Mary works full time while raising three young children and has
been suffering with insomnia and night sweats even though
she is far from menopause; Joanne, a busy stockbroker, has
such heavy periods that she is locked in her house for seven
days every month; and Melinda, newly married with an exciting
job, is losing her hair, gaining weight around the middle, and
feeling exhausted. All three women are suffering from estrogen
dominance, a common condition in women.
Hormones Out of Balance
We are bombarded by environmental estrogens, also called
xenoestrogens or estrogen mimickers. These man-made
chemicals act exactly like estrogen in the body. Estrogen-mimickers
are found in everything from plastics, cosmetics
and pesticides to dry cleaning chemicals, dairy products and
more. Too much estrogen upsets the body’s delicate balance
of hormones. Some of the most common female estrogen-dominant
conditions are PMS, endometriosis, abnormal PAP
tests, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, cystic breasts, heavy
periods, low thyroid, hormonal acne, severe menopausal
symptoms, breast cancer and the list goes on. Too much
estrogen can block the uptake of thyroid hormone, promoting
low thyroid. Over 23 percent of Canadians take thyroid
medication for low thyroid and an estimated 30 percent have
undiagnosed low thyroid with symptoms that include hair
loss, weight gain, feeling cold, constipation, night sweats,
recurring miscarriage, heavy periods, high cholesterol and so
Women need estrogen but not the toxic type found in the
environment. Women are supplied with estrogen from their
ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. When the ovaries take a
much-needed rest at menopause, or if the ovaries are surgically
removed during a hysterectomy, the adrenal glands become
the main source of estrogen. The adrenal glands sit atop the
kidneys and they also help us deal with stress and control
water balance in the body. When our adrenal glands become
exhausted from too much stress, hormone havoc ensues.
Classic symptoms include insomnia where you fall asleep fine
but wake up several hours later and can’t fall back to sleep,
caffeine and salt cravings, no energy, difficulty handling stress,
and weight gain around the middle. We must love our adrenals
in order to have balanced hormones.
The liver is the key organ for detoxifying excess hormones,
breaks down and distributes estrogen and other hormones.
Your liver decides if your estrogen is going to stay in the
healthy form or be converted into cancer-causing estrogens.
Our liver becomes sluggish due to a diet of too many bad fats
(from lard, margarine and refined oils), sugars and artificial
sweeteners, fried foods, and not enough vegetables and good
protein. Regular alcohol consumption also negatively affects
the liver’s ability to maintain hormone balance.
The liver, thyroid and the adrenal glands must operate at
peak performance to ensure hormone harmony. The basis
of a healthy hormone program is a diet full of cruciferous
vegetables and lean protein from wild, free-range sources.
There are also key herbs and nutrients that been researched to
support the adrenals, liver and thyroid.
Eight hours of deep restful sleep will reverse adrenal exhaustion
quickly. At bedtime, take a natural sleep aid containing
melatonin, chamomile, hops, valerian and passionflower
to help with sleep. The following herbs should be taken in
combination to nourish the adrenals and help reduce the
effects of stress:
Rhodiola increases the body’s resistance to all types
of stress; enhances mental and physical performance; and
regulates the heart by increasing oxygen utilization.
Suma is called “para todo” which means “for everything.” It
is considered a regenerative tonic for the nervous, reproductive
and digestive systems and is used to treat hormonal disorders,
sexual dysfunction, fatigue, and stress.
Siberian ginseng, not a true ginseng, normalizes reactions
to physical and mental stress, and increases the body’s ability
to withstand adverse conditions such as heat, noise, increases
in workload and physical endurance. It regulates blood sugar,
protects the liver and supports optimal adrenal function.
Schizandra berry is a general tonic that promotes liver
health and counters the effects of stress and fatigue. It is also
used for insomnia associated with changing hormones.
Ashwagandha increases energy to improve overall health
and longevity. Studies have proven powerful anti-stress
effects as well as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor
and immune-modulating properties. Ashwagandha not only
supports the adrenals but has also been found to improve
thyroid function too.
Support a Low Thyroid
The adrenal glands and the thyroid are directly linked so
once the adrenals become exhausted, the thyroid goes low.
The following nutrients have been found to help support the
thyroid. These nutrients can be safely taken along with thyroid
medicines. Never stop your thyroid hormone drug without
your doctor’s recommendation.
Tyrosine is an amino acid necessary for the manufacture of
thyroid hormones. Tyrosine assists a sluggish thyroid and can
aid the loss of those unwanted pounds.
Ashwagandha supports the thyroid gland. Studies show
that it enhances thyroid function and produces a significant
increase in T4 thyroid hormone.
Guggal extract supports complete thyroid health while
enhancing the conversion of T4 hormone to the more potent
T3 hormone. Guggal extract and ashwagandha should be used
together to support thyroid health.
Potassium iodide is essential for the manufacture of
thyroid hormones, and was initially added to salt to combat
the epidemic of low thyroid in Canadians. Since many people
now avoid salt for fear of high blood pressure, low thyroid and
goitres are on the rise in Canada.
Environmental Estrogen Protection
We must avoid products containing environmental estrogens
such as cosmetics containing parabens, plastics with BPA,
synthetic hormones in dairy and meat, to name a few.
Detoxification of these estrogens using saunas and dry
brushing the skin will help to eliminate excess estrogens, as
does eating organic broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower,
cabbage and kale. Supplementing with the following
nutrients can help protect you from the dangerous effects of
environmental estrogens and balance hormones. If you have
any of the estrogen-dominant conditions mentioned earlier,
you need the following food-based nutrients every day. They
can be purchased separately or in combo.
Indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C) is a powerful plant nutrient from
cruciferous vegetables. I-3-C prevents the conversion of
good estrogens to cancer-causing estrogens. I-3-C maintains
a healthy cervix, protects against HPV cervical lesions and
controls abnormal cell growth found in those with uterine
fibroids, breast lumps and endometriosis. It is very effective
for heavy periods caused by a thickened uterine lining.
D-glucarate is a powerful detoxifier of excess estrogens via
the liver. It helps to maintain healthy hormone balance.
Green tea extract contains polyphenols, catechins and
flavonoids shown to be protective against estrogen-related
cancers and it stops abnormal cell growth. (Note: Although
uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and breast
lumps may not develop into cancers, they are cells growing
out of control.)
Curcuminis the yellow pigment of turmeric. This powerful
anti-inflammatory agent works to inhibit all steps of cancer
formation: initiation, promotion and progression. Curcumin
also supports the liver.
Rosemary extract, a potent antioxidant, protects cells from
cancer-causing agents, inhibits the growth of cancer cells and
helps to detoxify toxic estrogens.
Sulforaphane, from Broccophane™ broccoli sprout extract,
has been shown to stimulate the body’s production of
detoxification enzymes that eliminate environmental
estrogens. Sulforaphane is a powerful antioxidant and anticancer
Mary found relief from her insomnia and night sweats within a
few days by using the adrenal support nutrients and a natural
sleep aid. Joanne is relieved that, after only two months of taking
indole-3-carbinol along with the other estrogen-balancing
nutrients, her periods are now four days in length with normal
flow. Since Melinda started taking the recommended thyroid
nutrients, her hair stopped falling out and the added weight is
now coming off effortlessly.