Let’s talk about how to naturally balance estrogen. So many men and women reach out to me with questions regarding how to naturally balance their sex hormones, which is what I have been addressing on my Youtube channel the past couple of weeks. Part 2 of my new youtube series on balancing hormones came out this week. If you haven’t watched Part 1, you can go back and do that here: How fasting can help balance hormones.
Estrogen is one of the important sex hormones for both women and men. For women, estrogen helps control the menstrual cycle, specifically ovulation, but estrogen also has other functions in both men and women, such as regulating cholesterol, protecting bone health, and influencing mood, heart, skin and hair.
In women, the ovaries are the main source of estrogen, but we must also look at adrenal and pituitary glands, hypothalamus and adipose tissue, aka body fat (where excess estrogen is stored). In men, 20% of estrogen production comes from the testes, the rest comes from adipose tissue.
Causes of estrogen imbalance
Some people may have too much estrogen, ie. estrogen dominance, while other people have too little estrogen, which is called estrogen deficiency. Causes of estrogen imbalance in both men and women include:
- Menopause. In the menopause years, women experience a decline in estrogen levels, which unfortunately moves adipose tissue from women’s hips into their abdomen. This can lead to increased inflammation, insulin sensitivity and cancer risks, which fasting can help address.
- A high toxic load.
- Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) in personal care products, cosmetics, air fresheners, fragranced laundry products and foods.
- Eating a high-sugar, or highly-refined diet, aka “Standard American Diet”
- Eating pesticide sprayed foods.
- Eating preservatives in packaged foods: most packaged foods have Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), Bisphenol A (BPA), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and nitrites/nitrates. BHT, in particular, has been shown to lower testosterone and impair thyroid function in animals.
- Drinking unfiltered tap water.
Estrogen dominance vs. Estrogen deficiency
Symptoms can help you determine whether you might be estrogen deficient or estrogen dominant.
Estrogen dominance symptoms:
- MOOD: snappy, short-tempered, impatient, nervousness, irritable, angry
- BODY: weight gain, nausea, bloating, sugar cravings, sleep disturbances, cold hands and feet
- CYCLE: fibroids, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, heavy menstrual bleeding, clotting, PMS, low libido
Estrogen deficiency symptoms:
- MOOD: brain fog, forgetfulness, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, mood swing
- BODY: hot flashes, night sweats, hair loss, fatigue, headaches, weight gain, insomnia
- CYCLE: low libido, reduced fertility, vaginal/bladder infections, irregular or no menstrual cycle
You’ll notice that there can be overlap between the symptoms of estrogen deficiency and dominance, therefore testing is often the most accurate way of determining what is happening with your sex hormones and adrenals. The DUTCH Hormone Panel test is what I use in my office, and can be ordered online.
What about men? In men, estrogen imbalance –whether high or low– can cause excess belly fat, enlarged breast tissue (aka, man boobs), infertility, low libido and sexual dysfunction.
4 Fasts to help naturally balance estrogen
First, can fasting help balance hormones? Yes.
Here are my top fasts to help balance estrogen:
- Intermittent fasting (13-15 hours). For both sexes, intermittent fasting is the foundational fast that I recommend everyone should be doing daily. Both estrogen and growth hormones decline as we age, especially after the age of 40. We need growth hormones to help with estrogen signaling, the ability of your cells to receive estrogen and for optimal communication between the brain and ovaries. A study of women post-breast cancer treatment found that women who intermittent fasted saw a 70% reduction in the recurrence of breast cancer!
- Autophagy fasting (16-18 hours): The world we live in is very estrogen dominant. Harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in our food, clothing, and beauty products. Autophagy fasting will help to continuously repair and turnover cells. I recommend this type of fast 1-2x per week. Something to remember with autophagy fasting is that you may stimulate something called apoptosis, which is cellular death. This means that cells are using their innate intelligence to clean up potentially cancerous or unhealthy cells. This is great for regulating estrogen imbalances.
- 24 hour fasting: This type of fast is known to reset the microbiome. Specifically, the estrobolome is the microbiome that breaks down estrogen and there are about 60 different bacteria that work together to do this. Therefore a healthy gut microbiome is essential for balancing hormones. I recommend this type of fast 1x per week.
- 14 hour dry fasting: A 2020 study at Baylor University found that 30 days of 14 hours of dry fasting from sunrise to sunset, had the effect of successfully upregulating certain beneficial genes and downregulating undesirable genes, like genes for breast cancer.
In addition to fasting, certain lifestyle changes can be a very effective way of naturally balancing hormone levels.
5 Lifestyle changes to naturally balance estrogen
- Fasting. Learn how to start fasting, with these three simple steps. Once you’ve mastered intermittent fasting, work on building your fasting lifestyle by adding in the other fasts I mentioned above.
- Diet. Remove pesticide laden foods, sugary, highly processed foods and harmful oils from your diet. I have a great episode on The Resetter Podcast with Dr. Cate, where she talks about the 3 most harmful oils you should remove from your diet: cotton seed, corn and canola oil. Instead add in good oils to your diet, like Andreas seed oil (Use code PELZ for discount). For example, flax oil is a phytoestrogen, which means it will supplement good estrogen. Lastly, make sure you know the difference between good fats versus bad fats.
- Feed your microbiome with good bacteria. Add probiotic foods to your diet, like sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented foods and raw dairy products, as well as prebiotic foods like garlic, asparagus and beans.
- Minimize your toxic load. Look at the products in your home and create a chemical free life. Many beauty, laundry and cleaning products contain harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals that are linked to cancer. These disruptors also can cause depression and weight gain. There are two helpful apps that will help you tell how toxic your beauty products are; Skin Deep App and Think Dirty App. Check them out and rate your products. Secondly, you may need to work on opening up detox pathways with these liver hacks. If you’re still not seeing results, it might be time to do a deep detox.
- Manage stress. Remember in the hormonal hierarchy, when cortisol goes up, insulin becomes difficult to manage, so it’s essential to learn how to manage adrenal fatigue. My favorite book on this topic is Rushing Woman’s Syndrome: The Impact of a Never-Ending To-Do List and How to Stay Healthy in Today’s Busy World by Dr. Libby Weaver.
Alright, I have a couple BONUS tips for you! One of my favorite hacks for estrogen is this natural estrogen cream, called Natural Radiance. If your skin, joints and mucosal membranes are dry, try this.
Another product for women is the Joy Lux, Vfit, a red light therapy device. Listen to the Resetter Podcast episode with Susan Bratton on how we can improve our sex drive and lubrication naturally…and everything else you’d ever want to know about sex! This is a must-listen for both men and women.