Oestrogens are a family of hormones which include Estrone (E1), Oestradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3). There are also oestrogen metabolites which are primarily metabolized in the liver and excreted from the body through the digestive and urinary tracts. This topic can get quite complex and a real case in point as to the importance of personalised nutrition and supplement advice. The DUTCH test (which we offer in clinic) gives us exactly this information. However, if you want the basics of healthy oestrogen metabolism read on….
Oestrogen dominance is a hormonal imbalance characterised by excessive levels of oestrogen production and/ or inadequate levels of progesterone in the body. Although oestrogen dominance may be an outdated term, hormonal imbalance can be a major contributory factor in a host of different illnesses. These include PMS to breast cancer in women and male infertility and prostate cancer in men. Furthermore, when oestrogen metabolism is out of balance, oestrogens are not properly eliminated. Disruptions in oestrogen metabolism can damage DNA, and some metabolites are associated with a higher risk of cancers.
Factors to consider
- Your exposure to synthetic oestrogens – such as the oral contraceptive pill, plastics, especially soft plastics like cling film, tap water, pesticides and some cosmetics and personal care products.
- How much are you looking after your liver? High alcohol and sugar intake impacts liver function. This can result in incomplete breakdown of unwanted oestrogens which then recirculate potentially causing even more damage. Your liver is also nutrient hungry. If you are not obtaining sufficient cofactors such as zinc, selenium and b vitamins to name but a few, your liver could struggle.
- Constipation. Like the liver, if your bowels are not moving daily and excreting waste and old hormones then they can recirculate in a more unhealthy form.
- Are you overweight – Obese women have 50-100% more oestrogen than women of a healthy weight, and have lower levels of sex hormone binding globulin which mops up excess oestrogen in the body. Lower sex hormone binding globulin can also be a indictor of insulin resistance.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are other factors that can influence oestrogen and its metabolites and excretion from the body. Thyroid function plays a role as does the gut microbiota.
Top tips to support oestrogen metabolism
- Increase your plant foods. Dietary fibre binds to harmful oestrogen metabolites so they can be safely excreted. Support healthy elimination by ensuring you are well hydrated.
- Natural chemicals found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts can increase the rate at which the liver changes oestrogen into water-soluble form for excretion.
- Omega 3 fats found in oily fish may support a reduction inflammatory chemical messengers and more optimal oestrogen metabolism
- Support liver detoxification by reducing sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Removing or reducing these may also have a positive impact on weight management and metabolic health. The adipose tissue or fat cells also produce oestrogen. It therefor makes sense that reducing excess body fat will have a positive impact here.
If you would like more information about the services we offer, including testing, please get in touch.