Estrogen Metabolites: Are Yours On The Right Path?
Chiropractor Erie CO Lady Laughing

Estrogen Metabolites: Are Yours On The Right Path?

Chiropractor Erie CO Lady Laughing

By Dr. Samantha Boldt

Healthy estrogen levels play a big part in our health and well-being, for both men and women. However, their breakdown products can play just a large of role, and sometimes are even more important! These break-down products are called metabolites and are produced during phase one liver detoxification. They then need to be transformed during phase two liver detoxification so that they can exit the body. If our body and detoxification processes can't keep up, we end up with too many metabolites, which can create negative health effects.


Estrogen Metabolites

Chiropractor Erie CO Dutch Estrogen MetabolitesAll right, let's back up a second. So first we create our estrogens. Next, these estrogens get transformed into a breakdown product, or metabolite. The three main estrogen metabolites are 2-OH, 4-OH, and 16-OH.

2-OH is the best pathway, and we want close to 65-80% of the estrogen metabolites being created to go down this path. 2-OH has relatively few negative side effects and is easily excreted from the body.

4-OH is the least healthy pathway. 4-OH metabolites are more likely to cause DNA damage, resulting in possible cancer. We only want to see 4-OH at around 7-11%.

Finally, 16-OH is kind of in between. It tends to cause cell growth, which we need to some extent to help with bone and muscle growth. However, if it gets too high, it can also help cancers to grow as well as other unwanted tissue. We want to keep 16-OH around 15-30%.

For the most part, all of the healthy things you can think of increase the activity of the enzyme that turns estrogen into the healthy and safe 2-OH. And, you guessed it, most of the unhealthy things increase the activity of the enzymes that create 4-OH and 16-OH. For example, eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables, exercise, getting good sleep, and less stress all help promote 2-OH production. Eating fast food, alcohol, smoking, and charred meats all promote 4-OH and 16-OH production.

Certain supplements can also be very beneficial to switching the pathways. Both curcumin and DIM are really helpful at increasing CYP1A1 activity, the enzyme that creates 2-OH.

So how do we know if we're on the right path? We test! With easy urine tests, we can see the amount of metabolites being made, know the percentage of each, and also see how well certain detox pathways are working. Depending on the results, we can work on dietary, supplemental, and even some lifestyle changes to get you back on track!

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