Most people think estrogen is just a female reproductive hormone. What they don’t know is that it’s really a stress hormone and when out of balance is a primary contributor to modern chronic diseases. And sometimes the harder we try to be “healthy” the worse we make this imbalance, because the modern food system has ingeniously hidden many estrogen traps in both healthy and unhealthy foods.
The modern human diet is nothing like what you would have eaten as a human just 100 years ago. Around that time, “vegetable” seed oils became a highly profitable commodity that dramatically reduced the cost of food production. Since then, it has been a war on health to convince us that these seed oils are healthier than the traditional fats humans thrived on since we began eating meat.
This is also when “nutritional science” began replacing natural nutrients in our food with synthetic versions in order to fortify the otherwise lifeless food-like substances lining grocery shelves. Animals could be fed waste products fortified with even more industrial byproducts, and then fed to humans. Metallic, non-organically bound iron is still used today to fortify refined flours, cereals, prenatal vitamins, etc. Synthetic B vitamins made from waste products like coal tar find their way into these same products.
Since they destroyed dairy products by feeding livestock lifeless waste products, then pasteurizing, homogenizing and skimming the vital fats, they started fortifying milk with synthetic A and D. When people didn’t tolerate that well, they convinced themselves it was because of lactose intolerance, and switched to soy or almond milk fortified with the same synthetic “vitamins.” Maybe even added calcium. Even orange juice is often ruined this way!
So the slow and steady march toward more and more polyunsaturated fats continues. Vegetable oils like canola and soy are not the worst of them. They’re just as bad as when we over consume the same polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) in nuts and seeds, oily fish and fish oils. Omega 3 from canola oil is no different than omega 3 from hemp seeds. They’re all estrogenic. As they accumulate in the fatty tissues, they trigger increased production of estrogen, which also leads to insulin resistance in the cells. All fat cells can produce estrogen, but the presence of PUFAs amplifies these effects.
Since the 70s, glyphosate has also thoroughly contaminated our food and water. It displaces glycine in our bodies, and glycine exerts an important protective effect against the harms of estrogen. The human diet has also been manipulated to reduce intake of glycine that would have been commonplace when we ate the entire animal including the connective tissues that are rich in glycine.
These are just some of the ways that we have disrupted our body’s normal estrogen metabolism, and this is seen especially in girls with the unnaturally high prevalence of hormonal disorders. But then we see it with women in menopause, when suddenly the risk of certain cancers decreases unless they are given estrogen.
Estrogen accumulation happens when the body is weakened by these numerous factors, and the liver is unable to metabolize the estrogen for elimination. It happens when the body has been overwhelmed with iron, PUFAs, and a stressful yet sedentary lifestyle. This creates a self-increasing process of hormonal imbalance, metabolic disorders, and disease where these various causative factors exacerbate each other.
Once the process begins, hormonal issues, including infertility, are quite likely. For men, too, this means poor sperm quality and low testosterone. Estrogen causes proliferation of cells and accumulation of fatty tissues, and insulin resistance. It increases lipolysis which is why you may often not feel hungry, yet your blood sugar is all over the place. That also causes high levels of free fatty acids in the blood. These cause inflammation and contribute to a variety of chronic illness, which is why so many people get worse as they try to “clean up” their diet. Even the Arthritis Foundation continues to push the “Mediterranean diet” that’s loaded with PUFAs, and millions of people try it only to see things get worse (if only a little better at first because they stopped eating so much processed food!)
Estrogen accumulation happens when iron is dysregulated, and vice versa, so all of the push to drink spring waters loaded with iron is another contributing factor. And we see this played out again in women who develop anemia after starting a prenatal with iron and zinc (also problematic) which they then treat with more iron the body can’t use (but looks good on the blood test). This drives up estrogen even more as the body struggles to move the iron into circulation, but still has to deal with the estrogen. The same thing happens when there are high levels of inflammation that reduces the amount of iron absorbed and available in the blood. Estrogen is a stress hormone that increases in these conditions, and slowly shifts from estrogen dominance to estrogen accumulation. The end result is menopause, when the body can no longer maintain estrogen levels and has nowhere to put it, so it stops producing estrogen to protect itself.
So what does this look like in practical terms? Issues you may be all too familiar with yourself. Like poor blood sugar regulation, so you fear sugar. Or poor iron regulation, so you are always tired. Maybe it’s an inability to get rid of excess body fat, or for men an inability to maintain healthy muscle even if they are somewhat underweight (that was me!) Then you’ll have PMS, cramping, bloating, or headaches. Hot flashes for menopause, and weakening bones. Poor digestion because of low progesterone levels, so it seems like dairy and gluten and all these food sensitivities keep piling up. You may think you figured it out when your digestion gets a little better cutting these things out, or when your doctor says you’re hypothyroid, but it keeps getting worse. In fact, the “cleaner” your diet, the worse you feel, and you’re still not getting in shape. Adding in more fish/fish oil and other high omega 3 foods, cutting out excellent protein sources because they’re “hard to digest” or have “too much saturated fat,” eliminating sugar because it’s “evil,” all the while still making the same mistakes that got you in this mess in the first place.
It could all be so simple.
You can start eating a natural human diet that tastes and feels good, so your body looks and feels great. Remember how when you were young you were “happy, hungry, and horny?” The “3 H’s” that tell you if your diet and lifestyle are really working for you. If you don’t have all 3 of these in your life, something’s not working. You can stop chasing endless “chronic illnesses” that are just symptoms of these underlying problems. You can start feeling great, and your body can work the way it was intended without the stress or restrictive dieting.
Ready to find out how good you’re supposed to feel everyday? Schedule a free call to learn how we can help you create your Naturally Connected Life that allows your food to support you living your best life, instead of ruining it!