What Are The Health Concerns Of Excess Estrogen
Excess estrogen in men is linked to a number of serious health concerns that can impact short-term and long-term health.
Estrogen dominance is a toxic condition. Estrogen is the hormone that promotes growth and development. Too much estrogen is linked to the growth and spread of cancerous tumors. Researchers have especially studied the connection betweenexcess estrogen and breast cancer in both men and women. Excess estrogen may also increasethe risk for testicular and prostatic cancers.
High levels of estrogen are also linked to weight gain. Estrogen likes to hold on to fat cells, which can make weight loss a challenge. Excess estrogen also upsets insulin levels. Insulin metabolizes sugar when insulin is out of whack, it doesnt fully process these sugars. If insulin cant remove sugar from the bloodstream, the body starts storing that sugar as fat. This creates weight gain and eventually can lead to insulin resistance andtype 2 diabetes.
Reducing estrogen levels andincreasing testosterone levels can increase muscle mass and decrease fat mass.
- Sexual dysfunction
Phytoestrogens And Soy: The Debate
Phytoestrogens are compounds that have a mild estrogenic effect and are found in whole grains, nuts and seeds, and many other botanicals, fruits and vegetables. These foods are associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer as well as reduced cancer reoccurrence.
The controversy becomes heated in the debate over soy-containing foods. This issue is complex, with some studies showing that eating soy early in life can reduce breast cancer risk. On the other hand, the consumption of concentrated soy extracts showed increased proliferation of breast cancer cells. Finally, other studies show a protective or neutral effect from whole soy foods.
My recommendation for soy is to eat whole soy foods in moderation no more than several servings per week, preferably fermented soy foods such as miso or tempeh. Avoid soy protein isolates and supplements containing concentrated soy isoflavones.
How To Treat Estrogen Excess:
- Detox and love your your liver with fiber rich foods, and by pooping everyday, at least once, but more is ideal! Aim for at least 25 grams of fiber per day to help you go. Add liver-supporting nutrients to your diet . You can also add a DIM supplement to help move estrogen out of the body.
- Remove endocrine-disrupting chemicals from all products and switch to products that are plant based and actually natural read the ingredients even if the label says natural because that truly means nothing! Use the Think Dirty app or the EWG Skin Deep database to check what score your products receive.
- Nourish and treat your microbiome health by eliminating inflammatory, processed foods or foods you are sensitive to, buy organic produce as often as you can, eat raw sauerkraut and kimchi, include probiotic-rich foods and a high-quality probiotic supplements, add a digestive enzyme before meals).
- Incorporate theseessential hormone-balancing supplements, especially if you are plant-based.
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Connections Between Food And Cancer
It is challenging to find specific links between a food or nutrient and cancer because:
Foods contain many substances that may either increase or lower cancer risk.
Most people eat and drink a variety of foods. This creates interactions that are hard to study.
The effects of a food or nutrient can vary depending on how much of it you eat.
Some research shows that how a food is prepared may influence its risk or benefits.
Foods That May Lower Breast Cancer Risk
Keep in mind that many factors are associated with breast cancer development. While improving your diet can improve your overall health and reduce your cancer risk in general, its only one piece of the puzzle.
Even with a nutrient-rich diet, you still need regular breast cancer screenings like mammograms and manual checks. After all, early detection and diagnosis significantly increase survival rates. Ask a healthcare professional for advice about breast cancer screenings.
All the same, research suggests that these foods may lower your risk of the disease.
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Maintain Adequate Estrogen Levels
Scientists use estradiol as a marker for circulating estrogen. A typical estradiol test produces results ranging from zero to 400 pg/mL , according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Your gender and age nicely predict your personal score. Within normal levels, premenopausal women range from 30 to 400 pg/mL, postmenopausal women range from zero to 30 pg/mL, and men range from 10 to 50 pg/mL.
Read more:What Is a Healthy Estrogen Level?
Limit Salt And Sodium
Eating foods with a lot of salt can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk for stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. Most people should eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Fresh food that isnt processed is usually lower in sodium.
Read food labels to find out the amount of sodium in the product. Choose foods that are labeled low sodium, very low sodium, or sodium-free.
Follow these tips to reduce how much sodium you eat:
- When cooking, flavor your foods with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt.
- Limit the amount of canned foods you eat .
- Limit the amount of packaged, processed, pickled, and cured foods you eat .
- Dont add salt to your food at the table.
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Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese affects breast cancer risk differently before and after menopause.
- Before menopause, women who are overweight or obese have a modestly decreased risk of breast cancer .
- After menopause, women who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of breast cancer .
Although women who are overweight or obese may have a lower risk of breast cancer before menopause, weight gain should be avoided. Women who gain weight in adulthood have an increased risk of breast cancer before and after menopause .
Most breast cancers occur after menopause. Any weight you gain before menopause you may carry into your postmenopausal years, so its important to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life.
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Synergistic Effects Of Dietary Natural Products With Anticancer Therapies
Finally, the epidemiological and experimental studies on dietary natural products for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer are summarized in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively. In addition, some effects of dietary natural products against breast cancer and possible mechanisms are shown in Figure 4.
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Diet And Breast Cancer
Because the role of diet in breast cancer survival is not fully understood, common nutrition advice is based on what is known to prevent breast cancer and these guidelines arent specific to cancer type. In fact, nutrition advice for breast cancer prevention closely matches the breast cancer survivorship guidelines, published in December 2015 by the ACS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
These recommendations encourage survivors to consume a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, while limiting alcohol and saturated fat. These guidelines are not specific to cancer type or ER status, although people who have estrogen-dependent cancer may respond well to these recommendations.
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Foods To Help With Treatment Side Effects
You may experience a variety of side effects while undergoing breast cancer treatment. Here are a few suggestions on what you can eat or do to help alleviate your symptoms.
If you experience nausea, your dietitian may recommend that you try to eat more foods that are cool or at room temperature because they dont have a strong odor. It may also help to eat lower-fat food, as fats take longer to digest.
Dont skip meals entirely if you have nausea, since an empty stomach can make nausea worse, Taylor says. Instead, focus on small bites of food throughout the day.
Avoid strong flavors. Feel free to incorporate ginger root into your recipes, as this can help settle a nauseated stomach.
If constipation becomes an issue, your dietitian may encourage you to eat fiber-rich foods and increase your fluid intake, Taylor adds. Low-intensity walking and warm beverages also can help encourage regular bowel movements.
To combat fatigue, choose high-protein snacks and small frequent meals rather than large meals. People often experience more fatigue when theyre not eating well or when theyre losing weight during treatment.
If youre experiencing any side effect that affects your ability to eat regularly, ask your care team if you can meet with a dietitian to review individualized nutrition recommendations.
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Estrogenic Foods To Avoid
Estrogen plays many roles in the bodies of both women and men. Yet having too much estrogen can cause side effects. Surprisingly, certain foods can increase your estrogen to dangerous levels. Staying aware of the phytoestrogen content of common foods can help keep your estrogen levels normal.
Read more:How is Estrogen Produced?
Soy And Foods That Contain Phytoestrogens
Soy foods such as soy milk and tofu contain natural compounds called phytoestrogens. Foods such as chickpeas and linseeds also contain phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens have a chemical structure that is similar to the hormone oestrogen. As oestrogen can stimulate some breast cancers to grow, some people worry whether foods or supplements containing phytoestrogens might have the same effect as oestrogen and increase the risk of recurrence.
Current evidence suggests that a diet containing naturally occurring phytoestrogens is safe if youve had breast cancer and may be beneficial.
Phytoestrogens are also found in herbal remedies including:
These are sometimes taken to relieve hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. However, they are not recommended because the evidence on their effectiveness and safety is limited and conflicting.
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Food Inflammation And Cancer Risk
Were constantly learning new things about how different foods affect our health. For example, inflammation is a stress response and chronic inflammation is believed to cause DNA damage associated with cancer-causing genetic changes in normal tissues.
Certain foods stress the body more than others. Sugar and other carbohydrates can contribute to inflammation by causing blood glucose levels and, in response, insulin levels to rise. High levels of insulin which moves the sugar into the cells have been shown to stimulate cancer cell division. That activity is thought to support the growth and spread of cancer cells and may be part of the link between poor nutrition and cancer risk or relapse.
Increased fat deposition commonly observed in high-carbohydrate diets also can increase the amount of estrogen in the body, which can trigger cell division, especially in breast and uterine cells, which express the estrogen receptor. While carrying too much body fat is associated with insulin-resistance and inflammation, excess fat also produces estrogen.
How you prepare your food is important as well. Regularly consuming processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats, has been shown to be associated with an increased cancer risk. And cooking foods at high temperatures, such as grilling or frying, can produce harmful compounds linked to increasing inflammation markers.
How To Avoid Xenoestrogens
The good news is there are powerful ways to drastically reduce the amount of estrogen-like compounds you eat and absorb. To start to balance hormones naturally, here are some of my most important tips to reduce xenoestrogen exposure:
- I know avoiding high-estrogen foods and other everyday exposures may seem frustrating. Why is in our hands? Its a sign that our food safety and chemical laws in this country are outdated and ineffective. We need laws that keep harmful products off of store shelves before entire generations are exposed. Why should we be the guinea pigs while industry profits while making us sick?
- Xenoestrogens are environmental estrogens that may be natural or synthetic. They tinker with our bodies natural estrogen levels, promoting certain health problems.
- Phytoestrogens naturally occurring in some foods and drinks have been shown to be harmful and helpful in certain situations.
- Avoiding fake fragrances, bottled water and conventional meat and dairy is a huge way to reduce xenoestrogen exposure.
- Instead of buying bottled water, look at your local municipal/city water testing and choose a filter that best removes most contaminates. If you live on well water, get a test and filter accordingly rather than relying on bottled water.
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Smoking And Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is emerging evidence that smoking may affect the risk of breast cancer recurrence but further research is needed to find out more.
We know smoking causes a range of health conditions. If you want to stop smoking there are a range of programmes to help. Speak to your pharmacist, GP or practice nurse for advice.
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Tips For Eating A Healthy Diet
Changing how you eat can be difficult at first. But taking a holistic approach of eating unprocessed, nutritious foods is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Build your diet around:
- Vegetables: Eat a colorful variety of vegetables and some fiber-rich legumes .
- Fruits: Choose fruits rich in antioxidants and relatively low in sugar, such as fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
- Whole grains: Foods in this group generally contain less sugar and more fiber than their white flour counterparts. Be sure to look at the carbohydrate and fiber content of your whole grains so you can maximize fiber and minimize carbohydrates content per serving.
- Lean protein: Choose lean cuts of meat , chicken, turkey, or fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, or mackerel.
Try to avoid:
- Red and processed meats: This includes beef, pork, lamb, bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and lunch meat.
- Highly processed foods and refined grain products: A lot of fast food falls into these categories and tends to be higher in fat and carbohydrates and low in fiber.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: Choose water over soft drinks, sports drinks, juice, and fruit drinks with added sugars.
- Alcohol: If you choose to drink alcohol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests limiting consumption to one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
We shouldnt be expected to completely give up a food we love, but moderation is key.
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Foods To Avoid If You Have Breast Cancer
If you have breast cancer, its advised that you avoid the following:
- Leftovers that are more than three to four days old.
- Food that has been left out at an unsafe temperature for four or more hours.
Limit caffeine and alcohol, as both are dehydrating, advises Taylor. Talk to your oncologist for exact recommendations. And if youre having diarrhea, consider avoiding completely, as both can worsen symptoms.
Estrogen Foods To Avoid: Dairy And Meat
Animal products such as dairy and meat contain traces of estrogen that you may want to avoid if you want to reduce estrogen levels in your body. Cow milk, in particular, contains phytoestrogens, substances that resemble estrogen.
Consumption of red and processed meat has been linked to a high risk of breast cancer. Scientists believe that this is due to the estrogen build-up caused by high estrogen levels in meat .
However, it is important to note that further research needs to be done on the effects of dairy and meat on estrogen levels in the body, on top of their potential impact on cancer.
Besides, a 2018 review also concluded that estrogen levels in milk are just not high enough to affect human health, hence the need for more research on the topic .
As such, you may want to slow down before throwing away all the milk and meat in your fridge. However, better safe than sorry, right?
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Chemicals And Additives To Avoid
Many chemicals used in agriculture, body care products, food packaging and plastic water bottles are estrogenic, called xenoestrogens or estrogen mimics. In addition to binding with estrogen receptors, these toxins are fat soluble, so they tend to accumulate in fat cells. We know that breast tissue has a high concentration of fat, particularly after menopause. Studies have shown that breast milk often contains dangerous levels of these chemicals. Reduce exposure by avoiding plastic food and beverage containers, canned foods, and body products with these common chemicals. For a list of chemicals to avoid, visit the Environmental Working Group site.
Dos And Donts For Estrogen
Breast cancer is not just one disease it comes in many variations.
One of the primary factors in determining the type of breast cancer is the sensitivity of the tumor cells to estrogen. If a breast tumor is hormone-sensitive or estrogen receptor-positive, it means there are specific estrogen receptors on the tumor cells, and when estrogen binds with these receptors, it transfers a message to the cancer cells. Like a lock and key effect, the breast tumor cells are stimulated by estrogen to grow and reproduce. Therefore, one of the main goals of therapy or intervention with hormone-positive cancer is to reduce hormonal stimulation as much as possible.
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Prioritize Plants In Your Diet
Moving to a plant-based diet doesnt mean you have to become a vegetarian. It just means that fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes make up most of what you eat. The nutrients in plant-based, non-commercially processed foods appear to inhibit inflammation and, because of relatively low carbohydrate and high fiber content, dont cause repeated sharp rises in blood insulin levels.
Think of plant-based foods as the main course and protein and high-fiber carbohydrates as the condiments. Thats the methodology behind the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on a menu of predominantly plants, as well as lean meats, fish, and plant-based fats like olive oil.