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Estrogen Overload

Hormones are chemical messengers of the body's endocrine system. They work in harmony to regulate many body processes, from body temperature and blood pressure to controlling sexual desire and fertility. Having the right hormone balance is something we often think about but it's important for good health.

For women, one of the key hormones to our physical and emotional well-being is estrogen. Estrogen is not a single hormone but a group of hormones that are naturally produced in our body. In women, estrogen is produced primarily by the ovaries and lower by the adrenal glands and fat cells. Estrogen plays an important role in sexual development and reproduction. They are also important for heart health, blood vessels, bones, breast, skin, hair, brain and urinary tract. During puberty, estrogen levels increase and induce menstrual cycle and initiate pubic hair and arm growth.

In addition to the estrogen produced by our body, people today are exposed to estrogen compounds such as drugs, the environment and even food. The burden of estrogen has serious consequences for the health and disease risks faced by women today.

Estrogen Replacement Therapy - The End of the Era

Since the introduction of birth control pills in the 1960s and the promotion of hormone replacement for menopause, estrogen has been touted as a remedy for contraception, to prevent the effects of aging, and to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, memory loss, low libido, depression and various health problems. woman.

The HRT infection ended in July 2002 when one of the largest studies on the benefits and risks of the hormone, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), was gradually halted due to serious health risks. Researchers have found that the use of estrogen plus progestin (Prempro ™) increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots and urinary incontinence. In addition, the WHI Memory Study showed that estrogen plus progestin doubles the risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, in menopausal women aged 65 years and older.

The WHO Estrogen-Alone study, which involved Premarin ™, was discontinued in February 2004, when researchers concluded that estrogen alone increases the risk of stroke and blood clots. Women using estrogen alone have an increased risk of diabetes.

Another epidemiological study, known as the Million Women Study, has reported an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer with estrogen replacement therapy in menopausal women.

Due to health concerns related to HRT, the use of these hormones has decreased significantly over the past few years. It appears that the reduced use of HRT has had a positive effect on breast cancer rates. In 2003, the United States reported the largest annual decline in the incidence of breast cancer-positive estrogen receptors among women aged 50 to 69 years.

Pills and Prices

Oral contraceptives ("Pills") are a serious contributor to our estrogen load. The pills contain synthetic estrogen and progestin in varying amounts and they are prescribed not only for contraception but for the treatment of acne, pramenstrum syndrome, perimenopause and hirsutism. The pills used today contain much lower amounts of hormones than those used in the 1960s but they still provide about four times higher levels of estrogen than those naturally produced by the female body.

Although pills are very effective for contraceptive use they come at a alarming price. Side effects of the pill include weight gain, migraine headache, decreased libido, breast swelling and tenderness, nausea, vomiting, vaginal dryness, detecting, skin rash, and depression. Some of the less common but most serious concerns with oral contraceptive use include blood clots, increased risk of stroke, ischemic heart disease, and breast, cervical and liver cancer.

Hormonal Havoc

In her book, Sexy Hormones, Lorna Vanderhaeghe and coauthor Dr. Alvin Pettle, a gynecologist, discusses in detail the effects of hormone hormones. Hormone imbalance is associated with many health conditions affecting women today, including weight loss, fibroids, ovarian cysts, infertility, insomnia, irritation, fatigue and other problems.

Although you do not take contraceptive pills or HRTs, you can get hormones in the form of xenoestrogens, which are estrogen compounds such as pesticides, foods, plastics and more (see sidebar). These chemicals are structured with estrogen, so they can bind estrogen receptors in our body and mimicking, suppressing or disrupting our hormones leading to both physical and emotional symptoms.

Food and Hormones

According to the Canadian Food Oversight Agency, sex hormones are used in cow's calves (but not in young cows) in the form of slow release implants (placed at the base of the ear) to improve food efficiency and growth. These implants contain any or all of the following: the natural hormones estradiol and progesterone and the synthetic hormones zeranol and trenbolone. The levels of estradiol and progesterone hormones found in meat sold to consumers have not been tested because there is no way to distinguish between administered hormones and naturally occurring hormones.

There is a monitoring program for testing synthetic hormones, and the maximum allowable amount for zeranol and trenbolone is 2 parts per billion as determined by Health Canada and posted in the Food and Drug Regulations.

Growth hormones or sex hormones are not used in dairy cows in Canada. US growth hormone is used in dairy cows but this is not approved in Canada due to the health risks to animals. And contrary to popular belief hormones are not used in poultry.

Our fish supply offers other sources of estrogen as in our diet. Several reports in Canada and the United States have revealed that salmon are contaminated with PCB, dioxin and dieldrin pesticides. The amount of these estrogenic and carcinogenic compounds is highest in salmon grown but wild salmon also contains some toxins. While Health Canada does not recommend restricting the use of livestock salmon, other health agencies, such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society have issued a warning.

Environmental Estrogen


PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are chemicals used since 1929 as materials in industrial materials, such as sealing and caulking compounds, inks, paint additives, and for making refrigerators and lubricants for electrical equipment. Due to its serious health risks (cancer risk and disruptive endocrine activity), PCBswere was banned in North America in 1977 but is still available in small quantities in all animal and environmental food (air and water) commodities. When wood or materials containing PCBs are burned at high temperatures, the process can turn them into different substances called dioxins and fungi, which are much more toxic than PCBs.


PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl etherrays) are commercially produced materials that are used as a barrier to fire in a wide variety of products, such as building materials, carpet foundations, curtains, and furniture foam.

PBDE has the same characteristics as PCB. They are endocrine disruptors and are known to cause cancer in animals. They are considered to be continuous environments and can accumulate in body tissues. Measurements in animals (fish, marine mammals) and humans (milk) have shown that levels have increased over the last 10-15 years. According to Canadian Health and Environment Canada, PBDEs are considered to be toxic to their use.

PFC (perfluorinated chemicals)

PFC is a widely used group of chemicals used in a wide range of consumer products such as non-stick coating in cooking pots, and layers of dirt that banned carpets and furniture. Two of the most famous PFCs are PFOS and PFOA.

Studies on these chemicals show that they are very persistent and
bioaccumulative, as well as possible causes of cancer, hormones disruptive and toxic to reproduction and development. Many countries, including Canada are working to eliminate the use of these chemicals.


Pesticides can be consumed through food sources (food and water). Pesticides are used in agriculture to protect crops and livestock and their remains may remain after treatment. Exposure to pesticides may also occur from use in lawns, gardens, the use of insect repellents, ticks and bush products on pets, or used to control pests such as ants in the home.

Organoklorine pesticides are recognized by carcinogens and reproductive and developmental toxins; they are also suspected of hormone disruption and respiratory toxins.


Phthalates are chemicals used in many home cleaning products and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) products to enhance flexibility (water bottles, baby bottles, toys), and cosmetics (nails and hair dye) to bind fragrances to products. There are many types of phthalates including DEHP, DBP, BBP, DIDP, DINP and DNOP.

Because phthalates are not chemically bonded to PVC molecules they can be released (called "offgassing"). This increases with mechanical stress (bending, chewing) and exposure to solvents such as oil, saliva, and temperatures above 85 ° F.

There are numerous reports of adverse effects of phthalates, including premature puberty in girls and premature delivery. The European Union and many countries have restricted the use of phthalates in children's toys and these chemicals have also recently been banned in the state of California.

Tampons and Dioxins

Emails have been circulating for years claiming that tampons are a source of harmful chemicals called dioxins. Tampons are made of cotton, rayon or a mixture of both. Rayon is made from cellulose fibers obtained from dissolved wood pulp. Years ago this process created dioxin but the bleaching method was no longer used. Rayon raw materials used in tampons are now manufactured using chlorine-free bleaching process. Existing tampon tests have shown that dioxin levels are at or below detectable limits.

Reduce Your Estrogen Burden

There are many things women can do to help reduce their exposure to estrogen:

- Eat as much organic food as possible. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower) contain compounds that aid in the removal of harmful estrogen.
- Choose meat without hormones and wild fish (not breed).
- Wash fresh products under running water and wipe them off to help eliminate surface pesticide residues, as well as dirt or bacteria.
- Do not use pesticides in your lawn, house or garden. Looking for natural alternatives.
- Never burn treated or painted wood, as PCB-containing burns can produce dioxins and insecticides.
- Reduce your use of plastic and never microwave or put hot liquids in plastic products. Use glass, stainless steel, or ceramic dishes.
- Increase fiber intake (through organic cereals, vegetables and organic fruits) or take fiber supplements. Fiber in the removal of toxins.
- Drink plenty of purified water.
- Reduce your stress. Chronic stress can cause adrenal fatigue, which can affect hormone balance.
- Exercise regularly promotes good hormone balance. Aim for one hour of moderate intensity daily activities.

For birth control, use the rhythm method (avoid sex during ovulation) and condoms that also protect against STD.

Be careful — it's your main detoxifying organ and is responsible for producing cholesterol, which is the starting point for all sex hormones. Reduce alcohol use and take medications, such as acetaminophen that is hard on the liver.

Consider supplements that help detoxify estrogen like parent-3 carbinol, calcium D-glucarate, curcumin, milk thistle and green tea.


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