• Nutritional Support for Estrogen Replacement Therapy and Menopausal Women

    by Khanh Perrin
    on Jan 4th, 2018

In my hormone-balance work with menopausal women, I convey the most effective way to relieve symptoms: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  Although this course of treatment is controversial in breast cancer, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone replacement therapy can increase vitality, libido, and bone density while improving heart health.

Bio-Identical Estrogen

Biologically identical (bio-identical) estrogen, which is derived from plants, has the same molecular structure as the estrogen naturally found in women. Bio-identical estrogen lowers LDL cholesterol, raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, slows the development of arterial plaque, and has an antioxidant effect on free radicals. Estrogen also helps lower blood pressure.  

As a functional medicine doctor with a focus on bio-identical hormones, I’m often asked if estrogen causes cancer. Studies show that it does not—the key here, again, is hormone balance. In addition, supplementing estrogen replacement therapy with nutritional support minimizes the risk of breast cancer.

Estrogen and Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables in the cruciferous family (e.g., bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, turnips, and Brussels sprouts) contain antioxidants. They also contain the chemical compound glucobrassin. Chewing (or chopping) these cruciferous vegetables releases an enzyme that breaks down glucobrassin into a molecule called I3C (Indole-3-Carbinol).

I3C is at the heart of nutritional support for estrogen replacement therapy because of its ability to inhibit the development of several kinds of cancer and reduce oxidative stress. Specifically, research has shown that I3C blocks estrogen receptors in breast membranes, reducing the risk of breast cancer. It also helps keep the estrogen in balance so that there aren’t tremendous increases or decreases in hormone levels. Two I3Cs bound together comprise the compound DIM, which is absorbed into the body and yields the therapeutic effect. To maximize the benefit, a daily supplement of I3C or DIM is recommended. This is true even if you take in a fair amount of cruciferous vegetables—you’d have to eat a couple pounds a day to get the 200mg of IC3 needed.  

In addition to DIM and IC3, there are common nutritional deficiencies which menopausal women should be aware of. The two most common are fiber and adequate protein.

Properly managed bio-identical hormone replacement, nutritional supplements, and a whole foods diet can serve as the foundation for a good heart, strong bones, and a clear brain.

If you are in the Los Angeles or Beverly Hills area and interested in estrogen replacement therapy, book an appointment through my office.

Author Khanh Perrin

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