The Effects of Grapefruit Seed Extract on Estrogen Dominance

The late Dr. John Lee, hormone specialist and author, coined the term "estrogen dominance" to describe a condition in which a woman has either an excessive, normal or deficient level of estrogen and a minimal amount – or no – progesterone to balance estrogen’s effects 1. Grapefruit seed extract may raise estrogen levels, so could contribute to estrogen dominance, based on Dr. Lee's definition. Because of the potential for serious side effects, talk to your personal doctor before using grapefruit seed extract.

Grapefruit and Raised Estrogen

Grapefruit intake can slightly elevate your estrogen levels, according to a University of Southern California and University of Hawaii study led by Kristine Monroe and published in “British Journal of Cancer” in July 2007 3. Grapefruit seed extract, pulp and seeds that remain after juicing a grapefruit, may have a higher or lower concentration of grapefruit properties than found in whole fruit. It may possibly elevate your estrogen levels and trigger estrogen dominance, per Dr. Lee's definition.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

If you take grapefruit seed extract and it raises your estrogen levels to the point of estrogen dominance, you may suffer myriad medical symptoms, according to information provided on Dr. Lee's official website 1. Problems associated with estrogen dominance include autoimmune disorders such as thyroiditis, lupus and erythematosis. Increased estrogen and estrogen dominance can also increase your risk for blood clots and breast cancer, according to Dr. Lee's website 1. The link between excess estrogen and breast cancer remains unproven.

Grapefruit and Drugs Containing Estrogen

If you combine grapefruit seed extract with drugs containing estrogen -- birth control pills or hormones to treat symptoms of menopause -- you face an increased risk of elevating your estrogen levels and creating estrogen dominance, according to Dr. Lee's definition 1. Properties in grapefruit seed extract may prevent your body's CYP34A enzyme from metabolizing estrogen in birth control pills or menopausal drugs. You may end up with an excess of estrogen in your bloodstream. This may elevate your chances of incurring estrogen dominance 1. Elevated estrogen levels may cause blood clots, which increase your chances for heart attacks and strokes.

Drug Interactions

In addition to potentially triggering estrogen dominance, grapefruit seed extract may also interact adversely with a number of medications. These include immunosuppressants, statins, calcium channel blockers, antihistamines and antidepressants. Many drugs remain untested for possible adverse reactions with grapefruit or grapefruit seed extract. Before taking grapefruit seed extract for any reason, inform your doctor about all medications and supplements you take.