Detoxing your Hormones
In last month’s blog, I talked about how you basically have a shortage of hormones when you reach perimenopause and menopause and what you could do to manage that. This month, I want to talk about detoxing your hormones, even if you are in menopause.
You may be thinking, why would I want to lower my hormone levels if I already have a shortage of them?
Because it is all about balance. Even if you were following my suggestions from the previous blog to balance and increase your hormone levels, there are external factors to also consider. These need to be addressed as well to help you with optimal hormones levels.
You have probably already heard this a thousand times, but some of the external factors we all deal with are the toxins we encounter every day. I am sure you have all heard of the dire statistics of the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis, such as:
· Beauty products that can contain phthalates, lead, etc
· Polluted air and water
· Cleaning products with harsh chemicals
· Plastics used to store our food, water bottles, shopping bags, etc
· Heavy Metals
And the list goes on. “These toxins are hormone mimics and are potent environmental endocrine disruptors (EED). EEDs act like a monkey wrench in the normal chemistry of hormones”.[i] EEDs can scramble the messages and signals in the body.
Limiting your exposure to these toxins is critical and many articles and blogs have been written about this. In general, you should evaluate your air, water, food, personal care products and cleaning products to see how you can reduce exposures. Dr. Jill Carnahan has written several helpful blogs about this. Here is one to get you started: Ten Tips to Protect your Body from Toxic Chemicals
Even when you reduce your toxic load, chances are you still will need to be able to help your body detox all chemicals and toxins. The body does have six main ways it helps you to detoxify:
- Your liver
- Your kidneys
- Your Skin
- Your gut
- Your lungs
- Your lymphatic system
But these avenues can become easily overwhelmed and not eliminate all the chemicals properly.
One of the most common issues that arises with hormones in this area is estrogen dominance. Estrogen Dominance is when you have too much estrogen relative to progesterone. Again balance is key and in this case the scale is tipping way over on the estrogen side of things.
Estrogen dominance can be caused the estrogenic chemicals in the environment and can manifest as PMS, mood swings, painful periods, breast tenderness, weight gain, bloating, headaches, insomnia, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), ovarian cysts, and irregular menstrual bleeding.
But if we can get extra estrogen from environmental causes isn’t that a good thing in menopause?
“Xenoestrogens, one of the more troubling types of endocrine disruptors, mimic estrogens and attach to the body's estrogen-receptor sites, in both women and men. These xenoestrogens interfere with hormonal signaling and are believed to cause an increased risk of breast, prostate, and reproductive cancers; reduced fertility; early puberty in children; menstrual irregularities; endometriosis; and other disorders. A new area of research is now pointing to the obesogenic effects of xenoestrogens and other endocrine disruptors: chemicals that disrupt our hormones are also making us fat, says Bruce Blumberg, PhD, professor of developmental and cell biology at the University of California, Irvine.”[ii]
So the short is answer is “NO” they are not good for you. These are foreign invaders that are posers for real estrogen. In fact, they damage the hormone receptors and block the action of your real hormones and other cell regulators.
Beyond limiting your exposure, you want your body to process and get rid of these xenoestrogens as quickly as possible.
That is where the detoxing comes in. Make sure each of the 6 detox routes named earlier (like your liver) are in peak performance. Here are some additional recommendations…
For instance, certain foods and herbs can shield estrogen receptor sites so xenoestrogens can't attach, help the body metabolize and excrete harmful estrogen, and protect the body from xenoestrogen damage. Some of these are:
- Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. These contain a compound called Indole-3-carbinol ( I3C). It is known to stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the gut and liver.[iii]
- Sauerkraut & Kimchi
Some supplements that are generally recommended are:
- N-acetyl cysteine
- Glutathione, CoQ10
- Green tea extract
- Milk Thistle
Remember to get enough fiber. Estrogen is excreted by the bowel; if stool remains in the bowel, estrogen is reabsorbed.[iv]
Lose excess body fat and get regular exercise. When the body can’t eliminate the excess estrogen it stores in your fat! This is part of the vicious cycle of gaining weight. Your body is trying to protect you from the toxins and if it can’t eliminate it, it stored it where it can’t do too much harm. Unfortunately, your body also holds onto it and it is hard to get it to be released.
Infrared sauna can help release the toxins from your body via the skin. Infrared saunas induce sweating, which brings toxins to the surface of the skin with the sweat, where we can bypass the overworked liver and digestive tract entirely.
This is a big subject of which I have only touched upon the surface. If you would like more information on detoxing and hormone resetting, three books I could recommend are:
- Detoxify or Die, Sherry Rodgers, MD ** (This book is a little older, but I think the author was ahead of her time)
- The Hormone Reset Diet, Sara Gottfried, MD**
- Cooking for Hormone Balance, Magdalena Wszelaki**
And as always if you want support in your health journey, you can always contact me. Sign up for a free 15 minute consult today!
**We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
[i] Detoxify or Die, Sherry A. Rodgers, MD