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The Two Faces of Estrogen: Dr. Alisa Coopers shares how this hormone can promote health or facilitate disease

Apr 30, 2014 10:11AM ● By Dr. Alisa Cooper

The hormone estrogen can promote health or facilitate disease. From a health standpoint, estrogen stimulates female development and maturation, but it can also fuel reproductive cancers in genetically susceptible individuals.

The body creates hormones to achieve an immediate, specific purpose. Once the desired effect or action is achieved, the body quickly breaks down those hormones and eliminates them. While the kidneys and intestines do most of the eliminating, it is the liver’s job to first transform the hormones into compounds that can be safely removed. If the liver is taxed to its limit by dietary insults, environmental toxins or excessive alcohol or drug ingestion, it can become sluggish, overworked and inefficient. In that case, hormones, including estrogen, are not adequately metabolized or removed, accumulate and cause problems.

How our bodies metabolize estrogen depends upon factors that include diet, lifestyle choices and genetic makeup. There is a select group of foods that have a favorable effect on estrogen metabolism, and those are the cruciferous vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. These vegetables are known to have a protective effect that wards off the development of breast, cervical and other hormone-dependent cancers.

Cruciferous vegetables contain two compounds responsible for cancer prevention: diindolemethane (DIM) and indole-3-carbinol (I3C), both available in supplement form. We would have to consume a couple of pounds of raw cruciferous veggies a day to get what we receive from the supplement, and that is neither practical nor desirable for most people. Raw cruciferous vegetables are hard for many people to digest, and they can also cause enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter) in some individuals.

DIM, on the other hand, can actually inhibit the growth of goiters while providing its anti-cancer benefits. For protection against estrogen-dependent cancers, or if someone is receiving traditional hormone replacement at menopause or bio-identical hormones, taking a daily DIM supplement is advised. While there are no guarantees that estrogen will be a friend, taking DIM can go a long way toward preventing it from turning into an enemy.

Dr. Alisa Cooper is a chiropractor, certified clinical nutritionist and EFT practitioner. Contact her at 480-699-9735 or visit