In Blog, Health, Lifestyle

The Xenoestrogen Effect: How Synthetic Chemicals Impact Your Hormonal Health

Estrogen might be a problem for women and for men.[1-3] Could this be part of your health issues? If you are struggling with severe periods, heavy bleeding, intense menstrual cramps, and mood swings with your periods, you may have an excessive estrogen effect. Men can also be impacted. If you are having, having difficulty with low libido or difficulty achieving and maintaining erections, you may be having an excess estrogen effect.

Excess estrogen effect can be a factor for men and women because of xenobiotics, and xenoestrogens. These are the synthetic chemicals that also stimulate the hormone receptors in our cells. Xenobiotics include pesticides, herbicides, plastics, solvents, and fragrances.
Xenoestrogens are synthetic compounds that stimulate the estrogen receptors in our cell membranes, leading to excessive estrogen effects in women and in men that disrupt our metabolism and negatively affect our cellular health.[4] This can lead to altered function in estrogen-dependent tissues including breasts, uterus, cervix, and prostate.[5, 6] These xenoestrogens, even at low levels, can interfere with neurotransmitter function, glucose metabolism, fertility, and estrogen metabolism, leading to heavier periods and more intense menstrual cramping and mood swings.[5]

The body can process and eliminate xenoestrogens through a complex process in the liver, kidneys, and sweat glands that requires amino acids, vitamins, minerals, energy, and antioxidant support.[7] A variety of plant-based phytonutrients will support our detoxification process to increase the excretion of these xenoestrogens.[7] In my patients who may be having issues with the excess estrogen effect, I go through the strategies to reduce exposure to estrogens:

  • Remove plastic water bottles and reduce exposure to plastic cookware.
  • Reduce exposure to fragrances in personal care products and scented candles.
  • Reduce exposure to pesticides and herbicides by switching to organic foods according to one’s budget.

The next step is to support the detoxification of the xenobiotics and xenoestrogens that are stored in the fat. Several phytonutrients improve the efficiency of the detoxification process that occurs in the liver, kidneys, and sweat glands.

Milk thistle contains silymarin, a compound that improves glutathione and improves the efficiency of the liver as it removes toxins.[8] Silymarin improves tissue repair, and detoxification, reduces inflammation, and improves blood sugar control and blood pressure.[8, 9]
Silymarin and Alpha lipoic acid support glutathione metabolism. Alpha lipoic acid also helps regenerate vitamins C and E, supports Coenzyme Q functioning in mitochondria, and supports the clearance of mercury, lead, and cadmium.[10, 11]

Methylselenocysteine is a well-tolerated form of selenium. Selenium and manganese provide support to glutathione pathways and manganese superoxide dismutase activity, which is important for protecting the cells from oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, and for improving detoxification pathways.[12]

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) improves intracellular glutathione levels, supports detoxification, and reduces oxidative stress.[13]

Calcium D-glucarate supports glucuronidation, detoxification and estrogen metabolism.[14]

5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) supports methylation and phase 1 and 2 detoxification pathways.

Additional phytonutrients that also support antoxidants [15, 16] and detoxification pathways.

Green tea catechins assist with mopping up free radicals and supporting phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways.[17, 18]

Resveratrol and quercetin are potent antioxidants and support phase 1 detoxification pathways.[19, 20] Pterostilbene, a methylated form of resveratrol, further boosts the effectiveness of quercetin as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory regulator in cell function.[21]

Turmeric extract is an excellent source of curcumin which supports phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.[22, 23]

Piperine, from black pepper, increases the absorption of curcumin and other nutrients into the bloodstream.[24]

Diindolylmethane (DIM) and glucoraphanin metabolized into sulforaphane promote estrogen metabolism into a healthier balance of estrogen metabolites.[15, 25] This combination of phytonutrients shifts the balance of 2-OH, 4-OH, and 16 alpha-OH estrogen metabolites through the induction of phase 1 cytochrome P450 enzyme induction and promotion of 2-OH hydroxylation.[15, 25] DIM activity is complimented by glucoraphanin supports phase 2 detoxification and reduces oxidative stress.[15, 16]

Glucoraphanin and its metabolite sulforaphane are potent antioxidants and also support phase 2 detoxification.[26]

Hormone balance is critical to the normal function of our biochemistry.

Reducing exposure to xenobiotics and xenoestrogens is important for normal hormonal function. If you have hormone-related issues adding support to how your body metabolizes the xenobiotics will be helpful. In addition, be sure you are having regular bowel movements. Eat plenty of fiber. Add sauerkraut or kimchi to your meals.

If you tolerate it, consider adding a sauna to your routine. Epsom salt or Dead Sea mineral soaks are also helpful. If you have a family history of breast cancer, consider having your estrogen metabolites checked to see what the balance of estrogen metabolites looks like and whether additional support is needed.

The Wahls Protocol® Xeno Estro Detox is a comprehensive formula designed to support phase I and phase II liver detoxification of environmental pollutants, endocrine disruptors, estrogen metabolites, xenoestrogens, and other toxins.



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21. Ferrer, P., et al., Association between pterostilbene and quercetin inhibits metastatic activity of B16 melanoma. Neoplasia, 2005. 7(1): p. 37-47.
22. Choi, H., et al., Curcumin attenuates cytochrome P450 induction in response to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin by ROS-dependently degrading AhR and ARNT. Cancer Sci, 2008. 99(12): p. 2518-24.
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25. Kim, E.J., et al., Oral administration of 3,3′-diindolylmethane inhibits lung metastasis of 4T1 murine mammary carcinoma cells in BALB/c mice. J Nutr, 2009. 139(12): p. 2373-9.
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