How Breast cysts, Fibroids and Menstrual problems
Article by Miles Price, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, LIFE Clinic.
Our consumption of various foods and the way we consume them in today’s environment, especially in Hong Kong can put us at great risk of exposure to a particular hormonal disruptor which has been linked to a number disease states and conditions. This hormonal disruptor is called xeno-estrogen and is endemic to our society.
Xeno-estrogens are industrial, agricultural and chemical compounds which have been introduced into society in the last 70 years for a variety of applications. These compounds which mimic the effect of human estrogen, can be particularly disruptive to the human boyd. They are found in a variety of sources ranging from plastic bottles, to commercial produced meats and milk and their effects are similar to normal estrogen in the body in that lock onto receptor sites in cells, which then stop our own estrogens from entering the cells. Xeno-estrogens can also be pharmacological estrogens like the contraceptive pill.
They are 1000 times more potent than our human form of estrogen and they bind onto the estrogen receptor sites on cells thereby increasing the estrogenic ‘effect’ of stimulating undifferentiated cell growth. This is normally kept under control by the balancing effect of progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone balance each other in accordance to woman’s monthly cycle. This imbalance creates all sorts of symptoms and potential conditions which can be distressing, ranging from breast cysts, fibroids, heavy periods. It can also affect men too, when they develop breasts or ‘man boobs’ or suffer from a lack of sex drive or focus.
There are things you can do to protect yourself however from the build up of these nasty estrogens. Firstly ensure that your liver and colon are functioning optimally. The liver is the main organ for detoxifying estrogens from the body and it can be assisted in this process by taking various foods. Cherries for example contain compounds which specific help the liver breakdown xeno-estrogens into compounds which can be excreted. Broccoli contains compounds called indoles which specifically target estrogens in the blood for detoxification.
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 taken out of the body.
Additional lifestyle tips you can do is to limit your alcohol intake, because when we drink alcohol estrogen levels in the blood can rise very high due to the high need to detoxify the alcohol and not the estrogens. The net effect is estrogen is driven into fat cells and muscle cells. Also limiting coffee can help too, as coffee has the effect of increasing estrogen receptor sensitivity on cells so that more estrogen can be accepted into the cells.
Estrogens are also present in birth control pills, and it would wise to review the birth control methods used to ensure exposure to 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.
Looking after and managing your hormones requires good self-awareness of the type of environmental estrogens coming into our bodies and eliminating them accordingly. It’s also about being aware of symptoms together with an appreciation of optimising your liver and colon function which supports the healthy elimination of excess hormones and toxins, and an optimal intake of specific nutrients which supports specific hormonal pathways.
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