Dr.Ali’s Course on Estrogen – Age of Estrogen Overdrive
Majid Ali, M.D.
Age of Estrogen Overdrive
Two Core Points
There are two points that will be focused on in this article:
1. To show how xenoestrogens—chemicals that have estrogen-like effects—are causing a growing number of ecodis-eases and ecodiseases, including the near-epidemic increase in cancer of the breast and prostate.
2. To shed some light on the prevailing controversy concerning the clinical value of synthetic estrogens for prevention of heart disease and osteoporosis in women. Read more at Xenoestrogens
Nature’s Prescription For Preserving The Human Species
Hormones are Nature’s molecular messengers. To save the human species from extinction, Nature created a rather simple design: It prepares the uterus for pregnancy each month during the entire reproductive life of the women. Estrogen peals during the first half of each menstrual cycle to prepare the soil of the uterus for conception. If conception occurs, estrogen peaks further, but in this situation, estrogen overload is balanced with a progesterone peak to protect the beginning of life for the baby from unbalanced estrogen drive. As the fertilized egg develops into an embryo and beyond, there is an outpouring of estrogens from the placenta that also increase its output of progesterone, again to keep the estrogens under surveillance.
Times have changed. There are simply enough of us on the planet now. Women do not need to stay pregnant all the time. The way we live our lives has changed rapidly, but evolution does not work that fast. The result: A fundamental chemical conflict between the needs of 21st century women and their hormonal clocks. Each month, an estrogen peak goes unbalanced by progesterone. What are the chemical consequences of estrogen overdrive?
Endometriosis—the growth outside the uterus of misplaced cells that normally line the uterine cavity. It is a painful, often disabling disorder that can lead to infertility. Endometriosis rarely occurs, if ever, in tribal cultures removed from the rush of modern life.
Estrogens and Molecular Mating
In biologic molecular pathways, molecules compete for “receptor-mates” as aggressively as animals do in the animal kingdom. Such competition among molecules is based upon their structural similarities. This, however, does not always hold, and many synthetic chemicals not belonging to the family of human hormones actively compete for their receptors. This natural phenomenon is well illustrated by the example of competition for receptors among estrogens and estrogen mimics. Following is an incomplete list of estrogen mimics.
Ingredients in plastics
Pesticides such as DDT and heptachlor
Plastic (polycarbonates) breakdown products
PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)
Marihuana compounds such as tetradyfrocaanabinol
Plant estrogens such as coumestrol, equol and zearalenone
Electromagnetic fields that boost the concentration f estrogens in blood.
Exercise, Enzymes and Breast Cancer Risk
The body metabolizes its main natural estrogen called estradiol in several ways. Two enzyme systems compete for an opportunity to alter the structure of estradiol molecules, but they do so at two different locations, the 2-carbon and 16-carbon regions. The end-products of such reactions are quite different in their biologic roles. For instance, insertion of a hydroxyl radical at the 2-carbon site produces an innocent molecule while that at the 16-carbon location produces a genotoxic and breast cancer-promoting molecule.
Regular and vigorous exercise upregulates conversion at the 2-carbon site and down-regulates that at the 16-carbon location, both changes offering protection against breast cancer.
Breast Cancer, Estrogens and Xenoestrogens
Estrogens drive the rate of proliferation of mammary gland cells. This explains the breast fullness and soreness experienced by many women during menstrual cycles—and less frequently during ovulation—when estrogen levels surge. This seems to be the principal mechanisms by which estrogen therapy increases the risk of breast cancer.
Since 1940, the incidence of breast cancer has increased in the United States and in Europe. Nearly 35 years ago during my residency, I remember that we saw a very unusual case of breast cancer—unusual because the tumor occurred in a 28 year-old woman. Now we see young women, ages 21, or 26, or 29, with breast cancer, and this is no longer unusual.
Two million to six million women in the United States and Europe were prescribed DES–a synthetic estrogen–to prevent miscarriages between 1948-1971.
Melatonin and Estrogenic Overdrive
Melatonin is the primary hormone of the Pineal gland located in the center of the brain. It is mainly produced during nighttime darkness. Light and electromagnetics fields suppress melatonin production.
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. Among its other important roles is reduction of estrogen production in the body, and probably reduction in the number of estrogen receptors.
Studies of shown that the protective, estrogen reducing effects of melatonin are significantly reduced by excessive exposure to light (including late night TV viewing), electromagnetic fields, chemical pollutants such as pesticides and fungicides, and many commonly prescribe drugs, such as beta blockers for heart disease, high blood pressure and headaches.
If Estrogen Overdrive Is Real, Why Does Estrogen Therapy Help Some Women?
About eight to ten million American women are prescribed hormonal replacement therapy by their physicians. Of these, about half discontinue hormones due to untoward effects of hormones or for fear of developing breast, uterus and other cancers. This means about five million women in the U.S. are taking estrogens and progesterone regularly. If hormonal replacement therapy is all that risky, why do some women agree\ to take this?
This question has interested me for some time. On the surface it negates my theory about the estrogen overdrive described above. The answer is that they are not made aware of healthful, natural alternatives to synthetic hormones. I make three points here.
First, a vast majority of menopausal symptoms can be controlled with sound nutritional; therapies exercise and self-regulation and without estrogen. Indeed, many of the symptoms attributed to inadequate estrogen are in reality symptoms of sugar-insulin-adrenaline roller coasters that respond well to natural nondrug measures.
Second, for some of my patients who need further relief, I frequently prescribe natural plant-derived progestrone creams. Indeed, it is uncommon for me to have to use estrogen for symptoms that are difficult to control otherwise.
Third, How do I explain the occurrence of hot flashes, fluid retention and related symptoms that seem to respond well to estrogen therapy? An insight into a possible explanation of this phenomenon came to me some time ago as I listened to a patient describe her difficulty with sugar craving and sugar roller coasters. It occurred to me that the need of some women for extra estrogen for hot flashes is similar to the need for sugar in someone craving sugar, or for cocaine in a cocaine addict. These are examples of receptor dysregulation, of energetic-molecular disequilibrium, of molecular responses overshooting their marks. No one recommends that we solve the problem of sugar craving with sugar, or that we treat cocaine addiction by giving the addict regular doses of cocaine. Why do we do so for estrogen?
Hormone Receptor Disruption
Gender devolution is caused by synthetic chemicals that bind to hormone receptors and jam them, often for the life of the receptor protein embedded in the cell membrane. Among the most dangerous compounds in this category are birth control pills and synthetic hormone prescribed for menstrual symptoms (PMS), menstrual irregularities, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Many plastic materials also have xenoestrogen activity, which cumulatively disrupt hormone receptors.