Excess Estrogen and Weight Gain: 

Estrogenic Chemicals: The Hidden Cause for Belly Fat Gain and Other Disorders in Men and Women

By Ori Hofmekler
Author of The Warrior Diet

Can certain food compounds be the secret weapon to destroy stubborn belly fat, ignite energy and most surprisingly get a leaner and stronger body?  Is it true that adding certain missing plant compounds to our diet can make us sexier and healthier?

Yes!

But you need to know what to do, or you probably will still bloat up and suffer. All men and women alike are exposed to estrogenic chemicals day by day. Known as xenoestrogens, they are capable of mimicking estrogen activity in the body. The ongoing assaults of these chemicals affect the body like excess estrogens, with overwhelming and sometimes devastating consequences. It is almost impossible to avoid these estrogen mimickers...
 
They're in the air, car emissions, detergents, paints, nail polishes, lotions, soaps, plastics, food and water. Most notable sources of estrogen chemicals are petroleum based products, pollutants, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and plastics. 
 
One may suffer from some of the following symptoms: weight gain in the waist (belly fat) and other areas that virtually resist fat burning, allergies, recurring sinus infections, water retention, fatigue and mood swings, all of which may be symptoms of excess estrogen due to estrogenic chemicals. 
 
Xenoestrogens are not the only reason for excess estrogen.  Obesity, aging, birth control pills, estrogen replacement drugs (HRT), anabolic steroids, hormones in meat and dairy, and a poor diet are also major contributors to excess estrogen and its related disorders in men and women.

Normally, estrogen is balanced with other hormones in the body such as progesterone in women and testosterone in men.  A certain hormonal balance must be maintained for proper metabolic functions. When that hormonal balance is interrupted, disorders and diseases occur.

A most notable sign of aging is the loss of hormones that balance estrogen. With age, there is also an increased conversion of androgens to estrogen in both sexes, all of which leaves the body with an excess of renegade estrogen.

Ironically, perimenopausal women, who initially lose estrogen, suffer from increased levels of excess estrogen due to the aforementioned reasons.

In summary, our "estrogen cup is full".  Estrogenic chemicals cause a "spill over" effect in the form of excess estrogen and its related disorders.  

Weight Gain and Other Disorders

The "thickening" of women's bodies and the "softening" of men's bodies are often related to excess estrogen. 
 
When in excess, estrogen promotes the growth of estrogen sensitive tissues, leading to an increased size of adipose (fat) tissues in the waist, belly and other estrogen sensitive fat tissues:  For men, typically in the belly and chest; for women, in the belly, lower butt, upper thighs and sometimes in the back of the arms. In some cases, excess estrogen causes feminization of men's bodies with conditions such as genecomastia. 
 
Estrogen sensitive fat tissues are also called "stubborn fat" due to their high resistance to fat burning. Generally, not even diet or exercise can help remove this estrogen sensitive tenacious fat.  Excess estrogen works in a vicious cycle. Estrogen promotes fat gain, and the enlarged fat tissue produces more estrogen within its cells, which then promotes more fat gain, and so on. 
 
The only solution is to attack the core of the problem, which is excess estrogen. Excess estrogen can lead into overgrowth of other estrogen sensitive tissues such as the lining of the endometrium (endometriosis), or ovarian fibroids in women, and the enlargement of the prostate gland in men. If untreated, such conditions can lead into cancer.

Considering all of the above, it becomes evidently clear that we're living today under an ever-growing risk to get fatter and sicker due to estrogenic chemicals and other factors that contribute to excess estrogens.

The question is what can be done to lower this risk?  How can we defend our lives against excess estrogen?

Defense against Excess Estrogen

The problem of excess estrogen is gradually gaining recognition.  However, there is still much confusion among mainstream nutritionists and medical authorities as to how to address this problem. In many cases, the problem of excess estrogen is overlooked or ignored, leaving patients with almost no choice but taking drugs, which often accelerates the problem, causing severe and even mortal side effects. 
 
The solution to excess estrogen requires the means to counterattack estrogen and its excess in a natural and safe way. 
 
Estrogen isn't one hormone, but rather a group of hormones and their metabolites. Estrogen hormones and their metabolites compete with each other on binding to estrogen receptors. Most important, estrogen can convert into two kinds of metabolites: beneficial and
harmful one or the other. 
 
The key to defend the body against excess estrogen is by countering its excess and by shifting its metabolism into producing beneficial antioxidant, anti-cancerous metabolites, instead of toxic cancer promoting metabolites.

It is now known that certain compounds in plants (belonging to the family of flavonoids and indoles) can help counter estrogen actions, and defend the body against its excess.

Called estrogen inhibitors, these compounds work in three different ways:

  • Inhibit estrogen production (bind and de-activate the cytochrome P 450 aromatase enzyme that converts androgens to estrogen)
  • Lower estrogen receptors activity
  • Shift estrogen metabolism to produce beneficial metabolites

Recent lab studies found that estrogen inhibitors work better when combined together.  A stack of estrogen inhibitors have shown to provide a superior defense against excess estrogen.

Though the research on plant estrogen inhibitors is still young, there is a growing amount of evidence as to the potential benefits of plant compounds (phytonutrients) in treating metabolic problems, including estrogen related disorders and lowering the risk for cancer. It is very likely that the human body has been primarily pre-programmed to be nourished and protected by phytonutrients. 

Unfortunately, due to industrial harvesting and processing methods, food today is often deficient in most beneficial phytonutrients, leaving people with inadequate nutritional defenses. Estrogen inhibiting phytonutrients are a major missing link in the diet. 
 
To effectively support a healthy hormonal system, it is critically important to provide the body with sufficient amounts of estrogen inhibiting phytonutrients to balance against the overwhelming surplus of estrogenic food substances and chemicals in the diet. 
 
The concept of healthy nutrition should be re-defined. New nutritional guidelines should direct people on how to incorporate estrogen inhibitors with estrogen promoters to effectively balance their diets.

The Solution

Certain compounds in plants, called flavonoids and indoles, are known to possess antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties. Recent studies reveal that some of these compounds have the capacity to affect estrogen metabolism, some work as estrogen inhibitors whereas others work as estrogen promoters.

Since we live in an "over-estrogenic world," loaded with overwhelming amounts of estrogenic chemicals, it makes sense to regard estrogen promoters as "bad guys" and estrogen inhibitors as "good guys."

In an ideal world, both anti-estrogenic and pro-estrogenic substances play important roles in supporting our metabolic system. 
 
Nevertheless, due to the ever growing problem of estrogen dominance, with an excess of estrogen chemicals in our lives, it makes sense to regard estrogen promoters as part of the problem and vice versa, estrogen inhibitors should be regarded as part of the solution.  

"Good Guys" vs. "Bad Guys"

In a nut shell, the "good guys" are estrogen inhibiting compounds in plants (flavonoids and indoles).

Found in passiflora, chamomile, bee products, citrus fruits, onion, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage).

Other beneficial estrogen modulators are omega 3 fatty acids (N-3), derived from flaxseeds, hempseeds and fatty fish.

On the other side, there are the "bad guys," the estrogen promoters.

This list consists of pesticides and herbicides in fruits and vegetables, hormones in meat and dairy, soy and products high in soy isoflavones, other estrogenic isoflavones (such as in the herb black cohosh), plastic derivatives in packed food and water, diets high in animal fat and excessive consumption of omega 6 rich oils (such as canola, corn, safflower and soy oils).

Note that processing increases the concentration of the already existing estrogenic compounds in food.

For that matter, processed soy products may be more estrogenic than soy beans (edamame).

For the same reason, commercially processed milk or whey protein products may be more estrogenic than regular milk or yogurt, unless they're organic or pesticide free.

Some compounds are neutral to estrogen. Omega 9 fatty acids (monounsaturated oil) such as in olive oil, nuts and seeds are neutral and safe to use. To a certain degree, so are fruits with a peel such as bananas or avocados, which are safer than unpeeled fruits such as conventional grapes or strawberries.

In conclusion, to effectively defend the body against excess estrogen, one should increase the intake of estrogen inhibiting compounds, and decrease the intake of estrogen promoting compounds in the diet. 
 
Due to the fact that the typical diet is low in some estrogen inhibiting nutrients and almost totally deficient in others, it is highly recommended to supplement with estrogen inhibitors to cover the bases, and provide the body with sufficient amounts of
ammunition to fight back excess estrogen. 
 
It's important to be proactive and make the right choices of food and supplements.  All essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants must be provided to support the body's metabolism.  Together with estrogen inhibitors, such nourishment can help enhance the liver's capacity to detoxify and neutralize excess estrogen, finally creating the right metabolic environment within the body to get leaner and healthier.





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