Signs and symptoms of menopausal changes, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain have in the past been attributed to a simple lack of estrogen. Yet, as discussed in prior articles there are new understandings emerging which apply not only to those dealing with menopause, but also premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and sex-hormone problems in general, including male prostate health.
It's true hormonal imbalance can be the result of inadequate production, such as that of estrogen or progesterone. But, in today's world most of the things we associate with imbalanced sex-hormones are due to a relative excess of estrogenic activity known as "estrogen dominance".
In the body estrogen and progesterone oppose one another, and balance each other out. Yet, if excess estrogenic activity is present, even if your progesterone production is normal you can still experience symptoms of estrogen dominance.
This is coming about partly because of pollutants in our environment called "xenoestrogens" [pronounced: "zenoestrogens"]. These are foreign molecules from sources like BPA, pesticides and plastics. They are close enough in structure to estrogen that they bind the same receptors, and accordingly elicit responses in your tissues.
Xenoestrogens have negative effects on both sexes, feminizing men and wiping out their sex drive, and in women adding to a long list of hormonal dysfunctions.
Yet perhaps even a larger contributor to estrogen dominance is the influence exerted by powerful estrogen "metabolites". A metabolite is formed when your body manufactures a molecule, and then further modifies it, inducing a change in structure and function.
On the estrogen molecule where this modification (known as hydroxylation) is made is of great significance. It can yield a calmer less reactive estrogen metabolite, (i.e. 2-OH estrogens), which can be balancing and cancer-protective...or it can yield the opposite, i.e.a reactive, proliferative and mitogenic metabolite, (i.e. 16-OH and/or 4-OH metabolites), that much more readily encourages inflammation and unwanted cell division, and that make all the problems associated with too much estrogen more likely. (1,2,3,4)
Enter DIM... What is Diindolylmethane?
Diindolylmethane or DIM is a compound that is created in the body when one consumes cruciferous vegetables, and it can have far reaching, protective effects. The main diindolylmethane benefits are that it helps you produce more of the favourable, protective 2-OH metabolites, and less of the unfavourable, reactive, and inflammatory ones discussed above.(5) As a result, overall estrogenic activity in the body is decreased, and along with it inflammation, and tendency for cells to divide. In doing so, DIM also works to offset estrogen dominance. Diindolylmethane from Cruciferous vegetables
How DIM and D-Glucarate Work Together
Now you may say, "That's great that DIM is helpful, but once these xenoestrogens and reactive metabolites are in our body, how do I get them out?" Is there anything that can help stop them from simply recirculating?" And the answer is Yes... Calcium D-Glucarate, which improves clearance and elimination of these compounds.(6,7,8)
Fat-soluble substances are difficult to get out of the body, but luckily your liver is equipped for the job. It takes fat-soluble estrogens and joins or "conjugates" them with a derivative of D-Glucarate, called glucuronic acid. This makes them water-soluble and able to pass out of the body, through the bile and into the intestines to be eliminated.
Yet, once in the gut for elimination, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can snip the bond between glucuronate and the estrogen, at which point the estrogen becomes fat soluble again, and is simply reabsorbed. Calcium D-Glucarate inhibits the action of this enzyme, thereby increasing estrogen clearance, and decreasing the estrogenic burden that is so central to the development of many cancers, not to mention the host of other unwanted effects associated with estrogen dominance. (9,5)
DIM and D-Glucarate are an excellent combination.
While DIM enhances production of favourable estrogen metabolites, D-glucarate helps get xenoestrogens, and old estrogens out of your body. As an aside, the concentrations and activity of beta-glucuronidase are increased in a dysbiotic intestine full of unfriendly bacteria....so this is yet another reason to take your probiotics, which could also enhance the effects that people have reported anecdotally with Diindolylmethane and D-glucarate for acne!
So what are the action steps to deal with the situation of estrogen dominance naturally?
Some natural options are to:
- Take DIM & D-Glucarate to favourably alter your production of estrogen metabolites. As for diindolylmethane dosage, and when to take DIM we have always recommended 150-300mg of a DIM supplement (1-2 capsules) per day, depending on whether you are just maintaining, or looking for a more pronounced effect. DIM should be taken with meals as it is said to be hard to absorb, and be aware that it produces quite a noticeable change in the color of a person's urine. This is normal! Yet, it is interesting to note that even those people who have reported that they take DIM on an empty stomach still get the changes in urine color, and desired results. So perhaps DIM isn't so hard to absorb as it has been made out to be!
- Include Calcium D- Glucarate to improve clearance and elimination of old estrogens and xenestrogenic compounds.
- Support your progesterone production with synergystic herbal combinations that contain the botanical Vitex to increase progesterone, Wild Yam to support adrenal function and hormonal production, Maca as an overall hormonal balancer, and Black Cohosh or Dong Quai, depending on whether or not you are dealing with menopause and hotflashes, or PMS. (See Optimized Female Balance).
Further steps you may want to investigate for enhanced effects and protection are:
- Support your liver, as this is where the hormones are favorably, or unfavorably metabolized to begin with.
- Provide extra support for your adrenal glands in the form of supportive herbs like Rhodiola, and Holy Basil. (Remember, besides producing a myriad of hormones which indirectly play into sex-hormone balance, your adrenal glands can act as either auxilliary or primary sites of sex-hormone synthesis.
- Take your probiotics, and essential fatty acids (EPA, DHA, GLA) to produce the right hormonal building blocks and prostaglandins.
- Balance out your blood-sugar!
Related Article: What Is The Connection Between Female Hormones And Belly Fat?
In the end, like always, you've got to investigate and experiment a little to see what works for you. Yet at Optimum Health diindolylmethane reviews have always been extremely positive. We have found that after people try them, our DIM products sell themselves, because they provide the results people are looking for. And, since 1993 as we have always said, it's the result that counts!
Until next time,
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4016477/ ...cancer protective
- http://www.tldp.com/issue/166/166stop.htm - Sherry A. Rogers M.D: Stop Breast Cancer in its Tracks; Townsend Letter For Doctors and Patients 1983-2002.