Same Plant For Estrogen Excess And Deficiency

The Fundamental Difference In Chemical And Herbal Estrogen

Same Plant For Estrogen Excess And Deficiency. Healthy Living Magazine

Same Plant For Estrogen Excess And Deficiency. Healthy Living Magazine

Unlike chemical estrogen, a primary suspect in causing breast cancer, phytoestrogens adapt the body to estrogen excesses or deficiencies.

If estrogen levels are low, they will cause an increase in effect; if levels are high, since phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors, thereby competing with more toxic forms of estrogen, there will be a decrease in effects.

Read: Plant Estrogen

Women have been using plant extracts for thousands of years for treating hormone changes that occur throughout their lives. Plants such as red clover, fennel, dong quai and licorice have estrogenic activities due to chemicals called phytoestrogens.

Because of the balancing act of phytoestrogens, it is common to find the same plant recommended for conditions of estrogen excess such as premenstrual syndrome as well as conditions of deficiency such as menopause. In addition to their mild estrogenic effects, several of these plants— most notably red clover—exert documented positive effects on skeletal and cardiovascular health.

Read: Clover Covers Hot Flashes

Phytoestrogens “may be protective with regard to estrogen dependent and perhaps other types of cancer,” note researchers in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry. Indeed, the researchers went on to further say “many plant lignans have anticarcinogenic, antiviral and fungicidal properties.”

5 effects of herbal estrogen

Red clover (Trifolium pretense) has been studied as a standardized source of isoflavones that can give a hormone effect. But unlike estrogen drugs that may cause breast cancer, red clover has been studied and declared safe for healthy women with a first-degree family history of breast cancer.

Here are the 5 most studied effects of red clover:

1. Builds bone. Red clover supplements build bone density, says a study from Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine. To investigate the effect by which daily consumption of a red clover (RC) extract influences bone density besides inflammation and heart health a 12-week trial involving 60 healthy women was conducted with RC or placebo. Bone parameters were changes in bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content and T-score at the lumbar spine and femoral neck. Bone turnover (CTx) markers were measured in blood.

Read: Plant Estrogens For Cyclic Breast Tenderness

RC extract had positive effect on bone health and the women receiving the placebo experienced a decline in BMD at the lumbar spine. T-score at the lumbar spine decreased in the placebo group. CTx decreased in the RC group, meaning that bone was preserved and not dissolved.

“Daily consumption of RC extract over a 12-week period was found to have a beneficial effect on bone health in menopausal women based on BMD and T-score at the lumbar spine and plasma CTx levels.”

2. Fewer hot flushes. 80 mg of isoflavones (Promensil, a red clover supplement) per day resulted in a 44% reduction in flushes “demonstrating the effectiveness of Promensil in the management of hot flushes.”

3. Safe for healthy women with a family history of breast cancer. In a study in Menopause International, over 400 women aged 35-70 years with at least one first-degree relative with breast cancer received red clover isoflavones or placebo for 3 years. No significant differences in breast health were detected between those taking red clover isoflavones and placebo.

4. Defuses premenstrual breast pain. RC defuses premenstrual breast pain called cyclic mastalgia, says a study in The Breast, the journal of the European Society of Mastology. Three months of treatment reduced the dull heavy pain of tenderness by 44% in the group taking 40 mg per day but only 13% in the group given placebo.

5. Raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Promensil, when used for 12 weeks, increases levels of highdensity lipoprotein (HDL, the “good”) cholesterol and causes decreases in triglycerides, a heart healthy “side effect.”

Other plant extracts such as black cohosh, dong quai, licorice and fennel have also been studied and can deliver similar effects. The advantage of red clover and black cohosh is that both have been standardized into supplements tested in clinical trials with reproducible results at specific dosages.

Read: Plant Estrogens

ReferencesAdlercreutz H, et al. Determination of urinary lignans and phytoestrogen metabolites, potential antiestrogens and anticarcinogens, in urine of women on various habitual diets. J Steroid Biochem., 1986; 25(5B): 791-797. Albert-Puleo M. Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. J Ethnopharmacol, 1980; 2: 337-344. Costellos CH, Lynn EV. Estrogenic substances from plants: I. Glycyrrhiza. J Am Pharm Association (no date; approximately 1949). Ingram DM, Hickling C, West L, et al. A double-blind randomized controlled trial of isoflavones in the treatment of cyclical mastalgia. The Breast. In press. Available online at brst.2001.0353. Mowrey D. The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, 1986. Powles TJ, Howell A, Evans DG, McCloskey EV, Ashley S, Greenhalgh R, Affen J, Flook LA, Tidy A. Red clover isoflavones are safe and well tolerated in women with a family history of breast cancer. Menopause Int. 2008 Mar;14(1):6-12. doi: 10.1258/mi.2007.007033. Schult TM, Ensrud KE, Blackwell T, Ettinger B, Wallace R, Tice JA. Effect of isoflavones on lipids and bone turnover markers in menopausal women. Maturitas. 2004 Jul 15;48(3):209-218. Thorup AC, Lambert MN, Kahr HS, Bjerre M, Jeppesen PB. Intake of Novel Red Clover Supplementation for 12 Weeks Improves Bone Status in Healthy Menopausal Women. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:689138. doi: 10.1155/2015/689138. E-pub 2015 Jul 21. van de Weijer PH, Barentsen R. Isoflavones from red clover (Promensil) significantly reduce menopausal hot flush symptoms compared with placebo. Maturitas. 2002 Jul 25;42(3):187-193.
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