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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 5:57 pm | A Few Clouds 60º


Julie Freeman: Hormones and Toxins Upsetting the Delicate Balance

Timing is everything. Last week I met with three clients in a row with estrogen-dominant issues — a husband and wife team and another woman with fertility issues after having used heavy medications. The following week, I personally crashed and burned due to an experiment that I thought might work, but it did not.

What do toxins have to do with hormones? Exposure to DES, a drug used for fertility many years ago, was found to cause birth defects. Plastics are known xeno-estrogens, and plasticizers in skin care products, and even male skin softeners, have chemicals that feel good but really disrupt the delicate internal environment.

BPA and now the replacements, have been found to bind onto estrogen receptors, resulting in an over-abundance of estrogen and limited progesterone.

Upon speaking with the couple last week, the wife was facing potential fibroid surgery while the husband had elevated PSA levels. Left untreated, both of these estrogen-dominant conditions can lead to cancer.

But they are hoping to watch and wait before succumbing to the knife. Having worked with them for about a year, they have made significant dietary changes and felt capable of honing in on some of the additional support that I offered.

The following foods, herbs and essential oils can assist with balancing the hormonal system:

» Vitex or Chaste Tree Berry helps with gently raising the progesterone level and is often used for PMS symptoms, including bloating, moodiness and acne. It raises the LH level (luteinizing hormone).

» Turmeric, a very popular root used in Ayurvdveda, is a staple for reducing inflammation and it also assists with gently supporting progesterone.

» Ashwaganda, another Ayurdvedic herb, is a known adaptogen, bringing balance to the adrenal system, which in turn, helps to downregulate stress. There is a connection between stress, cortisol and estrogen.

» The essential oils, Progessence and Endoflex (see Young Living), are also supportive ways to support balance. Progessence helps to clean the receptor sites for progesterone, and Endoflex supports all glands that release hormones. In addition to their gentle, yet powerful actions, these oils smell amazing.

I often use myself as an example of complexity and also how using the best of both worlds may be necessary. While I’d love to be a purist using only natural therapies, there have been many challenges informing me that both conventional and integrative approaches are often necessary.

At a young age, I was exposed to very strong and harmful chemicals — DES, DDT, cigarette smoke and lots of Roundup and Pine-Sol. I was born with a weaker immune system — strep throats, ear infections and many antibiotics. I had menstrual issues, infertility, miscarriage and hypothyroid/pituitary challenges.

My endocrinologist told me that I would likely be on HRT for life, yet eyebrows often raise at the thought of a post-menopausal woman being on HRT. I have responded poorly to progesterone over the years, yet my body needs it, and when my insurance stated last month that it would no longer cover my complex regimen, I decided to try the natural route.

Within two weeks, my body morphed into a state of severe bloating, heavy limbs, constant migraine and cotton brain. Luckily, I knew the culprit and immediately got back on balanced HRT along with the herbal and essential oil support.

The moral of the story is to never underestimate the power of food, herbs and appropriate dosing of medications. Reach out when you are suffering. There is no one right way to treat the journey of the body.

Julie Freeman, MA, RD, LD, RYT, is a licensed integrative nutritionist with advanced training in counseling and functional medicine. Her “toolbox” includes certifications in yoga, reiki, mind-body medicine, modeling and finishing for personal development, and she has written two cookbooks, Balanced Eating for a Balanced Life and Sweets n’ Treats. Click here to read previous columns, or contact her at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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