14 September, 2011
Does Garlic Increase Estrogen?
Garlic isn’t likely to increase estrogen. In fact, it doesn’t appear to alter hormone levels at all. This isn’t to say that garlic can’t be of benefit to your health. Studies suggest that garlic can slow the progression of cardiovascular diseases, improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and even fight cancer, particularly when it comes to hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast or prostate cancer. Talk to a doctor before using garlic to treat any medical condition.
A study published in the March 2001 “Journal of Nutrition” found that garlic and its derived compounds could alter the metabolism of estrogen. It appears that sulfides in garlic diminish the responsiveness of hormone-receptive tissue. In turn, this can potentially inhibit the development of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer. These sulfides, however, don’t lower — or raise — the level of estrogen in the body; they affect only the rate in which it is metabolized by body tissue. Garlic also appears to have the same effect on the metabolism of testosterone, possibly benefiting in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Like any dietary supplement, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate garlic in the same way it regulates prescription and nonprescription medications, so dosages may vary depending on the brand. Therapeutic doses, however, are typically set at 600 to 1,200 milligrams a day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Talk to your doctor to determine if garlic can benefit you.
Although garlic is generally considered safe, it has potential side effects, especially when taken as a supplement. You may experience nausea, bloating, bad breath and body odor. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite and muscle aches have been reported as well, but these side effects are rare. Garlic may adversely interact with antiplatelet and blood-thinning medications, cautions the University of Maryland Medical Center.
If your estrogen levels are low, proper diagnosis is essential to treatment. Estrogen can drop for a variety of reasons, including perimenopause, menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome and premature ovarian failure, to name only a few. Medical professionals may recommend various therapies to bring estrogen levels to a healthy range.
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