Oestrogen Metabolism – the good, the bad and the ugly Vitamins and supplements for Men and Women

Our exposure to oestrogen begins in foetal development and too much oestrogen, or the wrong ratios of oestrogen, can lead to hormonal imbalances in both men and women. Supporting phase I and phase II liver detoxification processes can help support healthy metabolic pathways of oestrogen in the liver.

Oestrogen is a steroidal hormone produced from the building blocks of cholesterol and testosterone.

Oestrogen accelerates and stimulates cell growth in all oestrogen sensitive tissues and, while the majority of oestrogen is produced in the ovaries/testes, fat cells, adrenal glands, the liver and breast tissue can also produce oestrogen.

Symptoms of estrogen dominance:

Women:                                                                                     

  • PMS
  • Weight gain
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Abnormal menstruation
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia

Men:

  • Enlarged breasts
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Low libido
  • Increased Fat around the abdomen
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Overly emotional

Xeno-oestrogens found in the environment

Xeno-oestrogens, also known as ‘endocrine disrupters’, are profound hormonal disruptors that mimic the activity of oestrogen in the body. Xeno-oestrogens can be found in our environment in pesticides, herbicides, drugs, fuels, perfumes, cosmetics, and plastics e.g. dioxins, phthalates andPCBs.

Controlling oestrogen

Healthy oestrogen levels are controlled and finely balanced by positive and negative feedback loops between the brain and the ovaries/testes. Excess oestrogen occurs when either too much oestrogen is produced, excess oestrogen is not cleared effectively from the body, or through exposure to xeno-oestrogens.

Phase I and phase II liver detoxification

One of the most important functions of the liver is to break down and remove excess hormones from your body.

Any impedance of the detoxification process can cause estrogen dominance. Just think of the guy with “man-boobs” who abuses alcohol. His liver function is impaired, and estrogen is excessive. The biology behind this example can be explained with the liver’s two-step detoxification process, which filters hormones and toxins in the bloodstream. In phase I, the liver converts substances into toxic free radicals before they are converted to a water-soluble form in phase II. If phase II isn’t operating sufficiently, the toxic free radicals build up. Both phases must be in balance so proper elimination of waste can occur.

Health hazards of excess oestrogen

High levels of circulating oestrogens or unhealthy oestrogen ratios can increase the risk of cellular proliferation, (cell proliferation is increased in tumours) so it’s important that oestrogens are broken down efficiently and effectively for elimination.

Certain herbs and nutrients, including Broccoli sprouts, Rosemary, St Mary’s thistle, quercetin and glutathione can all help to support phase I and phase II liver detoxification processes for healthy metabolism of oestrogen in the liver.

Talk to the Naturopaths and Natural Health Consultants at Go Vita Tanunda for professional advice.

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