Oestrogen dominance affects both men and women but you only really ever tend to see it discussed for women. It basically means where your oestrogen to progesterone ratio is out – the oestrogen is out of proportion.
That can be because the progesterone is too low – pretty common – and/or because the oestrogen intake from meds or the environment is too high.
Either way, too much oestrogen is not a good idea since many cancers and medical conditions are oestrogenic. Too much circulating about can be used, if you see what I mean. That might mean in endometriosis, fibroids or breast cancer, for example in women, or low libido, fertility issues, man ‘boobs’ or even prostate problems for men.
Here is a bit more info for you, taken from a factsheet written by Nutri, because it clearly gives male and female oestrogen dominance symptoms.
Oestrogen Dominance Symptoms:
|✓ Difficulty putting on muscle
✓ Low libido
✓ Foggy thinking
✓ Excess fat and redistribution of fat
✓ Breast growth (“man boobs”)
✓ Reduced body hair
✓ Sleep problems
✓ Difficulty with urination,
✓ Increased frequency of urination
✓ Prostate enlargement
✓ Erectile dysfunction
✓ Fertility issues / low sperm count
|✓ Mood swings
✓ Low energy
✓ Foggy thinking
✓ Dry eyes
✓ Disrupted periods
✓ Low energy
✓ Weight gain
✓ Low libido
|✓ Hair loss
✓ Weak bladder control
✓ Irregular menstrual periods
✓ Sleep problems
✓ Fibrocystic or painful breasts
✓ Cervical dysplasia
✓ Systemic lupus erythematosis
✓ Fertility issues
✓ Family history of breast cancer
How is your body handling oestrogen?
The way the body handles oestrogen has a significant impact on its ultimate biologic effects and can contribute significantly to increased levels in the body. The good news is that healthy oestrogen metabolism relies on essential nutrients to support hydroxylation, methylation, glucuronidation and sulphation pathways to safely process and eliminate oestrogen from the body. So, whilst it’s not always possible to control exposure to oestrogen, you can support the way the body handles oestrogen through these important processes simply by optimising intake of the key nutrients required.
How you can support a healthy oestrogen balance naturally…
The way to deal with all of this excess is to make sure your body has an optimal supply of all the nutrients needed to safely process and eliminate them from the body. The good news is that there are numerous compounds and botanicals, which have been shown to help significantly, including:
• Calcium-d-glucarate – Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme which contributes to increased circulation of oestrogens. Calcium-d-glucarate can help to inhibit this enzyme and support healthy excretion of oestrogen before it can become reabsorbed.
• Broccoli extract providing di-indolylmethane (DIM) – Di-indolylmethane (DIM) is a beneficial phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. DIM, derived from indole-3-carbinol (I3C), is the most active and important of the dietary indoles and is known to significantly support healthy oestrogen metabolism.
• Phytoestrogens from flaxseed and kudzu – Phytoestrogens are plant compounds which are similar in shape to the oestrogen molecule and can bind to oestrogen receptors. They are much weaker than endogenous oestrogens and may help to support a healthy balance.
• Vitamin E – Low vitamin E has been associated with elevated oestrogen. Restoring optimal levels of this nutrient is key for supporting healthy oestrogen balance.
• Magnesium – An essential co-factor for the key oestrogen processing pathways and is typically lacking in the Western diet. Supplementation is often necessary to bring levels back into a healthy balance.
• B Vitamins, N-Acetyl-l-Cysteine & Glycine – Important co-factors for the enzymes involved in oestrogen processing
• L-Glutathione – Often referred to as the master antioxidant, glutathione supports the neutralization of potentially harmful free radicals, which can contribute to oestrogen overload.
Oestrogen Dominance Supplements
Part of the reason I chose Nutri’s factsheet is because they do have a great range of products in this area via Metagenics. You can see them here and get them from Natural Dispensary as usual, see here. Use one of their mixes like EstroBalance and then add anything else you need on top.
An alternative I also like is this one from AOR: EstroAdapt especially if your hormones are also causing anxiety or pain – the hops in this should help that.
Always be led by your health practitioners, of course, these are just pointers to help you get started.
Oestrogen Dominance Tests
You can test oestrogen and progesterone ratios quite simply using the tests in the Hormone Tests section here.
The One Day test should be sufficient for post-menopausal women, and the Rhythm or DUTCH Complete for women still having cycles. The DUTCH Complete is also suitable for men or there are a couple of other comprehensive tests on the shop for you.
It is also a good idea to check for the levels of good and ‘bad’ oestrogens. People think that oestrogen is just one hormone, but it is actually a collection of several types of oestrogen; some of which are beneficial to you and some of which are definitely not. Those latter are the ones related to oestrogenic disorders like breast cancer, prostate enlargement, endometriosis etc.
In this case, you want to see if you have enough of the protective oestrogen types or too much of the more harmful ones. To test this, use the Oestrogen Metabolism test here. There are then quite easy strategies if needed to redress the balance using eg. the calcium d glucarate and DIM mentioned above.
You will note the other issue mentioned above in Nutri’s factsheet is the inability of some people to process the excess oestrogens out of the body effectively. This is done via the phase 2 liver pathways.
You can actually get an idea if your phase 2 liver detox is effective enough or not using the Hepatic Detox test. I often find the sulphation and methylation pathways are an issue with oestrogen excess.
We used to be able to test the pathways directly, but sadly that test is no longer available, grr.. You can use the Hepatic Detox Test though to get a good enough overall picture if there is a problem going on with them. And, again, there are then quite simple strategies to correct anything found.
Hope that helps to start you off – many people completely miss this issue because they don’t know how to look for it. It is actually quite easy, in my experience anyway, to identify an issue with excess oestrogen and get the balance back. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.