By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald (M. Tech Hom UJ)
Aromatase is an enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis of oestrogen through aromatizing androgens.
Aromatase is secreted by the ovaries, testes, adrenal glands, placenta and adipose tissue (fat).
Increased adipose tissue = increased aromatase = increased conversion of androgens to oestrogens = oestrogen dominance = difficulty losing weight.
In women of child bearing age, up to 50% of circulating oestrogen can be produced by adipose tissue. In post menopausal women, 100% of oestrogen is produced by fat cells.
When oestrogen / progesterone raitio is healthy, then oestrogen plays a very important role in maintaining health. When oestrogen levels surge, causing oestrogen dominance (such in overweight patients secreting high amounts of oestrogen from increased aromatase activity in the fat cells), then oestrogen contributes to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Oestrogen plays an important role in insulin sensitivity, with oestrogen dominance contributing towards insulin resistance and increased fat accumulation.
Increased fat accumulation = increased aromatase activity = increased oestrogen = increased insulin resistance = increased fat accumulation.
Fat propagates fat, making weight loss a lot more difficult than a simple equation of eat less exercise more.
In order to reverse the effects of weight gain due to oestrogen dominance, it is essential to facilitate healthy oestrogen metabolism. Here are 5 diet and lifestyle tips to help manage oestrogen dominance.
1. Support optimal liver detoxification. The liver is a major site for oestrogen metabolism. Increased oestrogen load causes an increased load on the liver. Facilitating optimal phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification assists in healthy oestrogen metabolism and a healthy oestrogen vs progesterone balance.
2. Eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulphorophane which is very import in phase 2 detoxification of the liver, optimizing oestrogen metabolism.
3. Avoid environmental and lifestyle factors that can contribute towards oestrogen dominance. Plastic containers, beauty and body products, pesticides and other chemicals contain xenoestrogens that contribute towards oestrogen dominance. Always opt for organic body and beauty products, soak fresh produce in anti-pesticide spray before consumption. Avoid plastic food and beverage containers. This is only a few examples, for more info visit my previous article on oestrogen dominance.
4. Avoid conventionally reared meat and animal products (milk, cheese, butter, ghee, yogurt). Laden with hormomes, this is a potent source of exogenous oestrogen. Opt for organic, grass fed meat and animal products instead.
5. Exercise. Mild to moderate exercise helps to upregulate protective genes, mobilize fat stores, regulate cortisol and improve insulin sensitivity. Start with walking at least 10 000 steps every day. This is a great start in general fitness.
For more information on obstacles to weight loss, follow @the_female_health_homeopath or www.naturopathichealthcarecentre.co.za for my next article on this topic.
Dr. Marike de Klerk