Have you felt a significant decrease in energy lately along with low sex drive? That could be because there’s something wrong with the levels of estrogen and testosterone in your body.
If you are thinking that you are excused from the testosterone part because you’re a woman, you are wrong. Testosterone is the male reproductive hormone but it’s present in everyone – including women. This means that testosterone levels play a role in female hormonal balance as well.
Hormonal imbalance is not an unusual condition. The most common types of hormonal imbalances are estrogen dominance and menopause. You might think that there’s no problem with having too much estrogen, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Having this condition can affect a person’s weight and sex drive. Fortunately, there are ways to treat estrogen dominance to promote your body to have the right ratios of estrogen to testosterone.
Just What is Estrogen Dominance Exactly?
Estrogen is a sex hormone that is both present in men and women. Unlike testosterone, men have lower levels of estrogen while women need it in higher levels. This is why estrogen dominance is most frequently associated with women.
Estrogen Dominance refers to a condition where there is excessive estrogen being produced in the body with too low levels of progesterone to balance its effects. This results in an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, and a decrease in testosterone levels.
Even if the level of testosterone in women is lower compared than that of men, a decrease in testosterone levels can still affect a woman’s sex drive and muscle growth. Different estrogen blockers can be found on the market to balance hormones and block excess estrogen. But if you opt to go all natural, there are other options for you.
Causes: The Three Main Culprits of Estrogen Dominance
- Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens
Excess estrogen is often cause by external sources such as phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens in your environment or diet.
Phytoestrogens are xenoestrogens derived from plants. They are not created in our bodies natural endocrine system and the bad phytoestrogens such as soy, beer and flax seeds, have an estrogenic effect when consumed. However, there are certain types of phytoestrogens that are good and can increase the levels of testosterone to balance out the levels of estrogen production. They do this by weakly binding to estrogen receptors and block our any estrogenic effects. Examples of good phytoestrogens are pomegranate, grapes, red wine and seaweeds.
Xenoestrogens are fat-soluble and non-biodegradable. They are artificial estrogen that can be found in pesticides, detergents, plastics, cosmetics, and some birth control products.
Phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens are made to copy how estrogens function in the body so it is not surprising that these are the main culprits to higher levels of estrogen.
- Excess Fat
Aside from these sources, it was proven that too much fat in the body can also cause the levels of estrogen to increase. Aromatization, the process of turning testosterone to estrogen, occurs in fat cells. Too much body fat (obesity) gives more space for this process to happen and produce more estrogen.
The third culprit for causing an excess level of estrogen is stress. When a person is stressed, her body produces and releases more cortisol. To keep up with this higher level of cortisol production, the body uses up more progesterone to produce it. Keep in mind that this same hormone balances the effects of estrogen. With a lower level of progesterone to regulate estrogen, the body produces more estrogen and it is free to roam around in the body without progesterone’s balancing influence, eventually leading to estrogen dominance.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
At first, you might not notice that something is wrong with your body. You might think that these occurrences do not have anything to do with your production of hormones.
But once you start experiencing some of the following symptoms, it’s important that you do not ignore the problem. Estrogen dominance is related to allergies, cancer, autoimmune disorders, blood clotting, and faster aging. Provided below are some common symptoms of estrogen dominance:
- Decrease desire for sex
- Weight gain
- Mood swings (most often depression and anxiety)
- Decreases in energy levels
- Decreases in muscle mass
- Difficulty losing weight and gaining muscle despite proper diet
- Swelling of breasts
What Can You Do?
Estrogen dominance can be treated. Your body can go back to normally producing the right amounts of hormones and prevent any further illnesses with the proper treatments.
- Avoid the Sources
The very first thing that you have to do is to get away from xenoestrogens. Do not let your body be exposed to the sources of xenoestrogens such as plastics and processed products from non-organic sources.
Since plastics are already part of most people’s daily life, it would be better for you to know the limitations of using them. If you want to avoid having estrogen dominance, it is better not to drink from any plastic containers like cups or bottles. Also do not under any circumstance heat your food using plastic containers. Aside from artificial estrogens like xenoestrogens, plastics also have chemicals that act like estrogens in the body even if they contain no BPA.
- Red Wine Not Beer
As much as possible, do not drink beer. Instead, go for red wine since it contains resveratrol that helps balance your hormones. Resveratrol is a good phytoestrogen produced by plants that can help regulate the levels of estrogen in the body. This is one of the types of phytoestrogen that increases testosterone levels. It can also help prevent the negative effects of estrogen dominance.
- Consume Cruciferous Vegetables in Your Diet
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolates, a compound that contains sulfur which promotes detoxification. Indole-3-carbinol, another compound that lowers the risk of cancer occurrence, is also present in these vegetables. The common sources of cruciferous vegetables are cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
But what makes these vegetables an ally against estrogen dominance is the presence of DIM (diindolylmethane) in them. This compound helps break down estrogen to convert it to less effective forms.
- Tongkat Ali
Research has been conducted to prove the ability of the herb tongkat ali as a testosterone booster and estrogen blocker. Tongkat ali is commonly known as an anti-aging remedy for men, energy and libido booster, as well as a weight loss supplement. Recently, a study proved that it can also stimulate the release of testosterone while improving sex drive and reducing fatigue.
However, tongkat ali does not only help in those areas. Daily supplementation of tongkat ali root extract helps mitigate the effects of chronic stress. It improves the stress hormone profile, keeping the levels of cortisol in check. This results in better regulated estrogen levels and normal levels of progesterone.
- Pine Pollen
Pine Pollen is the pollen of pine trees that are usually used as ingredients in chinese dietary supplements and anti-aging products. It is, in a sense, a male plant sperm and is considered as the most concentrated source of testosterone among plants. It contains adaptogenic properties that helps the body to adapt to stress. Adaptogens are natural substances that normalize the effects of bodily processes.
Pine pollen is packed with phytoandrogens, substances that are produced in plants with similar effects to testosterone. This helps balance the endocrine hormones to the proper ratio of testosterone and estrogen.
It is always better to prevent estrogen dominance than to find ways to treat it after it has already hampered your life. Using natural means and lifestyle changes are the best options there is to approach this problem.