Is Too Much Estrogen Making You Fat?
A healthy balance of primary sex hormones is essential for optimal health. The delicate and intricate endocrine system can be easily interrupted and/or upset. Estrogen dominance, or excessive estrogen, can occur for both females and males when either too much estrogen is present or normal estrogen levels exist but there is low progesterone.
This imbalance can happen rather easily in both sexes. Consuming conventional produce and meats, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, drinking and eating from plastic containers, constant physical and emotional stress, using personal hygiene and make-up products which contain toxic chemicals, can all be contributing factors to estrogen dominance.
Signs or symptoms related to estrogen dominance in women can include:
- Aggravated PMS symptoms
- Erratic and heavy periods/menses
- Heavy water retention and bloating
- Weight gain
- Low libido
- Sugar Cravings
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Migraines or headaches
- Fibroids in the breasts and/or ovaries
- Higher sensitivity to histamines
Signs or symptoms related to estrogen dominance in men can include:
- Low libido
- Increased body fat
- Decreased lean muscle mass
- Enlarged & tender breast tissue – gynecomastia
- Brain Fog
- Sleep disturbances
How does diet affect estrogen levels?
A proper estrogen balance is commonly dictated by maintaining a well-balanced diet. Eliminating processed sugar, conventional meats, dairy products, and alcohol from your diet can help minimize inflammation and symptoms associated with a leaky gut. Cleaning up your diet to include whole, fresh, non-pesticide & herbicide grown, REAL foods will help to optimize your ability to achieve a proper hormonal balance overall. Reducing and or eliminating high estrogen foods such as genetically modified organisms (GMO) like corn and soy is advised. All of the steroid hormones are derived from cholesterol. Including a substantial amount of healthy dietary fat is essential for proper hormone balance including estrogen and associated hormones that help balance estrogen levels
How does exercise affect estrogen dominance?
Exercise in general can dramatically impact your body’s ability to properly manage estrogen levels. However, excessive exercise can have the opposite effect as it activates the body’s stress response. Too much stress can cause a down-regulation in hormone production and further off-set hormonal balance. Estrogen dominance can occur in both females and males when excessive exercise is practiced and improper nutrition and proper rest/recovery are not employed.
How do environmental toxins impact estrogen levels?
External estrogens that originate from our environment, called xenoestrogens, and estrogens that are consumed through our foods, called phytoestrogens, can both add to total estrogen load. These external sources can interrupt a healthy hormonal balance and contribute to an increase in inflammation and oxidative stress. In turn, this ratchets up insulin resistance and up-regulates the production of enzymes responsible for converting other hormones into estrogen, creating an estrogen dominant environment. Follow the dietary suggestions above and begin eliminating hygiene and cosmetic products that contain heavy metals, parabens, and phthalates in fragrances. Try to avoid drinking and eating foods held in plastics and drink filtered or spring water rather than tap water.
Chronic or prolonged stress – physical, emotional, dietary, or chemical - can offset hormonal balance by challenging our natural fight-or-flight response in both women and men. These stressors set off a chain reaction of hormone reactions in the body that are geared to temporarily increase energy production and decrease other functions not necessary for survival including production of estrogen regulating hormones. A chronic over stimulation of this delicate system can quickly and easily result in an estrogen dominant environment. Finding strategies to balancing and mitigating the stressors above is critical to proper hormone balance, especially in the case of estrogen dominance.
In both men and women, estrogen is fundamental in the creation of healthy bones, the management of calcium and vitamin D, and furthering the proper production and utilization of other hormones. Optimal nutrition, pharmaceutical grade supplementation, a properly designed fitness program, and the implementation of effective stress-management strategies can all help correct and mitigate an estrogen dominant hormone environment.