By Holly Lucille, N.D., R.N.
As a naturopathic doctor, I view myself as a partner and facilitator in the healing process. Eighty-five percent of the people I help care for are women. A large majority of these women are experiencing hormone-related issues, with estrogen dominance being quite common. This condition results from an imbalance of hormones—estrogen levels exceed progesterone—throughout a woman's body and poorly metabolized estrogen. While some women have never heard of estrogen dominance, they are all too familiar with its many frustrating symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), unexplained and unfair weight gain, sore and lumpy breasts, irregular periods, loss of sex drive, foggy thinking, irritability, and moodiness.
As a hormone, estrogen is a messenger that carries the message, "be fruitful and multiply." Estrogen circulates in our bloodstream and comes in contact with every cell in our body. But only certain target cells will respond to its presence. These target cells have receptors on their surface that bind to the estrogen, sending a signal inside the cell which results in certain reactions. For example, estrogen in your bloodstream binds with the receptors on your bone cells. The estrogen sends a signal inside the bone cell that makes your bone stronger. Once the estrogen has completed its specific action, it is broken down (metabolized), and then moved out of your body in urine and stool.
While synthetic estrogen, called "xenoestrogens," mimics natural estrogen, it can cause harmful interference. Due to their ability to pass easily through our skin, the chemicals in pesticides, plastics, soaps, emulsifiers, and fuels (things we use every day), enter our bloodstream and act just like estrogen in our body. Some estrogen mimics bind to receptors and send a false signal inside the cell, which can be stimulating and dangerous. Others block the natural hormone and keep it from binding to its receptor. In addition to their ability to send false signals (if not metabolized properly), estrogen mimickers can accumulate over time and cause havoc.
When estrogen has done its work and is ready to be metabolized, the bloodstream delivers it to your liver. Like all substances metabolized in the liver, estrogen is broken down into "metabolites" through certain pathways. Estrogen can be metabolized by two different pathways in the liver, resulting in two very different metabolites.
The 2-hydroxy pathway results in beneficial, or "good," estrogen metabolites. These beneficial estrogen metabolites are released into the bloodstream and account for many benefits previously attributed to estrogen in its premetabolic state. These include the prevention of heart disease, the building of strong, healthy bones, and soft, supple skin.
Unfortunately, where there's "good," there's "bad." The bad estrogen metabolism pathway is the 16-hydroxy pathway. Estrogen broken down in this pathway results in metabolites responsible for many of estrogen's undesirable actions, including weight gain and an increased risk of breast and other gynecological cancers.
There is no better management for the symptoms of estrogen dominance and proper estrogen metabolism than Indolplex™ with DIM, a safe, all-natural nutritional supplement. DIM stands for diindolylmethane (pronounced: dye-in-dollmethane), a natural plant nutrient found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. DIM shifts estrogen metabolism to the 2-hydroxy pathway, resulting in healthier estrogen metabolites and restored hormonal balance. DIM acts like a "traffic cop," guiding used estrogen down the 2-hydroxy pathway.
Two other crucial components are digestive and liver health. Exposure to chemicals in our food, water, and air, along with a diet high in saturated fats and sugar, can cause interference with digestive health and fat metabolism. Calcium D-Glucarate is a patented form of D-glucaric acid complexed with calcium. Calcium-D-Glucarate's detoxifying and immune support properties are attributed to its ability to eliminate toxins from our liver and intestines. Adding Calcium D-Glucarate to Indolplex with DIM provides a one-two punch against unfair weight gain and toxin accumulation.
OTHER PRODUCTS FORMULATED FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH THAT I FREQUENTLY RECOMMEND INCLUDE:
AM PM Menopause Formula to improve lack of energy, reduce hot flashes, irritability, mood swings in the daytime; and sleeplessness, night sweats, and hot flashes at night
Vitex Extract for improved menstrual comfort
Soy isoflavones contains phytoestrogens that play a vital role in supporting women's health
Lipotropic Complex liver support formula to help metabolize hormones. This formula provides comprehensive transmethylation support for the liver by combining phytonutrients and bile salts. Choline, methionine, and silymarin from milk thistle act as methyl donors in hepatic transmethylation reactions. Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate are required as cofactors for these conversions. In addition, Lipotropic Complex contains botanical cholagogues, such as dandelion, fringe tree, beet, and radish, as well as ox bile and inositol to promote healthy bile flow.