Estrogen Dominance

By Abraham Safirstein

Estrogens are the hormones for growth, proliferation and angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels or enlargement of existing ones), among other things.  Let’s say we have a fleet of 10 trucks in our company and they consume 10 gallons of fuel a day.  We are going to need 100 gallons of fuel to power them daily.  If we start to increase substantially the number of vehicles in our fleet, we are not going to be able to run them unless we increase the availability of fuel.  Cancer cells are highly inefficient in the creation of energy; they consume about 35 times the volume of glucose than a normal healthy cell.  Therefore in order to grow and proliferate they are going to need to increase the supply of glucose 35 times as much per cell times their increase in number. Instead of using vehicles that used 10 gallons a day, we are now using 350 gallons a day per car.  Not only that, but they keep multiplying so that instead of the original 10, we have now 20, 40, 80 and so on, all multiplied by 350 gallons a day.  As the demand for energy increases exponentially, the means of delivering of fuel has to increase.  In order to supply itself with energy, the tumor must increase the size of the transportation system, which is the blood, or it is going to die of starvation.  Here is where one of the functions of estrogen comes to play.  Cancer cells use estrogen to release vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF[U1] ) to make the arteries, capillaries and veins grow at a fast pace to supply the increasing demand.

Estrogen is a generic term.  It describes a group of steroid hormones, present in both genders, but in higher numbers in females.  The 3 estrogens are Estradiol, Estriol and Estrone, with Estradiol being the one with the most powerful growth message.  This is the one that promotes cancer growth and proliferation, among other things.  The metabolic pathway for the body to create Estradiol passes through Testosterone and Androstenedione, both of which are male (androgen) hormones.  When the body needs an additional supply of Estradiol, it has to secrete the Aromatase enzyme to convert those androgens into Estradiol.

Cancer cells generate approximately 50 times the number of estrogen receptors as a normal healthy cell. Cells don’t just grab anything that is around them, they create receptors on the surface of the cell membrane according to the nutrients or molecules that they need.  Every time there is an open receptor, a biofeedback communication lets the brain know that there is a need for that substance.  For example if we are dehydrated we feel thirsty.  Once we drink (supply) water, the thirst goes away.  If we have a craving for sugar, it means that we need more energy.  That makes sense because the highest source of energy in nature is in fruits, which are sweet.  Going back to cancer, the more open estrogen receptors the cell has, the more Aromatase enzyme the body is going to secrete.

One of the ways of inhibiting cancer growth is obstructing this process.   There are powerful antiangiogenic drugs in the market, like Avastin, which attempt to cut off the blood supply to the tumors but at the cost of terrible side effects.  The other accepted approach used is the drug Tamoxifen.  It functions by trying to flood the body with weak synthetic estrogen mimics that saturate the estrogen receptors thereby slowing down the conversion of the other hormones into estrogen. Tamoxifen also has side effects, one of which is cancer, and it has limited success because in order to supply the necessary volume of estrogens to be effective, it would be too toxic.

In my program we inhibit the secretion of the Aromatase enzyme by eliminating the demand for Estradiol created by the open estrogen receptors, through flooding the body with Phytoestrogens.  Phytoestrogens (estrogen-like molecules from plant sources that don’t carry the growth message) fit into the estrogen receptors and saturate them, thus satiating the demand for real estrogen.  This substantially reduces the secretion of the Aromatase enzyme, thereby reducing the volume of Estradiol available to a minimum.  In this manner, estrogen will not be available to the tumor for continued growth and proliferation.

What is the function of Progesterone in cancer therapy?  Among many other things, progesterone balances and controls estrogen.  As explained above, estrogen dominance is one of the main promoters of cancer and what allows for dominance is insufficient progesterone. The most important characteristic of cancer is uncontrolled growth.  One of the characteristics of progesterone is to stop estrogen-induced growth.

In the female cycle, during the first five days of the month the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is being shed and then in the following seven days, under the control of estrogen, that very vascular tissue is being rebuilt.  On day 12, when the egg is released from the ovary, the space that contained the egg, the corpus luteum, starts secreting progesterone.  When that happens, the building of the endometrium stops completely under the influence of progesterone, and remains that way until the end of the cycle, around day 28, when the secretion of progesterone stops and causes the shedding of the uterine tissue as the completion of the cycle (provided the egg was not fertilized).  That illustrates the power of progesterone over estrogen.  On the other hand, if there is little or no progesterone secreted, the endometrium would continue growing, creating the condition called endometriosis.  By the way, this is the main cause of bleeding or spotting in between periods, a precursor of endometrial cancer and the cause of so many hysterectomies (removal of the uterus for the technically challenged).

This proves that a proper balance of estrogen /progesterone is necessary to control growth, in this case, cancer.  This is valid for both men and women because everybody has those hormones and they must be in the proper proportions.

Progesterone’s many functions in the body include, among others:

  • maintaining the uterine lining and preventing excess tissue buildup
  • inhibiting breast tissue overgrowth
  • increasing metabolism and promoting weight loss
  • balancing blood sugar levels
  • acting as a natural diuretic
  • normalizing blood clotting
  • stimulating the production of new bone
  • enhancing the action of thyroid hormones
  • alleviating depression and reducing anxiety
  • promoting normal sleep patterns
  • preventing cyclical migraines
  • preventing PCOS and Fibrocystic breast disease
  • restoring proper cell oxygen levels
  • improving libido


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