Estrogen dominance (or oestrogen dominance) is a state in which the body contains too much estrogen compared to progesterone. Both hormones play crucial roles in a woman’s health & menstrual cycle, & work in harmony – provided they maintain proper balance.
Struggle getting your legs & glutes lean?
Estrogen Dominance may be the problem.
Our quads & hamstrings contain large numbers of estrogen receptors which bind with oestrogens in the body. Estrogen stimulates fat growth, so those that are estrogen dominant find it hard to lose weight especially in the “estrogen zones” such as lower abs, love handles, hips, glutes, thighs & backs of the arms.
How do you become Estrogen Dominant?
1. The body over-produces estrogen.
2. Exposure to xenoestrogens in the environment.
3. The body can’t properly break down & eliminate estrogen
Typically, these dysfunctions stem from one (or more) of three factors:
Genetics – your genetics determine how much oestrogen your body makes & how it is metabolised. Being overweight also increases an enzyme aromatase that converts testosterone to oestrogen.
Environment – everything from plastic water bottles to non-organic meats can contain compounds that act like oestrogen in our cells. Birth control pills or HRT can elevate oestrogen. Lifestyle stress also increases cortisol which then inhibits our ability to detox excess estrogen.
Diet – alcohol & nutrient deficiencies (magnesium, vit D, selenium, zinc) can elevate aromatase significantly. Lack of fibre & poor gut health also inhibits estrogen elimination.
Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance
- Stubborn fat or cellulite on lower back, belly, thighs, glutes & triceps.
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
- Irreglar and/or heavy, painful periods.
- Swollen, tender breasts.
- Headaches & migraines
- Increased worry & stress
- Sugar cravings
- Easy bruising and varicose veins.
I have it – what’s next?
For most women, the key to balanced hormones is to live a lifestyle that improves elimination of estrogen & minimises exposure to chemical estrogens:
- Improve gut health to support elimination of oestrogen & prevent reabsorption into the body.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Body fat itself secretes oestrogen so it’s important to maintain healthy body composition.
- Drink more green tea to inhibit aromatase (the key enzyme converting androgens to oestrogens) & boost antioxidants.
- Eat more fibre, cruciferous veggies & omega-3 fats to support oestrogen elimination, block aromatase & promote lower body fat.
- Reduce sugar intake to manage insulin, lower inflammation & support healthy body composition.
- Eliminate alcohol. Alcohol impairs oestrogen metabolism & increases oestrogen in both men & women.
- Avoid inflammatory foods such as gluten & dairy to reduce histamine & hypersensitivity to oestrogen.
- Don’t use hormonal birth control as it can damage gut bacteria and impair oestrogen detoxification.
- Limit chemical oestrogen (xenoestrogen) exposure by avoiding plastics & pesticides. Choose organic produce, natural beauty & cleaning products, never heat your food in plastic, & swap plastic water bottles & containers for glass, ceramic or stainless steel.
- Sweat regularly to enhance detoxification (eg. exercise, sauna sessions).
- Lower stress & get 7-9hrs quality sleep each night. Your body begins to use progesterone to make cortisol when you’re chronically stressed, creating oestrogen dominance.
- Supplement with essential nutrients to support oestrogen metabolism & detoxification (eg. B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, fish oils, selenium, DIM, calcium d-glucarate).