We often hear this term hormone imbalance thrown around. And in truth, problems that arise in the body can often be traced back to hormones, or have a hormonal component. This is because modern day life doesn’t provide an environment for us to have healthy hormones.
There are many types of hormone imbalances. The body produces over 70 hormones which act as messengers, delivering instructions to organs throughout the body. Hormones work synergistically together and when the level of one is out of balance- it can cause disturbances throughout the whole body. Today, we’re talking about sex hormone imbalance.
Hormone imbalances are more common in women, and this is because our hormone cycles are monthly, versus males' which are daily. As women, we’re often taught that symptoms of hormone imbalances are normal, and that they’re part of being a woman. An example of this is PMS. For this reason, hormone imbalances are ofteundiagnosed and this can lead to a transition into menopause among more serious chronic diseases down the line. One of the most common hormone imbalances in women is something called Estrogen Dominance.
What is estrogen dominance
In its simplest term’s estrogen dominance is a buildup of estrogen in the body, in relation to other sex hormones, like progesterone. Common symptoms of estrogen dominance are PMS, depression, anxiety, brain fog, decreased libido and bloating. Estrogen dominance is also present in conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
What Contributes to Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance is on the rise and there are several reasons we’re seeing a surge in the collective.
A major factor contributing to this is the increasing presence of estrogens in the environment. We call these Xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are found in plastics (think Tupperware, bottled water), conventional meat and dairy products and even in our water supply. We are also seeing a trend that our personal care products are becoming filled with these chemicals as well as chemicals called endocrine disruptors.
Endocrine disruptors act like hormones in the human body, and cause our natural ratios to become out of balance.
Another factor at play is the prescription of hormonal birth control. Long-term use of birth control creates the ideal environment for hormonal imbalances to develop.
We also see the prescribing of birth control not for its intended purpose, but to ‘correct’ symptoms of an already present hormone imbalance, which in the long run further exacerbate the initial hormone imbalance.
As always- before looking at external factors, it’s important to examine the internal environment. Digestion can affect how much estrogen is floating around in the blood steam. The body eliminates used and excess estrogen through the stool. If digestion is slow, ie- constipation, then the estrogen that is meant to leave the body gets reabsorbed and circulates through the bloodstream.
Our liver also needs to be in good health in order for the body keep hormones in check.
The Liver Explained
The Liver is responsible for neutralizing toxic substances so they can be safely excreted. In order for estrogen to make it to the intestines for elimination, it has to be metabolized in the liver. A problem can arise when an individual’s toxic load is greater than the capacity of the liver.
When looking at hormone imbalances- particularly in the case of estrogen dominance, the liver is often overlooked. While addressing hormone imbalances is multifactorial, supporting the liver is a fundamental part of bringing the body back into balance.
When the liver is “backed-up” with other chemicals, it can’t metabolize estrogen properly and we can see a bioaccumulation of estrogen. Therefore, one of the goals when working to decrease estrogen is to upregulate the pathways responsible for detoxification. There are many ways to go about helping the liver do this.
Reducing the toxic load from the environment can go a long way in freeing up the space for estrogen to pass through.
By making conscious food and lifestyle choices, we can reduce the amount of environmental estrogens and endocrine disruptors coming into the body by a substantial amount. This lowers the overall toxic load.
The reality is that toxins are found everywhere, even our own bodies produce them. The burden of modern life exhausts the liver and contributes to conditions such as hormone imbalances. Supplementing with liver loving nutrients, in addition to diet and lifestyle modifications can help. Glutathione is one of the best nutrients for liver support.
Known as the master antioxidant, glutathione has an affinity for the liver and is concentrated in liver cells. Glutathione up-regulates phase two detoxification, which estrogen clearance is closely linked to.
Due to the modern environment, most people have suboptimal glutathione levels. In addition to this, it is estimated that 55% of people are poor producers of glutathione, meaning they are not able to make it in sufficient quantities.
This becomes important in hormonal imbalances because many lack the necessary glutathione to excrete excess hormones- like estrogen.
When symptoms of estrogen dominance are present, the liver is more often than not compromised to some extent. Supplementing with glutathione supports the body in clearing excess estrogen which has positive effects that ripple throughout the body.
Liposomal glutathione is wrapped in fat molecules called phospholipids. These phospholipids allow the glutathione to pass through digestion, still intact and ensure the glutathione gets delivered straight to the cells. Check out our liposomal Lypo-Spheric® Glutathione here!
Remember to always check with your healthcare practitioner when starting on a new supplement!Author: Lisa Kowalyk, CNP, B.Kin(hons)