Saturday, June 5, 2010

Xenoestrogens. The good, The bad and The ugly - Part 1

What started out to be a simple post on Xenoestrogens has now turned into a four-part series. This topic is quite close to my heart - literally, and my lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines, stomach and especially womb. Xenoestrogens are something that effects everyone these days, no one is immune to their destructive nature.. This area is especially of importance if you are a woman, man, adult or child.


Xeno meaning “strange/ foreign” - estrogen. The first thing we need to look at is what are estrogens.

Estrogen is a hormone naturally present in the body. It is made up of estrone, estradiol and estriol. Estrogen IS present naturally in both male and females, although it is usually higher in females (a man can have more estrogen than some menopausal woman) and it is recognized mainly as a female hormone. Estrogen is what helps develop the obvious physical differences between men and women, including the specific placement of extra body fat in the hips, and less facial hair for women. Estrogen (in women), is produced mainly by the ovaries. One of the main functions of estrogen (estradiol, the dominant estrogen) is cell division. (Estradiol is especially stimulating to the breast – too much equals cancer. And this is the form often found in drugs - both birth control and HRT.) It regulates the monthly cycle and thickens the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) in preparation for pregnancy. (Estrogen in men – produced in the testes and does actually help in some way in the male development, although to a much lesser extent than in females.) The main areas for estrogen (where the estrogen receptors are located) are the reproductive organs (creates cell growth, the preparations of the endometrium, releases the egg), but also the brain (PMS!), heart, liver (influences cholesterol, a healthy balance lowers the risk of heart disease), bones (healthy level protect against osteoporosis in both men and women) and and any fatty tissue.

Estrogen is metabolised in the liver. Specifically, estradiol is converted into less-active estrone and estriol and excreted in urine. Some estradiol is naturally recirculated through the body again, helping to maintain estrogen levels. A healthy liver is needed for healthy estrogen balance. Often people with estrogen dominance also suffer from an unhealthy, overloaded liver . A healthy liver will inactivate and flush away extra estrogen. However, when your liver is overloaded with toxins (a lot of which are estrogen mimicers – xenoestrogens), then this ability is impaired. Xenoestrogens also activate CYP-1B1 enzyme in the body. This converts estrogen into a toxic and carcinogenic form of estrogen (4 catechols) instead of converting to less-active estrone and estriol). Estrogen is now on the rampage. The main place it likes to accumulate is in the reproductive organs (contains many estrogen receptors) and fat cells. Stress has also been linked to too much estrogen. A very likely explanation for this could be that stress also hinders the liver. People with estrogen dominance often have many of the symptoms of an unhealthy liver. This makes sense when you realize that it's the liver that's the root of the problem.

Whether you are male or female too much estrogen is a really bad thing. Some signs of too much estrogen include:

Early onset of periods
PMS, cramping
Premenstrual migraines
Facial hair growth
Cold extremities
Ovarian Cysts
Water retention

Less hair growth
Raise in voice
Loss in hard muscle, usually replaced with fat
Growth of male breasts (not muscle – and they can even develop breast cancer!)
Endometriosis has also been documented (although rare – but hey, I'm a rare case too – men don't even have an endometrium!)

Both male and female:
Brain fog
Digestive problems
Cardiovascular disease
Autoimmune disorders
Insulin resistance
Cancer – especially in the breast (female) and prostate (male)
Infertility (sometimes “unexplained”)
Memory loss
Increase risk of Stroke
Moodiness and apathy (when men start getting PMS)
Zinc and Magnesium deficiency

Estradiol is the main and dominant form of estrogen. It is the main factor for activating the changes in puberty. These days "experts" are saying that it's normal for 7 - 8 year olds to show signs of puberty, menarche happening at 9 - 12. In the past (1840) menarche occurred at ages 15-17. Early onset of puberty is often an indicator of too much estrogen (usually from outside sources – enter xenoestrogens).

In Part 2 we will look more closely at these xenoestrogens themselves.

Skip to Part 3

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