Estrogen Dominance and Detox, What’s the Connection?
You’ve likely heard about estrogen dominance, a hormone imbalance experienced by many women. Estrogen dominance is a state in which there is high estrogen in relation to normal levels of progesterone, or there is high estrogen and low progesterone within the body.
Why is estrogen balance important?
Increased estrogen in the body is linked to the risk of certain cancers. Estrogen dominance is involved in other conditions as well, including PMS, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and more.
What causes estrogen dominance?
Many things contribute to estrogen dominance, including: environmental exposure from personal care products, plastics, and more; excess fat, blood sugar balance issues, genetics, nutrient deficiencies, poor gut health, and more. Reducing exposure for environmental “fake” estrogens can help decrease excess estrogen in the body. The next area of focus for reducing excess estrogen is the body’s natural detoxification process.
How is estrogen dominance connected to detoxification?
The body’s primary detoxification processes occurs in the liver, the kidney, the lungs, the lymph nodes, and the skin. The liver is extremely important for detoxifying excess estrogen, and the body is quite efficient at detoxification all on its own (no juice cleanses needed)! However, with increased “fake” estrogens and other toxins in the environment, the body has a lot of work to do when it comes to detoxification in the modern world. Understanding how detoxification works will help you understand how to gently support this important process.
There are two phases of detoxification in the liver, called phase 1 and phase 2. These phases occur to transform toxins into a form that can be eliminated from the body. After phase 1, toxins are hanging around in a form that is more toxic than when they started! During each of these steps in the process, nutrients are required so they can happen properly. B vitamins, vitamin C and E, antioxidants, polyphenols found in plants, and other healthy compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and grassfed pasture-raised meats are all essential to making sure these phases can occur efficiently.
The ability to detoxify excess estrogen from the body is an important part of maintaining balanced levels of estrogen.
After liver detoxification, excess estrogen is packaged up into a form that may be removed via stool. Stool moves through the large intestine before being eliminated, so gut health is essential here. Constipation will increase the chance of excess estrogen becoming reabsorbed by the body. In addition, an unbalanced gut microbiome can lead to the creation of a certain compound (called beta-glucuronidase) that causes estrogen to be reabsorbed in the body and contributes to estrogen dominance. To support gut health, the best place to start is to eat enough fiber to support normal bowel movements (once daily is great!) and feed those “good” gut bugs. Eating enough fruits and vegetables provides polyphenols for your “good” gut bugs to eat as well.
As a registered dietitian and nutrition coach, I find that after all the scientific detail is explained, for many different conditions,
The best place to start is always the same: eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrients!
And for optimal health, start with the basics: restful sleep, healthy movement, and stress management, in addition to a nutrient dense diet.
Coral Dabarera Edelson, MS RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition coach. Specializing in women’s health and fertility, and practicing from a holistic and functional perspective, Coral aims to meet the unique needs of Black women in her virtual private practice. Coral received her Masters of Nutrition, Healthspan, and Longevity at the University of Southern California, and her Bachelors in Sociology at the University of Chicago. You can connect with her on instagram @browngirl.nutrition, or at coralrd.com.