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Estrogen: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/19/2024

Understanding how to balance estrogen naturally is essential to maintaining optimal hormonal balance.

Estrogen, one of the vital hormones in our body, plays a significant role in numerous physiological processes, including menstrual cycles and insulin resistance. Unbalanced estrogen levels can lead to a variety of health concerns.

Learn about the potential risks associated with imbalanced estrogen levels, such as increased cancer risk due to excess 16-hydroxy estrogen. Explore the impact of GMO foods on our endocrine system and how they influence hormone levels.

Understanding Estrogen and Its Role

Estrogen is a hormone that likes to keep things balanced. E1, E2, and E3 are the three forms of estrogen that work together to keep your body in balance. These hormones work together to maintain harmony in your body.

But if the ratio becomes unbalanced, watch out for hormonal imbalances and potential health risks.

Estrone (E1) - After menopause, estrone takes the stage. Fat cells or adrenal glands produce it since the ovaries retire from the estrogen-making business.

Estradiol (E2) - Estradiol is responsible for female characteristics, menstrual cycles, and bone health.

Estriol (E3) - Estriol is the hormone that the body produces during pregnancy. It helps prepare the body for breastfeeding.

Hormonal Imbalance: The Consequences

  • Premenopausal symptoms: Hot flashes and night sweats are the most common premenopausal symptoms.

  • Osteoporosis: When estrogen levels drop, bones can become more fragile.

  • Fertility issues: Imbalanced estrogen can cause problems like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

By understanding how these hormones work together (or sometimes against each other), we can make more intelligent choices for our hormonal health.

Chemical formula of estrogen

The Dangers of Estrogen Imbalance

Estrogen, a hormone crucial for our bodies, can cause trouble when it is unbalanced. One particular problem is the imbalance between 2-hydroxy estrogen and 16-hydroxy estrogen.

The Power of 2-Hydroxy Estrogen

2-Hydroxy estrogen, the "good" kind, is a hormone that protects the body. It keeps our cells healthy and lowers the risk of certain cancers. But when it's too low, it can cause issues with our hormones.

16-Hydroxy Estrogen

On the other hand, an excess of 16-hydroxy estrogen can encourage cell growth, which can increases the body's chances of getting breast or prostate cancer.

To avoid these hormone-related health problems, we need to find balance. Here are some tips:

  • Eat a Proper Diet: Load fiber-rich foods like fruits and veggies to help your liver eliminate excess estrogens.

  • Say No to Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol hurts your liver's ability to handle bad estrogens.

  • Shed Those Extra Pounds: Extra fat cells produce more "bad" estrogens, so losing weight can lower their levels in your body.

  • Avoid Xenoestrogens: These synthetic compounds disrupt your hormones and damage your overall health.

GMO Foods' Impact on Hormonal Balance

Genetically modified foods, or GMOs, disrupt the body's hormonal balance. Studies suggest that consuming these engineered foods can throw your hormones off balance.

How GMOs Mess with Our Hormones

The genetic tinkering in these food products has been linked to some severe health issues, including endocrine disruption.

Some genetically modified crops even produce internal pesticides that you end up consuming. These pesticide residues can mimic or mess with your hormone signals, leaving your body in hormonal chaos.

GMOs also disrupt hormones indirectly by wreaking havoc on your gut health. Your gut microbiome helps regulate hormones and keep them in check.

However, research suggests that GMO consumption can throw off the balance of your gut flora, leaving your hormones at unhealthy levels.

GMOs and Prostate Problems: A Hormonal Connection

It's not just general health problems that GMOs bring to the table; they also increase the risk of specific conditions like prostate problems. When your hormones are unbalanced due to GMO consumption, it can lead to estrogen dominance.

Excessive estrogen levels can contribute to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and even prostate cancer.

A study published in The Prostate Journal suggests that exposure to xenoestrogens (chemical compounds found abundantly in GM crops) might activate growth factors involved in BPH development.

Given the potential risks associated with GMO consumption, it is wise to opt for healthier alternatives such as organic non-GMO options.

Liver Health and its Relation with Estrogen Levels

The liver plays a critical role in maintaining hormone equilibrium within the body. Optimal liver function is essential for the effective breakdown and regulation of estrogen, preventing the accumulation of harmful forms that can disrupt bodily processes.

The Liver's Role in Managing Estrogen

Your liver breaks down estrogen into good and bad forms. If your liver is struggling, bad forms of estrogen can wreak havoc.

Research has shown that a healthy liver is crucial for hormone regulation, which means that promoting liver health is one of the best things you can do to make sure your hormones stay balanced.

Diseases That Mess with Estrogen Regulation

Fatty liver disease, inflammation, and cirrhosis all hurt your liver's ability to keep hormones in check.

  • Fatty Liver Disease: This condition leads to impaired estrogen regulation.

  • Inflammation: Inflammatory diseases damage your liver and make it unable to conduct effective hormone management.

  • Cirrhosis: This late fibrosis stage impairs all metabolic processes, including hormone regulation.

To avoid these complications, take care of your liver. Eat a proper diet, exercise, limit alcohol, and manage weight.

Remedies for High Estrogen Levels

The best remedies for balancing high estrogen levels include consuming cruciferous vegetables (or DIM supplements), sea kelp for natural iodine intake, and choosing organic options to avoid genetically modified foods.

These methods help regulate your hormonal balance effectively without any side effects.

cruciferous vegetables

Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables/DIM Supplements on Balancing Estrogen Levels

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and kale contain a compound called diindolylmethane (DIM), which assists the liver in transforming estrogens into their beneficial shapes.

This helps maintain an optimal estrogen ratio. Studies have shown that DIM can also inhibit the growth of cancer cells, reducing risks associated with excess harmful estrogens.

If eating enough cruciferous veggies is a challenge, consider taking DIM supplements. They offer a concentrated dose of this powerful compound, making it easier to achieve balanced hormone levels.

The Role Sea Kelp Plays in Maintaining Hormone Equilibrium

Sea kelp, a type of seaweed rich in natural iodine, plays an essential role in thyroid function, which regulates hormones, including estrogen. Adequate iodine from sources like sea kelp helps produce thyroid hormones, leading to improved metabolism and better hormonal balance.

Sea kelp is suitable for your hormones and overall health, as it is packed with vitamins and minerals.

Impact of Organic Foods on Your Hormones

Avoiding GMOs by choosing organic food can help maintain healthy estrogen levels. Consumption of GMOs may adversely affect our endocrine system, resulting in hormonal imbalances.

Research suggests GMO consumption may lead to various ailments. By choosing organic, you avoid exposure to these harmful chemicals, promoting a healthier, hormonally balanced state within your body.

Remember, a variety-rich diet provides all the necessary nutrients for proper hormone production and elimination. Incorporating these strategies into your lifestyle can go a long way toward achieving better hormonal equilibrium.

Enjoy those leafy greens, savor some sea-kale soup, and shop smartly the next time you visit the grocery store. Y

Connection Between Estrogen and Keto

The ketogenic diet (keto) is known for its potential impact on estrogen levels. This low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet may affect estrogen metabolism, although the specific mechanisms and long-term effects are still not fully understood.

Consulting with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians can provide personalized guidance on managing estrogen levels while implementing keto hacks and maintaining a balanced approach to the ketogenic diet.


Maintaining balanced estrogen levels is crucial for overall health, as imbalances can lead to various health concerns, including increased cancer risk due to excess 16-hydroxy estrogen.

Additionally, the influence of genetically modified foods (GMOs) on our endocrine system and hormone levels underscores the importance of making informed dietary choices to support hormonal balance.

By prioritizing liver health, incorporating estrogen-balancing remedies such as cruciferous vegetables and sea kelp, and opting for organic options, individuals can take proactive steps to promote optimal hormonal equilibrium and safeguard their well-being.

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