Hormones & Breast Health
Did you know that the right balance of hormones is super important for breast health?
A ton of hormones are involved in the balance of hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, and vitamin D.
A lot of the hormones that are heavily involved in staying healthy in general are also hugely critical for breast health.
Let’s talk about some of the roles that these hormones can play in keeping your breasts healthy.
Estrogen and Breast Health
Estrogen is so important for many aspects of health but too much of it can cause a whole heap of problems. This can be compounded if estrogen isn’t in balance with other hormones. It can even be a factor in developing breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 cases of breast cancer are hormone receptor-positive. This means the cancer cells have receptors for estrogen or progesterone.
Estrogen can encourage cancer cells to grow if they’re estrogen receptor-positive. In a nutshell, too much estrogen can help cancer cells to grow and this can be a factor in some breast cancers.
Xenoestrogens can also be an issue. Since these can mimic estrogen, their presence in the body can make estrogen dominance more likely. The effects of these compounds can often be a lot stronger than the estrogen that’s being naturally produced in your body.
Lots of cleaning products and personal hygiene products contain chemicals and toxins that mimic the effects of estrogen such as:
- Pesticides can also be super common culprits
These chemicals and toxins can find their way into your breast tissue and build up.
Progesterone and Breast Health
Progesterone works alongside estrogen to help maintain a healthy balance. If the balance isn’t right, it can lead to estrogen dominance. Low progesterone has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, often in combination with high estrogen levels. Progesterone can be depleted due to stress, which can further upset hormone balance.
Testosterone, Cortisol and Thyroid Hormones and Breast Health
Along with estrogen and progesterone, there are also a whole heap of other hormones that can have a key role to play in breast health. A few super important ones are testosterone, thyroid hormones and cortisol so let’s talk a little bit about why this is.
You might think of testosterone as a male hormone but it’s super important for women too. Testosterone is a precursor hormone for estradiol (a form of estrogen) and also affects the androgen receptors in many tissues and organs in the body, including the breasts.
There’s some evidence that androgens can be super beneficial for breast health.
Thyroid imbalances can have an effect on your menstrual cycle and this can have a knock-on effect on breast health. Tenderness that comes and goes through your menstrual cycle can potentially be linked to an underactive or overactive thyroid.
Estrogen dominance can mean that thyroid hormones can potentially be blocked from being used in the body, especially if you also have low progesterone.
Unbalanced cortisol levels can eventually trigger adrenal exhaustion and this can raise the risk of chronic illness and even cancer. When you’re under a ton of stress and your adrenals are hugely taxed, it can encourage your body to produce cortisol rather than progesterone. This can contribute to estrogen dominance.
Vitamin D and Breast Health
You may not realize it but vitamin D is actually a hormone and it has super wide-ranging effects on the whole body. When it comes to breast health, vitamin D may help protect against breast cancer.
According to one study, vitamin D has the potential to inhibit cancer cells, including breast cancer cells. Other studies have linked higher levels of vitamin D to a lower risk of breast cancer.
What to Eat For Healthy Breasts
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage can help balance estrogen levels, especially in relation to progesterone and thyroid hormones. They contain a substance called DIM (diindolylmethane), which supports liver detoxing and makes it easier for excess estrogen to leave the body. They also contain indole 3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which can help to block cancer cells.
Making sure your diet includes plenty of cruciferous vegetables can help to avoid estrogen dominance and by default, balance other hormones too.
Consuming a ton of fiber can help too. Regular bowel movements are super helpful for moving toxins and excess estrogen out of the body.
On a similar note, there’s some evidence to suggest that maintaining good gut health is hugely important for avoiding estrogen dominance. Anything that helps keep your gut healthy may also be super smart for breast health.
Even if you’re experiencing estrogen dominance, plant-based estrogen can still benefit you such as,
- Sweet potato
- Flax seeds
All of these are super common examples of this.
Take care of your breast health ladies.