Estrogen is a female hormone that regulates basic functions in both men and women, although especially in women. Natural estrogen is found in plants and also in a wide range of plant-based foods with weak estrogen activity.
Natural estrogen is also known as phytoestrogens, “Phyto” is a Greek root word that means, quite literally, “plant”.
This is a nod to the fact that phytoestrogens are compounds that occur naturally in plants.
However, even though phytoestrogens are plant-based, they function in a very similar way as animal estrogen in humans.
That’s why when a person consumes phytogens or natural estrogen, their body could respond as if real animal estrogen were present.
We will go over how natural estrogen can be good for you, which foods it can be found it and also the risks taking too much estrogen could cause you.
Remember, though, before you choose any health plan -even natural health plans!- you should always consult a doctor.
How is Natural Estrogen Good for You?
Since phytoestrogens work very much like the estrogen produced by your body, they can bring some of the same benefits regular estrogen will bring to your health.
It is even said that, to some extent, phytoestrogens could serve as a type of natural hormone replacement therapy, especially when consuming supplements.
However, we recommend you just stick with the natural estrogen you can find in foods. Just with this, you could have many benefits, such as:
1) Osteoporosis prevention in women:
Some studies have shown that the natural estrogen found in phytoestrogens could have a role in helping prevent bone loss in aging women, whose estrogen levels have dropped.
Natural estrogen could help in aiding the bones to maintain a normal density. However, remember to consult your doctor before choosing this as a treatment,
2) Acne treatment:
Since estrogen counters, a male hormone, androgens, which can contribute to causing acne for women, the consumption of natural estrogen could help treat acne in girls.
Some research supports the idea of phytoestrogens helping relieve or preventing acne. However, many agree that more research is needed in order to reach a final conclusion.
3) Menstrual pain relief:
Given that estrogen levels can drop during times of the menstrual cycle and that this causes uncomfortable symptoms, some women have taken to using phytoestrogens as natural remedies for relieving menstrual cycle irregularities or issues.
Although natural estrogen can help relieve the symptoms of pain caused in some points of the menstrual cycle, it is generally agreed that, in order to do this safely, more research is needed.
4) Relief from perimenopause hot flashes:
When a woman is in her late 40s, she usually enters a reproductive stage known as perimenopause. It usually precedes menopause directly.
During perimenopause, a woman’s body will reduce the number of female hormones it is used to making.
Estrogen is included in this process. Perimenopause can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, such as decreased libido, mood swings and hot flashes. However, natural estrogen can help with that last one.
One study showed that natural estrogen, in the form of phytoestrogens, has the potential to greatly reduce hot flashes in women experiencing perimenopause.
Also, a number of other studies have found that phytoestrogens have positive effects on reducing hot flashes and other perimenopausal symptoms.
In which foods and herbs can you find phytoestrogen?
You can find this natural estrogen in a wide variety of foods, such as:
- alfalfa sprouts
- black cohosh
- chaste tree berry
- dong quai
- dried apricots, dates and prunes
- evening primrose
- legumes (beans, peas, peanuts)
- licorice root
- multi-grain bread
- Mung bean sprouts
- red clover
- sesame seeds
- soy (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soybeans, soy milk, edamame, miso)
- sunflower seeds
Before consuming natural estrogen, a word of warning…
Remember that you should be careful when taking any kind of hormone supplement, however slight or natural it may be.
Although natural estrogen, like phytoestrogens, can provide some of the same benefits as your natural estrogen, it still doesn’t make them necessarily better than synthetic hormones.
Recently, synthetic estrogen has gotten an ill reputation -which is probably why you’re searching for healthier natural estrogen alternatives- because of some unpleasant side effects it can cause.
These included scary stuff like increased risk for cancer, reproductive disorders, obesity and even birth defects in women that were pregnant.
It’s important to note that, although phytoestrogens are a natural estrogen, they also act in similar ways to synthetic estrogen.
Phytoestrogens also include certain risks like difficulties with lactation for recent mothers, increased risk of breast cancer, changes in hormonal cycles, increased risk of endometriosis, increased risk of endometrial cancer, increased risk of uterine fibroids, and even increased risk of nonviral toxic hepatitis.
This is why it is commonly stressed that more research needs to be done in order to understand the full extent of what natural estrogen like phytoestrogen can do.
However, these risks are usually more strongly associated with phytoestrogen supplements. As of now, a diet that is rich in plant-based foods brings health benefits to its consumers.
These health risks do not appear to be directly related to the consumption of more plant-based foods.
So, the idea we’d like to stress is to avoid taking phytoestrogen supplements for long periods of time and/or in high doses.
And remember to always consult a doctor or specialist before consuming natural estrogen.
Natural estrogen like phytoestrogens seem to have some benefits to offer your health, but they must be consumed with caution and the green check of a medical specialist.
This holds true especially when you wish to take supplements, and even more so when you wish to take them over long periods of time or in high doses.
However, the best we can recommend is that you get natural estrogen like phytoestrogen from food.
This can be easily accomplished by eating a varied diet that includes many plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains.