Nu­tri­tion

Are your hor­mones caus­ing havoc?

Good - - Contents - with Ben War­ren Ben War­ren is a nu­tri­tion and holis­tic health ex­pert.

Your hec­tic hor­mones

Hor­mones are chem­i­cal mes­sen­gers that tell your body what to do. Every­thing that is fun in your life is de­pen­dant on hor­mones… great en­ergy (cor­ti­sol), feel­ing happy (sero­tonin), sleep­ing well (mela­tonin) and of course, your sex hor­mones.

Much of the lat­est re­search shows that even weight gain and loss is re­lated to hor­mones. It’s the hor­monal re­sponse to food that trig­gers how much gets stored in fat cells – which means it’s as much about what you eat, as it is how much.

When it comes to hor­monal bal­ance the dif­fer­ence be­tween men and women is dra­matic. A man’s hor­monal sys­tem is like a Toy­ota Hilux - you can pretty much do what you like to it and it will still run fairly well un­til one day, in many years’ time, the en­gine blows up with­out any warn­ing (heart at­tack). The hor­monal sys­tem of a woman is more like a For­mula One rac­ing car - it’s in­cred­i­ble what it’s ca­pa­ble off (grow a baby, for ex­am­ple), but it doesn’t take much to throw the tim­ing out.

For me, this ex­plains my clin­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence that women find it harder to lose weight than men. In my books, weight loss and gain are pri­mar­ily linked to hor­mones.

One of the big­gest hor­monal im­bal­ances I see is oe­stro­gen dom­i­nance. Oe­stro­gen is pre­dom­i­nately a fe­male hor­mone, but men have a lit­tle of it.

The signs of oe­stro­gen dom­i­nance for women are in­creased fat stor­age on the hips, in­creased pre­men­strual ten­sion, heav­ier pe­ri­ods, dif­fi­culty los­ing body fat and, in ex­treme cases, con­di­tions like en­dometrio­sis and poly­cys­tic ovar­ian syn­drome.

For men, signs of oe­stro­gen dom­i­nance are more likely to be in­creased fat stor­age on the chest (man boobs) and a lower li­bido.

Clin­i­cally, I have seen a dra­matic in­crease in cases of oe­stro­gen load over the last 10 years. This is partly due to en­vi­ron­men­tal oe­stro­gens (xeno-oe­stro­gens) that are sit­ting on our oe­stro­gen re­cep­tor sites, driv­ing a per­ceived oe­stro­gen dom­i­nance. The other main rea­son is liver load. Most peo­ple’s liv­ers are al­ready so backed up they can­not neu­tralise oe­stro­gens so they of­ten end up back in the blood­stream in a more ac­tive form.

There are many as­pects to main­tain­ing hor­monal bal­ance, from en­sur­ing we are eat­ing enough of the raw ma­te­ri­als to make hor­mones (high qual­ity fats and pro­teins) to en­sur­ing ad­e­quate vi­ta­min and min­eral co-fac­tors for hor­mone pro­duc­tion, to ad­e­quate detox­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tems for deal­ing with hor­mones once they’ve done their job.

Here are my five top tips for help­ing hor­monal bal­ance and low­er­ing oe­stro­gen load:

Move away from re-us­ing plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles

The thin plas­tics are only de­signed for sin­gle use and they leach xeno-es­tro­gens (BPA and diox­ins) into the wa­ter that add to the oe­stro­gen load.

Avoid un­fer­mented soy

Soy has strong phy­toe­stro­gens, which can com­pete with your own oe­stro­gen. Tra­di­tion­ally, soy has only been con­sumed fer­mented, as the fer­men­ta­tion process breaks down th­ese strong oe­stro­gens. Ditch the soy latte un­less you are thin and post menopausal (as th­ese peo­ple gen­er­ally ben­e­fit from the ex­tra phy­toe­stro­gens).

Eat cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles

Eat your broc­coli, cau­li­flower, Brus­sels sprouts and cab­bage (ideally lightly steamed). Cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles have com­pounds in them called DIM (Di­in­dolyl­methane) and sul­fu­raphane, which in­crease the liver’s abil­ity to detox­ify oe­stro­gen. Three-day-old broc­coli sprouts pack the most detox­i­fi­ca­tion punch.

Take a close look at your skin­care prod­ucts

Eighty per cent of what goes on your skin will be ab­sorbed into your blood­stream. Many of the chem­i­cals in skin­care prod­ucts con­tain ph­tha­lates and parabens that act oe­stro­genic once in your blood­stream. Look for 100 per cent nat­u­ral prod­ucts.

Re­duce and ideally elim­i­nate al­co­hol con­sump­tion

Al­co­hol is re­ally hard on your liver and if you are ex­hibit­ing any signs of oe­stro­gen dom­i­nance and dif­fi­culty los­ing weight, then al­co­hol re­ally needs to go. Swap it for Kom­bucha, a fer­mented, sparkling cold tea drink, which as­sists in detox­i­fi­ca­tion of oe­stro­gens.

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