What is the difference between estrogen and prostaglandins? Women with an estrogen/progesterone imbalance are more likely to suffer fromadrenal fatigue. I saw a comment on a post recently asking how to lower an elevated estrogen level, and I thought I would offer my perspectives.
Estradiol is important in men as well. It is similar to the “Goldilocks Principle.” We want it to be just right.
Think of estrogen as a necessary toxin
Estradiol is a toxin in our body and we need to be thinking about it. Our body runs it through thedetox pathways when it considers it to be such. It is subjected to Phase I and then Phase II to eliminate the molecule from the body. This applies to hormones that are made in the body and those that are applied through HRT.
Estrogen could be a toxin. Yes, definitely. We know that elevated levels of estrogen increase the risk of breast cancer for both women and men. The risk of blood clot is increased due to the hormone promoting the liver to make more clot-inducing clotting factors.
Estrogen can be found in a variety of forms, which have different benefits and toxicities. I will use the term collectively for clarity.
Estrogen detox: First know your levels
Knowing your levels is the first thing that I recommend. A simple blood test can be used to determine if a person is using any hormones. We need to think about checking our levels with saliva or bloodspot when we start using applications on our skin.
Many people seem to recommend the DUTCH test, which measures urine estrogen metabolites – the end product of hormone detox. I prefer to know the hormone levels at the tissue interface, and don’t use DUTCH for this reason (and others).
Fat cells, the ovaries and in the adrenal glands make our endogenous estrogens. In an ovulating woman the effects are balanced with progesterone. The two hormones work together like Yin and Yang.
Estrogen dominance occurs when there is too much Yin and not enough Yang. Think of obese women, perimenopause with low progesterone levels, and unbalanced estrogen replacement. In this situation, the effects of estrogen begin to exert relative toxic effects.
How can we promote thedetox pathways? If the hormone arrives from within or without, these rules apply.
Three steps drive estrogen detoxification
To understand how to detox estrogen, we need to first focus on the basics of detoxification. To detox—anything—we need to be able to take less in and pull more out. This is easier if you are using the hormone via the exogenous route. Just lower your dose.
Step 1 is to ensure that all of the final pathways are intact. That means that you need to breathe, sweat, pee and poop regularly. After conjugation in Phase II detox, estrogen is primarily excreted in the stool. If you are having less than one poop daily, you are missing this opportunity to clear the molecule.
Poop regularly to detoxify!
I told all of my patients to use psyllium or another insoluble fiber. This is the best supplement I have ever taken. I use it daily and have been for more than a decade. It serves to hold water in the stool, but also acts as a physical binder to toxins. It was said to incorporate more fiber into your diet.
Some people have a bacterium in their gut that makes aidase, which is also known as glucuronidase. Estradiol is uncouples from its carrier in the gut, and returns it to circulation. But that is a form of cleansing. We are not going to cover that here.
Estrogen detox: Phase I processes
Step 2 is to promote Phase I detox. These are chemical pathways in the liver that convert the cholesterol-based estrogen to a water-soluble molecule. This is where supplements like DIM, chlorella and resveratrol work their magic.
You don’t need to supplement to make the liver work well. A plant-based diet, cruciferous vegetables, and anti-oxidants drive our body down a more efficient path.
What’s the best way to approach estrogen detoxification? Eat a primarily plant-based diet, plain and simple. Not only will you get the benefits of the phytonutrients, but also you will add more fiber to the gut (see Step1 above).
Estrogen detox: Phase II processes
Step 3 is to support Phase II detoxification. Here is where we take the modified, water-soluble molecule and conjugate it to a carrier protein for elimination. Critical nutrients are molecules like glutathione, sulfur groups (found in the cruciferous vegetables) and methyl groups (methylation, which requires B vitamins and methyl donors).
Weconjugate with a variety of acids. Make sure that your diet includes the essential branched chain amino acids and tryptophan. A good supplement may benefit this pathway and others.
Final recommendations for estrogen detoxification
There is no difference between pre and post-menopausal women in how they use estrogen. All of these hormones can be controlled in a menopausal woman on HRT.
For a woman who wants to decrease her risks associated with elevated estrogens or her symptoms, my recommendations remain the same.
Risks include blood clot, breast and uterine cancers. The symptoms are more vague and range from heavy periods to weight gain, mood changes, headaches, and breast pain.
First, you need to get your final pathways activated. Drink plenty of water, take deep breaths, and sweat. You are on track if your urine is clear and you are pooping at least once a day.
Second, drive those phase I and II detox pathways with organic, plant-based meals. And if you can’t do that, then consider adding the supplements I suggested.
Estradiol is needed for healthy bodies and minds for both men and women. Estradiol overload is what we don’t need. You can get well on the way to optimal estrogen levels if you follow these simple steps.
Want to learn more?
If you have read this far, you now have a valuable tool in your health and wellbeing toolkit. Excellent work! You can find similar writings on fatigue on my website, scottresnickmd.com.