Why is your Eq ratio so important? Hormones significantly impact your emotional, physical, and mental health. They are the main substances responsible for directing the mechanisms of the body at the cellular, subcellular, and even genetic levels. In other words, hormones are your body’s messengers.
If your hormones are not balanced—neither are you.
This could result in just something on the minor side, such as unexplained weight gain to something major as one of the causes of breast cancer. It also is linked to prostate cancer, so hormone balancing is essential for all of us!
When your hormones ARE balanced, your inflammation levels are stabilized, your mind is clear, your menstrual cycles are regular, and you feel better overall. Most importantly, your body can protect itself from dis-eases, and you have vital energy to do all things you want to do in life!
Hormones fluctuate throughout your life—remember your awkward puberty days and the hot, cranky moments of menopause!? The fluxation can make you more or less susceptible to developing breast cancer at various times. However, once you understand this relationship, you are empowered to reduce your risk.
While on the topic of hormones, for all of us menopausal and post-menopausal ladies, the Bioidentical Hormones debate is most likely a topic you have overly discussed with your girlfriends and doctors. Here are my evidence-based opinions to help you make the best decisions on your healing journey.
Why & How To Test Your Eq Ratio
First, if you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, finding out about your hormone levels (especially estrogen and progesterone) is essential knowledge before you begin your healing journey. No matter what path you choose. Knowing about imbalances, especially in the three kinds of estrogen in your system, will strategically inform your plan of action. Also, knowing your hormone levels are essential for prevention.
In my opinion, the best hormone level utilizes saliva. Saliva testing is especially important because this kind of test measures the “unbound” biologically active or “free hormones” in the body as they will be delivered to the receptor sites on your cells. These hormones are easily filtered through the saliva glands so this gives us a more accurate picture of what hormones are bio-available.
ZRT Laboratory is one of the labs I have recommended (and have used) for years. The tests through this lab are easy to use. They ship the test directly to you. Simply follow the instructions, do the testing as indicated throughout the day, and send it back. You will receive your results within two weeks. A detailed report can be sent to you and your health care provider.
Whatever lab you choose, make sure it tests for all three estrogens (estradiol, estrone, and estriol), testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol, as they are all interconnected.
The EQ Ratio is super important, but often doctors can explain it in a complex way or not even at all. So here’s your cheat sheet:
- EQ stands for: Estrogen Quotient
- Here’s the ratio: Estriol/(estradiol + estrone).
- In words: Total estriol divided by the added amount of estradiol and estrone.
The IDEAL EQ ratio is >1 (and >1.5 depending on certain circumstances)
A Brief Explanation of Estrogen
Estrogen is essential because it helps us develop eggs for pregnancy, gives us our curves, and builds the lining of our uterus. It also influences our cardiovascular, skeletal (strong bones!), and neuroendocrine systems, amongt many other things. However, ensuring your estrogen is balanced is critical. Too little or too much can lead to a wide range of health issues.
The EQ ratio was coined by Dr. Henry Lemon, a hormone researcher. He recognized, based on his extensive studies on women with breast cancer, that women with breast cancer had a significantly lower level of Estriol. Estriol acts as an antogonist to the more proliferative Estradiol. Reviewing several studies on women with breast cancer, he noticed that women with a higher EQ ratio, had a lower inscidence of breast cancer.
There are 3 types of estrogen made BY YOUR BODY
- Estrone (E1): Made in your ovaries, and is the only estrogen hormone you produce after menopause, just in reduced amounts.
- Estradiol (E2): Also made in your ovaries, but only during your reproductive years. It is the most potent form of estrogen.
- Estriol (E3): This is the primary form of estrogen during pregnancy, and the placenta produces it. This is the more “protective” of all the estrogens.
Too much estrogen and not enough progesterone throws off your balance. It can result in harrowing periods, heavy clotting, fibrocystic breasts and ovaries. Over time, estrogen dominance can put you on a path to breast cancer. Signs of this include: headaches, weight gain in the butt and thighs, irritability, hair loss, etc.
For me, estrogen dominance was one of the root causes of developing breast cancer. Big signs of it were painful periods and fibrocystic breasts and ovaries. Estrogen dominance can lead to many dis-eases, but it is something you can definitely overcome. This is why I interviewed Magdalena Wszelaki—nutrition coach, certified herbalist, a published bestselling cookbook author, speaker, and educator—on the podcast. The episode is all about how balancing your estrogen can help heal breast cancer.
Too Little Estrogen
Estrogen protects critical reproductive organs and body systems, so ensuring it is balanced is critical. If you are younger than forty, these symptoms may be a sign of early menopause: brain fog, vaginal dryness, brittle bones, tender breasts, hot flashes, irregular periods, etc. During premenopause, your body starts to drastically reduce its estrogen production, and then it comes almost to a halt postmenopause. This is why many women choose hormone therapy to continue staying balanced.
In addition, you can naturally maintain healthy estrogen levels by:
- Quality sleep: Rejuvenating sleep helps your body maintain the hormone levels to function properly.
- Manage stress: High and chronic stress can lead to your body producing too much cortisol and adrenaline which negatively impact your estrogen levels.
- Limit or cut out alcohol: This is because alcohol can increase your estrogen levels and decrease the quality of sleep.
- Stay away from xeno-estrogens (toxic and chemical estrogens)! These are found in BPA (plastics), certain hormonal birth control options, pesticides, nonorganic produce, red dye, soybeans, nonorganic red meat, etc.
- Take the Hormone Clearing Bundle: This bundle gives you the complete (Phase I and II) solution to clearing “dirty” estrogens and balancing hormones.
As I always say, our bodies are beautifully and intrinsically connected, so balancing all your hormones is essential—especially estrogen and progesterone. Think of estrogen as the accelerator in a car, while progesterone is the brake. Estrogen increases cell growth while progesterone slows it down. The proper balance is needed for optimal health.
The ideal range is 100-500 Pg/E2.
Pg/E2 is your progesterone divided by estradiol levels.
A Brief Explanation of Progesterone
The purpose of progesterone balance is to ease anxiety, benefit from quality sleep, regulate blood pressure. During your reproductive years, it helps you have happier periods and healthy pregnancies. Progesterone is also a strong cancer protector. Studies have found that adequate amounts of progesterone in the system and functioning cellular receptors for progesterone are vital ingredients for slowing down ER+ breast cancer.
Symptoms of too little progesterone include: Mid-cycle spotting, insomnia, menstrual cramps, short period cycles, and fibrocystic breasts.
Other Hormones To Know
It isn’t just for men. Testosterone in women is necessary for developing new blood cells and supporting bone and reproductive health. It also gives you the drive to be a conqueror! Too much testosterone looks like: hair loss on the scalp, infertility, excess body hair (upper lip, chin, and abdomen), long-period cycles, oily skin, etc. Also, swinging to the too little side can cause fatigue, depression, memory loss, vaginal dryness, low libido, hot flashes, loss of muscle mass, joint pain, and so forth.
When stressed, your adrenal glands produce cortisol to deal with it. However, too much stress and cortisol can lead to lower back pain, a weakened immune system, breast cancer, raised heart rate, malaise, and so forth. For years I suffered from adrenal health issues. My adrenal glands produced insufficient cortisol and adrenaline. They were burned out from a lack of sleep, and a pile of chronic stress wore heavy on me as I was burning both ends of the candle. I was literally burning out, and it was affecting my health.
Staying in the stress response over the long term is one of the main factors for developing chronic dis-eases, including breast cancer. Yes, stress can directly lead to breast cancer cell growth. On the flip side, healthy adrenals and low cortisol can slow down ER+ breast cancer and prevent the spread of tumors! This is why I take Adrenal Support during the day to balance cortisol and replenish my catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine). Before I go to bed, I take Adrenal Calm to relax and prepare my adrenals for a healing and rejuvenating sleep.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is another hormone your body naturally produces in the adrenal gland. It is responsible for producing other hormones such as testosterone and estrogen—see how everything connects?! Many people take DHEA Balance for healthy aging, depression, ongoing energy, and vitality. A saliva test will determine what your DHEA levels are and if supplementation should be a consideration.
Remember, hormonal balance is an important step to properly balancing your life and healing.
Lastly, if this is all too much to handle, it really can be complicated and overwhelming, working with a private coach will help you figure out exactly what to do for your unique journey!