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Ladies, beware “natural” products containing phytoestrogen! July 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, catachesis, contraception, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Society.

Good reader TE alerted me yesterday to an “essential oil” product from Young Living containing phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen is essentially natural birth control.  Sold as a “beauty aid” or “support for the female glandular system,” I was advised by a local priest that phytoestrogen has strong capabilities to block conception.  doTERRA, which seems quite popular among traditional Catholic women, sells products containing the substance.  Phytoestrogen is sometimes sold alone and thus easy to identify, but it is also frequently mixed into other products.

Something else my wife has learned, however, is that phytoestrogen is found in many foods, and could play a role in women having difficulty conceiving.  In addition, there are many foods and substances that can greatly lower progesterone levels, which my wife has learned is a factor in miscarriages (you see my interest).

A partial list of foods that contain high levels of phytoestrogens below:

flax seed
soy beans
soy nuts (anything soy or flax)
multigrain bread
sunflower seeds

Regarding the lowering of progesterone, caffeine/chocolate are supposed to be bad. Foods that raise estrogen should be avoided.  But there are some specific foods that are recommended to be avoided in order to avoid low progesterone levels:

Flax seed

My wife has a fuller list. I will try to post that later if possible.

Some of the above is a bit speculative but high doses of phytoestrogens have been used for birth control for millennia. Estrogen is known to lower progesterone, typically.  Low progesterone is implicated by the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in being a frequent cause of miscarriage.

I just put this out as a brief public service.  It may have no import for you at all, or it might.

Amazing the things learned, and forgotten, over time.



1. MFG - July 27, 2015

Here’s a question that arises- if the Church were to condemn no fault divorce laws and by miracle repeal them- what would this do to the same sex marriage effort? Faced with a decision to stay in marriage for life how LBGT folks many would demand it.

2. Fran - July 27, 2015

One thing I learned years ago is that yams help the body produce progesterone.

3. Kathleen - July 27, 2015

Plant estrogens are a serious concern for both female and male health.

They can harm adults of both sexes, boy babies in the womb, and women trying to conceive.

The biggest problem — by FAR — of the bunch is SOY. Which wasn’t allowed into the US food supply until very recently. For. Good. Very. Good. Reason.

Soy should be avoided like a plague.

By everyone.


And of soy products used in food the worst is soy protein or the whole beans.

And the problem is that soy protein is in a huge number of products where you would not expect to find it. For instance canned tuna and tortillas. To avoid it in tuna you have to get low sodium or Trader Joe’s tuna. Trader Joe has a lot of soy free products btw.

Another seriously problematic plant estrogen is Lavender.

Lavender is so much of a problem that for artists that use the oil (my husband is a traditional stained glass artist) there are VERY strong warnings about the handling of it.

And yet in the last few years lavender scent has shown up all over the place. I noticed because I always loved the fragrance but it was not used a lot. Then all of a sudden it’s in every soap and cleaning product on the market. One wonders.

For those not dealing with pregnancy and baby concerns just avoiding the big problems like soy and lavender should be fine and a good idea.

For those dealing with pregnancy and baby concerns it would absolutely be a good idea to get a good grip on the full topic.

Mick - July 27, 2015

As a family practice physician with nearly 30 years of practice behind me I am constantly impressed at my lack of knowledge. I tell medical students that one of the most important lessons they should learn in medical school is the vastness of their ignorance. Like any technical subject, the less a person really studies about human health from reliable sources, the more confident they can be in their knowledge.

One of the sticky points is that of “reliability.” What information out there is really reliable? I’ll be the first to shout that much of what gets printed in medical journals is open to question. On the flip side, it is far too easy to dismiss the need for reliability with accusations of “prostitution to the pharmaceutical industry” or “mainstream medicine just does not want you to know the truth.”

Medicine has its fads. Bleeding and leeching are two useful examples, and even leeching has made a limited comeback. The field of natural health is no exception. I remember about 40 years ago soy was THE thing touted by a lot of the natural gurus. So now it is a no-no? I wish I had some reliable source to go to to learn about this. I’m prepared to believe it, but I’d need something looking like an objective study in order to begin considering the hypothesis.

My grandfather had soybean farms in the midwest in the early part of last century. Maybe they were using it for animal food, But I thought I heard the old country folk out there talk about eating it. That does not mean it was “allowed” in the US food supply.Curious. What agency decides that a specific type of food is “allowed” in the food supply? I know the FDA regulates many aspects of the food industry but I never knew that there was a specific type of “food” that was not allowed.

Anyway, the word “phytoestrogens” is plural because there are a lot of them. If one speaks only of those that help a peri-menopausal woman absorb calcium (for which estrogen is essential in the woman for efficient absorption) then at least from a public health perspective those particular phytoestrogens do a lot to reduce morbidity and mortality.

As to lavender I again come up blank. So I turn to the trusty internet where I find lots of stuff published about the ill effects of lavender and some stuff taking the opposite view and actually providing citations.

These are complicated topics and I often wonder how much any of us, especially yours truly, really knows about them. When it comes to well-meaning recommendations regarding human health “caveat emptor” certainly applies. Maybe especially if it is a physician making the recommendation.

Kathleen - July 28, 2015

I come from midwest farm stock as well, including bean farming. My understanding was it was animal feed. And now there is accumulated evidence that it’s a bad idea as animal feed as well.

But on to Soy as human food. The blog software doesn’t handle links so these are the search terms needed to do searches on DuckDuckGo DOT com

– FDA Scientists Against Soy

– FDA Poisonous Plant Database

– Dr. Brownstein Soy

– Dr. Mercola soy

As far as the Lavender, I’m out of time as far as digging through my husbands studio but the labeling is very clear that it is hazardous and I did research some time ago that confirmed it is a strong, vs. weak, plant estrogen.

Tantumblogo - July 28, 2015

My wife brought that up, this strong vice weak estrogens. Weak may have some benefits, health-wise, but still act as a contraceptive intentionally or no. Strong poses cancer risks, it is thought, while being an even more effective contraceptive. There is a lot of confusion on the health benefits or detriments of these natural estrogens. On the narrow point of whether they are contraceptive and can play a role in miscarriage, however, the evidence seems pretty clear.

As for soy products, yes its been grown and sold for a very long time but its only been in the last 30-40 years that its entered into the food supply in large qtys in the US. I’m not sure that has to do with the relaxation of any kind of ban so much as Americans now eat a larger variety of foods, especially Asian influence. Question is, if soy is really bad why do Asians have generally much lower cancer rates? Japanese eat tons of soy and their cancer rates are quite low and lifespan long.

4. Kathleen - July 28, 2015

Real limited on time, again, but a couple quick thoughts.

Soy was *not* a part of the traditional Asian diet outside of *fermented* soy. Fermentation effectively eliminates the estrogen.

The early Asian use was as a fertilizer, planted in fallow fields and then plowed under.

There are a few areas of concern with Soy. Of them the PROTEIN is by FAR the biggest problem.

The oil is also a problem (I avoid it) and then there is the entire subject of GMO (which is subject all on its own)

But *everyone,* but most importantly those making or raising families, should get up to speed on Soy protein. I don’t say this lightly. I’m not a hand wringing health nut. Soy protein is a serious POISON.

The search topics I listed above are a good start. But also research soy and the impact on baby boys in the womb and the impact in baby formula.

As far as lavender search on miscarriage and lavender. It evidently was well know in the past that pregnant women should not be exposed to it.

As an aside, you and your wife and family remain always in my prayers. I pray you’re blessed with another beautiful baby as you hope.

[My previous 2 attempts to post poofed. This is a re-written 3rd attempt]

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