Can You Eat Your Estrogen?
I spend a joyful amount of time reading NIH studies and consulting with healers and researchers of all stripes as we develop our products. I also do it to assist the Rosebud Woman community in making sense of the information out there. It's personal, too: I am looking at a cute little menopause belly and a few of those fun chin hairs have sprouted up, two side effects of losing the full range of hormones present in the prime reproductive years.
Today I return to the question of plant-based estrogenics, or can we eat our way to better hormone and endocrine balance?
Diet can impact hormones in the body, and can be helpful in mitigating menopausal symptoms. An estrogenic diet includes soy, flax, dates, apricots, sesame, garlic, berries- all foods high in lignans and isoflavones.
It's not for everyone: Pre-menopausal women should probably NOT do a diet high in phytoestrogens, as eating your estrogen inhibits the body from producing it's own. This means limiting estrogen rich foods like tofu, soy milk, edamame etc to two cups a day or less. But if you are a peri- or menopausal person without a breast cancer risk an estrogenic diet can be helpful in mitigating the 34 symptoms of menopause.
Soy is one of the best estrogenic foods out there, but it's complicated. Its bioavailability depends on the form you get it in (fermented soy, or natto, has the easiest access to soy isoflavones) AND your gut microbiome's ability to make use of it. Did you know that only 55% of Asians and 30% of westerners have the gut microbiome to convert soy isoflavones effectively into equol, the prime estrogenic? You may still get proteins and other nutritional benefits in these foods, but it's kind of pointless to amplify soy for estrogenic purposes. You can order a lab test to see if you're an equol producer. If you aren't, there's a promising solution from Otsuka Pharmaceuticals in Japan, called Equelle, that makes Equol available to all biologies.
In terms of herbs and plant medicines, we know that there are many incredible herbs that alleviate the 34 Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause, but many of these bind to estrogen receptors and build up in the body over time. In traditional medicine, these are meant to support the transitional symptoms, in 5-day-on/2-day-off cycles. They are not to be taken long term, definitely not longer than a year. We've compiled a list of the herbs that are beneficial for menopause as a starting point for your curiosity about the plant world, but using them consciously is an art.
Right now, we offer only one female supplement: Desire. It's specifically for long-term and systemic arousal support. It can also be taken in a higher serving size for a foreplay bump. It contains Cordyceps (a super mushroom with an ability to increase vitality, circulation and sexual energy), Muira Puama (stimulates blood flow to the genitals, enhances sexual excitement and orgasm), Catuaba (increases libido and tones and supports dopamine production in the brain to create feelings of euphoria and enjoyment), Damiana (increases desire and blood flow), and Epimedium (stimulates sensory nerves, increases sexual desire and supports female hormone balance).
We're careful in what we bring to market, whether it's intimate care, bodycare, supplements or lifestyle products.
While you're working an integrative medicine approach to your own optimal health, may you be blessed by the plants around you. Nature's pharmacopeia is simply amazing.
In wonder and appreciation,
Founder and CEO, Rosebud Woman