Full detoxification of estrogen by the liver is essential for hormonal health and prevention of disease and hormone-sensitive cancers. The liver uses 2 pathways to detoxify, called Phase I and Phase II.
Phase I detoxification is called the “hydroxylation” phase – which means that the estrogen is made more water-soluble. Intermediate estrogen metabolites are the product of Phase I and include 2-OH and 16a estrogens. These intermediates are biologically active and are potentially damaging to the body’s tissues if reabsorbed (this usually happens with poor Phase II detoxification). 2-OH estrogens are weaker ( the preferred metabolite) than 16a estrogens which is linked to breast cancer. The balance of estrogen intermediates from 16a estrogens to 2-OH estrogens is shifted with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Phase II detoxification involves “methylation, glucuronidation, and sulfation”, meaning that various molecules are added to the estrogen intermediates to make them easily and safely excreted. Ensuring enzyme pathways are active allows for proper excretion of estrogens and decreases prevalence of estrogen-dominant conditions and cancers.
Disorders related to incomplete estrogen metabolism or estrogen dominance include:
- uterine fibroids
- fibrocystic breasts or painful breasts
- cervical dysplasia
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)
Options for improving estrogen detoxification:
- drinking water with organic lemon slices (gently supports liver function)
- use turmeric on foods (has a compound called Curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant and assists liver detoxification)
- avoid oral contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapies (these increase your body’s burden of estrogen)
- avoid environmental toxins which resemble & act as estrogens in your body (pesticides, plastics, herbicides, refrigerants, industrial solvents, dryer sheets, perfumes/fragrance)
- eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, broccoli and cabbage (these increase the 2-OH metabolite and protect estrogen-sensitive tissues like the breast and uterus)
- eat 2 tablespoons of freshly ground organic flaxseed daily – flaxseed provides lignans which decrease the amount of free estrogen in the body and formation of estrogen in breast tissue)
- try a high quality multivitamin-antioxidant supplement containing magnesium, selenium, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 (these improve estrogen detoxification, improve function of all cells in the body, and protect against cancer)
- try Calcium-D-glucarate as a supplement (it directly enhances Phase II detoxification of the liver)
Enjoy your health, treat your liver!