Posted On Jun 17, 2019 by Dr. Max MacCloud
Part 7 of 10
Part 7 of our Iodine Crisis series focuses on Estrogen Dominance and it's role of interference in Iodine absorptions.
This is when estrogen levels are higher than they 'should' be in relation to the various counter-balancing hormones (primarily progesterone & testosterone). Estrogen interferes with Iodine absorption, which helps to account for why women have 9X more iodine deficiency than men.
Estrogen is the primary female hormone
, although men have small amounts as well. It's produced in extremely small quantities by various glands; in women, by the ovaries; in men, by the testicles; and in both by the adrenal glands and fat tissue. It has many vital functions including but not limited to: childbearing, balancing cholesterol, bone health, fat regulation, and libido.
Estrogen dominance is at an all time high in BOTH women & men, across all age groups. There is a correlation with increased estrogen dominance and increased levels of cancer and various chronic diseases (although the research is still in-process to establish a causative role).
Health and optimum functioning is all about proper 'balance or homeostasis
,' of all vital substances circulating in the blood stream including hormones. We are each programmed to have a dynamic balance of over a dozen vital hormones, however, there are numerous reasons why one or more of those hormones become imbalanced. When estrogen levels become elevated in relation to other, balancing hormones, it can lead to significant alterations in various physiological processes, ultimately creating problems and dysfunctions. Estrogen dominance has become a very common and increasingly important factor in various health challenges in addition to directly contributing to iodine deficiency and all of its complications.
As with each of the previously mentioned factors contributing to the Iodine Crisis, there's a lot to the story and we can't cover it all here, so we'll just hit the highlights.
Signs & Symptoms of estrogen dominance include
: In Both Sexes: Loss of Sex drive (low libido), Depression, Anxiety, Mood Swings, Infertility, Weight gain (esp. in hips, waist, & thighs), Fatigue, both most likely via the Suppression of Metabolic rate (via increased Thyroid Binding Globulin which binds and transports thyroid hormones in the blood. However, when thyroid hormones are bound to TBG they remain inactive, so they can't be stored in tissues or converted to the active form required to fuel your body & metabolic processes.
It can also lead to a whole host of more severe chronic health issues including
- In Women: Menstrual problems (ex. light or heavy bleeding), PMS, Fibrocystic breasts, and Uterine fibroids.
- In Men: Enlarged breasts (gynecomastia), Prostate problems, and Sexual dysfunction.
: Autoimmune conditions (or their aggravation), Thyroid dysfunction, Cancers (in women: breast, ovarian & uterine; in men: prostate & breast) and more. Hormonal cancers are associated with stored fat, which produces the most potent form of estrogen, estradiol. This type of harmful estrogen is more difficult for your body to detoxify, leading to more circulating estrogen and 'bad' estrogen metabolites. It also significantly contributes to Candida (yeast) overgrowth in the large intestine (which also has negative systemic effects).
Many, if not all, of the negative effects of estrogen dominance are actually a result of some of the metabolic breakdown products of estrogen
. Whereas some are beneficial, others pose potential health risks. Obviously, if a person has elevated estrogen levels, the total amount of metabolites that are harmful will also be higher. It's the metabolites from the 4 & 16-hydroxy pathways, vs the 2-hydroxy pathway
, that are responsible for the negative health effects of estrogen. There are a number of factors that determine which of these pathways are dominant, including: nutritional status, liver health, stress, diet, and sleep. Additionally, various gene mutations (such as COMT & MTHFR) impair one's ability to methylate & detoxify your hormones, as well as a number of environmental & lifestyle factors.