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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Elevated estrogen levels may cause blood clots, which increase your chances for heart attacks and strokes.
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.
- The Official Website of John R. Lee, MD: Estrogen Dominance
- “The Daily Telegraph”; Bitter Truth About the Grapefruit Diet: Could a Favourite (SIC) Way to Lose Weight Have Been Harmful; Victoria Lambert; July 2007
- “British Journal of Cancer”; Prospective Study of Grapefruit Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women: the Multiethnic Cohort Study; K R Monroe, et al.; July 2007
- “Cancer Causes and Control”; Prospective Study of the Association Between Grapefruit Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC); EA Spencer, et al.; August 2009
- “The New York Times”; Experts Reveal the Secret Powers of Grapefruit Juice; Nicholas Bakalar; March 2006