Oestrogen is a group of steroid hormones which are often referred to as the female sex hormones because women have higher levels of these hormones than men.
Role of oestrogen
Oestrogen plays a number of roles in the female body, being involved in ovulation, pregnancy, childbirth itself and the development of female characteristics, such as the development of breasts, wider hips and female genitals. Oestrogen is also important during ovulation, pregnancy and childbirth.
In males, oestrogen is also produced and is involved in the production of sperm and fertility.
Oestrogen and health
Deficiency of oestrogen is linked with cardiovascular disease and problems affecting the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Oestrogen also plays an important role in bone formation and lower oestrogen levels have been linked with weaker bones and osteoporosis.
Too high a ratio of oestrogen to testosterone is linked with faster progression of autoimmune diseases, which include rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.
Other Conditions Associated With Oestrogen Dominance:
Cervical dysplasia (a pre-cancerous condition)
Decreased sex drive
Pear-shaped fat gain
Water retention and bloating
Lowered sperm count in men and undescended testicles in boys
Oestrogen in the environment
There are very real concerns about high levels of oestrogen-like compounds in the environment which we are being exposed to on a daily basis.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals which can behave like oestrogen if taken into the body and are commonly found in many items within our daily environment including:
Soya and certain other legumes
The European Union has placed a ban on plastic toys containing more than 0.1% phthalates but other sources remain free of legislation regarding concentrations of phthalates.
Food for thought
A cow eats grass and feed that have been exposed to chemicals, the cow is given hormones to sustain permanent milk production, the milk which naturally contains fat is made into cheese we wrap the cheese in plastic film. It’s not difficult to see how easy it is to be exposed to such chemicals in every day life – leaving hormonal messaging in potential chaos.
If you think you may have an imbalance of your hormones, why not book an appointment with The Nutrition Detectives. Using a combination of supplements and/or herbs together with dietary advice on how to include phytoestrogen and high fibre to help mop up any unwanted oestrogen.