What Is Oestrogen Dominance and Its Connection to Weight & Alcohol
One fine Saturday afternoon after a very busy work week, you find yourself chilling out with a bottle of wine – or two. Good friends, or maybe it’s with family? Everything felt so perfect you didn’t even notice you’ve been drinking a lot more than you should.
More often than not, this scenario has rapidly become a go-to routine whenever we feel too fed up with work – or life in general.
But did you know that too much booze can mess up our hormones? The significance of the hormones in our body cannot be understated. These hormones work together in specific ratios and they coordinate the functions of our tissues and organs.
Too much alcohol can cause oestrogen dominance. Compared to men, we girls process alcohol at a slower rate. Our bodies retain the fluid longer and it takes a long time before our body can metabolise the alcohol properly.
Also when we drink, the antioxidants that are stored in our liver are being exhausted in order for the alcohol to be broken down, so it can make us more deficient in those antioxidants, and less antioxidant power = speeding up the ageing process, umm no thanks!
Oestrogen promotes growth and development and it’s also responsible for giving females their unique characteristics like a monthly menstrual cycle and breasts. Oestrogen and progesterone need to be delicately balanced so they can carry on their functions effectively. If this balance is disrupted and oestrogen outweighs the number of progesterone hormones, this results in oestrogen dominance.
Oestrogen Dominance and Breast Cancer
It has been established by science and clinical studies that untreated oestrogen dominance can substantially increase the risk of breast cancer and those women who developed breast cancer were found to have higher oestrogen levels than those without.
Other Side effects of Oestrogen Dominance
There are a number of conditions that are associated with high levels of oestrogen. Elevated levels of oestrogen could put us at risk not only for breast cancer but also ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Blood clots and stroke are also some of the negative health hazards that can be caused by oestrogen dominance. This also puts women at a higher risk for thyroid dysfunctions.
Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
- Weight gain (particularly in hips, midsection, thighs)
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Abnormal menstruation
- Reduced sex drive
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
Decreasing Oestrogen Dominance for Women
- Raising nutrient intake in our diet by including lots of green leafy veggies and coloured veggies like beetroots and carrots and getting a good balance of all fruits and veggies. If you find it hard to eat more green leafy’s why not try adding them to you morning smoothie along with some fresh lemon or lime to enhance the taste?
- Stick with a hormone – balancing diet through adequate protein intake (Hydrolyzed collagen is a great source and plant protein powder), eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and having a nutritious amount of healthy fats such as avocado, oily fish such as salmon & mackerel, nuts & seeds, olive oil, hemp oil, MCT oil. Including a high-nutrient powder such as organic baobab is also a fantastic idea!
- Fibre rich diet. Oestrogen is excreted through our bowel, so a fibre rich diet would be an awesome help for our digestion and excretion.
- Detoxifying the liver – since liver acts as a filter from all the harmful toxins in our surroundings as well as the products that we intake, it is very essential to detox to help it eliminate all the caffeine, drugs, alcohol and especially oestrogen in our bloodstream. A high quality Liver detox support can be helpful here to help support the liver while it processes all the extra toxins which place a heavy load on this vital organ.
- Exercise. It is important that we lose our excess body fat and exercise regularly to promote overall balance and well-being. It’s important to note that not all exercise can be helpful, if it’s creating stress because it’s too high impact you may want to choose something lower impact (see below).
- Choose resveratrol in a supplement form rather than a glass or two of red wine, as you know alcohol can increase oestrogen levels in the body
- Reduce Stress by prioritising things in your life. While this can be easier said than done, just know that you are the most important person in your life, if you are unwell what good are you to anyone else so be sure to manage your stress. I could write a whole book about this I think sometimes but the one basic stress-management techniques I use are meditation, setting healthy boundaries (saying no when you mean no), time for self-care etc. There are loads of free meditations on Youtube and there are plenty of good meditation apps, such as HayHouse meditations, The Mindfulness App, Headspace, Calm app and Insight timer.
Low Impact Exercises for weight Loss
The following exercises have been chosen because they are low impact on the body and also less stressful on your body and also your mind and when it comes to staying healthy we are much better off choosing sports and exercises that support your health rather than have a negative impact. This list is not fully inclusive, I have no doubt there are many more low-impact activities you may enjoy.
These exercises are Barre Pilates, Power yoga, Hot yoga, Cycling, Rowing, Aqua Zumba, Rollerblading, Swimming, Power walking, Tai chi or Qigong.
Don’t Think You’re Off The Hook Fellas…
Oestrogen dominance doesn’t just affect women but guys too! If you’re a male reading this and you have any of the following symptoms/signs there is a chance you may be oestrogen dominant so it could be worth getting your hormones tested?
- Sexual dysfunction of any kind (lacking sex drive/low libido), less morning erections and /or decreased erectile dysfunction).
- Man boobs (enlarged breasts).
- Lower urinary tract symptoms
- Increased fat around the abdomen
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Losing Muscle mass
- Feeling depressed for no apparent reason
- Type 2 Diabetes
How Do Men Create High Oestrogen Anyway?
- The ageing Process: unfortunately there is not a whole lot we can do about ageing, we will age and that is for certain but we can slow it down with a good diet and lifestyle, being sure to include a good antioxidant such as resveratrol for good cellular health, heart health and more. It’s important as we age to keep an eye on our hormones and get them tested when we feel we may be out of whack.
When men age there’s naturally an increase in aromatase (this is the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into oestrogen) so as this enzyme increases so too can a man’s oestrogen.
- BPAs in plastics: a compound found in certain plastics that can mimic oestrogen so you’d be wise to remove anything with BPA from your life.
- Less Muscle and More Fat: with advancing age can also come a loss of muscle and you guessed it… an increase in fat! This muscle loss can also be associated with 2 common metabolic disorders - Obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
- Hormone Therapy (testosterone): if a man has low testosterone and is receiving injections of this hormone, there’s a very good chance that he is also making too much oestrogen.
What can Men Do About This?
Obviously you want to steer clear of BPAs regardless if you’re a man or a woman but the following list is aimed towards the men reading this article.
- Eat more cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage and cauliflower as these contain higher amounts of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates naturally help detoxify excess oestrogen out of the body.
- Be sure to also include some bitter herbs such as parsley, dandelion and milk thistle as thee help clear oestrogen via the liver.
- 2 key supplements for helping oestrogen dominance in men are indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) but always check with your trusted healthcare provider for advice on dosage.
- Look to eat some grass-fed meats, wild fish, shellfish, organic eggs, organic spinach, Organic beetroot and quinoa as these all contain nutrients known as methyl donors (methyl donors help improve methylation - a process vital to oestrogen metabolism and proper detoxification.
- Upping your fibre intake as well as reducing your weight with proper dietary choices and exercise are all crucial elements when trying to reduce high oestrogen levels.
Overall, oestrogen dominance is something that anyone of us can experience, both woman and also men. Therefore, making the conscious decision to look closely at the way we eat, drink, move, think, live we can start to feel our best selves again and live life to its full potential.
But not only that but also reduce our risk from the life-threatening conditions that oestrogen dominance is often associated with.
Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.