Produced in the ovaries, this female sex hormone is the essence of femininity, the bestower of smooth skin and curvy hips. As an anabolic hormone in women, it builds up bone, the uterine lining, and body fat, estrogen also regulates the menstrual cycle and protects the heart.
However, in excess, this otherwise beneficial hormone can endanger a woman’s health and wreak havoc on her physique. In a relatively high estrogen state, known as estrogen dominance, women can really pack on the pounds, particularly in the hips, thighs, and butt – as well as increasing risk for breast cancer, endometriosis, infertility, etc.
Estrogen dominance effects men as well, increasing risk for heart disease.
This occurs as men become overweight. The source of this excess estrogen isn’t the ovaries. It’s medications such as birth control pills, synthetic hormone replacement and our environment – and our body fat (via a process called aromatization which converts testosterone into estrogen in both sexes).
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Both compounds that occur naturally and manmade chemicals in our air, water, and food—everything from plastic water bottles and shampoo to pesticides on fruits and veggies–contain molecules called endocrine disruptors, which research shows affect our health. These chemicals can block effects of hormones that balance out estrogens effects, and many act as strong estrogens themselves. So getting the excess estrogens out of your environment is job one.
Don’t panic when you see all the estrogen sources in your life. You can not completely win this battle, but you can probably, do a better job than you are doing now – here’s how:
- Rid your home of conventional cleaners. Use more natural brands such as Method, Seventh Generation or see www.sixwise.com for more info on household chemicals.
- Choose organic produce whenever possible to avoid estrogenic pesticides.
- Choose clean, organic, free range, grass fed and hormone free proteins as often as possible.
- Avoid or minimize strong phytoestrogens (namely soy)
- Minimize alcohol consumption.
- Use glass containers for food and drink. If you use plastic containers to store food, never microwave them. Avoid soft plastic water bottles as much as possible – opt for glass ideally or metal bottles such as Sigg and Klean Kanteen.
- Switch to paraben and pthalate free cosmetics and body care products – you are literally rubbing these chemicals onto you body so it is important! Brands I recommend include Jurlique, Weleda, Earth Science, John Masters Organics and Aubrey Organics. Your local health food store will have many great products to choose from – but read your labels as not all products at health food stores are chemical free.
Among the more problematic personal care products is paraben containing deodorants. Most breast cancers occur in the upper outer quadrant of the breast (area next to the armpit), so rubbing exogenous estrogens into that area is a terrible idea! Natural deodorants that I love include Weleda’s spray deodorant in Wild Rose, Sage and Citrus and LaVanilla deodorant – however, good ol’ baking soda works like a charm!
Try this recipe
Place ½ to 1tsp in palm of hand Add small amount of water and mix into a paste. Rub into underarm area. If you find that you are experiencing an offensive body odor, two to three times per week swab the underarm with rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria.
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