Okay, so we’ve been talking lots about the natural supplement Estroblock (aka a quality brand of DIM, aka Diindolylmethane), and how it got rid of my hormonal acne.
But let’s talk a little about the root of the problem here. What is the underlying problem that Estroblock is correcting, and how could we potentially address it without taking the supplement (or at least not forever)?
So, this acne-causing hormonal imbalance that Estroblock treats mainly occurs due to exposure to estrogen mimickers. Up until now, I’ve simply been describing these as “bad estrogens that come from our environment, such as from plastic”.
One type of estrogen mimicker are those found from unnatural substances – yes, such as plastic. And there are also phytoestrogens, which are natural estrogen mimickers from certain foods and plants – such as soy products. All of these come under the blanket term “xenoestrogens”, which literally means “foreign” estrogens.
I thought that this little snippet taken from this article by Dr. Don Colbert that explains how DIM works was very clarifying:
There are several ways imbalances can occur. One way is through exposure to estrogen mimics, or xenoestrogens. Certain chemicals in the environment from pesticides and plastics, soaps, emulsifiers, household cleaning products and even car exhaust look and act enough like natural estrogens that the body mistakenly accepts them as estrogen. They are fat soluble and pass through the skin easily and accumulate over time.
Estrogen mimics can latch on to estrogen receptors located on the surface of breast and other hormonally-caused cancer cells, signalling the cancer cell to grow and divide, making the cancer spread. Estrogen mimics can also bind to estrogen receptors on healthy cells and send false signals. Others block the natural hormone and keep it from binding to its receptor – resulting in more estrogen circulating in the bloodstream.
Estrogen dominance can also result from slow or sluggish estrogen metabolism. After estrogen completes its activity in the target cells, it returns to the bloodstream. From there it travels to the liver to be broken down or metabolized. However, if the rate of metabolism is too slow, an excess of unmetabolized estrogen is left to circulate in the body, causing estrogen dominance.
Researchers have also discovered that estrogen can be metabolized in two different pathways in the liver, resulting in two very different kinds of metabolites. One pathway, the 2-hydroxy pathway, results in beneficial or “good” estrogen metabolites. These “good” estrogen metabolites are released into the bloodstream where they account for many of the benefits of estrogen, including the prevention of heart disease and strong, healthy bones. The 2-hydroxy metabolites also have the power to get rid of damaged or cancerous cells throughout the body.
Where there’s a “good” of something, there most often is a “bad” of it as well. And there is indeed, a “bad” estrogen metabolism pathway – the 1 6-hydroxy pathway. The estrogen metabolites that result from this pathway – the 16- hydroxy estrogen metabolites – behave “badly” in our bodies. Greater production of “bad” estrogen metabolites can result in estrogen dominance and are linked to many health problems, including:
• Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis
• Breast cancer
• Cervical dysplasia
• Clinical depression
• Fibroid tumors
• Magnesium deficiency
• Ovarian cancer
• Uterine cancer
• Zinc deficiency
And, it can also, very apparently, cause acne.
So, that pretty much explains what Estroblock does. It helps your liver metabolize those used estrogens faster, and also promotes the estrogen in your bloodstream being metabolized into the “good, happy, healthy” estrogen metabolites that are responsible for positive estrogen effects (which apparently leads to clear skin! Wohoo!).
It also explains why it might be a good idea to also help your liver in other ways alongside using DIM. For example, I use liver support herbs as well to help my liver metabolize other day-to-day toxins so that it is strong enough to deal with those hormones efficiently.
The liver supplement I take is Thorne SAT Liver Support (just one per day).
How Do These Bad Estrogens Actually Lead to Acne Anyway? I Thought it was “Androgens” or “Testosterone” That Caused Acne?
Well, I’d been wondering for a while what the actual mechanism is here…. in other words, what actually happens in the body that creates acne from “bad estrogens”? And how does lowering them clear your skin?
I just found out yesterday from chatting on the phone to the maker of Estroblock, Nick Delgado, is that because all your hormones work in ratios, when you have a lot of bad estrogen, testosterone (aka androgens) have to rise to match it. Except the only form of testosterone potent enough to match it is not the happy “good” testosterone responsible for sex drive and other fun things – it’s DHT, the form of testosterone responsible for acne.
So… in other words… using Estroblock combined with avoiding xenoestrogens lowers the bad estrogen –> lowers your DHT –> gets rid of acne. He confirmed again that it was incredible for men’s acne and teenage acne too, not just us ladies.
How Can We Prevent Accumulating Fake Estrogen Mimickers In The First Place?
So it’s likely you’ve been exposed to tons of these estrogen mimickers over your lifetime, especially if you’ve never heard of them (and you’re getting hormonal acne). That’s why you might need to take a fairly high dose of DIM to start with in order to clear everything out and get your body back on track.
But as we were discussing last post, understandably most people don’t really want to be on this supplement forever. And apparently you don’t have to be.
But in order to get off it and stay clear, it’s most likely that you need to at least be aware of the sources of xeno and phyto estrogens and try to cut down on your exposure to them. Hey – it’s a good idea. It’s not just acne we’re preventing, but also estrogen related cancers.
List of Endocrine Disrupting Xeno Estrogens:
This list was found at Suite101.com:
- Organ chlorines, are one of the largest sources. They are used in pesticides, dry cleaning, bleaching of feminine-hygiene products and the manufacture of plastics.
- Bisphenol-A, a breakdown of polycarbonate, is used in many plastic bottles. It’s found in the lining of many food cans and juice containers.
- Avoid heated plastics, plastic lined items and Styrofoam (microwave, oven, sun), as the polycarbonate escapes
- Use glass, ceramics or steel to store/consume foods and liquids.
- Choose organic produce. Always go organic with thin skinned fruits and vegetables.
- Buy hormone-free animal products (eggs, poultry, meats, dairy). To avoid xenoestrogen injections, supplements, bovine growth hormone.
- A common food preservative in processed foods (BHS: butylated hydroxyanisole).
- Avoid non-organic coffee and tea.
- Use reverse-osmosis filter water or purchase your own filter (drinking and bathing).
- Many creams and cosmetics contain parabens and stearal konium chloride. Choose natural brands (preservatives made with minerals or grapefruit seed extract).
- Most skin lotions, creams, soaps, shampoo, cosmetics use parabens and phenoxyethanol as a preservative. Substances are 100% absorbed into the body. Go natural or organic.
- Phthalates are commonly found in baby lotions and powders.
- Sunscreen can contain benzophenone-3, homosalate, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor, octal-methoxycinnamate, octal-dimethyl-PABA. Go organic.
- Many perfumes, deodorizers, air fresheners have artificial scents and contain phthalates.
- Most perfumes are petrochemically based.
- Nail polish and removers contain harsh chemicals.
- The birth control pill contains high concentration of synthetic estrogen. Choose a condom or diaphragm gels without surfactants. Use a condom without spermicidal.
- Hormone replacement therapy (contains synthetic estrogens) – opt for paraben-free progesterone cream.
- Research ingredients in your pharmaceuticals.
- Dryer sheets, fabric softeners and detergents put petrochemicals right on your skin. Use laundry detergent with less chemicals or use white vinegar and baking soda.
- Be aware of noxious gas that comes from copiers and printers, carpets, fiberboards, new carpets.
- Do not inhale and protect your skin from: electrical oils, lubricants, adhesive paints, lacquers, solvents, oils, paints, fuel, industrial wastes, packing materials, harsh cleaning products, fertilizers.
- Become educated on: pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, parathion, plant and fungal estrogens, industrial chemicals (cadmium, lead, mercury), Primpro, DES, Premarin-cemeteries, Tagamet, Marijuana, insecticides (Dieldrin, DDT, Endosulfan, Heptachlor, Lindane/hexachlorocychohexan, methoxychlor), Erythrosine, FD&C Red No 3, Nonylphenol, Polychlorinated biphenyls, Phenosulfothizine, Phthalates, DEHP.
To Sum Up The List From My Viewpoint and Offer Some Basic Things Most People Can Do:
- One of my biggest suggestions would be to continue moving away from using synthetic, unnatural products on your skin and toward using natural products and ingredients only. This includes face washes, moisturizers, makeup, shampoo, body lotion, soaps, deoderant, sunscreen, laundry detergent, and perfume. These xenoestrogens on your skin bypass the liver and gets absorbed right into the bloodstream, which is much more harmful than eating it.
- Switch to using more natural cleaning products in your home
- Switch to using glass tupperware and storage containers when possible and be careful about how much canned and packaged food you eat
- Try to eat more local organic food over conventional produce, meat, and dairy. I know, it’s difficult, but at the very least, makes sure you are thoroughly washing your produce before eating it. Personally I prioritize eating organic animal products over organic produce (but that’s just me).
- Get a stainless steel metal water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Make sure the liner or coating doesn’t contain BPA.
- Consider filtering your drinking water, especially if you know your water quality is very poor
- Never heat or microwave plastic and eat off it. Ever. Be conscious of drinking out of plastic water bottles that have been sitting in the sun. Or hot drinks out of plastic mugs or cups.
- If you use tampons or pads, try switching to a menstrual cup.
- Try to avoid eating soy and flax as main staples in your diet. I know it wasn’t listed above, but these are by far the most powerful natural food sources of xenoestrogens. Don’t go crazy avoiding them at all costs, but just think twice if they are staples in your diet.
- Possibly consider a different form of birth control if you are on hormonal birth control. Click here to learn how to avoid a post birth control breakout after quitting.
- Think twice if you are a big pot smoker. Some people swear that marijuana causes them to break out, and maybe this is why?
Anyway – that’s that! Hope this helped. Obviously xenoestrogens are lurking in many places, but please don’t get all paranoid and fearful. Just do your best, and slowly change what you can to cut down on exposure. Going crazy paranoid won’t help.
I am definitely not perfect and could totally do better. I still use plastic tupperware and plastic wrap, often eat beans out of cans, sometimes eat soy, and I got too lazy to filter my drinking water and stopped. I also don’t eat all my food organic. But after writing this post I think I will try to continue improving!
Die Xenoestrogens, die! (that word sounds like a crazy alien estrogen race from outerspace, am I right?)
Oh yeah, and by the way, you might also want to make sure you’re having your green smoothies and sauerkraut, because cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, brussel sprouts, turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, rutabaga, and arugula also help you metabolize those xenoestrogens. That’s what DIM is derived from after all – cruciferous vegetables.
Were you aware of this whole xenoestrogen thing? What are you doing to cut down on exposure? Which areas can you improve on?