How to Detox Environmental Estrogen to prevent Estrogen Dominance

Environmental estrogen (oestrogen) or xenoestrogens as they are sometimes called are chemicals that when absorbed into your body can function in a similar way to your own estrogen. They disrupt the way your natural hormones function and create a condition known as estrogen dominance. In this article we will look at what they are, where they come from , how to avoid them and ways to detox environmental estrogen.

Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance as the term suggests is when there is too much estrogen in your system either from the way that your body metabolizes your own hormones or from environmental sources.  It can affect men as well as women. Although men and women have the same hormones, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, they have them in a very different ratio and they must be in correct balance for good health.

Good Estrogen and Bad Estrogen

Estrogen, actually a general term for three different forms of estrogen that are produced in your body, must eventually be broken down by the liver and excreted. They can go through one of two pathways.

The substance (metabolite) that is produced by one pathway is often called “bad” estrogen as it  stimulates estrogen sensitive tissue and is linked with increased risk of cancer, lupus and symptoms of estrogen dominance. The second pathway produces a much weaker metabolite known as “good” estrogen. Too much of this however is linked to an increased risk of  developing conditions associated with estrogen deficiency, such as heart disease, depression, and osteoporosis.

A proper balance of the the two is the key to optimum health.  It’s known that the metabolism of estrogen depends on lifestyle, diet, your environment and genetic make up.

In men estrogen dominance can contribute to prostate cancer and  breast cancer. Yes, men suffer with breast cancer too! In women it can contribute to endometriosis, fibroids, polycystic ovaries, breast and cancer of the womb (endometrial cancer). So you can see how important it is to detox environmental estrogen.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

There are many symptoms and conditions associated with estrogen dominance including:

  • Acceleration of the aging process
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus erythematosis. thyroiditis, and possibly Sjoegren’s disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast tenderness
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Early onset of menstruation
  • Endometrial (uterine) cancer
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Fibromyalgia (thought by some to be related to estrogen dominance)
  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Low sperm count
  • Man Boobs (Gynecomastia)
  • PMS
  • Premenopausal bone loss
  • Thyroid dysfunction mimicking hypothyroidism
  • Water retention

Where does environmental estrogen come from?

More than 60 substances, including dioxin, DDT, PCB and solvents have been identified as environmental estrogens or endocrine disruptors as they are also known.  They have been produced by industrial, agricultural, and chemical companies and introduced into the environment in the last 70 years. They are everywhere.

Shockingly, these hormone mimics can come from the food you eat and the personal care products that you use on your body.  Common sources of these xenoestrogens are commercially raised beef, chicken and pork due to the hormones often given to the animals to produce rapid growth. They are also used to increase milk production in dairy cows.

They are in the pesticides sprayed on your non organic fruit and vegetables, in the plastic containers that are used for food and drinks including styrofoam, in household detergents and cleaners,  artificial scents such as air fresheners, garden herbicides and pesticides, and paints and solvents.

Earlier this year researchers in warned that 2 food additives they studied are estrogenic and could alter hormones. Propyl gallate, is a preservative used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling is used in a range of foods including baked goods, shortening, dried meats, candy, fresh pork sausage, mayonnaise and dried milk.  A second additive, 4-hexyl resorcinol, is
used to prevent shrimp, lobsters, and other shellfish from discoloring.

They are commonly found in cosmetics, nail polish and remover, glues, paints, varnishes, and other types of finishes, carpets, fiberboard, and other processed woods.

Researchers in Germany found traces of an unknown estrogenic substance leaching into mineral water stored in PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, a commonly used plastic for storing foods and beverages.

There may be only minute amounts in each of these sources but they add up over time as they accumulate  in your body as they are stored in the fat layers or the fatty acid membranes of your cells.

How you can reduce your exposure to environmental estrogen:

  • Avoid buying food and drink in plastic or styrofoam containers
  • Never heat food in plastic containers either in a conventional oven or microwave
  • Avoid wrapping food in plastic wrap
  • Use glass or ceramic containers to store food
  • Replace your chemical based household cleaning products with natural products
  • Buy hormone free or organic meat
  • Do not eat the fat on meat or poultry where the chemicals accumulate.
  • Buy organic fruit and vegetables where possible or avoid the most heavily contaminated produce.
  • Eat a diet high in whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables and low in processed food.
  • Avoid food and drink with artificial additives
  • Use natural, chemical free cosmetics.
  • Avoid solvents
  • Use natural pest control
  • Avoid birth control pills and conventional estrogen replacement therapy (ERT, HRT). Use bio-identical hormones based on saliva, urine or blood tests done by a functional medicine doctor.
  • Do not use spermacide

How to detox environmental estrogen:

Increase cruciferous vegetables

Eat more cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, mustard, turnip, bok choy, kohlrabi and rutabaga (swede). They contain the phytochemical indole-3-carbinol, that improves detox of environmental estrogen and improves the balance of all hormones.

Increase fiber intake

Once the has liver has changed the environmental estrogens into a form that that body can more readily excrete it goes into the bile and then the digestive tract to be finally removed in the stools. You need to make sure that your bowels are moving  well at least twice a day.

Eat more whole grains, fruit, vegetables, seeds and beans.  Try taking 1 – 2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seeds a day with breakfast if your bowels need a push . Do a bowel cleanse if necessary.

Increase natural plant estrogens

Phytoestrogens are compounds that occur naturally in plants and are thought to help protect against the effects of estrogen dominance. The two that have been studies the most are isoflavones, such as soy and lignans which occur in linseed, grains and vegetables.

There are over 300 foods are known to contain phytoestrogens. The main sources are soy beans, tofu, tempeh, soy beverages, linseed (flax), sesame seeds millet, barley, rye, dried beans, lentils and fennel.

Increase Calcium D-glucarate

D-glucarate is a natural subtance is found in apples, oranges, broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. To detox the toxic estrogens your liver joins it to glucoronic acid.  D-glucarate can inhibit an enzyme produced by gut bacteria called beta-glucuronidase that can break this bond and allow the estrogen to be recirculated from the bowel.

Take it in supplement form as well. One 500 mg tablet or capsule of Calcium D-Glucarate is equivalent to the phytonutrient activity found in 82 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Improve your liver function

See my previous post on Liver Detox

Increase exercise & sweating

The improved circulation of lymph and blood helps carry the chemicals to the liver to be detoxified. The toxic estrogens can be eliminated in the sweat. Try FIR saunas too.

Take Milk Thistle

The herb Milk Thistle (Silymarin) enhances the detox of toxic estrogens from the liver.

Take Liquid Zeolite

Liquid zeolite can help remove environmental estrogens. Find out more about Liquid Zeolite in another recent post.

Consider a supplement of DIM

Scientific research shows DIM (diindolylmethane), a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, increases the level of “good” estrogens  while reducing the level of “bad” estrogens.

I am sure now that you will understand that detoxing environmental estrogen and improving the metabolism of your own estrogen will vastly improve your health.

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Comments

Comments

  1. The statement “common source…beef, chicken, pork ….” This is GROSSLY INACCURATE. Even tho health fooders and conspiracy theorists love to hear this stuff, and more the better, IT’S AGAINST THE LAW TO INTRODUCE HORMONES TO PORK in North America Altho i am sure they get plenty antibiotics….

    • Hi Fred, Thanks for your comment. I am not saying that the hormones are deliberately given to the animals. These chemicals get into the animals the same way they get into our bodies, through food and water. They exist in the food chain. They are fat soluble so get stored in the fatty tissue of the animals.

      Sandy

  2. Hello, this might be a silly question but I´m very ignorant about this:

    Is it good also for man to have Phytoestrogens?

    Thank you, I love your website.

    • That’s a very important question. I have seen some studies on male rats that show decreased fertility in men on diets that are high in phytoestrogens. On the other hand, other studies show that men with a high intake of phytoestrogen-containing foods have increased dilation in some of their small arteries, improving their blood flow, and regulating their blood pressure.

      There is no evidence that men who eat moderate amounts of soy experience any feminizing effects.

      In a recent study looking at soy’s affect on reproductive health in healthy males, men given 40 mg of soy isoflavones daily for 2 months (there are 20 mg of isoflavones in 1 cup of soy milk; 38 mg in 1/2 cup of tofu), there were no effects on serum sex hormones, testicular volume, or semen quality. This was the first study to examine the effects of a phytoestrogen supplement on reproductive health in males. (Mitchell et al., Clinical Science 100(6):613-618, 2001 June)

      So everything in moderation is the best solution.

      Sandy

  3. Thanks for the article. I’m forced to drink out of a plastic container everyday so I’m trying to find some good ways to detox the bad estrogen out.

  4. Alixandrea says:

    I’m afraid I’m confused. I’ve read many articles on the subject of estrogen dominance now, and about half say that phytoestrogens are good for you, while to other half say that they should be avoided. Which is it? It’s very difficult to know how one should go about setting on the path to wellness if no-one can agree on the correct method to do this.

    • You are right Alixandrea, it is confusing. Phytoestrogens are naturally-occurring estrogen-like ‘chemicals’ estimated to be anywhere between 50 and 20,000 times weaker than natural estrogen. According to research in cases of estrogen excess — which can occur as a result of taking the contraceptive pill, ERT, (HRT) from environmental exposure or simply from inadequate breakdown of natural estrogen ( oestrogen in the UK) — these weak phytoestrogens actually reduce the estrogenic effect by docking onto the oestrogen receptor sites, so blocking the stronger estrogens.

      Phytoestrogen expert Dr Ritchie of Bute Medical School at the University of St Andrews believes that we should eat a small amount of soya daily, as blood levels of the beneficial compounds start to decline six hours after consuming.

      Based on Dr Richie’s research, you should aim for around 15mg of phytoestrogens a day, ideally split into two portions at different times of the day. This is easily achieved by having a small portion of tofu (100g serving provides 78mg), or a 100mg glass of soya milk (11mg) and a portion of chickpeas, perhaps as hummous (2mg). Eating rye bread, beansprouts, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds also helps boost your levels.

      Hope this answers your question.

      Good health

      Sandy

  5. Your program gives hope to women; I will pass this on to some people who can use this vital information.

  6. These is again a reminder for all of us. Those tips are indeed a very useful information which most of us taking for granted. I believe is just a sort of discipline again ourselves especially using plastic in storing foods.

    • Hi Mary

      There are still so many people that have no idea that the plastic containers they store and heat food in can transfer the hormone disrupting chemicals to their food and get into their bodies causing many health problems.

      Good health

      Sandy

  7. My personal experience suggests caution for men regarding phytoestrogens. Cutting isoflavone rich soy products from my diet appears to have contributed to a strong increase in sperm health as well as emotional health.

    My partner and I went for fertility counselling in the fall of 2011. We learned that I had a low sperm count and my motility (no, not mobility spelt wrong 🙂 was poor.

    I am in very good physical condition and there are no history of male fertility issues in my family. I discussed my diet with the clinic. I told them how over the last 5 years I had replaced much of the dairy in my diet with soy milk (about 1-2 cups per day) and that a couple of times a week I would substitute meat with tofu or a protein shake.

    I learned about emerging evidence of the adverse impact of phytoestrogens on men. So I cut soy out of my diet as much as possible and replaced it with rice milk, almond milk and whole foods.

    After 4 months, my sperm was retested. My sperm count rose 5-fold into the normal range and my motility moved into normal range as well. Furthermore, my mood and emotional state had improved as well. And, though I am fit, I had carried a bit of man boob and this reduced, too.

    • That’s very interesting Akrcda. The research on phytoestrogens and male feritlity is scarce and conflicting. Some studies showed that it improved male fertility. People are different and respond to different substances differently. I know men have improved their sperm count and motility with a whole food diet that included increased levels of fruit and vegetables.

      In the case of prostate cancer one small, short-term study found that male cancer patients eating a high-phytoestrogen diet had a significant drop in their PSA levels compared with men who ate a low phytoestrogen diet.

      I hope you and your partner have a good outcome .

      Sandy

      • Anyone claiming soy phytoestrogens have no affect on men must be a woman. This is rubbish. Enalrged thyroid and bloating, excessive sweating, reduced sperm count. All these are caused by long exposure to soy milk and tofu my men, yes men. I don’t expect women to understand, especially those women aplogists for the hippy soya eating movement who can’t stand the thought of being wrong on this.

        Even the nutritional and dietician associations are refusing to admin what science is telling them, soy products are dangerous. You either have a mainstream dietician education or you haven’t bothered to research the academic studies or talk to men affected.

        • Sandy Halliday says:

          Hello Mick,

          My post is about environmental estrogen. Soy phytoestrogens fall into a different category. I have never claimed that they don’t have an effect on men. I say here in this post that environmental estrogens affect men as much as women and that in men estrogen dominance can contribute to prostate cancer and breast cancer. I agree that regularly eating soy products over a period of time may result in adverse effects in both men and women.

          Asians have consumed soy without apparent problems but the soy they consume is not genetically modified as it is in the USA and they usually consume fermented soy products like natto, miso and tempeh and in small amounts.

          The research on soy is very confusing. For every study showing harmful effects, there is another one showing beneficial effects although the majority of these have been funded by the soy industry. I avoid soy myself.

          Thanks for voicing your concerns.

          Sandy

  8. Thanks Sandy. Herein lies the problem facing both the supporters of holistic, naturopathic and western medicinal therapies. We all know that each of us has a body that operates on billions of complex interactions between molecular compounds and hormones steered by a unique signature of DNA. It’s a flawed notion that the introduction or removal of a single compound over a short time is totally causal for a given outcome. For all I know, the improvement in my sperm quality could be totally unrelated to the removal of soy. There may have been other ingredients causing issues.

    There appear to be good clues out there like, as you suggested, the benefits of a whole foods diet. There is a lot more work to be done.

    • You are absolutely right Akrcda. There are many variables to take into account. We are all unique oo so what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. I agree that a lot more research is called for.

      Thanks for your insightful comments.

      Sandy

  9. It’s a very tricky problem this one with the hormones. Hormonal imbalances can get us into so many health problems that most of us are totally unaware. It’s nice to see a well documented informative article like this one. And I love that you even come back with professional answers to all the questions in here. Keep doing a great work 🙂

  10. how many days do i have to follow the diet plan for the detox to complete .
    and for that time span what all things should i avoid .

    • Sandy Halliday says:

      Hi Gul,

      You would need to follow the plan until your symptoms disappear. It depends on how toxic you are and how efficient your detox system is. I list all the things you should avoid in the article.

      Good health,

      Sandy

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  2. […] article: How to Detox Environmental Estrogens […]

  3. […] oranges, broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts that will help detox  estrogens, according to The detox specialist. Take it in supplement form as well. One 500 mg tablet or capsule of Calcium D-Glucarate is […]

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