Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Estrogen (oestrogen)

What is estrogen?

List of xenoestrogens

Estrogen dominance

Symptoms of estrogen dominance in women

Symptoms of estrogen dominance in men

Treating high estrogen level in women

Treating estrogen dominance in men

Xenoestrogens diet and treatment

Symptoms of low estrogen in women

Treatment for low estrogen in women

References

What is estrogen?

Estrogens are the primary female sex hormones. They are found in all animals, and even some insects.

In a woman, estrogen (oestrogen) is produced mainly by her ovaries, her corpus luteum, and the placenta if she is pregnant.

Men's testes produce small amounts of estrogen, required by their reproductive system and for a healthy libido. In both men and women, small amounts of estrogen are also made by the liver, adrenal glands, brain, breasts and fat cells.

Plants and fungi can produce estrogen-like substances, and estrogens can also be synthesised in the laboratory. Estrogen is one of the main components in most oral contraceptives (the Pill).

Estrogen is a stimulating hormone that promotes the growth of hormonally-sensitive cells such as breast tissue, fat cells causing the build-up of body fat, and the proliferation of the lining of the uterus.

The three main kinds of estrogen found in the body are:

When testing estrogen levels doctors normally test only E2 (estradiol), regardless of the stage a woman is in. In menopausal women estradiol should be low and any doctor prescribing additional estrogen should be avoided. I suggest you ask for all three types of estrogen to be tested, and more importantly your progesterone level too. This way you may avoid unnecessary HRT and the horrible consequences of inappropriate estrogen therapy.

Abnormally low levels of estrogen in men have been associated with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) (1, 2, 3).

High levels of oestrogens de-masculinise men, and make women more aggressive. Excessive estrogen can cause hyperplasia or cancers of hormonally-sensitive tissues such as the endometrium, cervix and breasts. Breast tissue in particular is extremely sensitive to estrogens.

The estrogen level in obese women is up to 40% higher than in normal healthy women. (7) Obese women increase their risk of breast cancer by two and a half times. (8)

When women start using the pill or undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT), they often complain that their breasts get bigger, fuller and tender. It is estrogen that stimulates the development of breasts and reproductive organs during puberty in young girls.

List of xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens are foreign chemicals that bind to the estrogen receptors in the body. Most of these xenoestrogens (estrogen analogues, estrogen look-alikes or estrogen imitators) are harmful. Their toxic and dangerous effects include symptoms of estrogen dominance, like an overload of the real estrogen hormones.

A list of xenoestrogens includes many pharmaceutical drugs, industrial chemicals, agricultural chemicals and other pollutants. Many personal care products include phthalates, parabens and other phenols. (10) A classic estrogen mimic is the pesticide Glyphosate (Roundup, made by Monsanto), which is stored in body fat and can remain there for many years. Plenty of research shows how Glyphosate can change the sexual characteristics of animals, so roosters grow up looking like hens, for example. (9)

The bright yellow dye or food colouring called sunset yellow tartrazine (E102) is widely used in many foods and drinks. A study (6) done in 2013 confirmed that this type of dye has a powerful xenoestrogen effect. This yellow dye even finds its way into healthy food ingredients like turmeric.

Thousands of chemicals with estrogen-mimicking properties exist in our foods, water, air, and many products in our environment. They do their harm at levels of only parts per billion. Examples include pollution such as pesticides, dioxin and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Dioxin is a by-product in the manufacture of many chemicals using chlorine and includes disinfectants, dry cleaning fluids, pesticides, drugs and plastics - especially cling wrap and polystyrene. PCBs are used in plastics, paints, dyes, varnishes and inks. Although parts per billion sounds low, the bodies of humans and other animals are affected by hormones at levels in parts per trillion. In other words, some of these chemical estrogen look-alikes may be found in our bodies at levels one hundred times the concentration of our own hormones.

Many plants produce chemicals that mimic estrogen or block estrogen in the human body. These estrogens produced by plants are called phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) are mostly excreted from the body within a few days of eating or ingesting them. In contrast, synthetic chemical xenoestrogens that come from pollution, pharmaceuticals and other sources may take months or years to excrete.

Most plant foods contain small amounts of phytoestrogens, including grains, seeds, beans, vegetables, fruits and herbs. One of the highest levels and most toxic are in soy beans and soy products. This is one of the reasons that the diet I recommend in Grow Youthful is low on grains, seeds, beans and legumes, or even avoids them.

Herbs that contain significant levels of phytoestrogens include black cohosh, bloodroot, calamus root, camomille, cloves, cumin, damiana, fennel, goldenseal, hops (yes, the hops that is used in beer), juniper, licorice, mandrake, mistletoe, motherwort, nutmeg, ocotillo, oregano, pennyroyal, red clover, thyme, tumeric, verbena and yucca. These phytoestrogens are not necessarily harmful. Many herbs have beneficial effects from their phytoestrogens, when used properly and in small quantities.

Other foods (as well as seeds/grains and beans/legumes) with high levels of phytoestrogens include alfalfa sprouts, coffee, fennel, hops (beer), pomegranates, sunflower seeds and wild carrot (queen anne's lace). In addition, grapefruit interferes with the breakdown of estrogen in the liver, although it does not itself contain phytoestrogens.

Cottonseed oil. This horrible oil is used in many processed foods because it allows cooking and deep frying at high temperature, has a neutral taste, and extends shelf life. Cottonseed oil is frequently found in store-purchased potato chips and French fries, baked goods, cereals, mayonnaise, stir-friend and spicy oriental dishes. Occasionally it is the oil used to can fish.

Men who regularly use cottonseed oil have a low sperm count, and the long term use of this oil may be associated with the total failure of the testes to produce sperm.

Many researchers (4) including John R. Lee, M.D (Leading pioneer in natural progesterone therapy), Dr. Jesse Hanley and Dr. Peter Eckhart are coming to the conclusion that an overabundance of estrogen and estrogen look-alike substances (xenoestrogens) are responsible for many of today's health problems in both women and men.

Estrogen dominance

Estrogen dominance (unopposed estrogen) is the term used to describe the adverse symptoms often encountered by men and women who have too high a level of natural estrogen and/or xenoestrogens in their body. Estrogen dominance can also occur in women who have been on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or the contraceptive pill for some time and therefore have low progesterone levels.

Another cause of estrogen dominance is excess levels of testosterone and/or aromatase. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, and a base level is required in a healthy body. Natural aromatase inhibitors that help prevent excess aromatase include green tea, coffee, red wine, tobacco, stout, citrus flavonoids and zinc. Notice the irony of there being several so-called "badies" in this list!

Microwaves, including the radiation emitted by mobile phones and wifi, raise the body's estrogen levels in men, women and children. High levels of natural estrogen are both pro-inflammatory and pro-cancer. 4G and 5G EMF radiation.

In a healthy woman, the stimulating effects of estrogen are checked and balanced by progesterone. Progesterone is produced after ovulation around day 12 of the menstrual cycle. The levels of both estrogen and progesterone peak around day 22 of her menstrual cycle. Many women do not produce sufficient progesterone, so the estrogen in their bodies is unopposed and can increase to harmful levels. This excessive or unopposed estrogen is also knows as estrogen dominance.

After menopause, a woman's natural estrogen level falls to approximately half its previous level, depending upon the particular individual. Unfortunately, her progesterone level may fall substantially more, even close to zero, causing problems of estrogen dominance or unopposed estrogen.

Reducing the level of xenoestrogens in your body may be even more important than taking progesterone cream. If you have a high level of xenoestrogens in your body, taking progesterone cream may temporarily make some of the problems caused by estrogen dominance even worse. This is because long term xenoestrogen exposure causes estrogen receptors to become less sensitive. However, when you take progesterone your estrogen receptors recover their normal sensitivity. The xenoestrogens stored in your body re-assert their harmful effects until your body gets back into balance.

Symptoms of estrogen dominance in women

Symptoms of estrogen dominance in men

As most men age, the level of estrogens, estrogen look-alikes and xenoestrogen toxins in their bodies rises. This assault of all these excess estrogens in aging men is responsible for a variety of ailments, in particular an alarming increase in prostate problems.

Estrogen (not progesterone) is the feminising hormone in men.

Treating high estrogen level in women

Progesterone is the natural antagonist / opposition to estrogen, it helps keep estrogen dominance under control. Correcting any imbalance between estrogen and progesterone, especially the lack of progesterone, will usually cure many of these symptoms within a few months.

When you first start using progesterone cream it has a stimulatory effect. The progesterone activates some cell's estrogen receptors and some women may have a worsening of their estrogen dominance symptoms. For most of these women the increase in symptoms can last several days, whilst in others it can last longer. Much depends on the amount of excess estrogens that were already present.

The key to avoiding a worsening of your symptoms is to use plenty of progesterone when you first start using it, about 200-400mg per day to overcome the stimulatory effect of the excess estrogens. If your symptoms are severe, such as heavy or continual bleeding or debilitating hot flushes, then up to 400mg per day will be needed. Do not start the treatment using less than 100mg/3ml of progesterone cream per day. The biggest mistake you can make is to initially use too little. Some women think that using 20-40mg per day will work, but this is incorrect as the progesterone remains in stimulation mode leaving them in a permanent state of estrogen dominance.

Remember to use progesterone a minimum of twice a day as progesterone levels start to drop after 13 hours.

After your symptoms have improved and you feel stable, simply reduce the amount of progesterone to a level that suits you and your symptoms. The reduction should always be done slowly over several weeks.

Progesterone cream

Treating estrogen dominance in men

Many men are affected by excessive quantities of environmental estrogens, particularly xeno-estrogens which cause men's progesterone levels to drop (especially as they age). Progesterone, being the natural antagonist (opposition) to estrogen, is increasingly being used by men. Progesterone is also a precursor (raw material) for the making of testosterone, so it also helps with male hormone imbalance.

Natural progesterone therapy helps to protect against prostate problems, cancers, and other male symptoms of estrogen dominance. It is safe, with no toxic side-effects and is increasingly being used as an alternative to prostate surgery.

When you first start using progesterone cream it has a stimulatory effect. The progesterone activates some cell's estrogen receptors and some men may have a worsening of their estrogen dominance symptoms. For most of these men the increase in symptoms can last several days, though in men who have a high level of estrogens and xenoestrogens it can last longer.

The key to avoiding a worsening of your symptoms is to use plenty of progesterone when you first start using it, about 10-20mg per day to overcome the stimulatory effect of the excess estrogens. Do not start the treatment using less than 6-12mg of progesterone cream per day. The biggest mistake you can make is to initially use too little. If your symptoms and toxic levels are severe it is advisable to start with up to 100mg per day.

Remember to use progesterone a minimum of twice a day as progesterone levels start to drop after 13 hours.

After your symptoms have improved and you feel stable, simply reduce the amount of progesterone to a level that suits you and your symptoms. The reduction should always be done slowly over several weeks.

Xenoestrogens diet and treatment

Symptoms of low estrogen in women

Low estrogen levels occasionally occur in post-menopausal women. However, progesterone deficiency is much more common, has similar symptoms, and treatment with progesterone cream is the preferred remedy in both cases. Symptoms of estrogen deficiency include:

Treatment for low estrogen in women

In the past, estrogen used to be used to control these symptoms. However, as the above symptoms of estrogen deficiency were brought under control, they were soon replaced by estrogen-dominant symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, heart palpitations, loss of confidence and mood changes. In the late 1960's the massive surge in uterine cancer cases was attributed to the widespread use of estrogen and estrogen look-alikes (HRT). By 2002 the risk of breast cancer from long-term estrogen use was established.

Supplemental estrogen can make you feel better at first. The reason is that estrogen activates the progesterone receptors so making progesterone the dominant hormone. However, this wears off as estrogen levels rise and estrogen becomes the dominant hormone. This is one of the reasons why so many women need to keep changing their HRT script. The risks of using HRT or the contraceptive pill for any length of time are not worth it.

Warning. The pharmaceutical industry has developed a number of estrogen look-alikes. These synthetic estrogen analogues (look-alikes) with estrogen-like activities are not naturally-occurring and can therefore be patented. Unlike natural estrogen, they are not as effective as the real thing, and more importantly they have a variety of nasty and serious side-effects. An example is Premarin, made from the urine of mares. Some doctors are not aware of this crucial difference between natural bio-identical estrogen and the patented look-alikes. It is absolutely critical that you always use the real thing - bio-identical hormones. (5)

Today, progesterone alone is normally used to treat the symptoms of low estrogen. In severe cases, a small quantity of estrogen may also be used in combination with the progesterone.

References

1. Douma, S.L, Husband, C., O 'Donnell, M.E., Barwin, B.N., Woodend A.K. Estrogen-related Mood Disorders Reproductive Life Cycle Factors Advances in Nursing Science 28 (4): 364-375. PMID 16292022. 2005)

2. Lasiuk, G.C. and Hegadoren, K.M. The Effects of Estradiol on Central Serotonergic Systems and Its Relationship to Mood in Women Biological Research for Nursing (2007), 9 (2): 147-160. doi:10.1177/1099800407305600. PMID 17909167.(2007)

3. Hill, Rachel A., McLnnes, Kerry J., Cong, Emily C.H., Jones, Margaret E.E., Simpson, Evan R. Estrogen deficient male mice develop Compulsive Behavior Biological Psychiatry 61 (3): 359. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.01.012. PMID 16566897.(2007)

4. Lee, John R. Hormone Balance Made Simple. 2006

5. Kent Holtorf. Bio-identical vs synthetic hormones. Postgraduate Medicine, Volume 121, issue 1, January 2009, issn - 0032-5481, e-issn - 1941-9260 9.

6. Axon A, May FE, Gaughan LE, Williams FM, Blain PG, Wright MC. Tartrazine and sunset yellow are xenoestrogens in a new screening assay to identify modulators of human oestrogen receptor transcriptional activity. Toxicology. 16 August 2012. 298(1-3):40-51. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2012.04.014. Epub 3 May 2012.

7. Austin H, Austin JM Jr, Partridge EE, Hatch KD, Shingleton HM. Endometrial cancer, obesity, and body fat distribution. Cancer Res. 1991 Jan 15;51(2):568-72.

8. Morimoto LM, White E, Chen Z, Chlebowski RT, Hays J, Kuller L, Lopez AM, Manson J, Margolis KL, Muti PC, Stefanick ML, McTiernan A. Obesity, body size, and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer: the Women's Health Initiative (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 2002 Oct;13(8):741-51.

9. Thongprakaisang S, Thiantanawat A, Rangkadilok N, Suriyo T, Satayavivad J. Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cells growth via estrogen receptors. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Sep;59:129-36. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.05.057. PMID: 23756170.

10. Kim G Harley, Kimberly P Berger, Katherine Kogut, Kimberly Parra, Robert H Lustig, Louise C Greenspan, Antonia M Calafat, Xiaoyun Ye, Brenda Eskenazi. Association of phthalates, parabens and phenols found in personal care products with pubertal timing in girls and boys. Human Reproduction, Volume 34, Issue 1, 1 January 2019, Pages 109-117.