You want to exercise, you want to lose weight, get fit and have that body that you’ve always dreamt of. You’ve selected healthy food choices and you’ve also upped your exercise intensity. However, you seem to be struggling to get rid of that stubborn fat on your hips or lower stomach. What could be the problem? An answer could be that your oestrogen levels are out of balance. Here we’re specifically going to look at oestrogen levels that are too high.
What is Oestrogen?
Oestrogen is a hormone that is primarily produced in the ovaries for women and also a small amount in the testes, fat and adrenal glands in men. In women, oestrogen is the primary sex hormone that plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle, aiding pregnancy and also maintaining bone strength and controlling cholesterol levels. Oestrogen levels are affected heavily according to where you are in your menstrual cycle, being the lowest during your period and at the highest during the middle of your cycle.
Oestrogen is very similar to testosterone when you look at it at a molecular level. The only actual difference being that testosterone has one little extra carbon atom on its molecular bridgework. Oestrogen and testosterone are regarded as the yin and yang of human sexual development. Although their molecular design is very similar, their characteristics have very evident differences.
So why is oestrogen affecting my weightloss?
When Oestrogen levels go out of sync, the risk of degenerative disease skyrockets. The risk of developing atherosclerosis goes up. The risk of having a stroke increases. The risk of developing Type II diabetes goes up. Emotional disturbances become more prevalent and your waistline will potentially increase too.
What are the signs of high Oestrogen?
When we have higher than normal Oestrogen levels in the body, the health risk implications increase. There are a number of tell tail signs that can be noticeable if you pay attention to them. These are:
– Increased abdominal fat
– Loss of muscle mass
– Low libido, decreased erectile function (in men)
– Increased fatty tissue around nipples
– Depression, emotional disturbances
– Lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
So what is the reason that my Oestrogen levels are high?
There are a number of reasons really. This can range from the type of day to day products that you use, to damage of specific enzymes in your body. I’m going to go through a few here for you.
1. You already hold too much body fat – Fat contains the testosterone-to-oestrogen changing aromatase enzyme, so as you get fatter you convert more testosterone to oestrogen, which makes you even fatter. Unfortunately, the only way that you can break this hideous cycle is to change your exercise and eating habits to lose the weight and keep the weight off.
2. Damage to the cytochrome P450 enzyme system – The P450 system is where the vast majority of drugs, chemicals, or supplements you ingest are processed and eliminated by the P450 system. This is also where any excess oestrogen is eliminated, however, certain things can damage and hinder the system from working. Examples of this are, drinking too much, being obese or even having a zinc deficiency.
3. Xenoestrogens – These chemicals are man-made chemicals that act like oestrogen in the body. Xenoestrogens are mainly found in heavy metals, synthetic chemicals and also industrial chemicals. These chemicals are found in foods, adhesives, fire retardants, detergents, drinking water, perfumes, waxes and household cleaning products. Although it will be very difficult to eliminate all of the above from our daily life, we can be mindful of our exposure to them.
If my Oestrogen levels are too high, how can I lower them?
There are again a number of ways in how you can lower your oestrogen levels. This can be through lifestyle changes to adding certain supplements to your diet. Here are some tips on how you can lower your levels.
1. A change in lifestyle – The reason why your oestrogen levels may be too high could stem from your lifestyle choices. If you happen to drink alcohol in excess regularly, then you may want to think about cutting back. Also if you do happen to be overweight through binge eating, you may also want to take control of your eating habits too. This is because holding a lot of body fat is also an oestrogenic progenitor.
2. Trying to get rid of all the unnecessary xenoestrogens – If you was to completely remove all of these from your life, you would simply need to move out of your house and live amongst the trees. However, here are some tips to help eradicate xenoestrogens:
– Choose to buy organic foods that aren’t exposed to pesticides
– Try and store your food in glass when you can, and not plastic containers
– Avoid drinking from bottled water that has been exposed to the sun for long periods of time
3. Look to include certain supplements into your diet – It is known in the fitness industry that high oestrogen levels can negatively affect your dieting goals. Because of this, the supplement companies have spent a lot of time researching what can assist in regulating these levels. Some supplements that can help are:
– Curcumin – This helps to reduce the effects of aromatase
– Fish Oil – Especially DHA. DHA helps reduce the number of oestrogen receptors
– Zinc – This helps to reduce the activity of oestrogen receptors.
If you feel that your levels may be too high, or if you feel that you have attempted the above and nothing has changed, look to seek advise form your local GP. If your GP suspects that you may have high oestrogen, they’ll order a blood test to check your hormone levels. From here the results will indicate if your levels are too high and you will be advised from there what the possible solutions will be.