Are my fibroids, cysts or menstrual problems related to what I eat?
By Miles Price, Certified Holistic Nutritionist
In today’s convenience-led culture, many of the “convenience food” we consume puts us at risk of being exposed to toxins like xeno-estrogen, which interferes with our hormones. Some researchers have shown the links between xeno-estrogen to a number of diseases like breast cysts, fibroids and menstrual problems.
Xeno-estrogen is found in industrial, agricultural and chemical compounds, like pesticides, herbicides and various plastic products. These compounds were introduced to our food supplies over 70 years ago and we are only now becoming aware of some of their side-effects.
Xeno-estrogen has the ability to mimic human estrogen which is disruptive to the human body. It is found in a variety of sources ranging from plastic bottles to commercial produced meats and milk. Xeno-estrogen is a 1000 times more potent than our naturally occurring human form of estrogen. It binds onto the estrogen receptor sites on cells thereby increasing the estrogenic ‘effect’ of stimulating undifferentiated cell growth.
Under normal circumstances, estrogen is kept under control by the balancing effect of progesterone, however the Xeno-estrogen tips the hormonal balance within our body causing problems such as breast cysts, fibroids, heavy periods for women.
Studies have shown that men are also affected by these Xeno-estrogen where some develop breasts (known as or ‘man boobs”) and other suffer from a lack of sex drive or focus.
What can you do to prevent the build-up of Xeno-estrogen in your system.
Looking after and managing your hormones requires awareness of the type of environmental estrogens coming into our bodies and eliminating or reducing them accordingly.
- Switching our use of plastic bottles and food containers to glass is the easiest way to reduce our exposure to Xeno-estrogen.
- Making better food choices (such as eating grass fed lamb and beef, and free range eggs). Also, eating fruits such as Cherries can help the liver break down Xeno-estrogen in our system. Vegetables like broccoli contain compounds called Indoles which also help with detoxification.
- Reducing alcohol and coffee consumption can also reduce our exposure to Xeno-estrogen. The consumption of alcohol increases the estrogen levels in our blood due to the body’s need to metabolize the alcohol. The consumption of coffee increases estrogen receptor sensitivity on cells so that more estrogen can be accepted into the cells. Thus the reduced consumption of both alcohol and coffee not only reduces the levels of estrogen in our blood but also reduces the sensitivity of cell receptors to estrogen. Eliminating or reducing both has a overall positive impact on balancing estrogen levels.
- Estrogens are also present in birth control pills, and if you have been on it for an extended period of time particularly if you are over 35, it would wise to review with your doctor, whether you should stay on it or switch to another birth control method. This will help ensure that exposure to these artificial estrogens do not disrupt the natural balance within the body. Research has shown that the long term use (over 10 years) of certain types of birth control pills can increase the risk of certain types of hormone related cancers like breast or cervical cancer.
- Being aware of symptoms together with an appreciation of optimizing your liver and colon function supports the healthy elimination of excess hormones and toxins, and will go a long way to keeping your hormones in a naturally balanced state. Once the estrogen metabolites are dumped into the gut, it’s important to keep them there, so having extra fibre helps in this process as the estrogens are then bound with the fibre and expelled from the body naturally.
Managing hormonal health begins with awareness.