Is Estrogen Toxic? Well… Kind Of

Is estrogen toxic
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

We all need estrogen, men included, for normal functioning of our tissues, endocrine organs, our hormones, and bones.

The interesting thing is the way the liver breaks it down. It treats estrogen like a drug—using some of the same types of enzymes to break it down. The body seems to have a slick system of pumping out estrogen, and then breaking it down fast, when all systems are working properly.

However, excessive estrogen hanging around can lead to problems like endometriosis, fibroids, cancers, and PMS.

There are four things you can do to get that used up estrogen out of your body.

  1. Keep your liver healthy—eat cruciferous vegetables.
    Your mom was right about nagging you to eat your broccoli all those years. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions — eat ’em up, because they contain high amounts of sulfur which can help support liver metabolism and may prevent some cancers.
  2. Watch the alcohol.
    Estrogen’s main breakdown occurs in the liver, and so does alcohol’s. But your liver can only do so much work at once and become overwhelmed. Ever have two people asking you questions at the same time? That’s what your liver feels like when it’s overloaded with alcohol.
  3. Healthy bowels = better estrogen elimination.
    Some of the estrogen breakdown products are eliminated through our poo. Try to get at MINIMUM 35 grams of fiber per day. It’s not that hard people: a cup of lentils has 18.
  4. Calm the system—keep inflammation down.
    In some people a vicious cycle gets set up of inflammation feeding off of estrogen and estrogen adding to the inflammation. Incorporate turmeric, garlic, and ginger into your meals for natural anti-inflammatories.

While you’re “add” it, add all three of those anti-inflammatory foods  to a bowl of lentils and cauliflower for a delicious SuperFoods medicine meal.

Sources: Oxford Journals, Oregon State

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