Healthy Estrogen Metabolism
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Healthy estrogen metabolism begins in the liver. It’s vital that you supply your liver cells with the nutrients it needs in order to accomplish the metabolic reactions that are required for maintaining estrogens in the correct, healthy form. When estrogen is present in the wrong form, it has been shown to increase the risk of auto-immune disease, breast, and uterine cancers1.
Many women are educating themselves on the best way to prevent breast cancer. We know that the majority of breast cancers are estrogen-based. This means the cancer growth is dependent on certain estrogens in the bloodstream. These are called ‘hormone-dependant’ cancers. Many drugs that cancer specialists, or oncologists, use with breast cancer patients are ones that remove estrogens from the bloodstream.
Healthy estrogen levels are extremely important for proper cellular communication and hormonal regulatory systems. They play a role in proper thyroid signaling 2, as well as healthy body fat distribution. For post-menopausal women, levels of estrogen hormone must be tightly regulated, and it's important to have rapid disposal of used and unnecessary estrogens.
There are a number of forms or shapes that estrogen can take. The basic form of estrogen is called estrone. All of the other forms of estrogen found in your body spring from this one. Estrone gets readily converted back and forth into Estradiol, another important form of estrogen. Estrone and estradiol can be present at the same time, and each form acts on different tissues 1. Estradiol is the most common form of estrogen that physicians use for hormone replacement therapy.
In your body, estrone is converted into many other forms that have different functions and tell your cells certain things. One of them, we will call it Estrone - 4, we know is pro-carcinogenic, or that it encourages the growth of certain cancers3. Estrone -4 can be easily converted into compounds that damage your DNA. Your liver is able to neutralize this type of damaging estrogen with certain enzymes, which are the little workers that make things happen inside your cells. But it needs the right balance of nutrients to make this happen.
Find out more about Nutrients for Healthy Estrogen Metabolism, and how to enusre you have the right type of estrogen in your body.
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1. Jones D, Quinn S Textbook of Functional Medicine, Copyright 2005 The Institute for Functional Medicine.
2. Rajoria S, Suriano R, Parmar PS, et al. 3,3’-diindolylmethane modulates estrogen metabolism in patients with thyroid proliferative disease: pilot study. Thyroid 2011 Mar; 21(3):299-304.