Brussels Sprouts, Hormonal Health and the Metabolism of Estrogen

Brussels Sprouts, Hormonal Health and the Metabolism of Estrogen

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I have a confession. I absolutely love brussels sprouts and here is why! Not only do I love what they do for hormonal health and the metabolism of estrogen but also growing them. Here is a picture of what they look like in my garden right now. Many people are surprised to learn they grow on a stalk. Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts belong to the brassica family and include other healthy cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and collard greens. These vegetables have a unique compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C).

Indole-3-carbinol promotes less production of potent forms of estrogen in the system and improves estrogen metabolism while supporting liver function. This makes it great for estrogen dominant conditions such as Endometriosis, PMS and Uterine Fibroids.

Taking a supplement with higher doses of indole-3-carbinol can also be beneficial for estrogen dominate conditions. At our clinic in Edmonton we carry a product from Bioclinic Naturals called Estrovantage which I LOVE!

Still haunted by childhood memories of overcooked, frozen brussels sprouts? Not to worry! Fresh Brussels are delicious and easy to prepare.

Cooking them is simple! Trim the bottom off the brussels sprouts, cut in half, drizzle with some olive oil. Put into a pre heated oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit and roast for 30 minutes. You can also top them with pine nuts, balsamic vinegar or slivered almonds.

Hungry for more recipes? Check out this link by Whole Foods Market on oven roasted brussels sprouts

Try to include cruciferous vegetables several times throughout the week for healthy estrogen metabolism.

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Basal Body Temperature

Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

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Tracking your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is an easy and useful tool that can be done in a matter of minutes.

Recording your basal body temperature can be extremely helpful to your acupuncturist to indicate if or when ovulation has occurred, how well the corpus luteum (progesterone) is functioning in the luteal phase, thyroid function and even pregnancy.

All you need is a basal body thermometer (available at most drug stores in the family planning section) a pen and a piece of paper.

Simple steps to taking your basal body temperature:

  • Before going to bed make sure you have your thermometer and a piece of paper and a pen on your night stand
  • Start on Cycle Day 1 (the day you get your period)
  • First thing in the morning before you get out of bed, pop the digital thermometer into your mouth for 1 minute to let it adjust to your body temperature. Then take your temperature
  • Record the temperature on a piece of paper or a basal body temperature chart

Additional Tips:

  • Readings are most accurate after at least 3 hours on uninterrupted sleep
  • It is important that the temperature is taken at the same time each day as 1 hour later can rise the temperature by .5 degrees Celsius and can affect your readings
  • Take note that heated bedding such as heated mattress covers and blankets can skew your readings
  • Having a few drinks the night before can increase your temperature

Click here for a template of a basal body temperature chart from

Birth prep Blog Post Cover

Birth Preparation Acupuncture

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As an acupuncturist, I often get a phone call from a soon to be mother very near, or past, her due date for an acupuncture induction treatment. They have heard from a friend that acupuncture helped them go into labor and avoid a medical induction.

Yes, acupuncture can help induce labour. However, birth preparation treatments are the best course of action. Many of my fertility clients return to the clinic at 37 weeks to start these treatments.

Birth preparation acupuncture starts at 37 weeks and weekly visits are recommended until the baby is born. These treatments help prepare the ligaments for birth, calm fear and after 38 weeks to help soften the cervix. By starting at 37 weeks we can work toward the soon to be mother to have the most efficient labour possible.

Women who receive birth preparation acupuncture often have shorter birth times than previous pregnancies, go into spontaneous birth and, if needed, respond well to induction acupuncture.

So can acupuncture help induce a pregnancy a few days before a medical induction? It can help. However the best way for your body to prepare is with birth preparation acupuncture.


Betts D (2006). The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy & Childbirth. East Sussex, England: The Journal of Chinese Medicine Ltd.


Acupuncture and PMS

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Acupuncture and PMS with linkAcupuncture can be a useful tool for dealing with monthly Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) including breast tenderness, irritability, cramping, bloating, fatigue, headaches and painful periods. Acupuncture can also help regulate PMS for future cycles.

So how can acupuncture help?

Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments for PMS showed a 50% or better reduction of symptoms compared to the initial state. In both acupuncture and herbal medical interventions, there have been no serious adverse events reported, while most of the interventions provided over 50% relief of symptoms associated with PMS/PDD.*

Painful periods (dysmenorrhea) is characterized by painful periods with abdominal cramping, lower back pain, pain that can radiate into the legs, nausea, headaches, dizziness and can disrupted a women’s quality of life for multiple days each month.

Acupuncture has been found as effective as NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil etc.) for relieving pain in women experiencing dysmenorrhea.*


Jang SH; Kim DI; Choi MS, BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine [BMC Complement Altern Med], ISSN: 1472-6882, 2014 Jan 10; Vol. 14, pp. 11; Publisher: BioMed Central; PMID: 24410911, Database: MEDLINE             

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013 Jul;169(2):292-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2013.02.016. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Best of Edmonton 2014

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Thank you Edmonton for voting in Vue Weekly’s Best Of Edmonton Edition 2014! It was a wonderful surprise to have found out that I was nominated! I would also like to congratulate Andrea House, an exceptional acupuncturist I had the pleasure of learning from early in university, as well my amazing colleague Kevin Larocque.


Monica-Patt-Acupuncture---2014-09-25-BOE-V3[1] copy

Combining Acupuncture with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

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It seems that many couples are having harder times conceiving. Could it be the years of birth control that many women have been taking? Maybe, but none the less many couples are ending up in the fertility clinic for procedures such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

These treatments are often expensive and couples turn to acupuncture in conjunction with these fertility treatments to increase clinical outcomes.

So how can acupuncture help?

There have been various studies preformed on how acupuncture can help with assisted reproductive therapies. In one study 160 patients where divided into two groups, one that received acupuncture before and after embryo transfer and one that had no acupuncture.

The clinical outcomes documented 34 out of the 80 (42.5%) patients in the acupuncture group became pregnant verses the 21 out of 80 (26.3%) of patients in the non acupuncture group. With the conclusion that acupuncture is a useful tool for improving pregnancy rates after assisted reproductive therapies.

Often acupuncture is administered leading up to the procedures including on the day of the IUI or embryo transfer.

These acupuncture treatments can increase the blood flow to the uterus, reduce stress during the ART procedures, increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries to maximize the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the follicles while they are developing, encourage endometrial growth and improve the function of the ovaries to produce better quality eggs.

One of the most important things a couple can do during this time is to minimize stress. Reduced stress has shown to result in higher implantation rates.

Paulus W, et al. Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy. Fertility and Sterility April 2002;77(4):721-4.
Lyttleton, J. (2013). Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine. (2nd edition). Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

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