Short term estrogen flooding the body after fat loss?
I came across something interesting in this article
Hormones: Disrupted, Decadent, Depraved
The thing I was interested in was mentioned only briefly here
"Estrogen likes to store itself in fat tissues so there is a problem for some people when the fat breaks down (through nutrition, exercise or other methods) it releases the estrogen back into the system. If the estrogen doesn’t have a pathway to use to be excreted from the system the estrogen floats around until it is soaked up again somewhere else in the body, all the while causing an estrogen imbalance. This applies to both males and females."
I've been trying to search for more info on this, but I'm not getting very helpful results, I was hoping someone here might know more about this.
Does this mean that high estrogen levels, or at least symptoms of excess estrogen, could manifest right after a burst of fat loss, such as breaking a plateau? It does seem to make sense that the breakdown of fat tissue could release estrogen/aromatase into the body (unless I read that wrong?), and if you experience a relatively rapid loss of fat, your system could temporarily be flooded, producing undesirable symptoms.
Most of the info I've been able to find focuses only on the estrogen limiting effects of fat loss, which is more of a long-term thing.
I worry that I may be experiencing this. After a few weeks of stricter eating/more working out, I've finally dropped a few more pounds of fat, but instead of feeling better, I actually feel worse, and it seems that some of the symptoms are from excess estrogen (I'm male). The onset has been pretty sudden, and matches up with the fat loss, which is why this explanation makes sense to me. I worried that it might be general low testosterone, but I just got some test results back and my levels were pretty decent, a bit better than I hoped for actually. But still, I feel like something is wrong, and it seems that it could be sabotage from excess estrogen. It certainly seems that something is very unbalanced.
If this short-term flooding is what's happening, does anyone have any information or advice on what to do about it? As far as the basics go, I already eat lots of healthy fats/cholesterol (eggs, coconut oil, lots of avocado, some nuts, and lots of meat, though only some of that is organic/pastured unfortunately), protein, and get a lot of DIM rich vegetables (kale, broccoli). I also workout as much as I can, usually at least 5 times a week, mostly with kettlebells/ballistic complexes. Unfortunately I don't have access to barbells to do really heavy compound lifts, but I try to do what I can. Any help would really be appreciated.
Sorry for the long post.
Are you sure you aren't just working out too much? Perhaps you need some more food (or a particular kind, like carbs) for your energy needs.
For sure, weight loss, particularly quick weight loss can make you feel like CRAP. I don't think its abnormal and there isn't much you can do but know you are on the road to health.
Originally Posted by TheChokingGame
Fat stores toxins (excess hormones and other toxins). When you lose weight - you release a lot of junk from years of crappy eating .... its tough on your body. You may feel less energized, need more sleep, get more acne, and just feel like crap. It will pass.
I don't think there is much you can do. Some people suggest dry brushing and very hot baths with epsom salt (and anything that will make you sweat). It won't hurt - so it may be worth a try!
This is certainly possible, some of the negative effects I've noticed do seem to be congruent with general over-training symptoms. I still hesitate to pin that down as the reason though (maybe just wishful thinking, I wouldn't want to have to stop or cut back), because when I first started really working out about 8-9 months ago, I was doing at least a comparable amount of exercise, and not noticing ANY of the negative stuff I'm seeing now. I was sleeping well, my energy/interest/focus was good, and my mood was much better. All that stuff is pretty terrible now. The onset was very sudden too, while the activity increase has been pretty gradual.
Originally Posted by namelesswonder
I'm eating a little bit cleaner than I was when I first started, though my calories are maybe a bit lower. I was doing a straight ketogenic diet for the first few months, which wound up being close to primal without my really thinking about it. I have been incorporating some fasting over the last few months which is new, but I really began that back in April and didn't notice anything bad then.
Maybe the gradual activity increase has finally reached a certain point that switches the bad side effects from completely off to completely on, though I hope that's not the case. I did have a bit of a carb-up a few days ago, which did seem to help, though I know from enough trial and error that if I keep up with those, I'll probably wreck my fat loss attempts. Maybe it's just an inevitable trade off.
Yeah, I guess it'd be a bit ridiculous not to expect some negative effects from losing weight. The first 50-60 lbs seemed to come off pretty quickly and easily over just a few months, with basically no negative backlash, while the last 5-10 have been a discouraging 1-2 month hell. Maybe it was time for everything to finally catch up with me.
Originally Posted by mandypandy2246
The toxin/hormone release does make a lot of sense to me. I've just been surprised at how strong and sudden it seems.
Thanks a lot for your responses, I'll try cutting back the activity a bit and try some epsom salts (I was just reading about magnesium actually, turns out you really can absorb a good amount of it through the skin).
What are your symptoms exactly? Could it possible be that with your new zest for the plan, you are eating too low carb for your body and not feeling good? Is there something else you could be doing that may be making you not feel as well? Ketosis could have some symptoms that make you feel lousy too ... maybe you need to up your carbs slightly?
Carbs are about the same level they were at when I started 8-9 months ago (50g a day or so), back when I wasn't having any negative side effects, even after months in ketosis. There were a few months of higher carb in between then and now, maybe around 100g a day, with a few higher "cheat" days every so often. Symptoms are mostly poor focus/mood in general. My sleep also suffered a lot which was very surprising (insomnia, waking up after only 2 or 3 hours when I could get to sleep), I've never had any problem like that before. I was worried that I might have been experiencing some muscle loss, though that's harder to gauge and ultimately I'm not really sure. I did notice some benefits after having a higher carb day earlier this week, but I don't want to end up relying on them because they're so detrimental to making progress.
Originally Posted by mandypandy2246
You sound like you aren't eating enough and/or are working out too much. If your calorie deficit is too high, you will feel like shit.
Aromatase can produce estrogen in fat cells, influenced by high levels of prolactin, cortisol, prostaglandin, and the pituitary hormones, among other places, especially if you have high circulating levels of FFAs. Progesterone and thyroid suppresses it.
Make America Great Again
Are you getting enough sodium and potassium? People who eat very little processed food often don't get enough of those, especially if you work out and sweat. Sodium and potassium deficiencies are sometimes overlooked because they are relatively rare in CW society.
This definitely could be part of it, but it seems odd to me that when I had a comparable deficit/activity level, I wasn't experiencing any real negatives, now it's like it went from 0-60 instantly. Maybe that's just how it works sometimes.
Originally Posted by Dragonfly
Yes, this is exactly what I was worried about, especially because with the amount of body fat I still have (not sure exactly, but I doubt it's lower than 25%, unfortunately), I figure that I must be over aromatizing anyway. Maybe that combined with increased cortisol from exercise/deficit, and FFA circulation (I have just recently been trying to increase my fat to protein ratio a bit, fattier cuts of meat, more oils, etc., plus eating more avocados since they've been in season) is producing negative effects. I'm not sure about the other things you mentioned, though as far as those two go (cortisol/FFAs), it definitely makes sense that they would be higher now than they have been before, which also matches up with the onset of symptoms.
Originally Posted by Derpamix
Very good to know, I never would have thought of that. Funny that most of the CW world never has to think about the problems from too little processed food. I've definitely been sweating a ton since summer started, it's pretty warm where I live. I think my sodium levels should be okay, I tend to eat a lot of it, but I think the potassium very well could be a problem though. Outside of some kale and avocado, I don't eat too many potassium rich foods very often, and I just checked my multivitamin (Source Naturals Life Force) and realized it barely has any (50mg/1%, in 4 caps). I was lazily assuming/hoping it was covering any nutrition gaps.
Originally Posted by Goldie
Last edited by TheChokingGame; 06-19-2013 at 12:26 PM.