chemotherapy, hormonal or radiotherapy. And Endocrinology treats the menopause with hormone replacement.
Our great-grandmothers did not suffer like this because they had a healthy menopause
During their child-bearing years, they produced oestrogen in their ovaries and from their adrenal glands. Come the menopause, when the ovaries no longer produced oestrogen, the adrenal glands were the main source.
Now, modern day stress causes the adrenal gland to produce a high level of the stress hormone instead of progesterone. Progesterone levels plummet, and, with ladies continuing to consume oestrogen and oestrogen-like substances in food, and from body products, plastic containers and water bottles, there’s a severe hormonal imbalance resulting in bad postmenopausal symptoms.
The symptoms of excess oestrogen in females include pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) with breast tenderness and heavy bleeding, breast cysts, breast cancer, ovarian cysts, fibroids, uterine cancer, endometriosis and infertility issues.
The symptoms of excess oestrogen in males include gynecomastia (man boobs), feminine body habitat, sexual dysfunction, prostate cancer, infertility (low sperm count and poor-quality sperm).
The symptoms of excess oestrogen in both sexes include fatigue, appetite disturbance, blood sugar imbalance, excessive weight gain, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance (insomnia), headache, migraine, memory impairment, mood swings, water retention, hair loss, osteoporosis, and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The symptoms of excess oestrogen in children include early menarche, the development of secondary sexual features and the early onset of menstruation.
The causes of excess oestrogen are many. Doctors prescribe synthetic oestrogen to regulate the menstrual cycle and control heavy bleeding. This just makes the problem worse as birth control pills also contain synthetic oestrogen, increasing the oestrogen level. However, synthetic progesterone inhibits the release of natural progesterone from the body, resulting in high oestrogen and low progesterone.
Contraceptive pills, pesticides, water bottles, stress
Oestrogen also occurs in pesticides and herbicides used on our food. The plastic in water bottles and body products also contains endocrine disruptor.
Stress and acid pills inhibit the stomach acid production necessary for the digestion of protein, which is necessary for the detoxification of oestrogen.
Heavy metals share the same detoxification pathways, so their presence reduces the body’s capacity to detoxify oestrogen.
If you are overweight, your visceral fat (belly fat) produces hormones including oestrogen.
Finally, chronic stress causes what is known as cortisol steal syndrome, when the adrenal gland is focused on producing cortisol at the expense of sex hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone.
Oestrogen detoxification predominantly takes place in the liver.
Phase 1 consists of a group of enzymes (Cytochrome P450) converting oestrogen into water soluble compounds, including 4 hydroxy compounds. 4 hydroxy oestrone (4OH-E1) may increase the risk of cancer by turning into a free radical, damaging the DNA and causing cancer. So, we should avoid that reactive compound and divert the oestrogen detoxification pathway to 2 hydroxy compounds.
Phase 1 detoxification can therefore result in compounds more toxic than the original. Rainbow coloured fruits and vegetables are great antioxidants in this situation.
Phase 2 involves the addition of the methyl group by an enzyme called COMT. This also detoxifies heavy metal and stress hormones, meaning that COMT variant impedes the detoxification of oestrogen.
Interestingly, an accumulation of dopamine usually detoxified by the same gene can be a privilege. This neurotransmitter can give affected people greater concentration, leading to outstanding results. I have always felt that people like Leonardo Da Vinci and Einstein must have had this genetic variant.
The second phase of detoxification is generally supported by sulforaphane a compound available in the brassica family of vegetables that includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage and spinach. This compound is available as a supplement in indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) or Diindolylmethane (DIM).
Phase 3, the final stage of oestrogen detoxification, removes the metabolite from the cell to be excreted in bile. At this stage, it is combined with a molecule called glucuronide to facilitate the process. The compound passes in bile into the gut. This can be deconjugated by an enzyme called glucuronidase, which is produced by pathogenic bacteria, releasing oestrogen as a toxin back into the circulation.
The remedy for this interruption of phase 3 is to clear the pathogenic gut bacteria by a course of antibiotics or preferably natural antimicrobial agent, and to give calcium gluconate to neutralise the effect of the enzyme glucuronidase. Phase 3 is best supported by taking an adequate amount of fibre, which holds onto the toxins until they are outside the body.
What can I do to avoid excess oestrogen?
To reduce the risk of high oestrogen levels, avoid the use of contraceptive pills to regulate the menstrual cycle. The synthetic oestrogen and progesterone cause excess oestrogen.
Consume organic fruits and vegetables rich in fibre. Fibre is important as it binds the oestrogen that is detoxified by the liver, and ensures it is eliminated from the body. You can also reduce your oestrogen content by eating organic poultry, grass-fed meat and small cold-water fish, rich in omega 3.
Use biological body products to avoid toxins. Drink clean water by using high quality water filters. Avoid the use of drugs, particularly anti-acid pills that interfere with your nutrition and your ability to detoxify toxins.
Use natural agents such as milk thistle and dandelion to support your liver detoxification process.
Most importantly, take care of your liver, your main detox organ, that is frequently turned into a fat store by high fructose corn syrup (HFCS, found in fizzy and non-fizzy drinks) that damages your liver by the same process as alcohol, resulting initially in a fatty liver and later liver cirrhosis. So please avoid HFCS and alcohol.
Burn belly fat. The metabolically active fat can produce oestrogen and inflammatory cytokines, resulting in hormonal imbalance. High oestrogen also makes you gain more fat and put on weight.
Avoid stress. This will promote progesterone production by the adrenal gland instead of the stress hormone (cortisol). Practise meditation and deep breathing to keep your stress at bay.
Get adequate restful sleep. Most of your body’s detoxification process takes place during your sleep, primarily between 10pm and 2am. This highlights the importance of early to bed, early to rise. Take your last meal 2 to 3 hours before bedtime to allow your body to focus on detoxification and body repair while sleeping.
And finally, my friends, I would love to hear about your personal experiences with hormonal issues. Did you manage to find the underlying cause(s) of them? And was the treatment you received effective?