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  • Writer's pictureDr. Alla Arutcheva

Liver Is Key To Estrogen Balance

The liver is the hardworking organ in our body. One of the liver's roles is to help regulate the estrogen level. The normally functioning liver may maintain the normal balance of the hormone even when the endocrine gland functions are disturbed. 

High estrogen levels can be caused by:

The body produces too much estrogen

Estrogen-containing medications (HRT)

Poor liver and gut function. Too much estrogen can accumulate if the liver doesn't function properly. In turn, an increased amount of hormone damages the liver.

High estrogen can disrupt the reproductive process, cause breast tenderness, headaches, light or heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids in the uterus, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.

The liver metabolizes estrogen and removes it from the body with bile. Estrogens in the liver are converted into three metabolites with different biological actions:

  • 2-hydroxy-estrone (2-OH), 70% of the total, is considered the "good" estrogen metabolite. Some research suggests a protective effect on breast tissue from this metabolite.

  • 16-hydroxy-estrone (16-OH), 20%,  may be linked to estrogen-sensitive cancers.

  • 4-hydroxy-estrone (4-OH), 10%, is considered the "bad" estrogen metabolite as it leads to the initiation of breast cancer.

The ratio of 2-OH to 16-OH is significant. The lower ratio was shown to correlate with higher cancer risk in post-menopausal women.

The hormone metabolites content in the blood may be within range if the liver inactivates them and removes them through the bile.

Estrogen Dominance is not just the function of too much estrogen—but poorly metabolized estrogen. If your liver is not functioning optimally, estrogen can be poorly metabolized and reabsorbed, leading to a hormonal imbalance.

Estrogen removal and detoxification occur in the gut with the help of microbes (microbiome) that live in our large intestine. The specific group of microorganisms in the gut, called estrobolome, metabolizes and regulates the amount of estrogen in the body. These bacteria break down estrogen into a form that can be eliminated from the body. In the case of dysbiosis, this process can be disturbed. The gut microbiome helps eliminate estrogen through daily bowel movements. If you don't have a daily bowel movement, excess estrogen can go back into circulation, which can lead to high estrogen levels. 



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