Xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens imitate estrogen – the primary female hormone responsible for regulating monthly cycles and impacting mood and libido, as well as the development of reproductive organs and breasts, fertility, supporting a healthy heart, healthy skin, nails, and hair, and maintaining bone density.

Xenoestrogen Sources & Issues

Xenoestrogens are synthetic,chemical compounds. Found in food, water, plastics and body products, they bind to oestrogen receptors and send false signals disrupting our endocrine system and altering our bodily functions, mainly through “estrogen dominance”

“The word xenoestrogen is derived from the Greek words ξένο (xeno, meaning foreign), οἶστρος (estrus, meaning sexual desire) and γόνο (gene, meaning “to generate”) and literally means “foreign estrogen”. Xenoestrogens are also called “environmental hormones” or “EDC” (Endocrine Disrupting Compounds). Most scientists that study xenoestrogens, including The Endocrine Society, regard them as serious environmental hazards that have hormone disruptive effects on both wildlife and humans.” ~ Wikipedia

Environmental sources of Xenoestrogens:-

  • Plastics (water bottles, disposable cups, plastic wrap, food containers)
  • Pesticides (on non-organic fruits and vegetables)
  • Tap Water (chlorine and other chemical treatments, runoff byproducts)
  • Chemicals in cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, and other body care products
  • Birth control pills

Issues associated with Xenoestrogens

There is a concern that xenoestrogens may act as false messengers and disrupt the process of reproduction. Xenoestrogens, like all estrogens, can increase growth of the endometrium (lining of the womb), so treatments for endometriosis symptoms will include avoidance of products which contain them. Likewise, they are avoided in order to prevent the onset or aggravation of adenomyosis. 

Phytoestrogens: Sources & Issues

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds found in a wide variety of foods and herbs, most notably, soy foods. they are also known as “dietary estrogens”. Because phytoestrogen compounds have a weaker estrogenic effect in the body, they are often beneficial in alleviating symptoms and conditions caused by estrogen deficiency. For example in menopausal women.

“It has been hypothesized that plants use a phytoestrogen as part of their natural defence against the overpopulation of herbivore animals by controlling female fertility.” ~ “Infertility in the Modern World

Sources of phytoestrogens:

  • Soy products: tofu, tempeh, miso, and edamame
  • Red clover
  • Coffee
  • Flax seeds (linseed)
  • Oats
  • Lentils
  • Legumes (peanuts, beans, peas)
  • Apples
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Liquorice root

Issues associated with phytoestrogens/plant-based estrogen:

A wide range of beneficial effects of phytoestrogens on the cardiovascular, metabolic, central nervous systems as well as reduction of risk of cancer and post menopausal symptoms have been claimed. However, there is also concern that phytoestrogens may act as endocrine disruptors that adversely affect health. Based on currently available evidence, it is not clear whether the potential health benefits of phytoestrogens outweigh their risks. As always if you are suffering with hormonal issues, your first port of call should be a doctor to confirm exactly what is going on.

So where can we make changes?

Given that what we eat PLUS  60% of what we put ON our skin is absorbed into our body, perhaps its time to make more informed choices about what we choose to eat and wear, starting with our beauty products in an attempt to avoid harmful chemicals. See the infographic opposite.

Try and avoid those foods and substances listed above if suffering from estrogen dominance. Opt for organic fruit and vegetables (or ensure you thoroughly wash your produce to remove any toxins)

Use BPA-free plastic or glass containers.

    Ways to naturally regulate estrogen levels in the body

    1. Drink more water! This helps eliminate excess estrogen in your body
    2. Exercise regularly to help clear excess estrogen and regulate insulin levels.
    3. Stick with whole foods (a diet high in processed and refined carbohydrates and sugar can increase estrogen to unhealthy levels and lead to weight gain)
    4. Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale – produce compounds in the body which can lower the effects of estrogen in the body and also help the liver effectively perform its detoxification processes.
    5. Take a probiotic.
    6. Limit alcohol and caffeine to support your kidney and liver, thus helping to support the natural detoxification of estrogen
    7. Try reflexology or massage – stress can cause hormonal imbalance. Targeted reflexology and a relaxing massage can help you to de-stress and restore balance

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