7 Simple Steps for Optimal Estrogen Metabolism

Estrogen metabolism is an important concept for both men and women. When discussing hormones, we need to consider both production and metabolism. Estrogen is just one hormone in which metabolism is key.

1. Reduce Toxic Exposure

pic of chemicals
Fig 1: Alot of chemicals are known to disrupt hormone metabolism, especially estrogen. These chemicals are found in a wide range of personal care products.

Personal Care Products

Key ingredients to AVOID (Often found in: Air fresheners, deodorants, Fabric softeners, Scented candles, Body perfumes) [1]

  • chemical colourings, chemical preservatives
  • TALC, organochlorides
  • Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoe Thanolamine (MEA), triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Paraben Preservatives: methyl, propyl, butyl, isobutyl, and ethyl
  • Mineral oil: petrolatum, petroleum jelly (liquid paraffinum, paraffin oil, paraffin wax, posh mineral oil
  • Propylene glycol/butylene glycol
  • Silicone derived emollients: dimethicone, dimethicone copolyol, cyclomethicone
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • 4–dioxane
  • BHT (butilated hydroxytoluene)/ BHA (butilated hydroxyanisole)
  • benzalkonium chloride and benzethonium chloride
  • triclosan and triclocarban parfume

Look for: organic, plant sources, toxin-free, safe packaging, and safe processing methods

Food and Nutrition

Consider following the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. These are lists which make recommendations regarding which foods to eat organic (dirty dozen) and which can be eaten of the conventionally grown variety  (clean 15). For more information please check out the Environmental Working Group’s website, by clicking here.

 

Fig 2: EWG issues these lists seasonally to advise which foods should be eaten organic (when possible) and which are safe to be consumed via conventional farming.

Consider removing Dairy. There is research showing that conventionally raised dairy contains significant amounts of estrogen metabolites, especially the bad types [8]. Click here to see that article.

pic of cows
Fig 3: Conventionally farmed dairy can have significant amounts of estrogen within, which would likely affect both men and women estrogen levels.

 

2. Dietary Changes

Fig 4: Many foods have the ability to help in estrogen metabolism.

Certain nutrients in specific foods are known to have favourable effects on estrogen metabolism:

  • ECGC (green tea) [2]
  • Ellagic acid (berries) [3]

Eat lots of dark Leafy greens [4]

Increase Dietary fiber (30 grams/day) [4]

Drink adequate Water (1-2 liters/ day) [4]

Incorporate olive oil into your diet [5]

Eat lots of foods that help liver detox: such as cruciferous veggies, garlic, beets, spices etc

Eat lots of foods and nutrients  that support healthy bile flow: such as artichoke leaf [6], Vitamin C, B6, Folic acid, B12, choline, inositol, taurine, methionine, betaine

Limit Caffeine and alcohol [4]

3. Support Routes of Elimination (Sweating, Bowel, Kidneys)

Fig 5: Exercise and sweating are great ways to detoxify our bodies and improve estrogen metabolism.

Sweating and Hydrotherapy: allows toxins to leave through the skin. Try dry brushing. Avoid shower and bath products which may  block the pores. When sweating, replace lost fluid to protect against dehydration.

Exercise: helps circulation and muscle contraction, both of which help estrogen metabolism and detoxification.

Digestive Health: promote good gut bacteria diversity. When we eat veggies, the gut bacteria make good phytochemicals called enterolignans. These play important roles in prevention of cancer and chronic disease as well as estrogen metabolism [7]. The more diverse our gut bacteria, the more enterolignans we will have. We have even seen positive association in prevention of bone loss; a specific probiotic strain called L. reuteri has been helpful in rat models [9].

4. Neutraceuticals

Fig 6: A wide variety of herbs, vitamins and minerals are useful in increasing estrogen metabolism. Their use is dependant on various factors.

See a Naturopath for personalized suggestions regarding:

  • Botanicals, micronutrients, medical foods, prebiotics, probiotics
  • Specialized lab testing

5. Support Methylation if necessary

Fig 7: The liver is one of the main organ for detoxication of estrogen. A part of the process is called methylation.

*This is something that could be identified on specialized testing; this is an important step in estrogen metabolism.

Methylation relies on proper COMT enzymes, and it is known to be a fairly complex process. We can support COMT with:

  • Methionine especially important if low homocysteine
  • Magnesium
  • B2, B6 B12
  • Folic acid (also as folinic acid, 5-formyl THF, 5-MTHF
  • TMG (betaine)

Glutathione is the master detoxifier of phase II detox. It too must be supported. If reduced glutathione, the following are useful:

  • Reduced glutathione (1-3 g/day)
  • N-acetyl-cysteine (2000 mg/day)
  • Lipoic acid (1,000 mg/day)
  • Whey protein concentrates 2-3 servings/day
  • Magnesium (400 mg)
  • Vitamin C (500+mg)
  • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) (400 IU)
  • Silymarin
  • Pantothenic acid (500 mg/day)
  • SAMe 400-800 mg/day
  • Glycine and Glutamine
  • B vitamins (B2, B6, B12, 5MTHF)
  • Extracts:
    • Turmeric extract, grape seed extract
    • Bilberry, strawberry/black raspberry extracts
  • Antioxidants (to discourage formation of quinone compounds)
  • Melatonin
    • Glutathione is useful for monitoring melatonin’s protective role in cell damage
  • Theanine
  • Sulforaphane

6. Reduce Stress

Physical Exercise, meditation, deep breathing, yoga etc.

COMT Mutations are associated with nervousness, anxiety, increased sensitivity to pain; so addressing COMT can be quite beneficial.

7. Maintain

  • Bowel support: fiber
  • Kidney support: hydration, antioxidants
  • Liver support: phase 1 and 2 support
  • Stress reduction

About the Author

picture of me, johann de chickera, naturopathic doctor

I'm Johann de Chickera, a Naturopathic Doctor, practicing in Ontario, Canada. My clinical practice relies on keeping up with the most up-to-date research and continued education. This blog serves as a way to provide others with a compilation of everything I've learned along the way.

If you'd like to see me in practice, please click the Appointments tab at the top of this page. 

 

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