Estrogen Dominance and Breast Cancer
Though a small percentage of cases may be purely genetic, the real leading cause of breast cancer stems from estrogen dominance. The science behind this statement is that estrone and estradiol work within the body to increase expression of the BCL2 gene that causes cell development and growth, especially in hormone-sensitive tissue like the breasts.
You may look healthy on the surface, but underneath you are suffering from breast lumps, PMS, hair loss and possibly more symptoms. Don’t ignore them. The reason we don’t consider estrogen dominance to be a problem is most likely because it is so common in today’s environment that we disregard it as normal. But, it is not normal and may be causing more harm than you realize.
How do you know if you are estrogen dominant and at risk for developing breast cancer, and can this estrogen dominance be reversed? Not only is it possible to reverse a lot of the damage, but since estrogen dominance indicates that there is not enough progesterone, balancing out the two helps reduce the risk for developing cancer dramatically with studies showing that progesterone has even caused cell death in cancer tumors.
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
- Chemicals in cosmetics, pesticides, plastics, pollution, and environment shaped like body’s estrogens and attach to estrogen receptors, contributing to estrogen load
- Conventionally raised beef and meats fed antibiotics and growth hormones
- Conventional dairy, which contains hormones
- Soy, which contains plant-based estrogens, especially processed soy
- Birth control pills
- Being overweight or obese
- Processed Foods, corn syrup
- Excess alcohol
Although the causes of sporadic breast cancer continue to be somewhat of a mystery, there is substantial experimental, epidemiological, and clinical evidence that estrogen influences the risk of developing some form of breast cancer. Several studies have shown that catechol estrogen and estrogen quinones have been the cause of mammary carcinogenesis. Evidence indicates that the oxidative metabolism of estrogens to catechol estrogens and to estrogen quinones can create mutagenic DNA lesions.
Estrogen dominance can mean that we either have too much estrogen in relation to progesterone levels or we have an imbalance of estrogen metabolites of which some are dangerous and some are actually protective. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
- Sugar cravings
- Bad PMS
- Water retention
- Lumpy breasts
- Painful or swollen breasts
- Ovarian cysts
- Heavy periods
- Weight gain or fat around the hips
- Nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
- Facial flushing
Foods and Environmental Factors to Avoid
When we are bombarded by estrogenic elements in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the products we use, it may be a challenge to steer completely clear of excess estrogens, but it is important to make the effort to avoid eating conventionally-raised animal meats, use alternative skin care and cleaning products to limit contact with endocrine disruptors such as the BPAs, phthalates which are often listed on the label as “fragrance”, and perchlorate found in tap water.
Foods That Help
Begin to add estrogen-metabolizing foods to your diet such as flax seed, fiber and cruciferous vegetables. A diet rich in phytonutrients plant hormones found in whole foods and grains is important to maintain. Some additional foods that may help include eggs, nuts, kiwis, quinoa, salmon, sweet potatoes, broccoli, sesame and sunflower seeds, hummus, garlic, alfalfa bean sprouts, dried apricots and dates, olive oil, almonds, green beans, and blueberries.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to start adding two tablespoons of ground flax seed every day. Flax seed suppresses estradiol production as it encourages estradiol metabolism in a positive way by generating a higher ratio of 2-hydroxy-strone, a protective metabolite instead of allowing the harmful 16-hydroxy-estrone alternative.
Liver and Estrogen Dominance
Liver plays a role in estrogen detoxification. If the liver is not cable of properly detoxing excess estrogen it will accumulate in the body. The following are sick liver symptoms:
- Intolerance to alcohol and coffee
- Swollen feet or abdomen
- Easy bruising
- Yellowing of the eyes
- Dark urine and stool
- Bad breath
- Sensitivity to chemicals in paints, petrol, bleaches
- Body odor
- Elevated ALT and AST
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
Irritability, anxiety, and mood swings are just a few of the emotional elements related to estrogen dominance. The symptoms that arise from being estrogen dominant are bound to have an effect on your mood and emotions not to mention what the news of a breast cancer diagnosis would do to enhance your fears.
Herbs and Vitamins That Help
Take high quality multi-vitamins that include antioxidants of Vitamins A, C, D, E, and a B-complex. Supplements such as DIM, which is an extract of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, encourages proper metabolism of estrogens in the body.
Herbs that may help balance hormones include black cohosh, Dong Quai, red clover, chaste tree, licorice, Ashwagandha, and fermented soy.
One way to reverse the damage of too much estrogen in your body is to support and optimize your liver. Estrogen metabolizes in the methylation and glucuronidation liver detoxification pathways and then is sent out of the body as waste.
Essential Oils that May Help
Inhaling clary sage oil may reduce cortisol levels by more than 35 percent and improve thyroid hormone levels. The oil helps to balance estrogen production in the body.
Thyme oil may also be beneficial in leveling out estrogen since it improves progesterone production.
Sandalwood oil is very effective in balancing testosterone both in men and women.
Lavender, and chamomile oils help to reduce stress, and rose oil also helps balance hormones while supporting the production of serotonin to aid in lifting depression.
Frankincense oil reduces inflammation that also helps reduce cortisol. Either diffuse the oil or mix with coconut oil and rub directly to the skin.
It’s important for overall health to maintain low stress in your life. When you are facing a potential life-threatening illness, it’s even more vital to stay as relaxed as possible and to keep your stress under control. One way to do this is through exercise and weight-bearing exercise to boost hormones naturally with strength training. Minimize needless stressors through meditation, expressing yourself through singing, painting, writing, prayer, and deep breathing to de-stress. Also, get plenty of rest, maintain healthy relationships, and keep your sense of humor.
Hormones That Affect or Are Affected
To lower your estrogen levels or to reverse a lump in the breast or a thyroid nodule, first address your estrogen levels in relationship to progesterone. Listen to the symptoms in your body. There is a reason you are experiencing these. Then, to be sure where you stand, get tested, preferably using saliva or urine.
Estrogen dominance is a serious issue for people with thyroid conditions. Not only is estrogen the leading cause of thyroid nodules and the development of thyroid cancer, but high levels of estrogen in the body raise the amount of thyroid binding globulin. The result is that there is less thyroid hormone available to the body.
It may sound odd since it is usually associated only with men, but testosterone plays a role in breast cancer prevention and therapy. Though, maintaining balance is the key here, since testosterone can convert to estrogen in the body.
- Ann N Y Acad Sci, Catechol quinones of estrogens in cancers – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17261777
- Clemons and Goss, Oxidative metabolism of estrogens to catechol esstrogens and estrogen quinones mutagenic DNA lesions – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11172156
- Yager and Lier, Cavalieri et al., Parl, Catechol estrogen and estrogen quinones in mammary carcinogenesis – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5377352_Estrogenic_Phenol_and_Catechol_Metabolites_of_PCBs_Modulate_Catechol-Omethyltransferase_Expression_Via_the_Estrogen_Receptor_Potential_Contribution_to_Cancer_Risk
- Endocrine Journals – https://academic.oup.com/endocrinesociety
- Fomby, B. wiley, T.S. Progesterone inhibits cancer growth – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9846203