Avoid Chemicals, Foods and
Herbs that Act as Estrogens
Source: Women's Therapeutic Institute
Phytoestrogens, Naturally Occurring Plant Estrogens Plants produce
chemicals that mimic estrogen, and block progesterone. In general,
it is thought that they tend to wash out of the body within several
days in contrast to months or decades that the xenoestrogens take
to be excreted. Whole grains, fruits, seeds, beans and herbs all
are know to have estrogen and/or progesterone activity. In general,
any food that has been eaten by a culture or people group for
centuries is probably all right to eat if the people group in
question is relatively free from these estrogen related
When referring to phytoestrogens, it is generally thought that a
"weak" estrogen may actually be protective against cancer causing
xenoestrogens. The best example, is Lilian Thompson PhD’s work that
showed that oral ground flax seed reduced breast cancer size to one
half between the time of diagnosis and surgery. A strong
phytoestrogen may actually make the disease worse. Again the list
that follows is incomplete because of the lack of research money
Coffee is a known phytoestrogen. Coffee is commonly known to make
fibrocystic breast disease worse. It is not thought to be the
caffeine, but coffee itself mimics estrogen strongly. Thus,
decaffinated coffee still may be estrogenic.
Clover, Red Clover tea, Alfalfa Sprouts. Australian sheep grazing
on imported European clover developed still births and sterility 3
years later. Finally, formononetin was determined to be the
culprit. Formononetin mimics estrogen.
Sunflower Seeds. Coumestrol found in sunflower seeds when fed to
the mother rat caused permanent reproductive problems in the rat
pups: female pups when grown did not ovulate, and the male pups had
altered mounting behavior and fewer ejaculations. Neonatal rats and
immature rats exposed to coumestrol had premature estrous cycles.
Flax seed oil and Soy oil are known NOT have the active
phytoestrogens. Sunflower oil MAY or MAY NOT have active hormone
components in it.
Queen Anne's lace (wild carrot) During the fourth century B.C.,
Hipocrates noted that Queen Anne's Lace prevented pregnancies. It
is now know that that seeds contain a chemical know to block
progesterone needed to maintain a pregnancy.
Pomegranate The Greeks used this plant as a contraceptive. Modern
research confirms strong estrogen activity.
Fennel Used in the ancient world to prevent pregnancy and
Licorice, Red Clover, Yucca, Hops (Beer) and Motherwort David Zava,
PhD showed that these herbs stimulated estrogen receptor positive
breast cancer cells to grow. Red Clover and Yucca were found to be
equal in potency to estradiol at the same concentrations. Women who
harvest hops for beer begin menstruating 2 days later anecdotally.
Zava has confirmed that beer has a significant amount of
phytoestrogens that have moderate estrogen activity from hops used
in the flavoring of beer.
Bloodroot, Ocotillo, Mandrake, Oregano, Damiana, Pennyroyal,
Verbenna, Nutmeg, Tumeric, Yucca, Thyme, Calamus rt., Red Clover,
Goldenseal, Licorice, Mistletoe, Cumin, Fennel, Camomille, Cloves.
There are separate estrogen and progesterone receptors. Zava, PhD
was able to show that the above herbs are able to bind to the
progesterone receptor. These herbs would compete against any
natural progesterone taken and should also be avoided.
Interestingly enough all the progesterone binding herbs were
antagonists or neutral meaning they competed against progesterone
and worked against it or blocked progesterone. None of them were
Bloodroot, mandrake, pennyroyal, yucca, and mistletoe all have very
strong progesterone binding activity and are used as abortifacents
(create an abortion), and to bring on menses. Bloodroot was used in
England to treat breast cancer 100 years ago, and was used by
Native Americans to treat surface tumors. Herbalists today use it
to treat breast cancers, nasal polyps, and cervical dysplasia.
Mistletoe has been used for 100 years in Europe to treat breast
cancer and leukemia.
Herbs that Suppress Breast Cancer Cell Growth Zava, PhD also found
that Mandrake, Bloodroot, and Juniper stunted the growth of BOTH
estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells and estrogen
receptor negative breast cancer cells. Saliva estradiol results
also showed very low estradiol in women taking the Chinese herb
Dong Quai. It is thought that Dong Quai suppresses estradiol
Chemicals that Mimic Estrogens (Xenoestrogens) In last decade, new
research has come to light that demonstrates that synthetic
chemicals that are very different in structure to estrogen may act
as an estrogen. The Xenoestrogen in question may either bind to the
receptor strongly or weakly. It may also stimulate the receptor
strongly or weakly to imitate the effect of estrogen, or it may
elicit a response that is an abnormal estrogen response. Thus,
these chemicals can cause breast cancer, uterine cancer,
fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premature
sexual development and uterine fibromas. Some have hypothesized
that since the prostate and uterus are embyrologically the same,
xenoestrogens may also cause benign prostatic hypertrophy and
prostate cancer. Critics have proclaimed that these chemicals are
for the most part "weak". However, they exist in the body in
concentrations 100’s to 1000’s of times of the natural body
hormones; also one researcher demonstrated that two "weak"
estrogens may act synergistically to give a strong estrogen
response. Some of these Xenoestrogens like DDE (a metabolite of
DDT) may persist in the body fat for decades. Since this is a new
field of research only a few chemicals have been tested (this by
definition is an incomplete list), and are listed below:
Pesticides & Herbicides such as DDT, endosulfan, dieldrin,
methoxychlor, kepone, toxaphene, chlordane, and other chlorinated
hydrocarbons. DDT is banned in the U.S. Baby roosters exposed to
DDT grew up looking like hens. The U.S. produces it and ships it to
other countries. However, it is present in imported produce. DDT
found in the fat of U.S. citizens is traced to imported produce.
Combinations of the other pesticides above are found on U.S.
produce that exceed FDA safe levels, and are typically greater on
U.S. produce compared to imported produce. Synergistic effect is
know to occur between pesticides yielding greater toxicity and
estrogen effect. However, exact combinations and levels are
unknown. Farms, lawns and golf courses use pesticides and
herbicides that easily enter the body through the skin and lungs.
Golf courses use 7 times the amount of pesticides than farmers
Products associated with plastics such as bisphenol A and
pthalates. Bisphenol-A was originally designed for use a synthetic
estrogen replacement. It was found to work quite well as an
antioxidant to prevent plastic from breaking down in the sunlight.
Bisphenol-A is used in drinking water bottles, plastics used in
baby bottles, plastics used to pack food, and some dental
composites. Pthalates along with excess estrogen given to chicken
used as food were suspected to cause girls as young as 18 months to
begin to menstruate in Puerto Rico in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s.
In one Dartmouth University study, the researchers found that
plastic wrap with olive oil heated in a microwave produced a
concentration of xenoestrogens 500,000 times the minimum amount of
estrogen needed to produce breast cancer cell proliferation in a
Bishphenol-A contamination was also found in the majority of canned
food as high as 27 times the minimum amount of estrogen needed to
stimulate breast cancer cells to grow in the test tube.
Pharmaceuticals such as drug estrogens (Prempro, DES, and
Premarin), Cimetidine( Tagamet), Marajuana, and Birth Control
Pills. The Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) lists gynecomastia
(breast enlargement in men) as a side effect for Tagamet. Many of
the synthetic estrogens are chemically modified to be different
from naturally occurring estrogen to increase profits from a
patented drug. Thus, they may have grave side effects. Also there
is some evidence that they may be stored in the fat for months.
Ordinary Household Products such as breakdown products from laundry
detergent and dish detergent that include nonylphenol, octylphenol
and spermicide. Laundry detergent persists in the clothes even
after washing gets on the skin and is broken down by bacteria. It
is then absorbed by the skin. If an estrogen is taken orally it is
80-90% first pass metabolized by the liver before entering the
body. In other words, the body only gets 10% of the estrogen when
taken orally. By contrast anything absorbed by the skin goes
directly into the body. Looked at another way, anything on the skin
has an effective concentration that is 10 times that of an oral
Industrial chemicals such a PCB’s (polycholrinated biphenyls). This
is an industrial oil used in electrical transformers that is now
banned in the U.S. However, it persists in the environment and the
fat of animals for decades. It bioaccumulates in the fat and of
course, top of the pyramid predators such as polar bears. PCB’s
been implicated in dropping polar bea fertility in Greenland.
Commercially raised meat such as pork, chicken and beef. Industry
supporters claim that the estrogen in estrogen supplemented feedlot
meat washes out of the animals’ system in several weeks. However
there is some evidence to suggest that the estrogens persist in the
fat for several months. Europe has refused to import American and
Canadian beef because of this issue. This bone of contention has
been the basis for a trade war for several years.
Preservatives used in skin lotions, shampoos, and body lotions such
as the parabens that include methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, proply
paraben, butyl paraben. Researchers from the Department of Biology
and Biochemistry of Brunel University in the United Kingdom have
conducted a study1 and found that alkyl preservatives (methyl-,
ethyl-, propyl- and butylparaben) are weakly estrogenic. The
European Union has asked the European Cosmetics and Toiletry
industry about these new findings and the implication for breast
cancer. These preservatives are found in the vast majority of skin
an body lotions, even in natural progesterone creams. Anything
absorbed through the skin is 10 times the concentration of an oral
Solution 1. Avoid using plastic with food and water whenever
possible. Especially avoid heating food or water in plastic. When
food and or water is heated with plastic, the diffusion of plastic
into the food and water is much worse. Heat up food in the
microwave using ceramic plates and bowls. 2. Do not use pesticides
or herbicides on the lawn or in your house. Eat Organic food.
Organic food is grown without pesticides, herbicides and synthetic
fertilizer. Minimize canned food. 3. Change your laundry detergent
to powdered detergent from the health food store without additives.
Use Simple Soap as a shampoo and bath soap. Use dish washing liquid
from the health food store. 4. Do not use Birth Control Pills. Use
a condom instead without spermicide. Do not use HRT. Use a triple
antibiotic for stomach ulcers and gastritis instead of Tagamet. 5.
Eat meat grown without hormones. Commercial lamb and fish usually
are hormone free. 6. In general, the hormones taken orally are
first pass metabolized by the liver 80%-90%. However, when these
hormones are applied to the skin, the hormones are directly
absorbed by the body. Thus, any skin dose is 10 times that of an
oral dose. The vast majority of skin lotions and creams use the
parabens as a preservative. Avoid them at all costs. Instead apply
a vegetable oil right after a shower to hydrate the skin and lock
in the moisture. 7. Avoid Coffee, Beer, Sunflower Seeds, Red Clover
Tea, Camomille Tea. Avoid Sunflower seeds, Pomegranate, Licorice,
Red Clover, Yucca, Hops (Beer) and Motherwort, Bloodroot, Ocotillo,
Mandrake, Oregano, Damiana, Pennyroyal, Verbenna, Nutmeg, Tumeric,
Yucca, Thyme, Calamus rt., Red Clover, Goldenseal, Licorice,
Mistletoe, Cumin, Fennel, Camomille, Cloves, Queen Anne's lace
(wild carrot), Fennel, Alfalfa Sprouts.
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