Is estrogen good, bad or both? Do I need it? Why is it so confusing???
Let me help…
Estrogen is a very powerful class of hormones produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. There are at least two dozen known estrogens, all with various functions; every organ, including the brain, heart, ovaries, and liver, has estrogen-sensitive receptor sites. The most commonly discussed estrogens are estrone, estradiol, and estriol. And we are also exposed to estrogens by supplementation and sadly also in the water we drink and the foods we eat.
The main function of estrogens is to make cells grow and proliferate. They stimulate endometrial cells in preparation for pregnancy, promote breast tissue growth, maintain function of the sexual organs, stimulate the menstrual cycle, and initiate the bodily changes that occur at puberty. If estrogen function and metabolism are out of balance, cells can multiply unnecessarily and this may lead to cancer in some cases amongst other things.
Daily we are ‘over exposed’ to estrogens in our environment. These estrogens are called “xenoestrogens”, foreign substances with estrogen like effects in the body. Xenoestrogens can mimic natural estrogen and block estrogen receptor sites on cells throughout the body. They then activate these receptors to stimulate a hormonal effect or they can also occupy the receptor and block natural hormones from doing what they are supposed to do for health, thus disrupting the normal endocrine activity. As you can imagine, these can have a serious effect on hormone balance, causing health problems including increased cancer rates and infertility
So where do these xenoestrogens come from? Most xenoestrogens are derived from petrochemicals and include pesticides, industrial chemicals, cleaners, plastics including all the water bottles wed rink from and the food containers we eat from. They are also in nail polish, and car exhaust.
Many of these hormone imposters accumulate over time because they are fat soluble; they are easily absorbed through the skin and can be stored in body fat, where they can continue to interfere with the body’s natural hormone balance. These man-made estrogens are everywhere !
So now what? Are we just doomed? No way!! We can make choices in our daily lives that reduce the xenoestrogens in our life.
Here is how. Start with the following and in my next blog I will share with you some fabulous food ideas that can also help to lower the risk of ‘bad estrogens” in your body….
- Avoid plastics for water and food storage. Use glass or ceramics whenever possible, especially to heat food. When plastic is heated, it rapidly diffuses into food. Use wax paper or a glass plate instead of plastic wrap to cover bowls in the microwave.
- Use detergents with fewer chemicals. Chemical residue can be absorbed through your skin.
- Choose shampoos, body soaps, makeup, and lotions that are paraben free.
- Use natural pest control, not pesticides or herbicides.
- Buy hormone-free meats; look for organics whenever possible.
- Buy organic produce to reduce your exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals.
To your health!