We (should) already know that too much estrogen is one of the factors that can aggravate endometriosis. Aromatase is an enzyme that plays an important role in estrogen production. This enzyme is present in ovaries, testicles, adrenals or brain. Lowering estrogen/aromatase is important in endometriosis, but also in some other conditions such as hormonal dependent cancer (breast cancer, for instance).
Estrogen is good, too much estrogen (estrogen dominance) is bad
Many times, endometriosis patients do not have a balanced hormonal system. There are different causes for this: having a severe endometriosis, with adhesions or lesions that already secrete their own estrogen, the pollution of the place we live in, xenoestrogens, but also the inadequate diet.
That is why doctors recommend trying to diminish this estrogen level through diet too (but not only). Just as some foods raise estrogen and can higher the risk of endometriosis or pains, some other foods can lower this enzyme called aromatase and, this way, lower estrogen too.
Normal levels of estrogen and progesterone do not exclude excess estrogen production or/and a low level of progesterone.
Not so many doctors know that for endometriosis, but not only, those classic blood tests and their "norm levels" are not enough to diagnose a patient with excess estrogen or estrogen dominance.
In other words, if you've tested ok for progesterone and estrogen according to lab values, you should read more here, complete in the calculator your values and see what is your result.
I repeat myself, unfortunately not many doctors know about this conversion and I will not discuss furthermore, but leave you the link and there you will find all the information - I am not here to convince anyone, just to present the facts and some important piece of information I read.
What aromatase inhibitors foods to include in our diets in order to lower aromatase?
Below you will find a list of foods doctors concluded that can lower aromatase. Besides this, I also included afterwards a "Personal opinion" about these aromatase inhibitors to help you furthermore.
Latin name of "Passion Flower" is Passiflora. This is a plant found now in stores as tea or tincture. Passiflora contains a flavonoid that inhibits aromatase. Studies say that, in order for it to be effective, you have to mix it with black pepper or grapefruit.
Personal opinion: 3 years ago I took passion flower tincture for sleep problems and I tolerated it very well. Still, after a while, I could no longer take it: it wasn't effective anymore for insomnia and it gave me bad headaches the next day. My advice would be to listen to your body and to first choose the tea version, in which you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
White champignon mushrooms
A study made in China revealed the Agaricus Bisporus mushrooms (champignon mushrooms) in association with green tea can inhibit the aromatase, therefore is great for estrogen dominance. Another study showed an extract of white champignon mushrooms lowered the estrogen level.
Personal opinion: choose only high quality mushrooms and eat them moderately as endometriosis patients can have gastro intestinal issues from them. Another observation would be that, for several months I take 2 supplements with medicinal mushrooms to boost my immunity and I felt better during my period too.
You probably know already olive oil is way better for us than sunflower oil. Olive oil is rich in oleuropein, a substance that can inhibit aromatase and, therefore, diminish estrogen level.
Personal opinion: olive leaves also contain oleuropein - I took a while ago a supplement with olive leaves and I felt very well.
This group of vegetables are great aromatase inhibitors as they are righ in DIM (Diindolylmethane), a substance that can diminish estrogen too, being many times prescribed in estrogen dominance. Therefore, try to consume daily (if you tolerate them: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, green salad, Brussels sprouts.
Personal opinion: although with a lot of benefits for us, for a long time I couldn't eat them. Maybe my gut was not ready, was not yet ok, but now I can eat most of them and be ok. I also took a supplement called Indole C Carbinol recently and I had no side effects.
Onion contains quercetin, the one that is recommended for the new coronavirus too. Studies revealed quercetin could reduce aromatase in breast and prostate areas. Besides onion, some other vegetables rich in quercetin are cabbage and garlic.
Personal opinion: I cannot tolerate onion and garlic, that's for sure. Yet, I can take quercetin supplements, I took them during this spring when I was ill and things were ok for me and my family too.
Here, you have: parsley, celery (including Apio), basil, chamomile etc. Apigenine inhibits aromatase, but has some other benefits too: reduces the oxidative stress and diminishes inflammation.
Personal opinion: listen to your body! I am ok with most of the above aromatase inhibitors, besides apio celery. This raises my estrogen - when your detox ways do not properly function, this is what happens: a food or supplement that should lower your estrogen level, in fact raises it up. It is not like this will all the foods, but still, if you experiment any pains with the above foods, stop or see a naturopath/nutritionist.
Foods or supplements with vitamin D
Salmon, sardines, mackerel, nuts, egg yolk, apples - include them in your daily diet and you will see the difference. If you test your vitamin D level and this is low, work with a specialist and take a proper vitamin D supplement.
Personal opinion: I have been taking vitamin D 3 - 5000 U.I for a long time (except for summers). I have 5 years since my last surgery and I have no recurrence. (I mention my doctor, dr. Voicu Simedrea, considers recurrence an endometriosis nodule, not an ovarian cyst).
Not as powerful as the other aromatase inhibitors, but still, nettle root is also good for lowering aromatase. Specialists recommend nettle root two times a week.
Personal opinion: I haven't used this plant so far so, if you are going to try it, read about all its side effects, contraindications, benefits and work with a nutritionist. I would try with "the tea version".
I left turmeric last because there are a lot of studies regarding curcuma and lowering aromatase and estrogen, but my experience with it is not so encouraging. At some patients, I included, turmeric can have the opposite effect: it raises the estrogen level. Yet, I know a lot of other patients had great results with it. Not me.
Personal opinion: start slowly and buy only high quality turmeric supplements.
For these aromatase inhibitors foods to work, your detox pathways have to work
I say it again here too because I find it very important. If you have gut problems, constipation, liver problems, kidney problems etc. - the above food might have the opposite effect. If you experience pain, bloating or some other side effects after eating them, stop and address to a specialist.
Try to work with a nutritionist or some other doctor who have previously worked with endometriosis patients too
I personally recommend Dr. Cristina Toader to you. Here you have her Facebook Page and there you will find all the details (in Romanian, it is true). Dr. Toader is a diabetologist, nutritionist and has been working with a lot of endometriosis patients. Besides, I have her many of the studies, scientific papers and articles I read during this 10 years since diagnosis and I have also shared with her my experience regarding diet, certain foods, certain supplements etc. Dr. Toader is among the few doctors who understood that without this kind of information it is very hard for a doctor to see the big picture.