You likely know estrogen as the primary female sex hormone; however, everybody (even men!) generates some level of estrogen.
Estrogen controls the development of secondary sex characteristics in females, regulates the menstrual cycle, and supports conception and pregnancy. Additionally, estrogen can promote blood flow to the brain and have anti-inflammatory effects on the central nervous system.
During your reproductive years, you experience remarkably variable levels of estrogen throughout the month. Estrogen levels spike mid-way through the menstrual cycle prompting the ovaries to release an egg. After ovulation occurs, estrogen declines and eventually drops to its lowest levels of the month just before the onset of menses. It is normal and expected that there will be points in every woman’s cycle when estrogen levels are higher and points when they will be lower.
What Is Estrogen?
The term ‘estrogen’ actually refers to three different hormones: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3).
What Is Estrogen Dominance?
This term refers to circumstances in which people develop unhealthy levels of estrogen, a lack of balance between estrogen and progesterone, and/or are not metabolizing/detoxifying thoroughly or properly.
Some things that promote excess amounts of circulating estrogen include:
How Your Body Detoxifies Estrogen
To really understand estrogen and its potential impacts, we also need to discuss the metabolism of estrogen. Estrogen metabolizes in two phases: hydroxylation and methylation. And estrogen metabolism/detoxification can occur via three different metabolic pathways.
This is the most protective pathway and has the lowest risk for developing estrogen-driven health problems. Ideally, 60-80% of the body’s estrone should metabolize down this pathway.
In the first step, hydroxylation, estrone actually becomes more susceptible to oxidation thereby making it more toxic. The second step, methylation, takes these toxins in the body and alters them, thereby readying them for elimination. Methylation involves the transfer of a group of four atoms, known as a methyl group (CH3 – one carbon atom bonded with three hydrogen atoms), to another molecule.
This process occurs in every tissue and cell of the body and changes the structure and function of the molecules. This transformative process helps to convert toxic substances into beneficial substances that support the body’s health and well-being.
This pathway also takes estrone through the process of hydroxylation but phase 2 does not move through the methylation process. Rather, phase 2 along the 16-hydroxy pathway involves a chemical reduction that results in the conversion to estriol. This pathway produces the most estrogenic metabolites; however, it is important to note that these metabolites are still far less estrogenic than estradiol.
This is the dangerous pathway! The process of hydroxylation down the 4-Hydroxy pathway results in the production of a genotoxic metabolite: 4-OH-E1. If 4-OH-E1 is properly methylated during phase 2 metabolism, its potentially harmful effects can be minimized. However, if methylation is at all impaired (potentially due to the presence of specific genetic SNPs), this can be a highly problematic pathway. When 4-OH-E1 starts to build up, it can start to convert to 3,4 Quinones which are known to cause cancer. Given this information, we start to gain some insight into why adequate methylation is critical for overall health!
While each person’s body does have an innate genetic disposition towards the production of estrogens and their preferred metabolic pathways, factors such as diet, exercise, and toxicity also have powerful effects on the way the body manages its estrogen factory!
How to Know if You Have Estrogen Dominance
Here at Hormone Detox Shop, we strongly recommend testing to properly determine your hormone levels. This will result in the most targeted and effective treatment.
The test looks at:
This test is amazing for symptoms such as:
We can test you from your home in most states, from teens to retired, ladies and men. We all have hormones!
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How to Support Estrogen Detox
Tip #1: Detox Estrogen Through Diet
Tip #2: Remove Toxins
Tip #3: Use Supplements