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Your Body On Alcohol + Estrogen

I’ve recently been dealing with an issue, and I felt it was just too important to keep this information to myself. 

If you’ve been trying to lose weight by modifying your diet and exercising with little success, then this may be the missing link for you. 

And if that’s not you, cool. Just keep reading so you can educate yourself and help someone else. 

Let’s get started…

After the indulgent holidays, I wanted to lean up a bit and started to make edits to my lifestyle. I even started counting calories again. The scale wasn’t budging despite eating really clean and grain-free. Things weren’t adding up. I felt so bloated and sluggish.

So I started digging in to track everything.

And here’s the deal; the only edit I hadn’t made was my consumption of alcohol. Almost everyday, I was having a glass of red wine. It was my non-yoga OM moment at the end of a stressful workday. After all, isn’t red wine known for being heart healthy?

**WARNING: Lifetime spoiler alert ahead!**

Every diet/lifestyle book will tell you to cut back on alcohol, but they never tell you that this advice has to do with more than just additional calories or elevated blood sugar levels.  What no one seems to be talking about is HOW alcohol affects the hormone - ESTROGEN.

You know estrogen, right? It’s that hormone that controls your reproductive system. Many of us don’t give it a second thought unless we are trying to get pregnant or approaching menopause. 

But did you know estrogen is not only produced in your ovaries and adrenal glands but also in your fatty tissue?

Here’s where it gets tricky. Fat cells make estrogen, AND excess fat produces even more estrogen. All this excess estrogen signals your body to store more fat in the hips, buttocks and midsection. So what we are talking about here is a freaking estrogen circle jerk… One vicious cycle! This could result in a condition called estrogen dominance (symptoms are more common starting in your mid-30s).

So what’s alcohol got to do with it?

Your liver is responsible for metabolizing both estrogen and alcohol! Yet both these substances require glutathione, a detoxifier and antioxidant that breaks things down to a water-soluble compound that can be eliminated from the body. 

Studies show that even a small amount of alcohol can increase estrogen levels in the blood because both alcohol and estrogen are competing for the available glutathione. This battle for resources prevents adequate estrogen from being released from the body. So estrogen levels remain elevated contributing to fat storage. 

I know what you are thinking…Oh Hell No! No one’s making me give up wine!

The problem is that too much estrogen can lead to other critical issues like breast and cervical cancer. 

So what now? 

  • Clearly, take a break from alcohol if you are hitting a plateau that is preventing you from losing weight. 
  • Support your liver with the elimination of estrogen by eating avocado, walnuts and asparagus. Also vitamin C will stimulate your body to produce more glutathione. Eating foods rich in fiber will help you clear it through elimination (aka: poop).
  • If you are showing other signs of excessive estrogen in the body like trouble sleeping, fatigue, PMS, painful breast swelling, bloating, memory loss/foggy thinking, and decreased sex drive, go see your doctor to check for estrogen dominance!
  • Share this article with a girlfriend that might need this info. Especially any pear-shaped ladies (often a telltale sign of estrogen dominance).

I hope this info helps you understand your body better.  I know what it feels like to feel fatigued, bloated and not quite yourself as a result of issues you can’t quite identify yet. Our bodies typically operate so seamlessly that it’s really important that we pay attention to symptoms that prevent us from feeling our best; they are simply the body’s way of communicating that it needs some attention and TLC.

XO

Ms. Cole

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Also, check out the Grain-free List and Secret to A Flat Belly!

To be clear here, I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor. However, my graduate work is in journalism, so I do have sources/research to back up my own findings. You can find them below:

Alcoholic Beverages As Sources of Estrogen

http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-3/220.pdf

Estrogen Dominance

http://www.drnorthrup.com/estrogen-dominance/

Liver Metabolizing Alcohol and Estrogen 

http://www.womensinternational.com/connections/liver.html

Too Much Estrogen Can Make You Gain Weight - http://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/how-having-too-much-estrogen-can-make-you-gain-weight/