High estrogen levels have been correlated with a variety of health conditions including breast cancer, fibroid tumors of the uterus, and benign breast disease. If you want to lower your estrogen levels naturally, here are some steps to take.
Estrogen is a hormone that has both positive and negative effects on the human body. One of its greatest benefits is that it helps to preserve and maintain strong bones but this can come at the cost of health related issues such as fibrocystic breast disease, fibroid tumors of the uterus, and menstrual cycle irregularities.
Many women who are perimenopausal and postmenopausal period of their life, suffer from estrogen dominance which is characterized by an excess of estrogen with a relative deficiency in progesterone. This estrogen dominance can lead to weight gain and may even increase the risk of breast cancer since many breast tumors are stimulated to grow by the presence of estrogen. If you’re concerned about elevated estrogen levels, what can you do to lower them?
The first step is to determine whether you’re experiencing estrogen dominance. To do this, visit your doctor and have some simple blood tests run to check your hormone levels. If the results suggest that you’re estrogen dominant, there are some simple lifestyle and dietary modifications you can make to help lower estrogen levels and potentially reduce your risk of breast cancer and other estrogen related problems.Here are some steps you can take to lower estrogen levels:
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Estrogen is metabolized or broken down by the liver. Alcohol consumption can impair liver function which makes it difficult for the liver to properly metabolize estrogen. This can allow higher levels of estrogen to build up in the body. A study carried out in postmenopausal women on hormone therapy found that those who used moderate amounts of alcohol had higher estrogen levels than those who abstained from alcohol use. If you’re consuming more than one alcoholic drink per day, make an effort to cut back. Ideally, if you suffer from estrogen dominance, completely avoid alcohol.
There are a variety of chemicals and pesticides found in our food and drink that exert estrogen like activity when absorbed into the body. These include pesticides found on non-organic fruits and vegetables as well as hormones found in meat and poultry. One way to avoid exposure to these exogenous estrogens is to purchase organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on meat consumption.
Limit Dairy Products
Cow’s milk is another source of exogenous estrogens. Ganmaa, a physician and scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health states that dairy milk accounts for up to eighty percent of the estrogens consumed. This may stem from the fact that cows are milked frequently during pregnancy when estrogen levels are their highest. These estrogens end up in the milk supply and can promote growth of fibroid tumors of the uterus and stimulate breast tissue, potentially increasing the risk of certain types of both benign and malignant breast disease. One solution? Substitute a non-dairy milk such as almond or rice milk.
Increase Fiber Intake
A high intake of soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet can help to lower estrogen levels according to a variety of studies. Estrogens are eliminated from the body when they’re bound to bile acids produced by the liver. These bile acids are dumped into the intestine during digestion. Fiber then binds to and promotes excretion of the bile acids thus flushing the body of the bound estrogens. It appears that both soluble and insoluble fiber sources such as vegetables and whole grains appear to lower estrogen levels. Adding more high fiber vegetables and whole grains such as wheat bran to your diet may help to offset some of the effects of estrogen dominance.
A regular program of moderate to high intensity exercise can lower estrogen levels according to a study carried out at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Post menopausal women who took part in a moderately intense exercise session five days a week saw their estrogen levels drop by seven percent. Those who only did stretching exercises showed no change in their estrogen levels. In addition to its many other health benefits, exercise appears to be an important tool for maintaining normal estrogen levels.
A final way to lower estrogen levels is to maintain a healthy body weight. Women who carry around excess fat tend to have higher estrogen levels. A combination of moderate intensity exercise and a reduction in calories to promote fat loss can be quite effective in reducing the effects of estrogen dominance.
If you’re concerned about the potential negative effects of high estrogen levels, taking these few steps may help to lower your risk of estrogen related health problems.