An increasing amount of research shows a link between dietary factors and inflammation. And what is believed to affect disease through diet is estrogen levels, inflammation and the synthesis of the bad eicosanoids. If it’s possible to reduce pain associated with disease through diet, this could reduce the use of medications.
The brief basic is:
• Fat tissue secretes estrogen, enzyme activity (aromatase) in fat tissue can catalyze the formation of estradiol from androstenedione and increases estrogen in circulation
• Phytoestrogen, especially genistein found in soy products, can contribute to increased estrogen response
• Increased or elevated blood glucose and insulin may also provide a higher estrogen level
• Prostaglandin series 2E (PGE2) is an important stimulator of the steroidogenic genes and can cause elevated estrogen
• Cyclooxygenase (COX) the enzyme that catalyze the synthesis of PGE2 is up regulated by estrogen.
• Free radicals also occurs as a result of elevated estrogen levels
Estrogen and diet
What you can do to try lowering estrogen levels in the body is:
• Eat fiber, fiber helps to excrete estrogen from the body and prevent reabsorption.
• Eat low glycemic, avoid sugar and other refined carbohydrates
• Avoid phytoestrogens, mainly genistein which is believed to increase the estrogen response
• Eat lots of vegetables in the cabbage family. Cabbages contain phyto-chemicals that are believed to have an estrogen reducing effect
Omega -3: omega -6
When it comes to the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 the usual problem is that we consume too much omega-6, and most of it in the form of linoleic acid (LA), which is converted to Arachidonic acid (AA). AA is an important precursor to the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids that affect both pain and inflammation, and also can give elevated estrogen Synthesis.
A healthy, balanced intake of omega-6: omega-3 in the ratio of about 1:1 – 4:1, will lead the synthesis away from the pro-inflammatory eicosanoids to the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids.
Fatty acids and diet
To change this situation, I would recommend:
• Eat fish, you can also take omega-3 supplements, just make sure it is clean and without added vitamins
• Choose grass fed beef or game, or meat/poultry and eggs from producers who use feed without added omega-6-rich vegetable oils
• Eat flaxseed, walnuts and other nuts and seeds – but avoid sunflower seeds and oil, soya oil and corn oil (to much omega-6). Choose olive oil, canola oil and coconut oil.
• Eat antioxidants, they will hold COX in check and reduce the eicosanoid synthesis
Blood glucose and insulin
A high level of blood glucose and insulin comes as a result of consumption of high glycemic foods and can cause formation of free radicals and oxidative stress in the mitochondrial electron transport chain which in turn can activate pro-inflammatory pathways (NF-kB, PKC-, AGE- and polyol-pathway).
Glucose also stimulates the release of AA from the cell membrane leading to the formation of PGE2.
Your insulin levels also affect the estrogen synthesis.
Glycemic Load and diet
Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) is the measure of how different foods affect blood sugar. Low is good, and high is bad.
• High GI and GL are found in sugar and starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, rice and flour
• Low GI and GL are found in vegetables, fish, eggs, meat and dairy products without added sugar.
Pro- and antioxidants
Estrogen, glucose and inflammation cause an elevated level of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). This can lead to increased formation of prostaglandins through activated COX and the formation of inflammatory mediators through TLR and NF-kB and oxidative stress.
Antioxidants and food
What I have focused on in terms of antioxidants in the diet is sulfur-containing compounds and selenium to provide the best possible conditions for glutathione, the body’s own super antioxidant system. Selenium and sulfur is found in vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish, shellfish, eggs and meat.
This is food that also contains most other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and will ensure what your body needs.