Doesn’t it feel sometimes like we’re seeing an explosion of health conditions that you practically never heard of a generation ago?
I’m talking about obesity, depression, diabetes, hormone disorders, and even a growing epidemic of sexual dysfunction. It’s easy to blame all the processed foods we eat or our sedentary lifestyles. But there’s something else going on – and if you want to protect your health, you need to know about it.
We are swimming in a sea of oestrogen.
Oestrogen is an amazing hormone that both female and male bodies need. But these days we’re being exposed to way too much of it – and too much oestrogen can be a VERY dangerous thing.
Elevated levels of oestrogen can cause a host of deleterious medical issues that range from breast cancer (or any female cancer) to prostate cancer 1 all the way to erectile dysfunction, low libido and irritability.
And guys, if you’ve noticed that you’re growing breasts, your penis is shrinking, or you’ve been getting more emotional than you used to be, then I’ll bet that excessive oestrogen is getting in the way of your health and well-being.
This topic is so important – yet so broad – because hormones effect every aspect of the human body. They are absolutely crucial for optimal health. When your hormones are out of balance, to
put it bluntly… nothing good is going to happen!
You may be swimming in oestrogen, but you don’t have to drown in it – because I’m here to throw you a lifeline. Just hang on, and I’ll show you how easy it can be to normalize your levels once again.
The oestrogen dominance double whammy
The problem with oestrogen overexposure is that it’s coming from both inside and outside our bodies. It’s a real double whammy! In fact, we’re getting hit with oestrogen from two different sources that are colliding to form the ‘perfect storm’ in the human body.
The first tidal wave of oestrogen is coming from our own fat cells! This is a definite case of the body rebelling against us and creating self-sabotage.
The most amazing fact about obesity and fat is that fat is alive. What I mean is that the fat cells (adipose tissue) that are inhabiting any part of your body are basically another ‘organ’ that is active and secreting things that you do not want in your body.
In men and women, these fat cells secrete inflammatory hormones and produce oestrogen.
Because this production and secretion of oestrogen is irrespective of a female’s ovaries or adrenals, it creates way too much oestrogen for most females’ livers to process.
In men, the amount of oestrogen that is being secreted from fat cells is disastrous at many levels. It’s basically turning men into women.
Now, I’m not saying that a man should have NO feminine qualities, but the level of oestrogen that is created by these fat cells is wreaking havoc. This level of oestrogen floating in a man’s bloodstream is growing breasts (‘man boobs’), shrinking penises, and creating fat, mood swings, infertility, and erectile dysfunction.
The second tidal wave of oestrogen is coming from outside sources in the form of ‘xenoestrogens.’ Xeno means ‘foreign’ – and this means that our bodies are being influenced and invaded from a source outside of the human body (like chemicals) that actually imitates or mimics our own hormones.
The main source of the xenoestrogens from chemicals comes from BPA. BPA is one of the main chemicals in plastics (plastic water bottles, plastic containers, and plastic food packaging are the main sources) and it is inevitably leached out into the food and drink we consume. A study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90 per cent of them had BPA in their urine. Traces have also been found in breast milk, the blood of pregnant women, and umbilical cord blood.2,3
These chemical xenoestrogens have become so ubiquitous that they have also polluted our waterways. Some bodies of water around the world are so polluted with these xenoestrogens from plastics and chemicals that some fish and frogs are turning from male to female and becoming sterile.4,5
BPA is such a known hormone disruptor (more aptly-named endocrine disruptor)6,7 that even the American Food and Drug Administration admits that newborns shouldn’t be exposed to it and have removed BPA from almost all baby bottles 8 (it will say BPA Free on it).
A few countries have completely banned it! In fact, in 2008 Norway banned BPA from all consumer products.9 The bad news is that many other chemicals (such as pesticides
and herbicides) have similar xenoestrogenic effects – and they’re also inevitably contributing to this sea of oestrogen.
The other source of xenoestrogens is from non-organic meat products. It’s routine to use hormones on chickens and cattle in this country to make them grow bigger, more quickly. These
hormones stay in the meat products after packaging, shipping, and even after cooking – and when you eat them, you are getting a dose of hormones!
This is why you see all the ads about chicken being ‘hormone-free’ as well as why many health conscious people flock (pun intended) to stores such as Whole Foods to get organic meat that
comes from animals that are not exposed to hormones.
Don’t try to fix oestrogen problems with more oestrogen
Excessive oestrogen plays a huge role in almost every female health disorder – ranging from PMS to fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, and breast cancer. In fact, the media made fun of singer Sheryl Crow when she alluded to plastic water bottles being the culprit for her breast cancer, but it’s not a stretch to think that excessive exposure to xenoestrogens could
have been a contributor.
When you understand that our own fat cells make oestrogen irrespective of what the ovaries make, then it is not a shock that obesity is being proven to be a high risk factor for many female-specific disorders including breast cancer.10
Thus, weight loss and the use of supplements to lower excess oestrogen are at the top of the list of many of my female patients’ protocols. Believe it or not, the combination of obesity and
xenoestrogens is speeding the development of the young girls in this country so much that they had to rewrite the medical textbooks for when little girls start to get their periods.11
The real amazing fact about excess oestrogen in a female and the phrase ‘oestrogen dominance’ is that many OB-GYNs do not believe in this phenomenon. Almost 90 per cent of the female patients
who walk into my office are oestrogen dominant and suffer from excessive oestrogen… but when my patients tell their OB-GYNs this they poo-poo the idea and just offer them more and more birth control pills.
This is such a tragedy because those oral contraceptives are just loaded with more oestrogen – and therefore, they further perpetuate the problem. The only good news about the birth control
pill and why some women feel better with them is because the steady dose of oestrogen with progesterone eliminates the swings and discrepancies between the oestrogen and progesterone ratio.
BUT… the fact remains that the liver and the body still continue to process even MORE oestrogen. Lady hormones can be a man-killer I am very familiar with oestrogen and oestrogen levels, and I take this hormone very seriously in my office.
You see, I’m a big fan of using testosterone therapy for men for hormone optimization, and I check and follow oestrogen (oestradiol) levels in all of my hormone replacement patients. In my opinion, if you are using testosterone therapy in any form (gel, shots, or pellets)… and your doctor is not checking your oestrogen level… then you are not getting the most out of this costly therapy.
You could even be hurting your body.
To illustrate this, I recently had an obese man come to me for hormone help because his testosterone cream was ‘not working’. He said that he felt better with the cream for the first week and then it ‘quit’ working. The bad news is that he had continued it for another year before finding me.
His primary care physician had determined that testosterone was the culprit of his fatigue and lack of sex drive – and he told him that because his ‘levels’ were better, he should keep using the cream. He said the reason the patient didn’t feel ‘well’ was because he was overweight.
I, however, promptly checked his oestrogen level, and guess what? It was very elevated. We switched him to a Paleo diet, got him on some supplements that would lower the oestrogen level, and changed his testosterone dosage a bit – and within a few short months, his oestrogen was normal, he lost 20 pounds, and his energy and sex drive were tons better.
Unfortunately, this is a very common story that’s occurring to many men throughout the world using testosterone cream. Unfortunately, it’s basically giving testosterone therapy a bad reputation.
Tons of men have used testosterone creams and have stopped because they really do not feel different on the cream and it is too expensive and cumbersome (rubbing the cream on) to keep using it without any rewards for their labour.
The sad news is that if the oestrogen were addressed, they could be reaping the multitude of amazing benefits of their hormone replacement therapy.
Three steps to beating back oestrogen
For most of my patients, when I use testosterone replacement therapy, we can keep the oestrogen levels in check with supplements such as DIM, I3C, or chrysin.
In some patients (especially if they are doing testosterone shots), however, these supplements are not strong enough to keep the oestrogen levels in the ‘safe’ range, and I have to use a breast cancer drug (called anastrazole) to keep their levels in check.
The drug is very effective for males, and we only have to use it once a week (it only comes in one dose).
But before you start any kind of drug regimen, I recommend a three-pronged approach to reducing your oestrogen exposure
and levels in your body naturally:
1. Limit your exposure to xenoestrogens. Buy organic meats, and limit the amount of plastic that you use. Don’t microwave in plastic, don’t reuse plastic water bottles, and don’t use a plastic water bottle if it is has been left out in the heat too long.
2. Lose fat and adipose tissue. Less fat will make less extra oestrogen. As you are well aware, I’m a fan of the Paleo diet, and I strongly encourage you to adopt this amazing lifestyle that
will transform your life.
3. Reduce oestrogen in your bloodstream. The two best supplements that accomplish this goal, DIM and I3C, are both extracts from cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, etc). A doctor well-versed in integrative medicine can check all of your hormone levels and work with you on a plan to lose weight and get everything back in balance.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 10, Issue 10 • October 2016
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.