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When to Worry About Phytoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance‬

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  • Dong Quai 750mL

    Dong Quai 750mL

    Help Maintain Hormonal Health with Dong Quai

    • Fermented liquid beverage that contains dong quai herb
    • Promotes overall body balancing and restoration
    • Helps maintain a healthy balance of microflora in the digestive tract

Plant chemicals that mimic our human estrogen are called phyto- (plant) estrogens.

The theory of estrogen dominance oversimplifies the role of estrogen in a woman’s body.

These chemicals act like estrogen in the body, meaning that they occupy estrogen receptor sites—sort of like parking spaces that are reserved specifically for estrogen in the body.

dong-quai

Dong Quai affects women’s hormones, but it is not a phytoestrogen. This fermented probiotic drink containing the Dong Quai herb can balance hormones by stimulating the reproductive system like estrogen does, without binding to estrogen receptors.

Common phytoestrogens include:

  • Soy
  • Flax
  • Sesame Seed
  • Wheat
  • Fenugreek
  • Oat
  • Barley
  • Yams
  • Mung Bean
  • Pomegranate

When it comes to phytoestrogens, most people become concerned if they have been told that they have too much estrogen in their body.

The “Estrogen Dominance” Theory

The theory behind estrogen dominance in women is this:

  • There is too much estrogen in the body.
  • There is too little progesterone in the body.
  • This imbalance of too little estrogen and too much progesterone creates estrogen dominance.

This doesn’t mean that an imbalance in reproductive hormones is impossible—but it does tell us that there is more to the story.

When it comes to estrogen, plenty of current research tells us that estrogen protects against bone loss, heart disease, and dementia—up to a certain point. It appears that age matters. (1) At some point (typically after menopause), too much estrogen is harmful. And, of course, the type of estrogen also matters.

The theory of estrogen dominance oversimplifies the role of estrogen in a woman’s body.

For example, some phytoestrogens—like pomegranate—actually bind to estrogen receptors but suppress the growth of estrogen-dependant cancers (such as breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer). (2)

If you are concerned about outside sources of estrogen or not being able to clear estrogen from the body, you want to pay special attention to the health of your liver and colon—which regulate the exit of estrogen from the body. Fermented vegetables and herbs like milk thistle, wasabi, artichoke leaf, and sarsaparilla as found in LivAmend support liver and colon health.

Is Dong Quai Really a Phytoestrogen?

Jillian A., a fan of Body Ecology on the Facebook Fan Page, asks about Body Ecology’s Dong Quai Probiotic Beverage: 

I assume this product is not appropriate for women with estrogen dominance, correct?

Dong Quai is actually fine for women with estrogen dominance—though the reason may surprise you.

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) is an herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for over two millennia. It is frequently used in herbal formulas that address painful menstruation or menopause. Because Dong Quai appears to affect women’s hormones, it is often referred to as a phytoestrogen.

While Dong Quai does help to maintain hormonal balance and promote longevity—it is not properly categorized as a phytoestrogen. The confusion stems from the following: Dong Quai acts like an estrogen in the body, stimulating the reproductive system in a way similar to estrogen. (3)

However, studies have shown that Dong Quai does not bind to estrogen receptors. (4) In other words, Dong Quai’s relationship to a woman’s reproductive system goes beyond estrogen and estrogen receptors. (5) Remember, our reproductive hormones are uniquely and closely intertwined with our immune system. Dong Quai profoundly affects the immune system. (6)

Research has shown that Dong Quai:

  • Is an anti-inflammatory
  • Safeguards against some forms of cancer
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Protects the brain
  • Protects the liver

Because Dong Quai interacts with the immune system on so many levels, this may be one way that it is able to “act like an estrogen” in the body without actually binding to estrogen receptor sites.

Natural Remedies for Estrogen Dominance: The Traditional Use of Dong Quai

In Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is chiefly used to build blood and reduce fatigue. Dong Quai warms the body and also moves points of stagnation by supporting the production of blood and qi (or energy).

Signs of stagnation that Dong Quai addresses can include:

  • Constipation
  • Painful periods or absence of period
  • Insufficient production of breast milk
  • Cough with phlegm
  • Cold, painful joints
  • Traumatic injury

Dong Quai is an anti-inflammatory herb that protects the brain and liver. It has been specifically useful for women in menopause or for women with menstrual disorders. Therapeutically, Dong Quai is always used in a formula and combined with a team of supporting herbs. If you would like to address a specific disorder with Dong Quai, it is best to work with a Chinese medicine practitioner.

Body Ecology’s Dong Quai Probiotic Beverage ferments Dong Quai with powerful probiotics to help replenish a healthy balance of microflora in the gut.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Phytoestrogens—like soy, flax, sesame seed, wheat, and yams—may be a concern if you have been told that you have too much estrogen in your body. In the theory of “estrogen dominance,” experts believe it is caused by an excess of estrogen in the body with low levels of progesterone. However, this theory oversimplifies the role of estrogen in a woman’s body.

If you are concerned about clearing estrogen from your body, it is important to focus on the health of your liver and colon, organs that regulate the exit of estrogen. Fermented vegetables and liver-supporting herbs like artichoke leaf, wasabi, sarsaparilla, and milk thistle found in LivAmend are known to support liver and colon health.

Contrary to popular belief, Dong Quai is not a phytoestrogen. Dong Quai can be used by women with estrogen dominance. It can support longevity and hormonal balance, with anti-inflammatory properties to protect the liver and the brain. It is highly recommended to alleviate signs of stagnation in the body, like irregular periods, constipation, low breast milk production, and traumatic injury.

  • Veggie Culture Starter

    Veggie Culture Starter

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    • Curbs cravings for bread, sweets and dairy
  • Dong Quai 750mL

    Dong Quai 750mL

    Help Maintain Hormonal Health with Dong Quai

    • Fermented liquid beverage that contains dong quai herb
    • Promotes overall body balancing and restoration
    • Helps maintain a healthy balance of microflora in the digestive tract
  • LivAmend

    LivAmend

    Supports a Healthy Liver and Improves Bowel Elimination

    • De-congests the liver
    • Increases bile flow

REFERENCES:

  1. Rocca, W. A., Grossardt, B. R., & Shuster, L. T. (2014). Oophorectomy, estrogen, and dementia: A 2014 update. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, 389(1), 7-12.
  2. Sreeja, S., Santhosh Kumar, T. R., Lakshmi, B. S., & Sreeja, S. (2012). Pomegranate extract demonstrate a selective estrogen receptor modulator profile in human tumor cell lines and in vivo models of estrogen deprivation. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 23(7), 725-732.
  3. Circosta, C., Pasquale, R. D., Palumbo, D. R., Samperi, S., & Occhiuto, F. (2006). Estrogenic activity of standardized extract of Angelica sinensis. Phytotherapy research, 20(8), 665-669.
  4. Lau, C. B., Ho, T. C., Chan, T. W., & Kim, S. C. (2005). Use of dong quai (Angelica sinensis) to treat peri-or postmenopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer: is it appropriate?. Menopause, 12(6), 734-740.
  5. Amato, P., Christophe, S., & Mellon, P. L. (2002). Estrogenic activity of herbs commonly used as remedies for menopausal symptoms. Menopause, 9(2), 145-150.
  6. Chao, W. W., & Lin, B. F. (2011). Bioactivities of major constituents isolated from Angelica sinensis (Danggui). Chin Med, 6, 29.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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