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Estrogen & The Paleo Diet

by Suz on January 5, 2013 · 6 comments

in Food, Health, Paleo

When people mention estrogen they are more often than not referring to estradiol which is the major form of estrogen in both men and pre-menopausal women. Today we will talk about estradiol which is the hormone that has the most wide-ranging effects on both woman and men.

What is estrogen?

It’s actually a catch-all type term for a number of chemicals with similar functions and shapes such as estradiol (E2) or estrone (E3). During a females reproductive years her estradiol levels are higher than other estrogens. During menopause however these estradiol levels decrease with the bulk of the woman’s estrogen content coming from E3 and E1. This is important as it is the E2 that the woman’s ovaries pump out and this is what has the biggest effect on her reproducing years – sending fat stores to the hips and thighs rather than to the abdomen. It is the decrease in E2 during menopause that leads to an increase of abdominal fat.

Estrogen is also responsible for maturing the female sex organs and the growth of the uterus. In males while testosterone is responsible for the male reproductive organs estrogens inhibits the death of cells in sperm cells.

Estrogen actually inhibits growth and has been used effectively to stop girls growing too tall. It is also a major part of bone development for males and females and can lead to poor done density as women age as they become unable to produce normal amounts of estrogen. Estrogen replacement therapy usually assists and rectifies the bone density problem.

Women suffering from clinical depression have been found to produce less estrogen – but more testosterone, than normal with estrogen replacement therapy helping their condition. Men who suffer from depression actually produce far more estrogen than normal. Women also have an increase in function of their atherosclerotic arteries which could help explain the increase in heart conditions in pre-menopausal women.

Estrogen has reduced the formation of amyloidal plaque that occurs in the brain of Alzheimer patients. In as many as 80% of breast cancer cases estrogen receptor sites rely on estrogen for fuel, with a rather common treatment for this type of breast cancer being to suppress the production of estrogen. Research has shown that males who received high levels of estrogen whilst in the womb are at greater risk of developing prostate and testicular cancer as adults.

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Estrogen is very useful and can reduce strength and lean muscle mass while still promoting body fat accumulation with estrogen-dominant males often being obese and under-muscled. It is the large dose of estrogen that throws off the delicate hormonal balance and cause problems. While stunting a Childs growth might sound negative when you first hear about it, unchecked growth can have terrible consequences for the Childs health.

Both males and females need and produce estrogen for a reason as it has some very important uses within the human body. The problems lie in the unnatural amounts of the hormone within the body . Estrogen is essential for both women and men but imbalances – especially in post-menopausal women and in men can lead to muscle loss and fat gain.

Have you had your levels tested? If you’ve had an imbalance, please share your experience in the comments below – you never know who you might help out!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda Watkins January 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Last year I went to my doctor as I was putting on weight, feeling tired although I eat paleo. He gave me a kit to do a salivary test that you take 4 times over a day. This was for Oestradiol, Progesterone, DHEAS, Testosterone. My Oestradiol (E1) was high which isnt good. My Progesterone was low. My blood work was good except my Vit D was low. (And I live in NQ)
My Iodine levels were low also. So now I have a Progesterone cream from my componding chemist, Iodine drops, Fish oil to take with Vit D, Digestive Enzymes, Meta B Complex and Magenisum. Ive been taking these since 12th Dec 2012, and Im not as tired as I was and actually enjoy exercising again. Also adding more healthy fats into the diet has helped heaps (thanks to Low Carb Downunder).

Reply

Suz January 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm

That’s great you were properly tested. I think a lot of people are never diagnosed properly, as the correct tests aren’t always performed.

So glad to hear you’re feeling better – and that you’ve upped the fat!

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Mel January 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

I found this really interesting, as my Mother was so moody & bad tempered whilst she was starting to have the menopause. She has been taking HRT for about a year now and she is so much calmer & happier. I did wonder though whether taking HRT was the right way to go.

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Suz January 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Hi Mel, I think often no other options are put forward! I guess according to conventional wisdom HRT is the only option – what a shame.

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marci January 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm

My doctor put me on HRT last fall and the Estrogen was too strong for me. I developed horrible migraines within days. I found a herbal HRT at the Health food store and my doctor gave me progestone to go with it. The combination seems to be working well. I’ve just started the with a wheat free diet before Christmas. We are trying to eat more Paleo. My energy seems better, I’m experiencing less bloating. Good so far!

Reply

Suz May 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

So pleased to hear you’ve found a natural solution that seems to be working well for you Marci!

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