By decoding all of your body’s distress signals and making some simple diet and exercise changes, you can restore optimal health while speeding up metabolism, overcoming stress and banishing hunger. Smart Fats are one of the top strategies for natural hormone therapy. They can help head off PMS, perimenopause and menopause symptoms, and even andropause (male menopause), while hormonal weight gain is dialed back.
ESTROGEN DOMINANCE DEFENSE
In fact, nothing beats a daily dose of hormone-balancing Smart Fat to offset estrogen dominance—the most common underlying cause of weight gain. Estrogen dominance impacts both men and women. In women, it occurs in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s due to the see-saw balancing act between two of the big hormone players, estrogen and progesterone, which are in constant play during the menstrual years and beyond. The side effects of estrogen vs. progesterone hormone havoc can include fat storage and cellulite, hypothyroidism, increased incidence of fibroids, breast sensitivities, heavy periods and even breast cancer.
In men, estrogen overload occurs in the early 40s and is characterized by a process called aromatization. It results in symptoms such as hair loss, prostate issues, a lack of sex drive, and weight gain in the upper body. In men, however, unlike their female counterparts, this process is primarily due to waning testosterone level, which triggers estrogen overload.
In both sexes, estrogen dominance is linked to a tired and toxic liver due to the plethora of xenoestrogens or “estrogen mimics” in the environment. These fake estrogens are a whole new breed of toxins that have been around since World War II. They function as toxic infiltrators spearheading a continual assault on your weight loss efforts and overall hormonal health in the form of pesticides, plastics, personal care products, household cleaners, solvents, automobile exhaust, industrial chemicals, the Pill, a copper IUD, and synthetic hormone therapy—all stressing an already overloaded liver. Bisphenol, a common plastic used in water bottles, is one of the best known.
The liver must detoxify these highly potent, fat-soluble, nonbiodegradable and extremely toxic estrogen-like substances in addition to its 400 other various jobs. This “living filter” which is like the body’s Grand Central Station cleanses your body by dumping toxins in the bile. So, any deficiency in bile production and/or flow will result in further estrogen overload. Xenoestrogens, in particular, are over 1,000 times more potent than the body’s naturally produced estrogen. Even in the smallest doses, they can significantly interfere with the body’s natural receptor sites resulting in a slew of hormonally-driven symptoms like depression, brain fog, headaches, and water retention, as well as fat gain.
Hormonal weight gain can be turned around when our three key sex hormones—estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone—are managed with easy lifestyle tweaks and the Smart Fat solution.
SEX HORMONE #1- ESTROGEN
The sex hormone Estrogen is kept in balance by some very sexy Smart Fats:
- Cold milled flax seeds and high lignan flax oil.
- Chia seeds
Estrogen has gotten a bad rap over the years, most likely due to the xenoestrogens and their hormone-disrupting side effects. But, let’s not forget that when estrogen is in balance, it is one powerful feminizing hormone, helping your libido, complexion, and brain, enabling you to feel calm. Adequate estrogen is also a surprising weight loss catalyst. When your estrogen levels are low, the body cannot synthesize as much choline, a key slimming nutrient, which produces low-density lipoprotein that escorts fat out of the liver. So, it turns out that hormonal fluctuations have a lot to do with your liver’s ability to ignite fat burning and detox. A congested liver or fatty liver, which cannot produce high-quality bile, may be another key underlying cause of an estrogen imbalance. Luckily, there are many Smart Fat-containing foods that will help round out a choline-deficient diet. One, for example, is omega-3 enriched eggs. As you may remember, this can be a double-edged sword as eggs are the number one allergy food for the gallbladder. If eggs are NOT an allergy-provoking food for you, then eggs are just about the most concentrated source of choline content in the diet—especially the yolk. Another source of slimming choline that estrogen can utilize is lecithin. Lecithin is derived from non-GMO soy or sunflowers and the word “lecithin” itself comes from the Greek word for “egg yolk.” If eggs are not an option, then non-GMO soy or sunflower lecithin may satisfy the body’s daily need just as well as dietary supplements. In any case, lecithin appears to be one highly underrated nutrient. The brain is composed of about 30 percent lecithin. The brain-protective insulating sheath that also protects the nerves are about 2/3 lecithin and the heart is loaded with lecithin. It also comes into play because it can thin out bile, which is especially important for women who are twice as likely as men to get gallstones. Higher estrogen levels due to hormone replacement therapy or pregnancy can increase cholesterol in the bile and impact gallbladder flow. Lecithin can help move bile along and thin it out.
While low estrogen has a far-reaching effect on your metabolism, excess estrogen is the ultimate hormone magnet for sodium and fat. Most of the estrogen dominance symptoms, as noted above, really only occur when levels rise too high in relationship to progesterone.
Progesterone counters excess estrogen’s negative and often irritating excitable effects. Progesterone means “for gestation” and is touted as the feel-good hormone because it is up to 20 times more concentrated in the brain than in the bloodstream. As estrogen’s opposing “sister” hormone, progesterone helps burn fat as fuel, is a natural diuretic, stabilizes breast cell and uterine lining growth and is a natural antidepressant! It also enhances sex drive—a very big deal for many women during the “change before the change” and beyond. One very special hormone indeed, progesterone signals the hypothalamus to increase your core body temperature, thereby increasing your resting metabolic rate.
And here’s the kicker.
Low levels of progesterone trigger your body to burn 15,000 to 20,000 fewer calories per year and encourage increased water retention.
As I discovered with my clients, progesterone—not estrogen—is actually the first hormone to decline during the perimenopausal years so making sure your progesterone levels are in balance is just as vital as taking the estrogen-modulating flax seeds and high lignan flax oil. When estrogen presides over progesterone, you may even develop hypothyroidism.
The Smart Fat connection for blocking hormonal weight comes into focus when we look at the high lignin content of flax seeds and flax oil. Lignans are potent phytoestrogens. Flax seeds have 800 times more concentration than any other source. They can help alleviate hormonal discomforts and have stellar breast cancer-fighting abilities. In fact, a study conducted at the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Toronto Hospital in Canada showed how as little as two tablespoons a day of ground flax seeds markedly slowed down tumor growth in women with breast cancer1. A similar study was later conducted at Duke University that proved the tumor-slowing ability of flax seeds with prostate cancer2.
Science confirms that the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content of lignan-rich flax oil has stand-alone benefits all of its own, without having to be converted into EPA and DHA. For example, in several studies of breast cancer risk, the higher the concentration of ALA in breast tissue, the lower the risk of manifesting breast cancer. Moreover, if breast cancer arises, the higher the breast tissue concentration of ALA, the lower the risk of cancer metastasis to other parts of the body.
Fiber can also help to rid your body of excess estrogen. Eating five or more veggies and fruits daily along with fiber-rich seeds (like chia), and of course, flax seeds and legumes are terrific ways to healthfully excrete estrogen so it doesn’t keep recirculating in your body.
Also, nosh on walnuts. Their rich phytosterol content can assist in preventing toxic environmental estrogens from binding to receptor sites.
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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.
Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.