What Every Woman Should Know About Fiber

Fiber is very important in the role as an estrogen modulator and in helping with adrenal health as well as bowel function.

Fiber is the Key!!

A plant-eating animal our size, living in the wild, takes in 30 – 90 grams of fiber a day. 

The average human gets only about 10 – 15 grams of fiber a day. 

Most humans need at least 30 grams of fiber a day.

There are two kinds of fiber contained in fruits, vegetables and whole grains – insoluble and soluble fiber

Insoluble fiber.

When we think of food and fiber most of us are thinking of the insoluble fiber – the fiber in food that does not dissolve but passes through the digestive tract as bulk pushing food along with it. 

We call the time it takes for food to get through the digestive tract transit time. 

The transit time for most food should be 12 – 18 hours. 

Breakfast today should be eliminated by breakfast tomorrow, lunch today by lunch tomorrow, and dinner tonight by dinner tomorrow. 

The insoluble fiber in our foods helps us accomplish this.

Soluble fiber. 

Soluble fiber absorbs and binds toxic chemicals that are circulating in your body and moves them rapidly through your body. 

In addition to the sponge-like nature of soluble fiber, it helps scrub clean the thousands of nooks and crannies of your large intestine where carcinogens can pass through the bloodstream. 

The fiber content in food is nature’s miracle pollution fighter. 

Fiber reduces the amount of time that chemical carcinogens spend in your body so they have less chance to damage cells.  

When fiber is present in large amounts in the colon, it attracts and traps carbon-based toxic compounds just like the carbon water filter. 

With adequate fiber, bile salts that contain carcinogenic and mutagenic impurities can be moved out of the body quickly, because fiber passes very quickly through the body.

Many diseases have been connected to low fiber diets.  High blood pressure, heart disease, gall bladder problems, varicose veins, diverticulitis, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and hemorrhoids, are just a few of the conditions that can be prevented with a diet rich in fiber.

Adrenal fatigue often includes mild constipation. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet not only improves bowel motion and re-establishes normal bowel function but also helps strengthen your adrenal function.  

Fiber + Hormones

High-fiber foods help your body transport and eliminate potent carcinogens, including estrogens, that find their way into you diet and then your body.  

Excess estrogen can become a carcinogen in your body. 

Estrogens, which ultimately reach the lower intestinal tract, can re-circulate. 

Fiber is very important in the role of an “estrogen modulator,” in that it assists the body by picking up the excess estrogen and eliminating it through the bowel.

When beginning a hormone-balancing program and as the body’s responses become more efficient, the liver often begins to detoxify more rapidly. 

This means that more toxic constituents including estrogens are contained in the bile that is secreted by your liver and emptied into your intestinal tract for elimination. 

Fiber prevents bile from becoming toxic in the large intestine by binding with it and moving it along the digestive tract. 

In this way fiber helps eliminate fat-soluble excessive estrogens from your body. 

Without sufficient fiber present, these excessive estrogens may be released from the bile and reabsorbed through the intestines.  

Fiber + Hormones + Constipation

In addition to detoxifying the liver, for hormonally challenged men and women, fiber helps with constipation. 

Many hormonally challenged men and women suffer from tremendous bowel dysfunction, including: Crohn’s, colitis, IBS, and chronic constipation. 

Slowly increasing fiber intake helps greatly with bowel dysfunction.   

Bowel problems like constipation means that waste spends more time in your colon, and that means greater re-absorption of xeno-estrogens from waste and greater toxic estrogen load.

A bowel movement at least once a day, preferably two or more, assists the body in eliminating toxins rather than absorbing them.  

STUDY: Higher intake of dietary fiber is associated with lower circulating estrogen levels

Because high estrogen levels have been linked to breast cancer, this finding could provide a significant step toward preventing breast cancer.

Although there have been several studies that have looked at the relationship between dietary fiber and breast cancer, they are equivocal.

Researchers have yet to connect the two, to show a true and unequivocal cause-and-effect relationship between fiber and breast cancer risk.

However, there is scientific evidence that dietary fiber may play an important role in the metabolism of estrogens and may therefore be an important determinant of circulating estrogen levels in the body. 

“There’s been so much research on this subject, and yet the jury’s still out,” says Kristine Monroe, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Keck School’s Department of Preventive Medicine and first author on the study. “Latinas enrolled in the Multiethnic Cohort Study have lower breast cancer rates than any major racial/ethnic group in the U.S. Even after adjusting for known risk factors, their incidence rate is still 20% less than white women, who have been the focus of the majority of earlier research and whose dietary fiber intake is generally not that high.” 

To rectify that situation, Monroe decided to use data collected by the National Institutes of Health-funded Multiethnic Cohort Study of Diet and Cancer to begin looking at the relationship between dietary fiber and estrogen levels in Mexican-American women, an ethnic group in which dietary fiber intake is higher on average than in most other populations.

Even then, says Monroe, she selected for the study those who had the highest and lowest intake levels among all the Mexican-American women. 

In the end, Monroe and her colleagues–including Laurence N. Kolonel and Suzanne Murphy, professors at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Brian E. Henderson and Malcolm Pike, professors of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC–looked at blood hormone levels of 252 Latina women participating in the Multiethnic Cohort Study in relation to dietary intakes.

Dietary fiber intake was quantified in two ways: (1) from a food frequency questionnaire administered at the time of the blood draw; and (2) from biomarkers of dietary fiber intake found in the blood samples. 

What they found was that, as dietary fiber intake increases, levels of estrone and estradiol, two female hormones measured in blood, drop sharply.

In addition, the researchers say, they found that as dietary fat intake increased in the women studied, so did the hormone levels.

“However, when dietary fiber and fat are both included in the statistical model, only dietary fiber remains a significant predictor of hormone levels,” Monroe notes. 

The next step, Monroe says, is to see if a higher intake of dietary fiber in these women leads to a lower incidence of breast cancer. 

“This study provides clear evidence of an association between dietary fiber intake and circulating hormone levels in postmenopausal Latina women,” the researchers note, “and potentially provides a dietary means for lowering a woman’s risk of breast cancer.” http://www.aacr.org/

Medical Research News Published: Monday, 18-Oct-2004 Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and the University of Helsinki in Finland.

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