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A guide to food and estrogen

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The indole way to more muscle and less fat. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can help keep your estrogens in balance.

When it comes to women and excess weight, estrogen has had less than a stellar reputation. What you are about to find out is that not all estrogens are created equal when it comes to weight woes. Too much of the wrong estrogen can be a problem.

Not all estrogen is bad. This otherwise sexy sex-hormone gets its bad rap from one of its close cousins, called 16-alpha hydroxyl estrone or 16-OHE for short, but we’ll call it “the bad estrogen” for simplicity sake. Although there are three primary estrogens—estradiol (E2), estrone and estriol—the fate of things like excess body fat accumulation in women is controlled to a certain degree by how much bad estrogen is floating around.

Think of estradiol—the most dominant form of estrogen— as a highway with two exits: 16 and 2 (“the healthy estrogen”). When your cells take Exit 2, they ensure a nice healthy drive. But if they end up taking Exit 16, they could be in for a bumpy ride. Aside from greatly increasing cancer risk, the 16 form of estrogen is also a culprit in the accumulation of all that extra fat on your waist, hips and thighs.

Too much of the wrong kind of estrogen can wreak havoc on your weight-loss and fitness goals, even with regular work-outs and a well-balanced diet. But good estrogen may help you achieve your desired weight by supporting more lean body mass.

Good estrogen and your metabolism

Good estrogens have the capacity to decrease the activity of a powerful fat-storing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase or LPL. When you have too much LPL, it increases the uptake of fat into your cells and makes it next to impossible to use that fat as energy. Having a lower amount of this enzyme is a great way to reduce the uptake of fat in the body, especially in the hips and waist area.

May I have some more of the good stuff, please?

So how do you stop making so much of the bad stuff, all while increasing the good stuff? It’s actually fairly easy, by consuming more of a group of phytonutrients called indoles. Indoles are a group of chemicals found in cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) that have the remarkable ability to reduce the bad estrogens and help increase the good ones. Indoles are broken down into various metabolites such as indole 3-carbinol or I3C, diindolylmethane or (DIM) and sulforaphane. It is the magic of these metabolites—especially I3C and DIM—that give indoles their incredible qualities.

One of the ways indoles work in the body is by acting like a weak estrogen. These estrogen-like chemicals, also called “phytoestrogens” or plant-based estrogens, bind to estro- gen receptors on the cells. This binding action inhibits powerful estrogen signals from over-stimulating target organs.

For example, estrogen-sensitive cells in breast tissue will not be overstimulated and therefore will not divide out of control. This greatly reduces the risk of hormonally related diseases like breast cancer.

Going through phases of detoxification

Indoles have the bonus of elevating the body’s ability to detoxify, which further reduces the risk of disease and obesity. Much of the detoxification is handled by the liver. Detoxification usually takes place in two separate phases.

Phase one is responsible for neutralizing various harmful chemicals; however, if not removed completely, these chemicals can create other harmful compounds that cause even more problems for the body. This is where phase two comes in. Phase two is needed to fully remove the chemicals from the body so it can again function in a clean, optimal state.

Research has shown that indoles, especially I3C, enhance the overall detoxification process and guarantee that the body can safely eliminate the worst offenders like bad estrogens. This means that by consuming cruciferous vegetables or using a natural indole supplement on a regular basis, women can help their bodies detoxify more efficiently and
in the process, reduce their risk of many cancers and obesity-inducing bad estrogens. In short, indoles help women feel and perform better by supporting an optimal metabolism.

What to look for in estrogen supplements

If you decide to supplement with a woman’s natural hormone balancing supplement, look for one that contains an array of indole compounds—like I3C and broccoli sprouts— as well as synergistic nutrients like holy basil and turmeric for greater effect. It’s also important to use supplements that contain natural nutrient enhancers (some are made from black pepper), as this ensures your body will absorb the ingredients as efficiently as possible.

So, cheers to raising the good at the expense of the bad. Your body will thank you for it. Z

More Inspiration: Check out this great article on eating for your genes.

Author: Brad King, is a nutritional expert and bestselling author Brad King MS, MFS and is an influential health mentor and widely recognized as one of the most sought after authorities on nutrition. Samuraw.com


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