DIM Estro and Balancing Your Estrogen Levels
High estrogen levels are fast becoming a universal health concern. Estrogen is usually associated with women and women's health. However, both men and women make and utilize estrogen in their bodies. Estrogen dominance (high estrogen levels) causes an increased risk of cancer, heart attack, and stroke for women and men alike. Besides these issues, high estrogen causes a host of uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance:
- Reduction in sex drive/libido
- Abnormal menstrual cycle
- Bloating and water retention
- Fibrocystic breast
- PMS-Premenstrual syndrome
- PMD-Premenstrual mood disorder
- Hair loss
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Insomnia or waking during the night
- Brain fog
- Memory Loss
To learn more about this list, go to drnorthrup.com.
What Causes Estrogen Dominance?
Your liver is responsible for balancing "good" estrogen and "bad" estrogen. If your liver is burdened by a lifestyle full of chemicals, it will have more difficulty balancing your estrogen levels. Sixty years ago it was much easier for women and men to maintain balanced estrogen levels. But over the decades, we have increased our exposures to xenoestrogens. These are man-made chemicals in the environment and in your everyday personal care products.
Xeno means "foreign." So, xenoestrogens are foreign estrogens that accumulate in your body. They mimic the effects of estrogen and cause your estrogen levels to rise. Xenoestrogens are found in plastic, fragrances/perfume, make-up, personal care products, and household cleaners. You could be bathing your body and home environment in xenoestrogens.
High Sugar Diet
A high sugar diet is also very taxing for your liver. High sugar foods cause blood sugar swings from too high down to dangerously low. Your liver is inundated by stress hormones that have to be metabolized. This pattern causes stress hormones (cortisol) fluctuations that influence the production of estrogen.
Obesity can be caused or be affected by estrogen dominance. Each fat cell has an enzyme that converts steroid hormones into estrogen. The more fat cells you have, the more you will convert other hormones into estrogen. The more estrogen you have, the more you will gain weight. It is a vicious cycle driven by estrogen levels.
DIM (Diindolylmethane) is a plant nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables. It is useful for managing estrogen levels and has anti-cancer properties. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, arugula, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mizuna, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, and watercress are all cruciferous vegetables.
You may have heard that cruciferous vegetables are bad for your thyroid. This is only partially true. RAW cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens that can block thyroid hormone production. However, COOKED cruciferous vegetables do not cause the same problem.
Can I Just Eat Cruciferous Vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables are an excellent food source for DIM. However, dietary DIM is only part of the solution. If your estrogen levels are too high, DIM supplements are more effective than trying to get therapeutic doses solely from food sources. In order to obtain 20 mg of DIM, you would have to consume about 2 pounds of broccoli per day. 100-200mg of DIM is the recommended dose for maintaining balanced estrogen levels.
Why Would I Want to Take a DIM Supplement?
Estrogen dominance creates uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and fatigue. It can also cause depression and worse, so taking an estrogen balance supplement is an important decision.
Many women report devastating symptoms during menopause. The hormonal shifts in peri-menopause and menopause result in estrogen dominance or estrogen deficiency. It is very common for my female clients to report that they don't feel like themselves or that they feel they are "losing their minds." Do not underestimate the effects of estrogen on mental health and clarity.
The most worrisome aspect of estrogen dominance is cancer. Some types of cancer are worsened by high estrogen, which is why many people take DIM estrogen blockers. Unfortunately, high estrogen levels affect both men and women. Breast cancer and prostate cancer are especially provoked by estrogen.
How Do DIM Supplements Balance My Estrogen Levels?
DIM supplements are primarily estrogen balance supplements, as they block the enzymes that convert testosterone into estrogen. While taking this supplement you end up with less estrogen circulating through your body. That is why these supplements are sometimes called "DIM estrogen blockers".
DIM Estro does not have side effects. There have not been any reported toxicities from taking DIM supplements. DIM supplements, including NuMedica Dim Estro, are offered in 100-200mg doses. Any dose above 300mg may cause headaches or dizziness and is not recommended or necessary.
Estrogen is unique as it can be both anti-inflammatory and PRO-inflammatory. Balanced estrogen levels provide anti-inflammatory support for joints and arthritic conditions, whereas high estrogen levels cause inflammation in joints and suppress immune cells. Estrogen dominance usually correlates with high levels of inflammation and adiposity (body fat). The solution is three-fold:
- Change diet and lifestyle to avoid xenoestrogens.
- Decrease estrogen levels with DIM supplementation.
- Address inflammation with anti-inflammatory supplements.
For an in-depth explanation of inflammation and how it is affecting your health, review my article Inflammation: Everything You Need to Know. Curcumin, the bioactive phytonutrient in turmeric root, is the queen of anti-inflammatory supplements. It is one of the most studied nutrients boasting thousands of studies showing its efficacy and safety.
Numedica Dim Estro contains both DIM and curcumin to decrease both estrogen and inflammation at the same time. It contains 150 mg of DIM and 600mg of curcumin. This makes DIM Estro more convenient and effective than other products.
Estrobalance with DIM is manufactured by Enzymatic Therapy. Their formula includes 13mg of calcium carbonate. I highly recommend against consuming calcium carbonate. Additionally, this formula only includes 120mg of "Indole Complex". Indole complex (Ic3) supplements must be converted to DIM inside your body yielding a much lower dose.
I don't recommend investing in less potent supplement formulas that include low dosages of both DIM and curcumin. 100-200mg of DIM is the recommended dose for managing estrogen dominance. 500mg - 750mg is the starting dose for the anti-inflammatory power of curcumin. Pure Therapeutics Dim 3+ includes DIM and only a 200mg dose of curcumin. There are dozens of other formulas that include just DIM without the added anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin.
In our modern toxic world, both genders are constantly bombarded with foods and other sources of xenoestrogen. It is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain balanced estrogen levels without conscious effort in diet, lifestyle, and supplements.
Growing children are especially affected by xenoestrogen. The dietary DIM found in cruciferous vegetables is an important avenue for prevention and maintenance; if your estrogen levels are elevated, DIM estrogen balance supplements offer therapeutic doses required for lowering estrogen levels.
Did you see the symptom list that is associated with estrogen dominance? Do any of those issues sound familiar? Are you ready to get a grip on good health? Send me an email at Carly@HealthyHabitsLiving.com
Carly Neubert BA, NC
For additional recipes, biohacking tips and lifestyle hacks -- check out my other blog on my coaching site www.cleancoachcarly.com! I post weekly about nutrition and lifestyle topics, all backed by science. Happy Reading!