Estrogen Hormone Reduction Protocol
Strictly speaking, all of us, men and women alike, suffer from estrogen hormone dominance. There simply is so much of it around and it is impossible to fully escape its impact. Plastics, car exhaust, meats, soaps, carpet, furniture, and paneling are just some of the examples. You may have on-and-off sinus problems, headaches, dry eyes, asthma, cold hands, and feet, and may not attribute them to your exposure to xenoestrogen. Over time, the exposure can cause more chronic problems such as arthritis, and gallbladder disease.
While a definitive diagnosis can be made through a thorough history and physical examination, together with laboratory tests of estrogens and progesterone levels, this is seldom done. Instead, synthetic estrogen such as Premarin, or combination synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone (such as Pempro) are often passed out on the premise that symptoms presented are due to estrogen deficiency without any consideration for the progesterone part of the equation. In reality, many are suffering from relative estrogen dominance.
This naturally oriented protocol is designed to reduced the body’s estrogen hormone load and prevent the onset of cancer. If you already have been diagnosed with cancer, more aggressive action will be needed including all these steps.
While addressing an estrogen hormone reduction protocol, it is also good to understand the role of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress responses. This is how hormones, neurotransmitters, and our metabolism and detoxification all interact to keep balances in the body. When the estrogen hormone dominates, our estrogen hormone production decreases, and detoxification to clear the excess estrogen hormone increases. This all has implications in how to treat estrogen hormone dominance, which you will read about in this article. The NEM response is how the body all interacts together to maintain health. A hormone imbalance creates an imbalance in the NEM response, which causes issues with the breakdown of certain hormones, and the cleansing of hormones, specifically estrogen, from the body.
1. Natural Progesterone
The typical domino effect of estrogen hormone dominance starts with proliferation of estrogen-sensitive cells, leading to overgrowth of endometrial lining, to PMS, to PCOS, to uterine fibroid, to hysterectomy, to severe iatrogenic (doctor-caused) hormonal imbalance (when estrogen is given alone with opposing progesterone), to misguided medication for depression and anxiety, to bone loss and reduced libido. These all can be reduced if the amount of estrogen in the body is normalized by administration of natural progesterone as a balancer.
Natural progesterone is, therefore, a cornerstone of estrogen hormone reduction therapy. It helps to reduce the risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancers, while unopposed estradiol causes that is frequently associated with fibrocystic breast disease, endometriosis, PMS, fibroids, and breast cancer. If you have symptoms of estrogen hormone dominance but have not been diagnosed with estrogen hormone-related cancer, natural progesterone will still be valuable for its cancer prevention properties. Specific dosage varies depending on the condition. Baseline saliva testing of estrogen, progesterone, and their respective ratios should be undertaken. The body normally produces 20 mg of progesterone a day. Replacement of this physiological amount in natural cream form is suggested in most cases. There is a tremendous variation in the amount that should be taken for optimum effectiveness. It is recommended that you consult a naturally oriented physician prior to treatment.
2. Dietary Adjustments
Overeating and under-exercising are the norms in developed countries. Populations from such countries, especially in the Western hemisphere, derive a large part of their dietary calorie from fat. They also show a much higher incidence of menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown that the estrogen hormone level fell in women who switched from a typical high-fat, refined-carbohydrate diet to a low-fat, high-fiber, plant-based diet even though they did not adjust their total calorie intake. Plants contain over 5,000 known sterols that have progesterone side effects. Cultures whose eating habits are more wholesome and who exercise more have a far lower incidence of menopausal symptoms because their pre and postmenopausal levels of the estrogen hormone do not drop as significantly.
In non-industrialized societies not subjected to environmental estrogen hormone insults, progesterone deficiency is rare. During menopause, sufficient progestogenic substances are circulating in the body to keep the sex drive unabated, bones strong, and passage through menopause symptom-free.
Some years back, scientists discovered that unfermented soy and various cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and brussels sprouts contain a high level of phyto-estrogen. These compounds’ chemical structure resembles the estrogen hormone but is many times weaker in potency. Women consuming these vegetables reported some relief of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. The prevailing wisdom is that women in menopause lack the estrogen hormone, and phyto-estrogen replenish the body with estrogen. Soy and cruciferous vegetables are heavily promoted.
It is now known that these vegetables work by competitively occupying the estrogen hormone receptor sites on the cell membrane to prevent internal estrogen from exerting its effects on the cell. Those who have an estrogen hormone dominance may, therefore, experience relief of symptoms as phyto-estrogen is many times weaker than the estrogen hormone in our body.
While phyto-estrogen may work and relieve symptoms, the long-term effect is probably undesirable because the estrogen hormone receptor sites are still occupied, although by the less potent phyto-estrogen. Overconsumption of phyto-estrogenic food such as unfermented soy and cruciferous vegetables on a long-term basis may actually not reduce the risk of estrogen hormone dominance significantly. It’s akin to replacing one potent devil with a lesser potent one. It is far more beneficial to get rid of the estrogen hormone from the receptor sites and replace them with progesterone. Estrogen load will, therefore, reduce significantly and the risk of estrogenic diseases such as breast cancer will be less.
Furthermore, phyto-estrogen have been shown to inhibit the conversion of T4 to the active T3 thyroid hormone, and can trigger hypothyroidism.
Women with estrogen dominance should only take unfermented soy such as tofu and cruciferous vegetables in moderation. Those with a history of thyroid imbalance should refrain from such vegetables.
A plant-based unprocessed whole-food diet is recommended. At least 15 grams of fiber should be consumed a day. Avoid high-glycemic foods such as refined sugar. Avoid alcohol or drugs that can damage the liver which will lead to an increase in estrogen due to the lack of estrogen breakdown. Caffeine intake from all sources is linked with higher estrogen hormone levels regardless of age, body mass index (BMI), caloric intake, smoking, and alcohol and cholesterol intake.