Monday, June 9, 2014

The Strong Link Between Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Have you ever wondered why there seem to be so many advertisements for erectile dysfunction (ED) medication - Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra - on television and in the magazines you are reading?  I did, and began an investigation that would ultimately become my Doctoral dissertation.  The reason is quite simple – there is a lot of erectile dysfunction (ED).  Over 30 million men in the United States suffer from it.  ED affects over 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 and the incidence of complete ED triples between those ages.  Even more disconcerting, experts expect cases of ED to more than double over the next 25 years.

Erectile dysfunction imposes significant social costs.  It impacts a man’s satisfaction with his life and his relationship with others.  Studies show that sexual intimacy is desired by older adults.  A study in 29 countries consisting of 27,000 men and women aged 40 to 80 found less than 20% of the respondents agreed with the statement “older people no longer want sex”.  Due to the rising incidence of erectile dysfunction many couples will not be able to enjoy healthy sexual relations in their later years.

Why is erectile dysfunction on the rise?  Many researchers, including me, believe it is a direct result of poor dietary habits and lifestyle choices.  For many years it was thought that ED was mostly psychological, but recent studies have shown that over 80% of ED is due to physical causes.  For the erectile process to function correctly several systems of the body need to be healthy – blood needs to be flowing smoothly and unobstructed throughout the body, nerves need to be firing and sending messages between the brain and the relevant body parts, and libido needs to be present to encourage sexual interest.  All of these systems require proper nutrition to correctly function.

To better understand the causes of ED we can look at the scientifically documented risk factors.  Risk factors related to lifestyle choices include alcohol consumption, diet, hormone levels, inflammation, obesity, sedentary (lack of exercise) lifestyle, cholesterol levels, use of prescription drugs, tobacco smoking, stress, and (yes) motorcycling.  There is also a strong association between ED and the medical diagnoses of depression, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).  Studies show that most men with ED suffer from these conditions which are often a direct result of the same lifestyle choice risk factors previously listed.  In fact, the connection has been made that ED is often a warning sign for cardiovascular disease.

So, how is this all related to diet and nutrition?  For the body to operate optimally it needs the right nutrients.  Many studies have shown the connection between a poor diet and all the risk factors and conditions listed above.  Diets that are high in sugars, refined grains, processed meat and dairy; while low in fruits, vegetables, protein and healthy fats produce these conditions.  Once men are placed on healthier diets, their symptoms of ED are reduced and often completely eliminated.  Through proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sometimes with the help of specific supplements proper erectile functioning can be restored.

Many people will ask, “What’s wrong with using medications”?  My answer is while the medications will work in most cases, there are side effects, some of which can be quite dangerous.  But even more important, the medication is not repairing the underlying condition.  Erectile dysfunction is your body telling you that something is not quite right and needs your attention.  It is your warning sign to take action before a more serious or life threatening event occurs.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to

Friday, May 30, 2014

Announcing - a new health education website

Never underestimate the power of networking! Several months ago I was introduced to David Guinther by a mutual friend in Madison. David is an awesome guy. In a nutshell he is a prostate cancer survivor who now devotes significant energy to helping other men live healthier. He offers education and information to both help prevent prostate cancer and to support those who are currently battling it. While we don’t hear much about it, prostate cancer will impact 1 in 6 men at some point in their life.

David has several health ventures going. One of them is Viggor – which David calls, “… a guiding light on your journey to improve your health and quality of life. Our Expert panel is driven by a common desire to freely share their training, experience, research, insights, and knowhow with you…” We are just up and running, but check it out; there is something there for everybody!

In addition to David and myself there are two more contributing experts. Meet Dr. Geo Espinosa, a naturopathic doctor recognized as an authority in integrative management of urological and prostate conditions. Dr. Geo is the founder and director of the Integrative Urology Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. 

Together, David and Dr. Geo created XYWellness a company focused on integrative approaches to improving the health of men diagnosed with serious urological conditions. David and Dr. Geo have been inspirational and supportive in getting me back on track in writing my book on men’s health. You’ll be hearing more on that in coming months.

The fourth contributor/expert at Viggor is David’s wife Amy Guinther. She is an acupuncturist and owns Madison Acupuncture and Complimentary Medicine.
Check us out

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Adrenal Summit - An Event You Don't Want to Miss!

The Adrenal Summit – Well Worth Participating!

Meet Glen Depke, Depke Wellness, and his awesome program The Adrenal Summit. I met Glen several years ago at a wellness seminar. At the time he worked for Dr. Mercola in the Chicago area. He has since moved on to his own practice in sunny Southern California. Glen is an awesome practitioner and educator. His newsletters are filled with important information and I’ll often post and tweet them to my network.

Earlier this year he orchestrated The Adrenal Summit. It consists of thirteen interviews with specific topic experts. While it is called The Adrenal Summit it addresses much more. It connects the dots between adrenal health and the many areas that influence it including diet, exercise, food sensitivities, blood sugar management, stress management, immune system health, thyroid health, emotional health and more. 

The interviews have been recorded and you can purchase the series for $97. It is a great deal as all the practitioners offer free gifts. But unlike what you often see, these free gifts are of real value. I strongly encourage you to see what Glen has to offer. As I said earlier, I don’t usually hawk other people’s products. But this is well worth it. I have personally listened to all the interviews myself and have gained a greater understanding of these issues. Here is a link to The Adrenal Summit home page.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's All About The Gut

Among the latest and greatest breakthroughs of modern medicine is the mapping of the human genome with its vast potential for gene based therapies. I find this work extremely interesting although I’m not exactly sure where it will lead.  What’s even more interesting is the work being done to explore the genome of what is living in our gut that is not human.  This is referred to as our microbiome. It is the trillions of bacteria and other microscopic living organisms that are an integral part of us. They are found on our skin, in our mouth, throughout the inside of our body, and most famously in our gut (our stomach, small intestines, and large intestines).

Our microbiome is a large, diverse and dynamic population of micro-organisms. During birth and the first two years of life we acquire our “native bacteria.” This comes primarily from our mother from our birth and (hopefully) subsequent breast feeding. Thus, mom’s health and her microbiome are of extreme importance to baby and instrumental in shaping the future health of the child. After this “transient bacteria” is constantly ingested into our body from food, water, air, and if we choose probiotics. 

These organisms are counted in CFUs (colony-forming unit) of live organisms. In your gut they are specifically measured as CFU/g or colony-forming units per gram of solid material. Here’s where it gets interesting! While a CFU is not specifically a “cell” it is a close approximation. The stomach and the duodenum (first part of small intestines) have the smallest number of organisms around 103 (1,000) CFU/g. In the rest of the small intestines (the jejunum and ileum) the number increases from 104 to 107 (ten million) CFU/g. And by the time we get to the colon (large intestine) things are really cooking! There are now 1012 CFU/g. For you math majors that is one trillion – 1,000,000,000,000 – and that is per gram! 

It is believed that the entire human body consists of 1014 cells of which only 1013 are of human origin, the remaining 90% are bacteria.  That is why you will hear statements to the affect that we have more bacteria cells than human!

Across the human population it is estimated that there are 40,000 unique bacteria species. Every person has a unique profile of predominant and subdominant species.  Scientists have even found that some bacteria strains are only found in one person! 

So, what does this all mean? Human genome research has identified approximately 20,000 unique human genes. Your gut microbiome has up to 3.3 million unique genes, 150 times more than its human host. This means that the gut microbiome may perform functions not encoded in the human genome. In English – it means that your personal bacteria have significant influence on your health. Current research suggests that tendencies for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease may be more related to your gut genes than your own human genes! Are we inheriting “bad” genes or is it actually “bad” guts?

What do they do?  Why has this evolved as part of the human? The “good” bacteria have beneficial effects so we’ve allowed them to settle in. They ferment the non-digestible carbohydrates that we consume (for example certain types of fiber) which they feed on to survive and also produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFAs support our immune system (by being anti-microbial – killing bad bacteria and yeast) and fire our metabolism which aids in weight loss or the maintenance of a healthy body weight. The beneficial bacteria aid in our absorption of calcium, magnesium, and iron; manufacture Vitamins B5, B7, B9, B12, and K; synthesize amino acids; and keep the pH of the colon properly acidic.  At the same time they provide a barrier lining the gut to keep out potential pathogens.

What about when things aren’t quite right? Dysbiosis is used to describe when bad bacteria take control of an area. This can occur in the mouth (bad breath, periodontitis and gum disease); in the stomach (the bacteria Helicobacter pylori had been linked to ulcers); and in the small and large intestines. 

Common causes of dysbiosis include: sub-optimal mother’s gut microbiota, birth, and neonatal nutrition; antibiotics; stress; an unhealthy diet such as the Standard American Diet heavy on processed and refined foods and sugar, while low in vegetables; a decreased immune status (low secretory IgA); decreased gut motility; low hydrochloric acid production; altered intestinal pH (generally the colon is not acidic enough to create a hostile environment for bad bacteria and yeast/fungus); and an intestinal infection or infestation.

Many challenges have been linked to dysbiosis including autoimmune diseases, other digestive problems, and other general health issues.

Autoimmune diseases linked to dysbiosis include: Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis; rheumatoid arthritis; Ankylosing Spondylitis; Graves’ disease; chronic active hepatitis; and Type 1 diabetes.

Other digestive problems linked to dysbiosis include: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); bad gas; food sensitivities; chronic diarrhea and constipation; general poor digestion; diverticulitis; and gastrointestinal infections and intestinal overgrowth.

Other general poor health issues linked to dysbiosis include: lack of well-being, low energy, and fatigue; poor immunity, allergies, and chronic skin disorders; breast and colon cancer; metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and obesity; Type 2 diabetes; depression and anxiety; chronic pain syndromes; and possibly autism.

The gut balance program includes supplements to support the elimination of bad bacteria and the healthy re-population of your gut with beneficial bacteria.  It has an herbal formula that is antimicrobial (attacks bacteria, fungi and protozoa that should not be there), cleanses the intestines, and stimulates digestion. It includes a prebiotic to feed the good bacteria and support their population growth. Prebiotics are food ingredients that humans cannot digest which provide health benefits to the good bacteria in our gut. These include: non-digestible carbohydrates, glucans, galactans, resistant starch, pectins, hemicellulose, arabinoxylans, inulin-type fructans, and galacto-oligosaccharides. And, it includes a probiotic. Quite the complete package!

The program is designed in the short term to promote a healthy and balanced intestinal flora, cleanse the lower gastrointestinal tract, and maintain a healthy GI environment.  In the long term this supports healthy digestion, improves nutrient absorption, and supports a healthy immune system.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Suprising Truth about Vitamin Studies

Among the most common questions I receive in my nutrition consulting practice are those relating to vitamins and supplements.  “If vitamins are supposed to be good for us, why do I read in the paper and hear on television reports they are not?” 

Earlier this year there was a new study that looked at several prior research studies and concluded that vitamin supplementation was not helpful (and in fact some suggested it could be harmful).  There were no significant differences in positive outcomes between people taking vitamins and those not taking them.  A study released last year found similar findings specific to Vitamin E and “antioxidant” supplementation. It went one step further saying that those taking the supplements experienced  worse outcomes (more heart disease and cancer) than those not taking the supplements. 

For years we have been told by alternative health practitioners and the vitamin and supplement industry that Vitamin E and “antioxidants” are supposed to protect against heart disease and cancer. This appears to be counter-intuitive. Can they both be right?

The surprising answer is yes, they can both be “right.” It all depends what was being tested and understanding the basic principles behind vitamin metabolism in the human body. Vitamins appear in nature as part of a complex composed of several biochemical factors . For example, in nature Vitamin C is in an orange and Vitamin E is in wheat germ and leafy green vegetables. However, this is not what was “studied” in the research. What was used were alpha tocopherol as Vitamin E and ascorbic acid as Vitamin C.  You see the government allows you to say these are the same things. But they are not. Ascorbic acid and alpha tocopherol are produced in laboratories. For example you can combine sulphuric acid and sugar and get ascorbic acid.  That doesn’t sound like an orange or a lemon to me!  

Without going into all the details let’s take a simple example of how this works in the human body, not in a test tube.  Scurvy is a Vitamin C deficiency disease.  The British sailors successfully used lemons and limes to prevent scurvy on their long ocean voyages.  Guess what happens if you give ascorbic acid to someone with scurvy?  Their condition will not improve.  They need the full Vitamin C complex as it is in nature, as the British sailors used, not the fractionated part made in a lab.  

So, when we provide only the fractionated, synthetically produced “vitamin” we are not getting the true vitamin as nature intended. Logically it will not work as the full complex will and therefore the outcomes will not be positive.  What is actually happening in the body from being barraged with extra antioxidants?  In real life these antioxidants are oxygen inhibitors and we need oxygen for life! You may say that you’ve used antioxidant supplements and they make you feel better.  Well, that may be true for a short period of time.  Antioxidants drive oxygen from the blood to the tissues.  In the short term this benefits the tissue (making you feel better), but in the long term it creates a shortage of oxygen in the blood (leading to the negative outcomes as found in long term studies).

The lesson of all this. Yes, buying cheap, synthetic, fractionated vitamins is likely a waste of money.  You may have experienced this yourself  when you have noticed bright yellow urine after taking a “B-Complex” vitamin.  Your body can’t use the stuff, so it is getting rid of it.

However, eating real food and using supplements that have been made from real whole foods will provide you with the promised health benefits. This is based on real research. The original studies and identification of vitamins was done with real foods and seeing the effects of removing these foods from animal diets. Specific diseases (the vitamin deficiency diseases) that humans were experienced were reproduced in animals based on the real foods.  So, it is real.  Specific vitamins do support specific functions in the body but only do so when they are delivered in the natural form in which the body was designed to utilize them.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Neurotransmitters – What Makes You Feel Good, Happy, and Focused

Ever wonder what really makes you feel good?  

While many people will answer “sugar” because they notice the “high” as sugar is flowing into their blood stream and giving them energy.  Of course, we all know what follows - the “low” as the sugar runs out and we crave more sugar to feel good again.  As you may have guessed, the correct answer is protein and the neurotransmitters which are made from it.  Neurotransmitters help you feel good for the long haul.  

We can certainly see the physical nature of proteins – a healthy and strong body contributes to how we feel.  But that alone does not do it.  We need the mind as well.  This is where the neurotransmitters come in to play - the “messengers” from the brain to the body.  Protein is essential for building neurotransmitters and their receptor sites on cell membranes.  

Think of receptor sites as parking spaces and the neurotransmitters as cars.  Without a place to park you just keep driving around in circles.  Once you are parked you can go about your business.  The same goes for neurotransmitters and receptor sites.  You need the message to be sent and for it to reach its destination – the cell.

Quite simply – neurotransmitters give us the ability to be happy, alert, remember, and focus.
There are two types of neurotransmitters.  Excitatory neurotransmitters energize, excite, and stimulate us helping us to focus, learn, and remember.  Inhibitory neurotransmitters keep us happy, relaxed, and peaceful.  As with most areas of life, it is all about balance. 

There are six key neurotransmitters: For focus - dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine; for learning and remembering – acetylcholine; for feeling relaxed – GABA; and for being happy - serotonin.

Perhaps the most significant of all is serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter.  Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression.  The major anti-depressant medications (Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro) are known as SSRIs (or serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors).  These drugs work by making serotonin last longer in the nervous system so that you feel good longer.  

Of course this is not addressing why one would be low in serotonin in the first place.  Low serotonin is also linked to cravings, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggressive behavior, and headaches.  

Another important feature of serotonin is that it converts into melatonin.  This hormone regulates sleep and is an important antioxidant.  Some sleeping disorders may be from lack of melatonin.  Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan which is found primarily in turkey and seafood.  Also note that serotonin is depleted by high sugar (carbohydrate) diets.

Dopamine is our pleasure and reward neurotransmitter.  It is responsible for keeping us focused and alert (thus allowing us to receive our reward!).  Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine which is found in poultry, fish (particularly tuna), eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.  

Epinephrine and norepinephrine work with dopamine and are stimulating and energy-giving.  They are made from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylanine.  Low levels of dopamine are associated with attention and behavior disorders (such as addiction).

Acetylcholine supports our memory, attention, and ability to think.  One of the key ingredients is choline - found in highest quantities in eggs, beef, and beef liver, but also in broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

GABA is our calming neurotransmitter.  It is made from the amino acid taurine.  Taurine is a non-essential amino acid that can be manufactured from cysteine in the liver, but vitamin B6 must be present.  Taurine is found naturally in seafood and meat.  Low levels of GABA are associated with panic attacks, anxiety and insomnia.

As you can see protein (and mainly animal based protein) is a key source of the nutrients required to build our neurotransmitters.  Unfortunately, many of our diets lack sufficient protein.  Does yours?  This is one of the many reasons I recommend protein is consumed with each meal.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Steroid Hormones Part 5: Hormonal Imbalances

Steroid Hormones Part 5: Hormonal Imbalances

At the core of many symptoms suffered by both men and women are hormonal imbalances.  Imbalances occur several ways.  There are deficiencies, there are excess, and there are relational imbalances.  We have previously mentioned “estrogen dominance” which is an example of a relational imbalance.  Relational imbalances are challenging as they can be a combination of deficiencies and excesses. 

To begin our understanding let’s start with some basic lists.  Estrogen imbalances include estrogen deficiency and estrogen excess.

Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency

·         Hot flashes
·         Night sweats
·         Insomnia
·         Mood swings
·         Mental fogginess, poor memory
·         Dry eyes, nose, sinuses
·         Vaginal dryness, dry skin
·         Vaginal wall thinness, vaginal dysplasia
·         Vaginal and/or bladder infections
·         Incontinence, urethral irritations, urinary frequency
·         Headaches, migraines
·         Decreased sexual response
·         Loss of ambition or drive
·         Depression
·         Lack of stamina
·         Decreased breast size
·         Wrinkling of skin
·         Osteoporosis
·         Loss of subcutaneous fat
·         Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Symptoms of Estrogen Excess

·         Heavy bleeding
·         Clotting, cramping
·         Water retention, bloating
·         Breast tenderness, lumpiness, cystic breasts, enlarged breasts, fibrocystic breasts
·         Weight gain
·         Headaches, migraines
·         Emotional hypersensitivity
·         Depression, irritability, anxiety, anger, agitation
·         Decreased sexual response
·         Thyroid dysfunction (resembling hypothyroidism)
·         Cold hands and feet
·         Blood sugar instability, sweet cravings
·         Insomnia
·         Gall bladder dysfunction (coagulated bile)
·         Acne

Progesterone imbalances include progesterone deficiency and progesterone excess.

Symptoms of Progesterone Deficiency

·         PMS
·         Heavy bleeding
·         Clotting, cramping
·         Inability to concentrate
·         Short term memory impairment
·         Muscle tension, spasm, Fibromyalgia
·         Water retention, bloating
·         Insomnia
·         Breast tenderness, lumpiness, cystic breasts
·         Weight gain
·         Thyroid dysfunction (resembling hypothyroidism)
·         Acne
·         Headaches, migraines
·         Anxiety, irritability, nervousness, moodiness
·         Hot flashes
·         Depression
·         Decreased sexual response
·         Osteoporosis
·         Amenorrhea (no periods at all)
·         Oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods)
·         Spotting
·         Endometriosis, adenomyosis (uterine endometriosis)
·         Fibroids

Symptoms of Progesterone Excess (usually from overdose resulting from progesterone replacement therapy)
·         Sleepiness
·         Bloating or constipation (excess progesterone slows the digestive tract)
·         Candida (excess progesterone can inhibit anti-candida immune system response)
·         Depression
·         Ligament laxity which can cause: persistent back pain; other joint pains and problems; incontinence; or mitral valve prolapse.
·         Progressive progesterone deficiency symptoms (Progesterone overdose, especially with creams and gels down-regulates and eventually shuts down progesterone receptors.)
·         High levels of free (unbound) cortisol which can lead to: high blood sugar; insulin resistance; weight gain; low thyroid function; sleep problems; osteoporosis; immune system dysfunction; and GI system problems. (Progesterone and cortisol compete for the same binding protein. When free progesterone floods the system long enough, it can compete with cortisol for the binding protein and release excessive amounts of cortisol into the system.)
·         Loss of hormonal feedback loop coordination which disrupts multiple other hormones balances.

Testosterone imbalances can occur in both men and women. 

Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency
·         Decreased stamina and energy.
·         Low or absent libido.
·         Poor muscle tone.
·         Weakened, osteoporotic bones.
·         Trouble with balance and coordination.
·         Decreased sense of well-being.
·         Decreased armpit and body hair.

Symptoms of Testosterone Excess
·         Acne, oily skin.
·         Loss of head hair (male patterned baldness).
·         Excess facial hair, excess body hair.
·         Mood disturbance, excessive aggressiveness, irritability.
·         Deepened voice.

Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is a condition in which a woman or man can have deficient, normal, or excessive levels of estrogen, but has too little progesterone to balance the estrogen level. Estrogen Dominance has become common in both cycling and menopausal women, and men.  So, why is this?

Estrogen dominance has become so predominant due to many of our modern lifestyle choices.  One of the main causes is stress which sets off a whole range of hormonal chain reactions.  The increased need for cortisol to handle the stress response causes more progesterone to be converted to cortisol.  This may cause a shortage of progesterone to balance estrogen. 

As cortisol rises insulin rises increasing fat storage.  As cortisol rises thyroid hormones decrease, thus slowing metabolism and leading to fat storage.  Fat cells make estrogen, exacerbating the imbalance.

Weakened glands are another reason.  The adrenals may be fatigued from cortisol production and slow down progesterone production.  The ovaries may not produce sufficient progesterone during the luteal phase of the cycle.  Or there may be anovulatory cycles (cycles where menstruation occurs, but no ovulation) resulting in no ovarian progesterone being produced. Low thyroid function may slow down the adrenals and the ovaries as well.  All these activities can create a shortage of progesterone to balance estrogen.

The use of oral or injected contraceptives by its very nature is disruptive to the production of progesterone.  Remember contraceptives to not “regulate” the cycle, they “suppress” it.  Their usage can have both short term and longer term impacts on progesterone production. 

For menopausal women conventional hormone replacement therapy has been to provide estrogen.  As we have seen, progesterone is also needed in menopause.  Therefore an unbalanced replacement approach may lead to estrogen dominance.

There are also dietary and nutritional deficiency concerns.  The typical American diet: usually high in carbohydrates, low in good fats, high in trans-fats, and low in vegetables and healthy sources of protein leads to nutritional deficiencies and obesity.  Deficiencies in magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, and B complex vitamins play a major role in the health of the endocrine glands and their production of hormones.  Obesity is a concern as estrogen is made in fat cells and excess fat cells make excess estrogen.

Last, but certainly not least is exposure to external hormones.  This includes xenohormone exposure and plant and animal hormones.  The animal hormones are found in our food supply while other hormones are typically found in health and beauty products (a small amount does not have to be labeled!).  Xenohormones are chemicals that disrupt our hormonal balance.  These are found in health and beauty products, cleaning products, plastics, and many other unsuspecting places as well as pesticides, fungicides, and medications. 

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

·         Anxiety, irritability, anger, agitation
·         Cramps, heavy or prolonged bleeding, clots
·         Water retention/weight gain, bloating
·         Breast tenderness, lumpiness, enlargement, fibrocystic breasts
·         Mood swings, depression
·         Headaches/migraines
·         Carbohydrate cravings, sweet cravings, chocolate cravings
·         Muscle pains, joint pains, back pain
·         Acne
·         Foggy thinking, memory difficulties
·         Fat gain, especially in abdomen, hips and thighs
·         Cold hands and feet (low thyroid function because estrogen blocks thyroid hormones)
·         Blood sugar instability, Insulin Resistance
·         Irregular periods
·         Decreased sex drive
·         Gall bladder problems (bile becomes thick and sluggish)
·         Infertility
·         Insomnia
·         Osteoporosis
·         Endometriosis, Adenomyosis
·         Functional ovarian cysts; Polycystic ovaries
·         Uterine fibroids
·         Cervical dysplasia
·         Allergic tendencies
·         Autoimmune disorder
·         Breast, uterine, cervical, or ovarian cancer

Natural solutions for estrogen dominance include dietary modifications, stress reduction techniques, animal glandular extracts without hormones, specific nutrients, and herbal remedies.  As you can see, estrogen dominance is even more complex than the previous hormonal imbalance issues we have discussed.  It is multi-faceted as it includes multiple organs and hormones.  We can use the symptom lists as guides to identify which hormones are in excess or deficient, yet for long term health and healing we want to support all the affected glands. 

There are times when a form of hormone replacement therapy is needed.  At those times the  more natural solution is “bioidentical” hormones.  Here too, just providing hormones does not address the underlying deficiencies and ultimately the health of the glands.  We are dealing with multiple glands and hormones so supplementing with specific hormones may throw the entire system even more out of balance, by creating additional communications challenges for the endocrine system.  Therefore, except for extreme cases, it may be best to start with glandular and nutrient support and allow the body to bring itself back into balance naturally.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at, call (262) 389-9907 or go to