Estroblock For Acne – Looking Beyond The Hype

By Seppo | Quackery

103

Spend a few minutes online and you’ll come off convinced EstroBlock is the next best thing since sliced bread. This ‘miracle supplement’ is all rage in various natural acne cure blogs and forums. Sellers claim it ‘detoxifies toxic estrogens’ and thus protects against breast cancer, gets rid of stubborn fat and, even cures acne.

I occasionally get questions about EstroBlock, so let’s apply some skepticism and critical thinking and see how well this supposed miracle supplement stands up to science and critical scrutiny.

The short story is not well. Not well at all. DIM, the substance in EstroBlock, shows potential in cancer prevention, but the data is too preliminary to conclude anything. Yet, the sellers show remarkable ignorance of science (or lack of ethics) while making overcooked claims about this potentially useful supplement.

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What is EstroBlock 

EstroBlock is a supplement containing Diindolylmethane (DIM) and Indole 3-Carbinol (I3C). I3C is a substance found in cruciferous vegetables and is thought to be one of the reasons they are so healthy. In acidic conditions, such as in the stomach, I3C is converted into DIM. I3C works purely as DIM precursor and doesn’t seem to be absorbed.

In order to justify higher prices EstroBlock website claims other DIM supplements are useless since they are not absorbed properly. Their words: “Most other brands use what is called crystalline DIM which has almost no absorbtion into the body.” They also claim 500% higher absorption than other brands.

I can’t say for sure, but it looks like they are using a patented form of DIM called Bio-Response DIM (BR DIM). Human studies comparing absorption rates between normal and Bio-Response DIM haven’t been published, apparently some have been presented in medical conferences. One study in mice found BR DIM had 150% better bioavailability than normal DIM.

While it’s true that BR DIM has better bioavailability it doesn’t mean that other DIM supplements would be useless.

How EstroBlock fools you about science

While they don’t directly claim it, the EstroBlock website strongly implies that their supplement can prevent breast and other cancers – as well as help you to lose weight and cure acne. One of the most prominent headlines on their home page reads “Scientifically proven to protect you”, under which has a headline reading “Cancer protection”. The copy further reinforces the idea that the supplement can protect against cancer.

Given the claims you would think that the section titled “Journal references” contains several many, or at least some, studies showing that the supplement can indeed protect against cancer.

So you would think. Alas, that’s not the case. Not even close.

While the papers they feature on the ‘Journal references’ page have impressive titles, such as “Indole-3-carbinol and prostate cancer” and “Targets for indole-3-carbinol in cancer prevention“, there’s nothing there that shows EstroBlock actually prevents cancer, or any other disease, in humans.

Killing cancer cells in test tubeThey feature tons and tons of extremely preliminary research. Test tube and animal studies examining possible mechanisms by which DIM might prevent cancer. These are studies that, for example, look at the effect incubating individual cells in DIM has. It’s highly dishonest to claim, even infer, from such studies that DIM would have similar effects in living humans.

There are some preliminary human studies that show shifts in estrogen metabolites in people taking DIM. But it’s not clear whether that affects disease outcomes.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center page on DIM says this:

Diindolylmethane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. It showed anticancer effects in laboratory and animal studies. However, human studies are limited.

Out of 100 cancer cures that show promise in test tube and animal studies maybe 1 has any potential as actual treatment, and that’s when you are lucky. The scientific literature is littered with promising cancer cures that, for whatever reason, didn’t work in humans.

Will DIM work as cancer treatment in humans? It may, but then again it may not. Nobody knows yet. It’s true that it shows promise and the National Institutes of Health is currently testing it in humans, but until those studies are complete we just don’t know.

The problem is that the EstroBlock website gives an impression of scientific legitimacy and support when that’s not even remotely the case.

I can think of two reasons for this. One, they are clueless and have just compiled a list of studies without understanding what they mean. Or, they outright deceive people, knowing full well that the vast majority of their readers are impressed with a long list of complicated looking references.

I’m not sure which is worse.

EstroBlock for acne?

One of their more ridiculous claims is that excess estrogens cause acne. Have they been completely asleep for the past 2 decades when a study after study has shown that it’s androgens, male sex hormones, that cause acne – not estrogens!

There’s very little research on how estrogens affect acne, but all the research points to estrogens protecting against acne, probably by opposing the effect androgens have on the skin, which is the reason why doctors prescribe birth control pills for women with acne.

Role of hormones in acne vulgaris by Arora, et al. had this to say about estrogens (emphasis mine):

A case control study conducted in north Indian population reported low serum estrogen levels in patients with acne vulgaris as compared to controls. Also, when a woman’s estrogen levels decline, as they do just  before the beginning of a menstrual cycle, acne may worsen [30]. This is also supported by the fact that acne is commonest at puberty because of the low level of estrogens and progesterone during the first few menstrual cycles.

As I said, research on the effect of estrogens on acne is still limited, but based on the currently available evidence reducing or ‘detoxifying’ estrogen is the last thing anyone with acne would want.

The relationship between xenoestrogens and sex hormones may not be as simple as some people would have you believe. For example Galloway et al. found that BPA exposure was associated with slightly increased total testosterone level in men, yet no change was seen in women, and even in men there was no change in bioactive (free) testosterone.

Nobody denies that xenoestrogens may have negative health effects, especially in infants and young children, and perhaps some day science learns that xenoestrogens do cause acne. But until such time I’m going to consider this just another made up disease promoted by alt-med and natural health quacks.

Other anti-acne mechanisms

There’s some preliminary research showing DIM can act as anti-androgen. Unlikely estrogens, there’s a well established link between androgens and acne. In fact, people without functional androgen receptors in the skin don’t get any acne.

There’s also highly preliminary evidence to suggest DIM might turn down (down regulate in medical speak) the mTor pathway. As I wrote here, the mTor pathway is sort of a master regulator in acne. It affects sebum production, skin cell growth and all the other factors known to affect acne.

If DIM/EstroBlock works against acne, it’s more likely because of it’s anti-androgen anti-mTor effects. Whether it actually works against acne remains to be seen.

Potential side effects

EstroBlock and DIM supplements are more than likely to be safe and unlikely to cause side effects for most people. However, you should keep in mind that all supplements, regardless of how natural they are, have the potential to cause negative side effects. A recently published case report talks of a woman who developed blurry vision and severe headaches after taking DIM supplements for 2 months. Her vision started improving 2 weeks after stopping DIM and returned to normal after 8 weeks.

Conclusion

At the moment there’s no evidence to show EstroBlock is good for anything. While DIM and I3C show promise in cancer prevention the evidence is too preliminary to conclude anything.

There’s no evidence to support the notion that ‘toxic extrogens’ cause acne, in fact, all the evidence points to estrogens reducing acne. That said, it’s possible DIM reduces acne through other mechanisms, such as blocking androgens.

Of course lack of evidence doesn’t in anyway mean that EstroBlock (or other DIM supplements) wouldn’t work. It just means we don’t know. The intellectually honest, not to mention ethical, choice would be to wait for validation in human studies before making grand claims about your products.

It seems that EstroBlock is more interested in appearing scientific than going through the scientific process of vetting and validating their claims.

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About the Author

Seppo Puusa, a.k.a. AcneEinstein shares rational advice about natural and alternative acne treatments. Read more about me and my acne struggles at the page.

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(103) comments

Elena October 8, 2013

Hello, Seppo! You have no idea how thankful I am for coming across this website!! It really opened my eyes and I stopped believing in alt-medicine altogether. I believe my acne is hormonal, but at the same time I cannot stop to think that maybe my smoking habit contributes big time to my struggles against this frustrating skin condition that acne is. I have that “non-inflammatory acne” that some studies talk about (especially those prominent whiteheads/blocked pores which sooner or later become inflamed).

Now to my question: What do you think of spironolactone? I’ve seen some studies which show some promising results, especially for adult women, so I was wondering what is your take on this drug? Thank you again for this awesome site, your work is truly appreciated! :)

Reply
    Seppo October 9, 2013

    Glad to hear you like the site, Elena. And welcome back to the side of light and rationality. The alt-med world can be a dark and dangerous place.

    To be honest, I haven’t looked into research on prescription drugs that much. I know there are several studies showing spire and other anti-androgens can be effective against acne. But I can’t say about long-term side-effects such hormonal treatments may or may have. I don’t think they are significant – otherwise the FDA would pull it off the market. Whether there are mild but persistent side-effects, as some people claim, I can’t really say.

    Smoking can definitely affect your skin. Your skin is directly exposed to the oxidative substances in cigarette smoke, not to mention the internal damage cigarette smoke causes. Some papers even refer to “smoker’s face” as the accelerated ageing and other signs smoking causes can be quite visible. If you can, consider quitting, but at least take some measures to counter the damage, such as drinking green tea.

    Reply
      Steph March 7, 2014

      I know this was a fair few months ago now but I thought I’d leave a comment anyway, for future scrollers to consider alongside everything else that has been said!

      The thing that I appreciate most about these posts is the intent – to think critically and logically. That being said, while I do agree that the world of alt medicine can be extremely deceptive and misleading, I feel like completely trusting other organisations, who have their own, usually hidden, motives, with your health, is similar to entirely trusting alt. medicine with no evidence (a bit dangerous and silly!) Vani Hari (aka Food Babe), for example, is someone who is attempting to bring to the attention of the public the fact that the FDA has approved a lot of chemicals for our food that are simply appalling (silly putty/ yoga mat in your lunch, anyone?). There are limits on these chemicals, but some of them simply shouldn’t be ingested – there are clearly safer alternatives, and there is in some cases data that strongly indicates such ingredients are carcinogenic or have other serious health effects. Many chemicals have not been reviewed in many, many years. And it is also not taken into consideration that most people eating an average Western diet will consume multiple products in a day which all contain barely ‘safe’ levels of these chemicals, leading to a dose that even the FDA would consider dangerous.

      There is a lot more to this, obviously, and I haven’t outlined all the information (much can be found on the Food Babe blog but obviously it’s good to have multiple sources as well! Some of which Food Babe offers but independent research I would always recommend…)

      Anyway, I thought I’d simply bring into the ring the idea that maybe the FDA isn’t so trustworthy… and maybe saying “I don’t think [the long-term side-effects of hormonal treatments] are significant – otherwise the FDA would pull it off the market” (in the comments) is not a very critical way to approach things. After all, many of us who are researching acne or other health issues have come to realise that most companies on the market are manipulating us and often outright lie just for money. Why do you think the FDA is so different? They are supposed to be an official organisation, so we trust them… but so are governments – and they are clearly not incorruptible or working simply for the good and health of every single person, are they? :P

      I’m not criticising anyone – it is so easy to assume the organisations we grow up with and often have been told are looking out for us, always have our best interests at heart. We all do it. Really it’s necessary to critically assess EVERY link in the system, which takes a long time! This is simply another layer of the onion! :)

      Reply
        Seppo March 9, 2014

        Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It’s always good to have civilized discussion on these matters, even if I don’t always agree with what you write.

        It’s kinda ironic that you bring up the Food Babe in this context. She’s exactly the kind of a person who you should not trust, at least when it comes to her sensationalist and fear mongering posts. Because she’s the one that’s hiding out information and not telling all the facts. She’s the one who is cherry-picking data to support her own views.

        The Skeptic’s Guide To The Universe podcast had a good discussion on her yoga mat attack against Subway. I suggest you listen to the section to get the other side of the story. You can listen to the episode here, the discussion on the yoga mat chemical starts at the 30 minute mark.

        In the podcast Dr. Novella did a very good job at deconstructing every claim she makes and showing how she takes factoids out of context to spin a scary story, and how she completely misrepresents the studies she supposedly refers to. Her own references don’t support the sensationalist claims she makes.

        Should this chemical be in bread? That’s a separate question and something I won’t go in here.

        This post is the perfect example of the Dunning–Kruger effect, basically a person so ignorant she doesn’t even realize how wrong she is. Though her post on flu vaccines gives stiff competition.

        The fact that the alternative and natural health movement celebrates people like the Food Babe and their ignorance is the reason why I’ve lost what ever remaining respect I had for the movement. I’m all for reducing drugs, using natural methods and taking charge of your own health. But I’m not ok with abandoning science and reason while doing so.

        The Food Babe and the alt-med industry are using the exact same tactics that the tobacco lobby used when they tried to deny the harmful effects of cigarettes. They created uncertainty and doubt by spreading their own biased message.

        I’m also sure that the FDA has many flaws, and I don’t mean to say I trust them. I mentioned them in connection to BC pills because I don’t have time to go and dig through PubMed to find support for all the points. The fact that the BC has been used for several decades and there are hundreds of millions of women using it every day speaks for its safety. I’m sure there are some people who have a bad reaction to is, but I find it hard to believe they would represent more than a very small minority.

        Reply
Kristine October 9, 2013

I am 40 and have suffered with hormonal acne for about a year. The only change I made was using EstroBlock for one month and my face has completely cleared up. I know other people who have had similar results. I have no agenda, no website, no financial link at all. I am just a mom who found your website and disagree with you when you say it is silly to think it could be used for acne.

Reply
    Seppo October 10, 2013

    If you indeed are sincere in your endorsement, which I’m skeptical since it was posted before this post even appeared on search engines. If EstroBlock works for you then by all means keep using it. I’m not saying it can’t work. I’m saying that the theory of estrogens causing acne has no evidence to support it – and in fact goes against current scientific evidence.

    Reply
Tracy October 13, 2013

Hi Seppo :)
Interesting article. I know you might be skeptical that I’m just hyping Estroblock…. but it really legitimately, seriously, honest to god, eliminate my stubborn hormonal acne where nothing else did, and based on feedback I’ve gotten on my site, seems to be working for plenty of other women too. So there’s gotta be something to it. From my understanding of what it does, it’s not really supposed to eliminate estrogen altogether, it’s supposed to detoxify the harmful estrogen mimickers, and increase the beneficial estrogen metabolites. So would that not make sense as to how it would end up opposing androgens and eliminating acne?

Reply
    Seppo October 14, 2013

    Hi Tracy,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m not by any means saying that DIM couldn’t work. And I don’t think that you are hyping EstroBlock for no good reason. I know you have you readers’ best interest in mind when you make recommendations.

    I wanted to take a skeptical look at EstroBlock and whether there is any science supporting it.

    For me it’s not enough anymore to recommend something that I believe works for me. Because it’s painfully clear to me how unreliable ‘in my own experience’ is in a complicated problem like acne. Not saying own experience is useless, just that we have to understand and keep in mind its limitations. As humans we come hard-wired with biases and cognitive fallacies that make interpreting personal experience difficult.

    That’s why I’ve chosen to base most of my articles on science instead of personal experience. I want to make sure that I do my utmost best in providing reliable advice that has a high likelihood of working for most people. Unfortunately, sometimes this means saying we just don’t know yet.

    There are just too many red flags associated with EstroBlock. One is oestrogen dominance, which by all accounts seems to be yet another made-up disease hyped by alt-med proponents. I don’t claim to understand estrogen metabolism well, but it’s worrisome that no reliable medical authority talk about estrogen dominance. Then they quite liberally and deliberately abuse preliminary scientific data and claim EstroBlock can prevent cancers. All of which makes me highly skeptical of everything they claim.

    All of this really just means we don’t know whether EstroBlock works for acne. It may very well work, but until we get some more reliable data, the only intellectually honest answer is that we don’t know yet.

    The problem with relying on user feedback from your readers is that your sample is highly biased. People who get results are far more likely to write back to you, whereas people who don’t are more likely to chug it off as ‘just something that didn’t work for me’.

    Reply
Tracy October 14, 2013

Yep, totally get it :) I understand that is what your site is about (ie. not recommending things that don’t quite line up with current scientific data), and I know that recommending things on personal experience is highly flawed in many ways.

I know because, hey – I tried lots of stuff to get rid of that last bit of acne and nothing ever worked! When Fran (who I heard about it from) said that Estroblock eliminated the last of her acne for good, I was a little skeptical and a bit like “ah no, more things to try”. And I didn’t give it a shot for a long time.

But in the end, I was too intrigued, and she seemed to have the same pattern of acne around the chin that would come and go, same as mine, and like so, so many other adult women. And so I tried it and it ended up being amazing!! I really am so incredibly grateful for this supplement.

So from that standpoint and knowing that so many other women have the same pattern of acne, it almost seems selfish to keep it a secret. Even though obviously I know it’s not like it’s going to work for everyone, but I think it’s unfair not to give them the chance to try it if they want to. Like I said, there has to be something to it.

Anyway – my two cents. Maybe hopefully one day they’ll do a study on DIM and acne and we’ll figure out what it is :)

Reply
    Seppo October 14, 2013

    Yep, I do understand and agree with your point of view also. Experimentation, after all, is the starting point of science. And often we are in the unfortunate situation where we just don’t have reliable data, as is the case with DIM/EstroBlock. In such cases we just have to go with anecdotal data and accept that we don’t have all the answers yet.

    Reply
      Nikki October 11, 2014

      The only truly reliable thing you’ve said.

      Science alone just isn’t enough. I am eternally thankful for experiments, anecdotes, and the highly personal possibilities of the internet.

      I’ve had acne since puberty until I age 44! Been through every healthy diet and detox, and they helped but didn’t ‘cure’. Estroblock also hasn’t cured me but the improvement is so great it’s the first time in 20 years I can go without make-up. I no longer have cystic acne, only infrequent and small pimples. An amazing improvement for me.

      The alternative medicine system may have it’s dark and dangerous aspects, so does every company out to make a buck and every person who hails Science as the truest answer to everything.
      It almost makes me tear up when I read articles like yours which are no TRUE help to anyone – skepticism for skepticism’s sake. Especially when you support someone’s comment that your article has put them off alternative medicine! THAT is crazy. And self-serving.

      I am skeptical, cautious, do my research, and yet am very open-minded. ‘no evidence’ mean nothing except ‘no evidence yet’. “we just don’t have reliable data” means nothing other than ‘we just don’t have reliable data yet’. Such statements help nobody other than those that bow down to science. For the more well-rounded of us – here’s to personal evidence!

      Reply
        Seppo Puusa October 13, 2014

        It almost makes me tear up when I read articles like yours which are no TRUE help to anyone

        Because using science, reason and evidence to make sense of confusing and contradictory evidence is clearly immoral and wrong. Shame on me. Fortunately, a lot of people who send me grateful emails and messages disagree with you.

        So we have:

        – A company that’s selling product with no evidence to support its effectiveness, yet they are making ridiculous claims about it.
        – A skeptical blogger who points out the company distorts the and misrepresents science. He also said many times that the product, or any number of alternatives, might work for acne. Highly preliminary research shows it’s plausible it works, but we just can’t say yet.

        Clearly the blogger is wrong here. Just imagine all the harm being informed causes to people. Welcome to the wonderful world of alternative health logic. Perhaps we should also sue all the people who leave bad restaurant reviews!

        But in all seriousness I think you are confused about what alternative medicine is and what it isn’t. For example, I don’t consider diet, or DIM for that matter, as alternative health.

        DIM was discovered through scientific medicine. Researchers, doing real and hard basic research, figured out what in cruciferous vegetables reduced cancer. They isolated the chemical and started testing it. Once the results of their decades of hard work come out the altie practitioners latch on highly preliminary data and start selling products based on that. They make ridiculous claims based on zero real evidence.

        And you think this is a good idea?

        Similarly, all the data on what kinds of diet help acne comes through the process of scientific medicine. There’s nothing alternative about it.

        I’ve had acne since puberty until I age 44! Been through every healthy diet and detox, and they helped but didn’t ‘cure’. Estroblock also hasn’t cured me but the improvement is so great it’s the first time in 20 years I can go without make-up. I no longer have cystic acne, only infrequent and small pimples. An amazing improvement for me.

        Congratulations. I’m happy that you found something that worked for you. I would say that your story is exactly the reason why we need to use science and reason to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

        How many years did you spend detoxing and pursuing various diets in order to get clear? And everything you did was most likely promoted as ‘the way to cure acne’. Don’t you think it would have been good if someone would have pointed out that detox is utter nonsense and unlikely to have any effect on acne? Eating healthy could help, but no need to go overboard with it?

        I know from the feedback I get that other people appreciate my level headed and skeptical take on things.

        I am skeptical, cautious, do my research, and yet am very open-minded. ‘no evidence’ mean nothing except ‘no evidence yet’. “we just don’t have reliable data” means nothing other than ‘we just don’t have reliable data yet’. Such statements help nobody other than those that bow down to science. For the more well-rounded of us – here’s to personal evidence!

        Neither does making straw man arguments.

        Still, why do you think that science and self-experimentation are mutually exclusive? Pointing out that something is plausible but so far there’s no evidence to say either way doesn’t prevent anyone from trying it. I would argue that it’s better to go in with realistic expectations, keeping in mind that most things people try fails.

        I’ve stated many times on this blog that science cannot say what works for you and what doesn’t. Science can show the ideas and treatments that are more likely to work than others, but in the end trying them out is the only thing to figure out what works for you.

        Reply
Drey October 14, 2013

Just wanted to share an experience I had a couple of years ago when I was drinking soy protein powder. I have red what you have written about soy and its potential correlations to acne but I still cannot conceive why I burst out worse than ever during this period. I am convinced that Insulin and Testosterone are the villain hormones when it comes to acne but I don´t believe that I got all that acne from Insulin spikes caused by the powder itself. I have tried different proteins powder earlier but never got acne even close to what I experienced during the few weeks I was on the soy powder.

Reply
    Seppo October 16, 2013

    Soy is also a fairly common allergen. Or it could be something else in the powder.

    Reply
m November 8, 2013

Hi Seppo,

I’ve been quite interested in the science presented your site. Thanks for the work you’ve done gathering it together.

One thing that might be worth mentioning is that there is some evidence that DIM is an anti-androgen, for example this paper “Plant-derived 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Is a Strong Androgen Antagonist in Human Prostate Cancer Cells”: http://www.jbc.org/content/278/23/21136.full

So it’s plausible that it might be helpful against acne, but not for the reason that most people online seem to be discussing… Anyhow, of course I share your skepticism of hype and would love to see a dedicated study, but I thought this additional aspect of DIM’s biochemistry might be interesting.

Reply
    Seppo November 9, 2013

    Thanks for your comment, m.

    I’m certainly not saying that DIM could not work on acne or hormonal problems. I think the supplement shows a lot of promise. It also can inhibit mTor – the master regulator protein in acne.

    This article was more about EstroBlock and the deceptive and ridiculous claims they make about their product. DIM indeed shows promise and may indeed turn out to be really helpful in some cases, but without reliable human data we just don’t know yet. It’s just sad that the promising supplement has been bastardised by money-hungry alt-med quacks.

    Reply
Bibi November 13, 2013

Hi Seppo,

I live in the uk and after reading up on Estroblock I had it shipped to me from the US. I have tried everything, I mean everything to clear my acne and would never stop trying so didn’t hesitate in trying Estroblock. After less than two weeks my acne completely cleared this was six months ago. I had massive severe cystic hormonal acne all around and my chin and other random cysts on other parts of face for many years. I have to say for me it definitely worked when I thought all hope was lost. I know it works because I stopped it after 3 months to take a break and a cyst appeared less than a week later so I started again and it’s clear again.

Reply
    Seppo November 14, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Bibi. And I’m happy to hear you found something that helps your skin. It’s not my intention to say DIM could not work on acne. I just wanted to point out some fallacies the company promoting EstroBlock puts out. It’s plausible that DIM can help with acne. In test tube studies it’s been shown to reduce androgen secretion and that should be helpful in acne.

    Reply
    Carla December 11, 2014

    Hi Bibi

    I am trying to get hold of ESTROBLOCK and I am finding it hard here in the UK. Would you mind me asking which website did you use? I tried one seller in Amazon and I also tried estroblock official page but for some reason my address came up as incorrect therefore the payment could not be completed :(
    I would appreciate information on how to buy it from the UK
    I am placing my hopes on this product
    Thank you in advance xx

    Reply
Bibi November 14, 2013

Thanks Seppo,

I agree with you on that, no body should be saying they have a product that prevents cancer without the full scientific evidence to back it up. Obviously I don’t take it for that just for acne anyway.

I’m going to start taking just Dim plus without the 13c in it as there are question marks over 13c that ring alarm bells. I’m hoping the dim on its own will work and it will save me a fortune in shipping charges as I can buy it here in the UK.

Reply
    Seppo November 15, 2013

    I3C is anyway converted to DIM in the stomach and gut.

    Reply
Bibi November 15, 2013

Not always according to this article in fact a lot of by products of 13c can get left in the gut and intestines which aren’t absorbed these aren’t always cancer preventing but cancer causing which is what’s worrying me.

http://www.bioresponse.com/Real-Facts-on-Safety-13C-vs-DIM.asp

Reply
    Seppo November 15, 2013

    Thanks for the link. I could say the same thing about most nutrients. They are healthy in normal dosages but can be cancer-causing in higher doses. Given that the company sells DIM supplements, I’m not sure that they are telling you the whole story. But if we assume that what they say is correct, then it’s better to switch to DIM.

    Reply
Brittni November 18, 2013

Thanks for this article- I’m so happy you did an article on this. You’re right about the internet Estroblock rage and how convincing it all is. I needed to see a scientific standpoint.
There are so many people claiming that Estroblock worked for them, however if there isn’t clear scientific evidence and reasoning, it’s the same as reccomending birth control or other harmful drugs to acne patients because they seem to work. I’m desperate to clear my skin, and from what the majority of the internet says about it, Estroblock might just do that for me. However, as tempting as it is, I’m not going to put something in my body unless it is proven not to have any hidden adverse effects on my body.
Thank you again!

Reply
    Seppo November 25, 2013

    I can’t speak of EstroBlock, but DIM as such has been tested in a few human studies (I haven’t looked them in details, since they mostly deal with cancer), and, as far as I know, DIM should be fairly safe to take. Also, in medicine you always have to keep in mind the risk-reward ratio. Every intervention, even supplements, carry some risk, but those risks have to be balanced against the benefits. As of now, DIM has no proven benefits, but I also wouldn’t dismiss all the anecdotal reports of women clearing hormonal acne after taking DIM.

    Reply
Sanna November 21, 2013

Hi Seppo,

I have just bought my first can of Estroblock triple strength because I’ve read the raving reviews about it and how it helps hormonal acne. I’m still a bit skeptical to start eating them though, and I recently read somewhere that the D-Glucuronolactone which it contains, earlier had a rumor of causing brain tumors. Is this something you know anything about? I would be thankful for any advice as I am confused as to beginning the “treatment”.

Reply
    Seppo November 21, 2013

    As I mentioned in the article, there’s no research on how DIM affects acne. There is some preliminary research showing it improves risk factors behind acne (such as androgen hormones and mTor pathway activation). So it’s plausible it could work for acne, and there’s certainly plenty of anecdotes to support that. The only thing you can do is to try it.

    I personally wouldn’t buy anything from the company that sells EstroBlock. I find their marketing dishonest and bordering deceptive, but I would have no problems trying other DIM or I3C brands. That’s, of course, just my opinion.

    There’s almost no research on D-Glucuronolactone, and what research there is suggests it might, and that’s a very big might, could have anti-cancer properties. But with almost no research available, we just don’t know.

    Examine.com is a good site for information about supplements. Here’s their page on Glucuronolactone: http://examine.com/supplements/Glucuronolactone/

    Reply
Sanna November 21, 2013

Thank you!

Reply
Khyati November 24, 2013

I was also suffering from hormonal acne around my chin which made my life miserable. They were just ugly and too painful. I had tried everything but they just refused to go. I was suffering from this problem for almost five years. I stumbled upon Tracy’s article on Estroblock and ordered it just right after reading it. I have been taking Estroblock for 3 months now and my hormonal acne has vanished.

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    Seppo November 25, 2013

    Great, thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply
MACJ321 December 16, 2013

I appreciated your article about EstroBlock. Is there anything you can recommend for severe acne? I am tempted to buy EstroBlock because of the numerous success stories but I am not going to because of the lack of research about it. I suffer from hormonal acne around my chin and jaw area and am ready to try almost anything to get rid of it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

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    Seppo December 18, 2013

    Supplements that reduce insulin and blood sugar can be helpful in hormonal acne, so you could try cinnamon. Spearmint is another possibility. It has some degree of anti-androgenic effects.

    Reply
Maria December 20, 2013

I have no affiliation with Estroblock, I’m just a regular person who’s been using estroblock for the last month and a half. I really feel it has worked wonderfully on me so far. I do understand your point of view, though. I’m just sharing my experience with it and endorsing the fact that it did help my acne, like their site claimed it would.

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    Seppo December 24, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Amy C December 24, 2013

This was helpful! I had been reading a lot about DIM for a different reason – excess estrogen is frequently (as correlated by many, many studies) implicated in gallbladder issues, which I started having recently after some hormone problems. One of my doctors offhandedly mentioned DIM. I went searching around and found Estroblock, and then found this site so I decided not to get it. But I did decide to go with straight DIM instead.

It didn’t help a whole lot with the gallbladder issues, unfortunately. But HOLY MONKEYS. My years and years long battle with hormonal jawline and neck acne? GONE. Just…gone. In a matter of 5 days, it cleared up. It hasn’t come back, and its been almost..what, two months now? It’s the only thing I’ve changed, so it is very likely the DIM. I couldn’t be any freaking happier! Obviously this is just anecdote, but I clearly didn’t need the whole estroblock thing – Just good ol’ DIM worked like a charm.

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    Seppo December 26, 2013

    Wow, that sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience and hope DIM keeps working for you! Just a note, I don’t think that the acne-clearing properties of DIM come down to ‘getting rid of excess estrogen’. All the studies I’ve seen point to acne patients having relatively low levels of estrogens, especially in relation to their androgen levels. Though there’s not that much research into this.

    DIM has some anti-androgenic properties and test tube studies shows it inhibits the mTor pathway, a sort of a master regulator protein in acne. If DIM indeed does help with acne, it’s far more likely due to those.

    Reply
Celine M December 25, 2013

I have tried this supplement too after reading Tracy and Fran were raving about it. I do have to say that I was taking birth control pills and still eating processed foods, but it broke me out big time. It did definitely something hormonal, but not in the right ways. Though I never had the same acne pattern that they had. They don’t pop up like cysts on my chin, cheek and neck area. I do get cysts on the left side of my temples and hairline and on my chin it’s just whiteheads who get inflamed and turn into a pimple. Anyway, it made all the existing whiteheads and blackheads on my chin and forehead inflame and cause a big pussy pimple. My skin went oilier too. I really don’t know what happend inside of me, def. something hormonal. Same thing happend with maca powder… So I stopped taking that immediately too.

Getting scarier each day to quit birth control pills… I’m breaking out over every hormonal change!

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    Seppo December 26, 2013

    Sorry to hear that. This is one reason I’m wary of supplements that haven’t been tested. Regardless of how many glowing testimonials there are we really have no idea of what they do in the body. The fact that most people often forget that if a supplement is to have a positive effect in the body it therefore interferes with the chemical processes in the body. This means it has potential to also cause negative effects. In this regard supplements are no different from drugs, except that drugs have been studied and tested quite extensively and we have a better idea of the effect they have.

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As January 2, 2014

I am a 22 years old female who have been suffering with mild acne since my teenage years. I have tried everything, but nothing worked to clear it up. I have been using Estroblock Triple Strength for a month now, taking two capsules daily, and to be honest, I have seen a steady improvement. I am not acne free yet, but my skin has never looked better. If I get a pimple or so it goes away so quickly and it is of a completely different nature. No more painful bumps! Surely, this product is worth trying.

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    Seppo January 3, 2014

    Surely, any DIM supplement would do.

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Cleo January 26, 2014

Hi there,

I just wanted to post my recent experience with Estroblock. I found out about it from High On Health’s Fran on youtube.

I was skeptical, as are most acne-sufferers, that again this was just hype and that it wouldn’t work for my stubborn skin (which seems to be very hormonal based). I then found this article and was even more put off about it.

However, as having bad skin can be so so depressing, unattractive and upsetting I thought I would give it a go – yes it is expensive as the shipping also bumps up the cost as I live in London, UK, but I can hand on my heart say that this has been a complete and utter savior to my skin and my confidence.

I took 3 a day as suggested by Fran and after one week I was waking up each morning to find that no new spots had come to greet me during the night. Two weeks after I had not had a new spot since. I am now nearly 2 months into taking Estroblock Triple Strength and my acne (which I have suffered with since I was 13 years old – I am now 25) is completely gone. I actually think I have had 2 tiny pimples on more forehead but these last a day or two and compared to having a face full of horrible whiteheads, blackheads, big red bumps, sore deep clogged pores along my jaw and chin, I am now incredibly happy and thankful that I did give Estroblock a go.

My skin is glowing, any red patches are eradicated, my skin is soft, smooth, healthy and most importantly I am so so happy. I too am taking birth control and have been for many years, this has not affected me negatively in any way and in fact it has soothed any ‘time of the month’ spots I used to get.

I think regardless of the brand, all the posts above speak for themselves and if there is any chance that another acne-sufferer can find their ‘cure’ by taking ANY DIM brand, Estroblock or not, then I would never ever ever try and stop someone from finding something that could really work for them. It’s also really nice to read about lots of other peoples success stories with this – and for those that haven’t had luck I hope that they do so soon wit whatever works best with their bodies.

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    Seppo January 28, 2014

    I’m glad to hear that EstroBlock is working for you, and I do sincerely hope it keeps working for you.

    I think it’s, however, misleading to say I’m trying to stop people from taking EstroBlock. I pointed out in the article that there is preliminary data to show DIM could be helpful, it appears to reduce androgens and down-regulate the mTor pathway, which is sort of a master regulator in acne.

    These effects have nothing to do with the nonsensical claims that DIM somehow detoxifies ‘toxic’ estrogens, or that these ‘toxic estrogens’ would somehow cause acne.

    I don’t consider pointing out the misleading claims made by the promoters of EstroBlock as trying to stop anyone from using it. I’m sure most people agree that if you are going to try something, it’s better you do so with all the available information at hand.

    It also seems to me that you make the mistake of generalizing from positive testimonials to the entire population. People who get good results with this are far more likely to report their experiences than people who see no results. So we are not getting the whole story here. Out of every 100 people trying EstroBlock, who knows how many of get results and how many don’t. One needs this information in order to make an informed decision, and one can’t get it from reading positive testimonials.

    Reply
      Tree Flower January 28, 2014

      Not to mention the possible side effects and interactions that haven’t been studied at all. Maybe certain people should never take DIM because of their health problems but we have no idea. And maybe it is dangerous for everyone but we don’t know it yet (radium, anybody?). I mean, why put our bodies at risk and experiment when we are not even compensated for it? If you are so keen to put new and not well studied drugs in your body, then become a research subject, you will at least get the drug for free and maybe even receive some compensation.
      I wouldn’t take anything now before I know the side effects and contraindications. My body is too valuable.

      Reply
        Seppo January 29, 2014

        Good point. People often forget, or don’t realize, that for a product to have a positive effect it also must have the potential for negative effects. The human biology is so complicated that you can’t tweak it without potentially negative consequences. That’s why we need science to figure out the treatments that have the best positive effects with the least potential for harm.

        Reply
liz January 28, 2014

That’s on Eostroblock which unfortunately is not available in my country. please tell us about Diane 35 pills and Yasmine. can you recommend them for the treatment of hormonal acne for someone on birth control method.

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    Seppo January 29, 2014

    Please talk to your doctor about these. He/she can asses your situation and see if bc pills are appropriate.

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Getoffyourhighhorse February 12, 2014

I love how a blog that aims to be based around scientific studies can simultaneously be so condescending and clearly biased.

Your “astute” observation that there is little research backing alternative medicine is tired and ignorant of how the research community works.

There’s no funding for researching alternative medicine. Pharma companies have no incentive to pour funds into this and there are very few grants large enough that would support the kind of definitive study you’re asking for. Human clinical studies are not only pricey but a headache for researchers because of the amount of red tape surrounding them.

Alternative medicine gets a bad rap because people don’t understand the fact that research is primarily dictated by the availability of funds. If the money isn’t there then the research isn’t. This isn’t to say that all alternative medicine works, only that across the board funding is minimal.

Additionally, I think it’s funny that some people are so vehemently against alternative medicine, citing that the companies hype their product with unjust claims. They seem to forget that basically every company that is selling something does this. Just because it’s related to your health they shouldn’t be hyping their product? Because it’s not like pharmaceutical companies do that at all (hello commercials with smiling old people jogging into the sunset…). It’s not like that shit gets pulled off the market all the time…

Finally, just because there is no research on a specific something, does not invalidate it or send it out of the realm of possibility. For example, all insulin resistance signaling in the literature cites IRS-1 as the protein to inactivate, thus screwing with insulins glucoregulatory signaling pathway. However, are there other proteins in the pathway that are probably junked up by the byproducts of the insulin resistance mechanisms? Yeah, probably. We just don’t know yet. But based on the complexity of hormonal signaling it would make sense.

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    Seppo February 12, 2014

    If you believe I’m biased, I’m sure you can point out several examples of such bias.

    Regarding funding of studies on alt-med treatments. I would suggest less repeating common alt-med tropes and more research. It’s true that pharma companies don’t fund research on alt-med treatments, but it’s a myth that nobody studies alt-med treatments. The US government, through National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and National Cancer Institute (NCI), spends close to $300 million every year to fund research on alt-med treatments. $300 million buys a lot of research. Unfortunately the money is largely wasted.

    If you are truly interested in this, I suggest you read the following article published in the Skeptical Inquirer:

    http://spacs.gmu.edu/measuring-mythology-startling-concepts-in-nccam-grants/

    The authors examined NCCAM and NIC grants from 2000 to 2012. They found that despite over $1.3 billion spent they could not provide convincing evidence for even a single alt-med treatment.

    That’s why I’m against alt-med. It doesn’t work and is just a waste of time and money. There are ways to get over acne naturally, or at least significantly reduce it, that doesn’t involve magical thinking.

    Just look at the other posts I’ve written here. I’ve written about the power of diet, certain supplements, stress, natural skincare, etc. to get over acne. All of the posts reference scientific studies. So just because pharma companies don’t fund this kind of research doesn’t mean nobody does it.

    Reply
      Carole November 24, 2014

      No money is spent on CAM (alt med) but some companies do their own research. (here in Oz, Swisse do good research, not valid for peer reviewed journals, but available to view)
      And it is not true that CAM does not work, some CAM meds work for various conditions, Oil of Oregano works well on histamine mediated fungal allergens. But I would still prescribe Nystatin.
      I really really want some scientific evidence on DIM. I don’t think ‘suppressing the estrogens’ is what it does. That may be a side effect of what it does. My best guess from my interest in the microbiome is that it suppresses certain histamine inducing pro inflammatory gut pathogens. The 3 known effective treatments for acne (and you can find a few papers to show this) are a raw food diet for 90 days, surely that changes the gut flora, the Vitamin A treatments which cause the skin to turn over faster, so pathogens can’t cling to skin (and the gut is skin) and no sebum glands mature to produce oil, and FMT, faecal matter transfer, this is very experimental but with great results for Ulcerative colitis and even crohn’s disease, but in cases of acne and eczema have been cured, almost as a side effect. This repopulates the microbiome. So my thoughts are that DIM works on the gut flora, just as eating a tonne of sauerkraut would!
      Dr. T. Borody for next Nobel prize, to share with Dr. D. Purlmutter please!
      Also ref: Alitretinoin and Dr. T. Ruzicka.

      Reply
        Seppo Puusa November 26, 2014

        I respectfully disagree, Carol. The US government alone funds close to 1/2 billion dollars worth of research on CAM every year. You can see the funding statistics here: http://nccam.nih.gov/about/budget/institute-center.htm

        In 2009 NBC reported that even with $2.5 billion spent on research, no valid alternative cures have been found. Lot of this money goes into highly implausible modalities like acupuncture, homeopathy, prayer and other energy healing techniques.

        Yes, I do agree with you that there are some herbs and supplements under the CAM umbrella that do work. I’ve written about quite a few of them on this blog also, such as cinnamon and berberine for blood sugar control. Many herbs also have antibacterial properties. In fact, I’m working with a chemist to develop my own skin cream. I used to turmeric because it’s strongly anti-bacterial against P. Acnes.

        When I said alt-med treatments don’t work, I meant homeopathy, acupuncture, detoxing and other truly alternative treatments.

        I think FMT is one of the most promising, if not alluring, treatments for gut issues. The problem with probiotics and such is that you don’t really know the makeup of your gut microbiome and you could be putting in wrong bacteria. Whenever I take probiotics I tend to get constipated and breakout a day or two later. Not sure if that would pass in time, but at one point I persisted for 3 weeks before ditching the pills. In a week my gut was again working nicely and my skin was clear.

        Reply
Adel-Alexander Aldilemi February 15, 2014

Hey Sep, I was wondering in your next two post could maybe cover the following topics ”Why it’s okay to be acne-prone” and ”How to get rid of red hyper post inflammatory marks” Maybe? I think it would help out a lot of person if you covered those!

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    Seppo February 15, 2014

    I already have something written for post-inflammatory marks. I have a whole new section coming to the site where you can find effective ingredients and products for acne-related skin conditions (acne, oily skin, hyperpigmentation, etc.). I’m waiting for a web design company to finish coding the new design and section. We are already at the late stages of the project, so hopefully it’s not too long anymore.

    Regarding the other post, I won’t make any promises, but I’ll put it on my content calendar. I’m working on a 2 sites at the same time, so I have less time to dedicate on AcneEinstein at the moment.

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Tree Flower February 15, 2014

Is your second site also dedicated to acne?
I think it would be great if you talk about makeup as well. I know you are a guy but many people use makeup to hide acne and worry if it might be bad for the skin. I had been told so many times how I should never use foundation on my skin and for years I went on with bare skin or just a concealer. Had I known earlier that makeup is not evil I would have saved myself a lot of pain because even if my skin is not clear it can at least look clear and I can save myself the embarrassment at least temporary. I think there are guys as well who would like to try some kind of makeup to hide the imperfections.

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    Seppo February 16, 2014

    Nope, the new site is NerdLifting.com (nothing really there yet), a site that’s dedicated to weight lifting and fitness and hopefully details my attempts to get myself back to decent shape. Of course combined with the nerdy science stuff you are seeing here.

    I can write something about makeup. I did a quick PubMed search and there’s very little published regarding the effect of makeup on acne, but I can put something together. Perhaps you can help me out a bit. Could you email me with some concerns and points you’d like to see addressed in the post? It’s not a topic I’m really familiar with, so would be good to get some insider knowledge.

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Liora A February 21, 2014

Hi SEPPO!

I too am trying to get rid of red marks on my face from my acne I had.. did you do any post yet about products and what not?

Also do you have anything regarding sunscreen? i’m having such a hard time finding the right sunscreen.. from what i know in the past it should have titaniom dioxide in it and zinc but i dont really know much about sunscreen and which are good for not clogging pores and causing acne.. if you have any advice feedback or products to reccemond i would really appreciate..

all the products you’ve recommended in your book have really helped me and were sooo affordable! means a lot thank you so much

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    Seppo February 21, 2014

    Not yet, I’m waiting for the web design company to finish coding the new design and features. The test version is more or less fully functional already, so hopefully I’ll get it live soon.

    I can’t say much about sunscreens, having never looked into them. My advice would be to grab some light (water-based) sunscreen that’s labeled noncomedogenic. There’s really no way for outsiders to determine if a certain formulation will clog the pores or not. Even formulation that contains comedogenic ingredients can be noncomedogenic as a whole.

    Glad to hear I’ve been able to help you :)

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Liora A February 23, 2014

Seppo.. I signed up to get your new 5 skincare regime small free book you have and confirmed my email but never got it :/

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    Seppo February 24, 2014

    It might have ended to the spam folder or something else, email delivery is fraught with problems. Anyway, I just emailed you the link to the PDF.

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Angel March 26, 2014

All I’m going to say is that scientifically proven or otherwise, Estroblock has made a bigger difference in my skin than anything I have ever taken or done. And I say estroblock not DIM because I took a different brand for months with no change. I have been trying to solve this bloody mystery for almost 10 years through dietary and holistic means with minimal success.

And by the way, Einstein, I followed your raw/ fruit diet advice to a T for at least 1 of those years and my skin got progressively worse and worse to the point where I had crippling depression and purple, giant cysts all over my face. It also did irreparable damage to my teeth.

I will be sticking with Estroblock, thank you.

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    Tree Flower March 26, 2014

    That’s great, but do you know the possible side effects? Is it OK to use during pregnancy or right before pregnancy? Can you do some long term harm? Are you sure you can just take it without a doctor’s supervision? Are there any interactions with other drugs that you need to take into account? Is there something you have to avoid while taking it? For instance, retinoins work for acne but make you more sensitive to sunlight so you need to use sunscreen. Do you know any such things about estroblock?

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    Seppo March 26, 2014

    If you believe it works for you then by all means keep using it. I’m not saying it doesn’t or can’t work, just that it’s far less scientific than the company would have you believe. I pointed out earlier that DIM can inhibit androgens and the mTor-pathway, both or which make it plausible as an acne cure.

    Regarding raw food diet.. guilty as charged. Not too long ago had no clue of critical thinking and skepticism used to believe into lot of the alt-med nonsense, even recommended it on my earlier websites and books. Not something I’m proud of now, and I want to apologize for it. It happens when one doesn’t understand critical thinking and scientific evidence and is too eager to believe nonsense sprouted by the natural health gurus.

    As it happens, the same process of critical thinking and evaluating evidence makes me skeptical of EstroBlock.

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Angela April 19, 2014

I can only talk about my experience with Estroblock, and it has been great! My skin drastically improved – no more big blind pimples that I have had for the last 18 years – and I’ve tried so many other things I can’t even count! So I’ll continue to keep taking them!

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    Seppo Puusa April 21, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and glad to hear you are getting good results with it.

    Reply
jcpeace May 26, 2014

How much did Proactive pay you to write this hit piece?

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    Seppo Puusa May 27, 2014

    Because telling people how a company makes ridiculous claims based on ZERO scientific evidence and deceiving customers is obviously evil.

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Whitney June 10, 2014

So I am not a scientist, nor am I that person who does extensive research about supplements except for trying them based on referrals. All I have to say is this: I had some annoying hormonal acne and conventional medicine wasn’t doing the trick — not by a long shot. So I looked online for natural remedies and found a site called TheLoveVitamin.com. I followed this woman’s regimen, and my acne cleared completely within one month. Part of the regimen was taking EstroBlock. That being said, I cannot say if my results were because of EstroBlock, or because of the other supplements I was taking. All I know is that all three were supposedly cleansing my liver. I also made a shift in diet and completely eliminated all sugar, grain, and most processed foods — but then again, I had always eaten closely to this paradigm. The big difference for me was cutting out alcohol for one month and laying off the Trader Joe’s blue-corn tortilla chips (my achilles heel after a long day at work). I share my experience because I’m a firm believer that one should be their own scientist and see what works for them. I’m here to testify that TheLoveVitamin gave me a solution, and it included EstroBlock. I guess my next experiment will be to not take it and see what happens.

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    Seppo Puusa June 12, 2014

    Glad to hear you found something that works for you, Whitney.

    I fully agree that we have to be our own scientists and figure out what works for each individual. Science can serve as a useful starting point, but it can never tell what works for you.

    I know the supplements Tracy recommends. I actually recommend some of them also, but for different reasons. One of the so-called liver cleansing supplements is sillymarin. One study showed that people who took sillymarin saw 50% reduction in acne. But this has nothing to do with cleansing or supporting the liver. Sillymarin works because it’s an antioxidant and reduces oxidative stress that can aggravate acne.

    I’m also not saying EstroBlock doesn’t work. There is some preliminary data to suggest it may. But if it does work for acne it probably has nothing to do with ‘detoxifying estrogens’. If anything, estrogens protect against acne and the last thing you want is to have less estrogens. EstroBlock, or DIM, may work against acne because it’s ‘androgen blocker’ and mTor inhibitor.

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Niki June 22, 2014

It’s always great to see all perspectives around what we ingest. I personally struggled with skin issues that no diet etc. could clear. Within two weeks Estroblock cleared my skin and I’ve been taking it for 8 months. I didn’t change anything else in my regime. I just felt I should share as it’s worth a go if you’ve done everything else :)

Thanks for your input!

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    Seppo Puusa June 23, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Niki! Happy to hear you found something that works.

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carolethecatlover July 17, 2014

I wandered into this website looking for ‘estroblock ingredients’.
I am a researcher into dyshidrosis and vitamin A as a treatment.
One of my patients took estroblock and it cured her acne and her dyshidrosis.
I am very intrigued. As you say, not much research, lots of antedotes out there.
Vitamin A works on many skin conditions in 2 ways, blocking various receptors and making the skin ‘turn over’ faster. I thought I would find either vitamin A or some retinol precursor in estroblock.
So far no, and I am looking into DIM: What exactly does it do? I am seriously intrigued. Has anybody had eczema cured by this product? What about hormonal effects? Alteration to period cycles? PCOS? Pregnancy? Please I want antedotes, you have to start with antedotes, but then apply scientific rigor.

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    Seppo Puusa July 18, 2014

    Carole, from what I understand some women taking EstroBlock report it helps with periods and other hormonal issues.

    EstroBlock is more or less just DIM. They probably use a ‘bioresponse’ form that’s better absorbed, but other than that I don’t think there’s anything that special about it.

    How DIM helps acne is not yet know, but I’m fairly certain is has nothing to do with ‘estrogen blocking’. I have two hypothesis, both unfortunately based only on in vitro data.

    1. DIM inhibits the mTor pathway. Here’s one paper on the molecular mechanisms of how mTor could cause acne: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408989/. Dr. Bodo Melnik has published several other papers on this. There’s in vitro data to show DIM may downregulate the mTor pathway.
    2. DIM acts as ‘anti-androgen’. I remember seeing some in vitro data on this, but I don’t remember the exact mechanism now. DIM may block androgen receptors or it may inhibit conversion of testosterone to DHT. However, to be effective in acne these would have to happen in the skin, as that’s where most of the excess ‘androgen action’ in acne takes place.

    I would also like to see more research on this. The placebo effect is fairly prominent in acne studies and that’s why I usually don’t pay much attention to anecdotes. However, in case of DIM/EstroBlock I’m seeing more than the usual amount of anecdotes, so it’s possible DIM supplements have an anti-acne effect.

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      carolethecatlover August 15, 2014

      Thank you so much.
      It might work by changing some gut flora. This Microbiota research is showing that FMT is ‘curing’ acne as well as the UC etc. We live in exciting times.

      Reply
        Seppo Puusa August 16, 2014

        That’s another possibility. Though if I have to put money on the table, I’d say it works by inhibiting androgens or the mTor-pathway. I say this because the vast majority of positive comments come from women and often also mention improvements in other hormone-related issues. Anyway, have to wait for further research to sort this out.

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          Carole August 24, 2014

          Seppo, Absolutely with you!
          You need a liver detox?
          No alcohol or meds and drink lots of water!
          Don’t be a vegetarian. All the liver enzymes are protein bases.
          Carole

          Reply
Laura August 15, 2014

What would you recommend to someone who wants to detox there liver?

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    Seppo Puusa August 16, 2014

    Nothing. Based on the current scientific understanding of reality, there’s no good reason to think the liver needs any cleansing. Or even if it did, no good reason to believe the herbs and other concoctions would do anything to cleanse the liver.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned by reading scientific medical studies it’s how difficult it is to know anything with any degree of certainty. The people who promote liver cleansing and sell the various cleanses and flushes have not done the necessary groundwork to establish that 1) many people suffer from liver problems, 2) those problems can be corrected by cleansing the liver, and 3) that the various cleanses and flushes have any positive effect on the body.

    I wrote about liver flushing in more detail in another post.

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Jenni August 20, 2014

I started taking estroblock just yesterday. I took one capsule with lunch and one with dinner. Last night, for several hours I had a persistant abdominal pain on my right side just below my ribs. I fell asleep thinking if it worsened I may be going to the emergency room in the middle of the night. When I woke up this morning, the pain was gone but I have hives all over, mostly on my stomach, back, thighs and upper arms. I wonder how many people have had similar reactions.

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nicole August 24, 2014

I hope your article does not diacourage anyone from trying estroblock. After decades of being on every acne medication available, I changed my diet which had major effects on my skin (you need to eliminate all grains, legumes, sugars, and soy). I still had some cystic issues and figured they were hormonal. Estroblock immediately cleared them up completely. Also lowered my sex drive so I know it is effecting my hormones. It has since helped dozens of people I know in real life. Its totally worth the money and I hope people read this so they become aware estroblock is legit and there is something out there that will really help them.

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    Seppo Puusa August 25, 2014

    I’m glad to hear it’s working for you.

    However, I do find it odd that people often criticize me for being critical of EstroBlock (or any other alt-med remedy for that matter). If I had some harsh words at EstroBlock it’s because of the company selling it engages in borderline deception – as I outlined in this post. Not to mention that they sell countless dubious remedies in addition to EstroBlock, blood purifies and cell stabilizer supplements to name a few.

    If someone is put off from EstroBlock after hearing this, then the company has only themselves to blame. As I have said a few times in these comments, DIM itself is a plausible remedy for acne. But we need more research to say for sure.

    I’d also like to point out that we can’t conclude anything based on user reports, like yours here. It’s possible that the company selling the products posts these reports to various sites. I’m not saying they do, but testimonial and review faking is very common online, so we certainly can’t rule it out.

    Even assuming the reports are real, we can’t really conclude anything from them because there are no controls in place. Several studies show that the placebo effect is quite strong in acne studies. Something like 30% of the people in the placebo group improve.

    I would like to see more research done on DIM because I believe it can be helpful in acne. But until those studies are done, it’s too early to say much about it.

    Reply
Carole August 24, 2014

Interesting about the HIves, Jenni.
Could be a Herxheimer effect as the DIM kills the microbiota.
As a side of reading the success stories posted on the power of poop (I’m not here for the acne, I study dyshidrosis, an allergic condition to dermatophytes, and FMT is proving effective) one kid took FMT for UC and his acne went, which shows a disturbed microbiome is causing acne, in a limited way. Would love to run a trial of this!
Carole in Sydney

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    Seppo Puusa August 25, 2014

    Sorry, what’s FMT?

    There’s preliminary research connecting gut microbiota to acne and other skin problems. I covered this in the gut-skin axis section.

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Laurie September 4, 2014

I have suffered from pretty bad cystic acne for about 10 years. I have been taking Estroblock for less than 2 weeks and it’s the clearest my skin has been in a long time. I stand by Estroblock. Lots of people do. Maybe you should update your article.

On another note, I’m a chemist. I have experience in research, publishing articles, working with the FDA, etc. My conclusion: published articles are only a couple steps above internet blogs, in that they do conduct experiments and are peer reviewed, but they certainly aren’t biblical, absolute truth (ie the gluten studies, autism/vaccine studies) and the FDA is just another government body and isn’t after the best interest of the people.

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    Seppo Puusa September 4, 2014

    I’m glad to hear that your skin is doing better, and hope it stays that way. That said, your comment doesn’t really offer any new information, so I don’t see the need to update the post. I said that DIM is potentially useful treatment for acne, and I would like to see more research done on it, but at the moment it’s not possible to say anything definitive about it.

    I wonder what kind of research you’ve been looking at if you think published papers are ‘only a couple of steps’ above blog posts. Perhaps you need to read higher quality journals..

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Esther September 18, 2014

I appreciate your article; the way Estroblock is marketed (and I3C in general) seems a little off. I’m not sure how it works, it’s not explained well and it’s really lacking some solid research.
HOWEVER it worked for me. I don’t know how, but after seeing a consistent pattern of breaking out during my periods, it stopped. My naturopath had suggested I3C to balance my hormones and I purchased a brand from her but didn’t see convincing results; but when I tried Estroblock my hormonal acne came to a screeching halt after two weeks. I continued to take it for six months and my skin remains clear. I strongly believe this works best for girls with hormonal acne.

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    Seppo Puusa September 18, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Esther. i do think DIM/I3C is a plausible treatment for acne. There’s in vitro data to show it works on the hormonal pathways that lead to acne. I would like to see more research on this as there are a lot of anecdotal reports, like yours.

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Colleen October 2, 2014

Thanks for this article. You’ve presented a balanced argument.

I’ve decided it’s worth giving DIM a try, since there are so many positive testimonials from women. However, I won’t use Estroblock. I completely agree with you that their advertising is misleading, and I believe the information they present is incomplete. They don’t tell us what type of DIM complex they use, nor how much of the complex is actually DIM.

If they are using BioResponse DIM, then their product is actually very similar to other products out there.

Since they also include I3C, presumably there is more overall diindolylmethane in their product. They also seem to suggest that people take more of their product than other companies do. I suspect that if people are getting results with Estroblock and not with other brands, the reason is that they are ingesting MORE than they would with other products – or they started with a cheaper brand that was not as bioavailable. Either way, the company is misleading which a huge turn-off, and I do not think they’re as unique as they’d like everyone to believe.

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    Seppo Puusa October 3, 2014

    Thanks for your comment. I do think that DIM is worth trying, especially for women who suffer from hormonal-type acne. It may not be that helpful for other acne-types.

    I’m certain their product is similar to other DIM products out there. I’ve been developing my own skin cream recently and in that process I learned just how easy it is to have your own private-label supplement or skin care product. Basically, there are companies that allow you to sell their products under your own brand, to private label them. That’s why there are hundreds of different supplement brands out there.

    The company selling EstroBlock doesn’t strike me as a sort of a company that would do a lot of basic research required for finding new ingredients. That kind of work is expensive and requires extensive scientific experience and knowledge. It’s far more likely they’ve either taken some supplement as private label or paid to develop their own formula combining some form or DIM with I3C.

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Dana October 11, 2014

In all honesty I find this “research” to be very poorly researched. One of the reasons is the androgen and estrogen part. First of all, you can have a hormonal imbalance of your estrogen hormones considering you have around 400 different kinds of hormones in your body. You have good and BAD estrogens in your body as a female and if the BAD ones are over the good ones then it can cause acne, You cannot say that estrogen helps acne because not all of it is good estrogen.

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    Seppo Puusa October 13, 2014

    In all honesty I find this “research” to be very poorly researched I don’t like what you say, therefore you are wrong.

    There. I fixed it for you.

    I find it ironical that you call my article to be poorly researched and yet are willing to accept the claim that ‘toxic estrogens’ somehow cause acne. And even criticize me when I don’t agree on it.

    I’m not an expert on female hormones, and it’s possible I’m wrong about this. I just wonder on what these people base the claim that toxic estrogens cause acne. We have very little evidence on the role estrogen plays on acne. It’s possible that certain estrogens indeed cause acne. But so far all the evidence points to the opposite direction. So I really wonder how these people can claim that ‘toxic’ estrogens cause acne? Based on what?

    Based on what I’ve seen in the alt-med world, I guess that their reasoning is ass backwards. Here’s what I think happened:

    1. Most likely they noticed that DIM helped some people with acne.
    2. Then they see highly preliminary research that DIM indeed affects estrogen metabolism and changes the ratio of some estrogen metabolites.
    3. Conclusion: Some estrogen metabolites cause acne.
    4. Such metabolites are labeled toxic and the marketing campaign can begin.

    Again I want to stress that we have very little data on how estrogen affects acne. So how these people can be so sure that certain estrogen metabolites cause acne? Perhaps ongoing product sales have something to do with that.

    You cannot say that estrogen helps acne because not all of it is good estrogen.

    And you cannot say that bad estrogens cause acne because a) nobody knows that, and b) it’s not established that there even are ‘toxic estrogens’.

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Carole October 11, 2014

Yes, I am sure it works but not for the reasons the ‘company’ are telling you.
I am interested in this product because one of my dyshidrosis (which I research) took it for her acne, and the acne and the dyshidrosis cleared completely.
I am trying to find another patient to do this. If you have Acne and Dyshidrosis, I’ll buy you 3 months supply of Estroblock……
Yes, there is no peer reviewed journal research that I can find.

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marika October 30, 2014

with hormonal acne, I realised that anything with added sugar causes acne as the insulin is resistant and sugar increases the hormone production

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TAG November 13, 2014

Hi-I am have nothing to gain but only to tell my experiences with Estroblock. I have had extremely bad hormonal acne after going off the pill and have tried everything on earth to clear up my skin. I began taking Estroblock and after two doses I noticed something positive happening to my skin and after two weeks had clear skin which I did not have in many, many years. It can be so depressing and makes you so self conscious to have acne when you are 43 years old! Anyway, I took Estroblock for two months and thought I would save money by purchasing Natures Made Bioresponse DIM but this didn’t help and caused my skin to back to breaking out. I reordered Estroblock and my skin cleared up again. I brought this to my naturopath and he said there is no harm in taking it and especially since it is helping I can continue to take it. Something I have learned along the way is how terribly harmful birth control pills are. No one knows the true, full scope of what these are doing to our bodies long term. They absolutely alter you testosterone receptors forever and who know what other things it is causing. Women have been guinea pigs for all these years and now we are suffering for it. They push all these benefits without telling us the long term side effects. Anyone who wants to get of bc should wean themselves off very gradually by cutting their pills–of course they won’t prevent pregnancy so use another method. Birth control pills are pure evil. Estroblock is truly amazing for me.

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    Seppo Puusa November 24, 2014

    I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you.

    Though I do find it ironic that one one hand you accuse doctors of using women as guinea pigs for birth control pills and yet are willing to take mostly untested supplement and assume it’s safe. Birth control pills have been used for decades and I’m sure scientists have a pretty good idea what they’ll do in the body. While I agree that some women don’t tolerate them well it’s pretty clear that most women have no problems with them.

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sarah November 19, 2014

Hi there, thanks for your article.

I have nothing in the slightest to gain from this, in fact rarely feel the need to comment on an article. I have been using estroblock for two months and my skin is clear for the first time in 4 years. Your disregarding DIM, yet telling people to try cinnamon and peppermint – this is simply ridiculous. There is actually a large body of academic scientific research supporting DIM. There is a large body of research surrounding oestrogen within the naturopathy community – though this hasn’t been investigated by the medical community as of yet. When the time comes you’ll look like a fool prescribing people peppermint. Do more research buddy.
Estroblock wont work for everyone but its worked for me and i was VERY sceptical.

Have fun with your cinnamon sticks pepperoni face ;)

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    Seppo Puusa November 24, 2014

    I’m glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you.

    Perhaps you would be less likely to denounce me if you would realize we are both after the same thing. I would also like to find safe and effective treatments for acne. Where we differ is standards of evidence.

    As much as possible, I try to rely on published scientific evidence – not what any single doctor or naturopath says.

    You said that there’s a large body is academic research supporting DIM. I didn’t say there isn’t. I pointed out that the vast majority of that research is preliminary. Test tube and animal studies. The problem is that you can’t conclude anything from such studies. They are useful as preliminary evidence to investigate whether something could work and what the mechanism would be, but you can’t conclude from them that the substance has any effects on humans.

    If the company selling EstroBlock would say that many of our customers got clear after using EstroBlock, I would have no problem with them. But I do take issue when they abuse the scientific process for their own profit. When I was writing this post they more or less explicitly stated that their products are scientifically proven. And yet the only thing they can muster to support the statement is a bunch of preliminary test tube and animal studies. This is clearly deceptive and anyone who understands scientific medical research knows you can’t make such conclusions based on preliminary research.

    EstroBlock may indeed work on acne. I’ve stated several times in the comments that it’s possible. However, if it does work, it probably has nothing to do with ‘detoxing estrogens’. DIM may have anti-androgenic effects, which would make it as plausible treatment for acne. Whether it actually works or not remains to be seen.

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Nicole November 24, 2014

I don’t have any strong opinions about one perspective over another, who really knows. I’d like to share my experience. I’m not sure how estroblock works but it’s the only bandaid supplement that cleared my skin after 10+yrs of skin issues. I’d like to know how it works regardless of what they claim. Are there consequences to taking E.B. Triple that show up later? Is taking this related to my non-existent testosterone levels in a recent blood test…which apprently doesn’t matter according to conventional MD.

Birth control caused serious havoc on my body. In my opinion, it may depend on how long you take it, your detoxing pathways functionality, and each individual has their own threshold. B.C. appears to have added to my chronic fatigue severely. Through years of experimentation and Functional MD’s confirming this for me now. It is also related to my high copper levels (so im told) which is related to chronic fatigue. Does this have anything to do with bad estrogens building up… maybe.. Everything is connected and can add to the body burden.

I continue to take EB triple strength, after a break for a few months the breakouts slowly returned. This suggests that it doesn’t get to the root of the issue (year and a half of taking it). My guess is that it deals with a byproduct of the root issue. It’s a helpful solution, addressed what I purchased it for but like most bandaid supplements, not ideal unless it really is balancing the root imbalance. Id have to become my own scientist!

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    Seppo Puusa November 26, 2014

    Great comment Nicole! Yes, I fully agree that EB is a band-aid solution. That said, everything you do to acne is a band-aid solution. Diet is a band-aid solution since it doesn’t get rid of the genetic disposition to get acne. Diet can manage acne, but it can never cure it – so far nothing can, with possible exception of isotretioin.

    Anyway, glad to hear you’ve found something that works for you.

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carole November 24, 2014

I too, would love to know the science behind it. I am a scientist, of sorts, really a podiatrist studying dyshidrosis, I had a one off cure of dyshidrosis from someone taking EB for their acne. It seems to me that it affects the gut microbiome. BC and all steroids and do not forget that testosterone and estrogen are steroids, can alter the microbiome, (if you do have this, FMT is a cure, but almost illegal in the US, OK here in Oz, we have the world expert, Dr. T. Borody)
I keep looking up DIM in peer reviewed databases to no avail. If somebody could direct me to some serious studies, I will redirect and explain them to you, if necessary.
That it is not well studied does not mean it does not work. I am taking it now, just as an experiment, if I lose my pickwickian gut, I’d be happy, but so far, I think I sleep better and some redness in my face seems calmer, this is not acne, but just me as a redhead, part of my atopy syndrome.

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Nicole November 26, 2014

Carole/Seppo, good thoughts.

I’ve had digestive issues since birth and I did increase variety in my diet when my skin improved… The skin was ok but the digestion not. I wonder how many others with acne suffer with food intolerances etc? Does DIM have any effect on thyroid because of the veg content)?
Carbs exasperated the issue however after 15yrs of suffering from malnutrition and poor food selection, I’ve learned food is not at the root anymore (as Seppo pointed out). Those diets messed up my metabolism and thyroid function and lowered my immune system which only keeps acne and other ailments sticking around. Ive been trying to get into an FMT study here in Canada without any luck. If I do and I can stop EB – we’ll potentially see the connection. Right now I’m working on balancing minerals for better digestion and metabolism and therefor reducing food intolerances and hormonal imbalances which hopefully naturally will change the messages that create acne. Explained in my lament “logic terms”.

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    Seppo Puusa November 29, 2014

    Nicole, have you looked into FODMAPs? They are difficult to digest sugars that are linked to irritable bowel syndrome and other gut issues. Studies have shows low FODMAP diet is more effective than standard treatment diets for IBS. From personal experience I can say that my skin remains in a good shape as long as I avoid the biggest FODMAP offenders (for my gut); things like onions, strawberries, pure cocoa, grapes. I can tolerate moderate amounts of wheat and grains once in a while (like pizza or a burger every now and then), but eating them in larger quantities or more than occasionally usually messes up my gut.

    The problem with DIM is that we still don’t have a good idea what it really does in the body. There’s some evidence that it affects estrogen metabolism, but, contrary to the hype, it’s not clear yet what effect this has.

    Measuring estrogen metabolites is a proxy measure, like blood pressure. Some proxy measures can predict real health effects in the future, but they need solid validation before they can be used to predict real health outcomes. As far as I know, that’s not the case for estrogen metabolites. I’m not an expert on this, so can’t say for sure.

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Nicole November 29, 2014

Thanks Seppo!

Well I’m interested to see where research takes us. Not sure anyone else has commented on this symptom from EB- as it’s odd, but EB triple changes your urine color to dark pink/orange. They told me in the phone that it was excess estrogen being removed that causes this colour change… Anyone else?

Thanks for mentioning this, Re: FODMAP, I have followed this regime when paleo, low carb, GAPS, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg free etc didn’t end the ailments but I also had to restrict other food intolerances and follow anti-candida – nothing was left to eat. This led to a host of other issues now from long term malnutrition. I only mention this because a lot of folks who suffer from acne have food Intolerances and cut them out of their diet. It’s wise if the buck stops there. If there are so many intolerances that we can’t fuel our bodies, something else I’d going on. My discovery is copper toxicity and this influences estrogen levels. It’s more common in females than most know and it’s not been an easy removal.

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    Seppo Puusa December 3, 2014

    I can’t really comment on the urine color change. I presume it’s just a the supplement or some metabolite of it that’s causing the change.

    I understand what you mean with nothing left to eat. That’s exactly the reason I tell people to avoid strict diets, especially if there’s no good evidence to show they help, which is the case most of the time. FODMAP is one exception I make since it’s actually shown to help in many studies.

    That said, diet is but one of the reasons for gut problems. If yours is more due to stress or some abnormality in the brain-gut connection, then diet changes may not help.

    Reply
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