The Estrogen-Detox Diet
For many people, roughly 50% of their estrogen toxicity comes from the environment in the form of chemical xeno-estrogen and roughly 50% comes from their diet in the form on plant based phyto-estrogen. Increasingly, many foods contain high levels of phyto-estrogen, which mimics the action of estrogen in the body, wreaking havoc on health. Just like xeno-estrogens, phyto-estrogens are stored in adipose tissue in the body, and must be safely detoxified. However, by being cautious of what you eat, you can immediately reduce the load of estrogen you are consuming and storing.
Removing phyto-estrogen from the diet is of concern for men and women, as high levels of estrogen greatly impact the immediate and long term health of both sexes–no one is exempt and everyone should eliminate as many of these foods as possible.
The Estrogen-Detox Diet
The main focus of diet here is to remove foods that contain high levels of phyo-estrogens (plant estrogens). Contrary to popular belief, mainly in the health food community, consuming foods high in phyto-estrogens is not good for anyone, regardless if they are being consumed by a woman or a man, regardless if they have been recommended by an expert. Phyto-estrogens are similar enough to human hormones to wreak havoc on our endocrine systems, and it is believed that high levels of estrogen result in everything from increased rates of breast, uterine, and prostate cancer, painful menstruation and PMS, to decreased fertility in both sexes, loss of libido in both sexes, weight gain and obesity, ED in men, and the development of female secondary sex characteristics in men.
High levels of estrogen promote low levels of androgen hormone, which bring about another set of health ramifications, including premature aging, higher incidence of heart disease, depression, osteoporosis, and also sexual dysfunction and weight gain.
The Main Offenders
All forms of Soy
The main contributors of phyto-estrogen in the diet are soy, flax, and hops (beer). For anyone that is concerned with elevated levels of estrogen, these foods should be eliminated as much as possible. This is going to be problematic for some people, namely vegetarians and vegans, but there is no way around these two foods. If they cannot be eliminated 100%, aim to decrease your consumption to once a week, and remember: when eliminating soy from our diets, it is important to start checking labels on foods and supplements, because the industry sneaks soy, soy protein isolate, and soy flavonoids, into many products.
The only soy which should ever be consumed is tempeh, miso, and naturally fermented soy sauce like Namu Shoyu. All other products, including tofu and nutritional supplements, should be considered more like “junk food”–if you eat them, make sure you understand that they are not good for you.
Soy is also one of the major sources of cooking oil.
Most all cooking oil, often just labeled as vegetable oil, is made from either soy or corn, depending on what is cheapest at the time for the companies to purchase and resell to you. While cooking oil is toxic on several fronts, if made from soy oil–and 50% of cooking/vegetable oil is made from soy oil–then you are introducing more phyto-estrogen into the body whenever you consume foods made with, or cooked in, vegetable oil.
The Origins of Tofu
As an interesting side note, tofu was developed by Buddhist monks to lower sex drive, so the mind could be better focused on meditation. In Japan, folklore has it that if a wife is suspecting her husband of infidelity, she’ll start incorporating more soy into his diet to kill his libido.
All forms of Flax and Flax Seed Oil
Flax is easier to be eliminated from our diets, because it has not achieved the ubiquitous that soy has, but this might be changing.
Hops and Beer
Working down the list of estrogen containing foods are hops. While not technically a food, hops are part of many peoples diet, as one of the main ingredients of beer. This ingredient is rather ironic, as beer is marketed to “men” as a vital component of their masculine experience. Throughout history, humans have known very well of the potent effects of hops, including brewers droop, which is ED common in male beer brewers, and dramatic changes in menstruation for women processing hops in the field.
Aside from being a potent sedative and diuretic (ever wonder why beer makes you tired and have to pee so much?) hops are one of the most estrogen containing plants common in our food supply. Before the purity brewing laws passed in the mid-1500s in Europe, hops were never included as an ingredient in beer, it was only after the government mandated their inclusion did hops become a standard in beer recipes.
We’ve all heard of the effects of too much beer on body composition, such as the beer belly. These fat deposits are not directly caused by the excess calories in beer, as many would think, but are the development of female secondary sex characteristics because of the estrogen in beer.
Much less pervasive in our diets, the fourth ingredient to look out for is licorice. Licorice, too, is a potent phyto-estrogen, and needs to be eliminated. This one will not make itself seen like soy, flax, and hops, but will often be hidden in herbal teas and herbal preparations. There are some medicinal applications for licorice, where only licorice will do. This is fine, but eliminate it when it is not needed. The candy forms of licorice contain no licorice, and are flavored with the herb anise.
Lifestyle Factors for Reducing Estrogen Load and Estrogen Dominance
- Avoidance of estrogen precursors, including non-organic meats, plastic bottles, chemical-laden cosmetics, lotions and cleaning products;
- Avoidance of refined carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and trans fat products;
- Perform liver detoxification with calcium d-glucarate and milk thistle seed extract (included in Estrogen Detox) to support liver detoxification of excess estrogen. The liver also needs B vitamins, particularly B6, to detoxify excess estrogen.
- Avoidance of conventional foods due to their abundance of synthetic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, et cetera;
- Eliminate all processed soy products;
- Ensure healthy gut flora with probiotics;
- Eliminate antidepressants which increase aromatase activity (or suppliment with anti-aromatase compounds);
- Strength training at least three times per week;
- Supplementation with Omega-3 fish oils (EPA/DHA) or their vegan counterparts;
- Testing for heavy metal toxicity and subsequent detoxification (including removal of mercury amalgam fillings);
- Zinc supplementation, especially important for men.