Estrogen dominance is a common pattern in women, where estrogen levels are high in comparison to progesterone levels, and it causes a lot of suffering.
Here are 8 causes that can contribute to hormonal imbalance:
1️⃣ Body Fat
Our fat cells contain an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. That means the more fat cells in the body, the more estrogen produced (in both women AND men). This is especially true of abdominal fat, and fat around our organs (visceral fat).
2️⃣ Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance (when cells do not properly respond to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar) increases aromatase activity, leading to increased estrogen levels. One can have insulin resistance and still have a normal fasting blood sugar on your labs.
3️⃣ Liver Problems
The liver is the main site of estrogen metabolism. If the liver is overburdened or missing key nutrients, estrogen metabolism and elimination will be impaired, leading to higher levels of circulating estrogen.
4️⃣ Poor Gut Health
Gut bacteria can produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase that undoes the work your liver did to metabolize estrogen and causes estrogen to recirculate into the body. Overgrowths of certain unfriendly gut bacteria can produce large levels of this enzyme, contributing to estrogen dominance.
5️⃣ Low Thyroid Function
Estrogen and thyroid hormones have an intimate relationship. High estrogen blocks the conversion of T4 (the inactive form of thyroid hormone) to T3 (the active form), and low thyroid function slows elimination of estrogen from the body. This can create a vicious cycle and worsen estrogen dominance.
Alcohol increases activity of the aromatase enzyme in the liver, contributing to higher estrogen levels. Alcohol also has to be metabolized in the liver, and if your liver is busy dealing with alcohol, it has fewer resources to metabolize estrogen.
Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. They can be found in plastic water bottles, grocery store receipts, cleaning products, and in personal care products like lotions and cosmetics.
Stay tuned to learn more about how you can improve your hormone balance and feel better!