We long for estrogen balance: we feel scared by what estrogen can do in our bodies yet we cannot feel our best without it. Many of us women have struggled with our hormones. Here are a few of the symptoms related to estrogen:
We then look at estrogen as a bad hormone. We heard about “estrogen dominance” over and over. But estrogen is also a feel good hormone; our brain makes estrogen to feel good. Other reasons we need estrogen:
It’s important to note the issue with balancing our estrogen levels is not limited to women; men make and need estrogen too. For example, men need estrogen for sperm production and maintaining libido.
Estrogen is not the bad guy. The first problem is in how we each metabolize and clear out estrogen. This is a point worth stressing: estrogen can be unsafe if the body is not safely detoxing it from your body. Knowing how your body handles this process is essential to ensuring the estrogen in your body is safe. The second problem is that many of the chemicals in our environment mimic estrogens. This can confuse the body.
There are 3 phases to your body clearing out estrogens efficiently. I am going to share how you can support detoxification at each phase. This process applies to all sexes. The tricky part is that you need to work backwards when supporting these pathways. You have to start by cleaning up phase 3, then phase 2 and phase 1. The goal is to take estrogen, which is a fat soluble hormone, and turn it into a water soluble metabolite so it can be more easily excreted from the body.
This is about the detox pathway: our gut. Here, microbiome health and digestive function become important for clearing estrogen in this final phase. The estrobolome encompasses the part of the microbiome that interacts with estrogen. The big factors are making sure you do not have Leaky Gut. Leaky Gut will allow estrogens metabolized by the liver to be reabsorbed back into your bloodstream, instead of being cleared out of your body via your stool. Ask your doctor to check Zonulin levels in your stool to rule out Leaky Gut.
Good gut bacteria are important for proper digestion but they are also key to effectively cleaning out estrogen. Estrogen needs to be processed in a specific way after the liver does its job in order to be excreted in your stool. When this does not happen, estrogens are reabsorbed back into the bloodstream – only to be processed again. The liver is not happy doing its job twice for no good reason. This is where opportunistic bacteria come into play. There are some bacteria that are only bad when they overgrow. This is because when they overgrow they produce an enzyme called glucuronidase. This enzyme undoes the work the liver did the first time around, in order to make your estrogen water soluble.
This is why it is key to know you are having daily bowel movements, with good levels of healthy gut bacteria and no Leaky Gut. All of this can be assessed in a stool test.
Here are 3 tips to support your gut:
This liver detoxification of estrogen is about the Methylation Cycle. This pathway relies on the COMT and MTHFR genes to take the metabolites from Phase 1 liver detoxification pathways and make them water soluble so they can be cleaned out easily. This phase, when effective, makes an estrogen metabolite that is calming to the brain and lowers cancer risk.
Tips to support your phase 2 liver pathways:
This is the start of estrogen metabolism clean out. Phase 1 occurs in the liver and is run by the Cytochrome (CYP) genes. Fat soluble estrogens add hydrogen to make a more water soluble molecule. In this pathway we can often make a more potent toxin from our estrogens. 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OH-E1) metabolite is the cleanest and healthiest way to detox estrogen.
The next two metabolites are more toxic and have been shown to damage our DNA, which can lead to increased cancer risk:
● 4-hydroxyestrone (4-OH-E1)
● 16-hydroxyestrone (16-OH-E1)
All these Phase 1 detox metabolites are considered free radicals; we want to send them to Phase 2 as quickly as possible, so they don’t enter blood circulation and cause damage.
And this is why we would not want to make Phase 1 work better if the next two phases are not working well: you could be increasing the toxicity of your estrogen metabolites.
Tips to support Phase 1 liver pathways:
Now that you know more about the process estrogen goes through in your body and have some tools to help your detox pathways work more efficiently, it might be time to test and see how your body is doing in these phases. We use the Dutch Complete™ urine test to assess if your pathways are efficient.
If your doctor is unable to run this test for you, we invite you to consider Revolutionary Health‘s package “Are your hormones safe for you?” – get the Dutch Complete™ test and a written analysis report of your results. You even have the option to do a GI-Map test that tests for Zonulin. We believe in comprehensive testing for concrete answers to best serve our patients and clients.