Hormonal reaction to various supplements

by Staci

This website has seriously saved my life! I am hoping now that maybe I can post what is going on with my hormones to see if any other women have experienced this and how they handled it. Sorry for the long post to explain my situation! I began having mild perimenopause symptoms about 7-8 years ago (when I was only 33), but I didn't realize what was wrong until many years later. They became very intense about 2 years ago and I felt my entire life was falling apart. About 8 months ago I discovered this website and started very high doses of Natpro (1300-1500mg/day). I had horrible estrogen dominance wake up from it but stuck it out and that has improved some, although not stopped completely. I also began using cell salts as I discovered from this site and am now down to having to use only about 700mg/day of Natpro. I have slowly felt life returning to me! However, almost every supplement that I read about on this site and on the internet in general that is supposed to help with increasing progesterone and aiding adrenal function has only increased estrogen for me. I have tried taurine, B6, adrenal glandulars, (I can't even take my beloved swedish bitters anymore because there is dong quai in it) and many others. I can tolerate small doses of B5 and maca, which do seem to elevate progesterone a little (but also estrogen) but if I increase them very much then I have horrible estrogen dominance from it. Also any supplement I try that has any type of liver cleansing effect makes my hormones drop so severely that I feel like I'm back to the beginning before I started the Natpro, like inositol (which used to really help my skin and blood sugar), NAC, MSM, milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid (which even a tiny amount causes an extreme drop in both progesterone and estrogen for me). I read everywhere of women taking these to control estrogen dominance, but they effect me by also lowering progesterone dramatically. The only supplements I've found that help lower estrogen and raise progesterone are extremely high doses of calcium d-glucarate (I have to take about 4000mg/day) and potassium (I take 1000mg/day). I have not had my hormones tested recently, but 1 year ago when I was at my worst all of my hormones were low (even estrogen and cortisol!) Has anyone else had a similar reaction to the liver cleansing supplements, or to the supplements that increase adrenal function? I only find when I search the internet that other women benefit in controlling estrogen dominance with these supplements, but yet they all make mine so much worse. I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with me (my doctors have been very unhelpful). I'm desperate to feel better but struggle every day with estrogen dominance even though I take so much progesterone and calcium d glucarate.

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Jun 10, 2013
I have copper toxicity or copper/zinc imbanlance
by: Sandra

I have noticed Estrogen Dominance symptoms very much with MSM and some with Milk Thistle if I use it for very long. It seems like Taurine caused me problems at one time until I started taking it under my tongue. Interesting calcium-d-glucarate worked for you. It made me gain weight quickly. I took 500mg per day. I had a copper IUD for 5 years and from hair analysis and talking with alternative practitioners who evaluate them, I have a lot of copper stored in my liver. I was under a lot of stress and sleep deprived during the time I had the copper IUD. This caused me to store copper in the liver because my adrenals and liver were not communicating properly via cerouplasmin thus the copper was not bio-available and I've got a lot of copper stored in tissue and liver. I have been using natpro at 170 mg for about a year and just continue to slowly gain weight, so I have recently started using 500mg. I am just hoping this will help. I have been taking alpha-lipoic(300mg), biotin(1000mg) and Vitamin C(500mg) twice a day for about a month. I have recently added glutathione(500mg) with dinner then before bed and my fatigue and energy levels have been down considerably. I am going to try to work through this as I have tried so many things. Sulphur aminos and sulphur containing alpha lipoic are supposed to be good to detoxify the liver. I know copper and estrogen have a synergistic relationship as zinc and progesterone. I understood from my hair analysis advisory that when my adrenals start working better and my liver starts detoxifying, that I will start releasing copper from my tissue and this may cause some copper toxicity symptoms which may look like Estrogen dominance symtoms too. For me the biggest culprits are weight gain, fatigue, and insomnia, but there are a lot of other copper toxicity symptoms that look like estorgen dominance. Wray, I just wanted to thank you for your wisdom and compassion.

Jun 10, 2013
Just a thought
by: Anonymous

Could the supps you have been taking were causing a detox affect? Especially the liver dextox ones.
How long did you stay on them before stopping?
Just a thought.
Hope things start improving more for you!

Jun 11, 2013
Hormonal reaction to various supplements
by: Wray

Hi Staci Well you certainly took my advice to heart! Bless you for the trust, and I'm pleased it has helped you. I don't know of one supplement which helps increase progesterone except vitamin D which you don't mention. It doesn't actually increase it, but makes it more effective, see here, here and here. In fact I'm beginning to think no one should try progesterone unless their vitamin D levels are high. Please have a test done, and if your level is low get it up high fast. You can initially get Oestrogen Dominance when you start it, as it's 'ramping' up the progesterone. Which in turn would stimulate oestrogen until such time as it all settles again. I found this out from one of the comments on our site, see here. And since then others have written in about it. If your magnesium is low, you could experience pain when starting the vitamin D, it's the most important co-factor for it. If this occurs please take about 800mg/day magnesium. If you take magnesium and your vitamin D is low, you can also experience pain. I'm wondering if the supplements aren't doing the same thing as the vitamin D will do, i.e. ramp up the progesterone, it's very interesting this. All those you've listed are those I recommend. I find inositol one of the best to take, it does help blood glucose, and sleep too. So please have a vitamin D test done. For more info on vitamin D levels, test kits etc see the following websites, Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital. Blood levels should be 70-100ng/ml or 175-250nmol/L, and not the 30ng/ml or 75nmol/L most labs and doctors regard as adequate. The minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although the latest research indicates it should be 10,000iu's per day, see here. Take care Wray

Jun 11, 2013
copper toxicity
by: Staci

Wow! Thank you so much ladies for your responses. I had just assumed the antioxidants were making my liver filter out too many hormones and since I'm low anyway it would just make me worse. But the detox theory makes so much more sense! I've tried so many different liver enhancing supplements this past year and nearly all of them have given me a bad reaction. I never understood why so many other women seemed to benefit from them. I looked up copper toxicity and I'm certain I have it (although I doubt my dr. will be willing to run tests). I did not have an IUD, but I was on the birth control pill for 20 years and it looks like this can cause it. A couple of years ago I also went through a period (almost a year) of very intense stress in my life. It seems my hormone problems became really bad after this period of stress. I have so many estrogen dominance symptoms on a general basis, but the worst symptoms I have from most of the antioxidants are depression, horrible bloating/water retention, nausea, anxiety, dizziness, and extreme fatigue. I also get these symptoms when progesterone is low, so that's why I assumed the antioxidants were lowering progesterone. Interestingly, though, the antioxidants also give me mild hot flashes. Is there a way to detox the copper without the severe symptoms of the detox? Have you found any supplements that help with this? I have never gotten past about 1-2 wks with most of the antioxidants I've tried, although I've never tried taking super high doses of them - maybe that would cause a quicker detox? I am able to tolerate about 1000 mg taurine now, but initially it made me have horrible outbursts of anger, agitation and heartburn (symptoms I often have with the estrogen dominance). I too have experienced weight gain going through this. I have gained about 10 lbs in the past 2 years and have lost all of my muscle tone (without any change in diet or exercise). I know that doesn't sound like much, but it is really strange for me because I have always been very athletic and muscular. I think the estrogen dominance and lack of progesterone make the thyroid sluggish. I'm sure the copper does too. I'm sorry the calcium d-glucarate caused weight gain for you because it has been a life saver for me. Any time I feel a lot of estrogen symptoms coming on I will take 1000 mg and within an hour I'll feel much better. I found that taking a lot of potassium enhanced the progesterone too.

Jun 11, 2013
I have copper toxicity or copper/zinc imbanlance
by: Wray

Hi Sandra Bless you for the kind words. It's interesting like Staci you get an adverse reaction to supps. I can understand some like milk thistle, as it does stimulate the liver, but others I find baffling. Unless they also 'ramp' up progesterone like vitamin D does. The sulphur aminos are my main stay, the NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and the taurine I take every day and won't be without. I also take the biotin and ALA too. I would suggest you switch from glutathione and use it's precursors, it is a 'protein', albeit a very little one. It's really a tri-peptide as it only has 3 aminos in it's chain. Because of this is can be broken down in the gut as all proteins are. I have heard some manufacturers say their brand doesn't but I have my doubts. The 3 precursors are the NAC, glutamine and glycine, I take the other two too. I'm surprised the IUD caused so much copper to be stored, I had one too and didn't have a problem. But then maybe my liver and adrenals weren't too compromised. I did take zinc too, so that could be another reason. I do hope you're taking this, about 100mg/day for a month, then drop down to 15mg/day, this will help counteract the copper. The weight gain, fatigue and insomnia sound like a vitamin D deficiency to me, have you had a test done? You don't mention it amongst the supps you are taking. I've found if levels are low progesterone doesn't work too well. I've given Staci the papers if interested. Excess oestrogen and testosterone, and a lack of vitamin D cause Insulin Resistance, which causes weight gain and fatigue. Please have a test done if you haven't. Vitamin D does help sleep too, see here and here. I have heard women complain about the calcium-d-glucarate, and others about DIM too, they do work for some. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Jun 11, 2013
Supplements
by: Staci

Thank you so much Wray for all your great advice! If it wasn't for your website and advice I would probably be living in a mental hospital right now! I did test low for Vitamin D a little over a year ago. My dr. instructed me to take 5000iu per day for about 6 mos and then go to 1000iu per day forever. I now take 1000iu per day but it sounds like I should be taking more. I will increase it again. I also take 50mg of zinc and 1000mg of magnesium. The zinc makes me feel very good, seems to increase progesterone. The magnesium seemed to really increase estrogen when I started it (which seemed strange to me) but that has subsided some now. I also take glycine, which I do react well to, makes me relaxed and helps sleep. I was not able to tolerate the NAC. I also take 1000 mg of Vit C, which I can tolerate, but any more than that and estrogen seems to increase dramatically. I wish I could tolerate more because the Vit C helps a great deal with the fatigue. Maybe if I stick it out longer with some of these supplements then I'll get past the estrogen dominance stage and see improvement. So far, I have not been able to tolerate them very long. Thank you again!

Jun 11, 2013
copper toxicity copper/zinc imbalance
by: Sandra

Thank you Staci and Wray for your comments and your info. Staci, from your experience you inspired me to experiment with a higher dose of calcium d glucarate. Thanks. P.S. Sorry this is so long. I was on the pill before my first child for maybe 5 yrs. About a year after his birth I had the IUD put in. My periods were always average flow, but when I had the copper IUD they told me that my flow would be less. It was and they only lasted about 3-4 days as opposed to 6-7 before. Also before I had about 30-31 day cycle. After IUD it was 28 days until the last several years it was 24-26 days. I'm curious Wray, I held off on the high doses of Natpro and just used 165-170mg per day continuous because I was hoping this would be sufficient. Many of the others you advised high doese to were heavy bleeders and I never have been. I see now that I am definitely very estorgen dominant but I guess everyone is different and you don't have to be a heavy bleeder to be estrogen dominant. I realized that I had copper toxicity before the IUD and all the troube that the IUD has caused, has been a blessing because it was the straw that broke the camels back and I would have never known the source of my problem. I partied a lot in my early college days and was under a lot of emotional stress. This probably led to retaining copper. When I was pregnant with my first son I got melasma bad all over my face (another symptom of copper toxicity and maybe estrogen dominance). I think I already had copper build up in my tissue and the prenatal vitamins had at least 400% RDA. After he was born I kept taking the vitamins for about a week during which time my hair was coming out by the gobs until I finally stopped the vitamins.

Jun 11, 2013
Copper Toxicity and Copper/Zinc Imbalance
by: Sandra

Continued....Wray, I have not used glutathione before because I have read what you described about how the precursors are better because glutathione breaks down in the gut. I have used the 3 precursors before NAC, glutamine and glycine all together and also Sandra Cabot the liver doctor has a liver tonic with them and other liver cleasing nutrients. You know I never felt any cleansing reactions from them. They may have been working, but I was neither better or worse from taking them. I recently saw an add about glutathione and did a little research. The most convincing thing I found was the comments or testemonies at iherb.com where I shop for most of my supplements. I read through most of the comments for some of the glutatione supplements and what I found most interesting was many comments talked about it clearing uneven toned skin on face. The other reason that I am encouraged by it and will continue to use it for awhile to see what it does is that I am feeling some cleasing reactions like a mild headache. I never get headaches, but that is one cleansing reaction of copper. The other cleansing reaction is fatigue in the morning that I didn't have before. I take 500mg at dinner and before bed. I use the Healthy Origins one which is from Japan (says it supposed to make a difference). I almost got Jarrow, that is from Japan too. I wrote in a couple of years ago about gaining weight on Vitamin D. After reading some of your posts, this makes sense now. Wray, after you answered my post I took 10,000-20,000IU of Vit D for several weeks then had my blood check to be at 149ng. Since then I have taken 5,000-10,000 daily. I also have taken 100mg of zinc for awhile and now take 50mg per day. I found a multi-vitamin without copper. I don't think I store copper anymore it is just cleasing my tissue and liver and I haven't figured out quite how to do that yet. I am getting mild cleasing reactions from the glutithione so will keep with that for awhile. It seems my fat is protecting me, so much that it won't let go of my toxins. I will keep in touch. It would be nice if we could find a way to detox slowly but surely. I have used the supplements that Dr Wilson recommends from ARL (he has a great web-site that talks about copper toxicity) along with his lifestyle program. One of the things I realized I was doing is eating soy yogurt daily and also shellfish which are both very high in copper and soy products contain phytic acid which blocks zinc. For some reason not copper, but it blocks zinc and other minerals. The doctor I worked with that read my hair analysis was trained by Dr Wilson. I was on these supplements for several years and now have just found a cheaper version of them. But I am still missing something. I'll keep trying. Maybe I need to try Yoga. Blessings.

Jun 12, 2013
copper toxicity
by: Wray

Hi Staci If you want more info on copper toxicity, please look at the Alternative Mental Health website, it's excellent. I suggested to Sandra she took zinc to counter the copper, this will also help the progesterone too, as copper does depress progesterone levels. A few women have written in about copper toxicity, if you put 'copper' into the search field you'll find their stories, you might get inspiration from them. And please look into vitamin D, a lack of that causes numerous problems including weight gain, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. There's also more info on the insulin resistance page I gave Sandra. Take care Wray

Jun 12, 2013
copper toxicity copper/zinc imbalance
by: Wray

Hi Sandra Thanks for filling me in. You have been persistent! One thing I'd like to know, you said you tried the precursors to glutathione, but how much? It should be no less than 2000mg/day NAC, 4000mg/day glutamine and 2000mg/day glycine. NAC is one of the most potent detoxifiers there is, see here, here here, here, here and here. You are right, you don't have to be a heavy bleeder to be oestrogen dominant, there's a whole string of symptoms, unfortunately! Melasma is affected by oestrogen. Excess stimulates melanocytes, these make melanin, the pigmentation in all skin types, see here, here, here and here. Contraceptives can cause it, and it's often a sign of adrenal stress too. There seems a possibility that vitamin D might help, see this rather obscure paper here. I found this fascinating paper, on the ability of diosgenin to inhibit melanogenesis, see here. As you know diosgenin is one of the precursor plant sterols for progesterone. Maybe yoga?! Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Jun 12, 2013
copper toxicity
by: Staci

Thank you so much Wray for all your guidance! I am increasing Vit D and zinc and will see if it helps. Sandra, I hope the calcium d glucarate helps you. I love it, but everyone's body is different. I didn't have good luck with DIM and many do. I understand what you mean about the heavy bleeding. A few years ago when I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me I first doubted it was estrogen dominance just because I have always had super light periods. Even after I quit the pill, my periods were still so light they are almost nonexistent. And with estrogen dominance I had assumed you have to have heavy or prolonged bleeding. I have nearly all the other symptoms though, so I eventually realized I do have estrogen dominance and never had heavy bleeding, so I think not all women get this, even though it seems to be common. Using very high doses of the Natpro helped me immensely with all the other symptoms! So do the cell salts - I take the bioplasma salts and the kali phos salts and they are both wonderful!! I am inspired by your comments too and have been researching copper toxicity. It seems many people have good luck with the Moly-Cu and the GB-3. I might try these to do a copper detox. If I do I will let you know if it works for me.

Jun 13, 2013
copper toxicity
by: Wray

Hi Staci It's so interesting hearing the comments that pass between you and Sandra, it's helping me no end too. I'm forever learning about progesterone and the supplements via other women. It's so good to know as I can then pass it on. The tissue salts are good, I used to take them too. But I've never heard of the Moly-Cu and the GB-3, I must look them up and please tell me if they do help you. Take care Wray

Jun 13, 2013
Supplements
by: Wray

Hi Staci How lovely of you to say that! Please ask for another vitamin D test, I'm concerned it will have dropped again. 1000iu per day is far too low, it won't do much. Please increase to at least 5000iu per day, this is a maintenance dose. But if your level is low, 10,000iu would be a better dose until it rises. I'm delighted you are taking that much zinc and magnesium. The zinc will help the progesterone, as it suppresses copper, which of course suppresses progesterone. And the magnesium will affect oestrogen, simply because it's a co-factor for vitamin D. And that increases the effect of progesterone. I suspect your vitamin D is too low if you have this reaction. Do you get any pain, i.e. muscles, joints when you take magnesium, the same applies to vitamin D, I'd be interested to hear. Glycine is an excellent amino, one of the most calming, interesting it helps your sleep. I must remember that as too many women have sleep issues. And I have such difficulty in helping them, tending to throw a barrage of supplements in the hopes one works! Pity about the NAC, my guess is the detox was too severe. What about trying on a much reduced dose like 100mg/day and gradually increasing it? The same with the vitamin C, increase it very slowly too. Let me know how you get on. Take care Wray

Jun 13, 2013
supplements
by: Staci

Thank you Wray. I did not have pain specifically from increasing the Vit D or when I started the magnesium. However, I did have a dramatic increase in estrogen dominance when I started the 1000mg of magnesium several months ago. I do get joint pain (particularly in old sports injuries I have) and lower back pain as a symptom of estrogen dominance at times. Regarding insomnia, I found that once I was using enough progesterone that went away. I also take a "cocktail" of supplements every night that helps me feel calm (a racing mind and pounding heart being symptoms I have dealt with a lot from estrogen dominance). These supplements did not stop the insomnia for me before I was using the Natpro, but they did help me feel calmer and less anxious when I couldn't fall sleep. Once I started using enough cream to start sleeping well again, then I tried stopping the supplements and found they did enhance my sleep so I still take them and sleep very soundly and consistently now in spite of still having other estrogen dominance symptoms, but the real key to stopping the insomnia was getting enough progesterone. At night I take 750mg glycine, 200mg l-theanine, 500mg gaba, 500 mg calcium d glucarate (or more if feeling particularly estrogen dominant) and 350mg passionflower. This combination makes me feel very calm right before bedtime.

Jun 14, 2013
supplements
by: Wray

Hi Staci Well I certainly hope others read what you've put. In fact I'm going to give your link to someone who's just written in about insomnia. We do make up a calming complex, not on the site yet although I hope one day. It also contains the glycine and GABA, also taurine and tyrosine too, I find tyrosine helps a racing mind. Interesting you had a pounding heart as one of your symptoms, definitely oestrogen. It causes prolongation of the QT interval, which results in palpitations, arrhythmia, Torsades de Pointes and sudden death. Whereas progesterone shortens the QT interval, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Taurine is excellent for calming the heart too, there's more taurine in the heart than all the other aminos combined. It's also a calming neurotransmitter. Many thanks for the tips! Take care Wray

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