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Estrogen-Positive Cancer | What we just didn't know!

Estrogen-Positive Cancer | What we just didn't know!
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"We really shouldn't have found out about the hormone cascade in our 40s. We should have known about this in our teens!"

We’ve been besties since we were 8. We’re like sisters! We’ve made virtually all the same nutrition, environment, and lifestyle mistakes! Right up until our cancer diagnoses, we had no idea that many of the ‘normal’ things we were doing were increasing our risk of developing estrogen cancers.

For instance, we didn’t know that stress and sleep deprivation due to studying, partying, and later, looking after our babies and working, could keep our cortisol (our stress hormone) high, and our melatonin (sleep hormone) low. We didn’t know that cortisol is made from progesterone in the adrenal glands and that when we are under long-term stress, and our cortisol has been raised for a long time, we can use more progesterone to make cortisol resulting in less progesterone available to oppose estrogen. On the estrogen spectrum, more estrogen than progesterone can lead to estrogen dominance, even if your estrogen is low, and this can result in estrogen excess signs and symptoms, and potentially the initiation of an estrogen cancer.

We also didn’t know about liver detox. All we knew was that our liver detoxed toxins, and we thought it could do this easily overnight. We’d never heard of Phase 1, 2, and 3 liver detox or estrogen detoxification.

We didn’t know that eating Cruciferous plants (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel sprouts etc) or supplementing with I3C & DIM (key active ingredients from these plants) could change the route our estrogen was detoxed in our liver's.

We’d never heard of methylation and we’d certainly never seen the biochemical diagram of estrogen metabolism before (below). Seeing this diagram for the first time was like being handed the holy grail! We just wish we had seen it sooner!

Estrogen can be broken down along 3 main pathways. The 2-OH pathway makes the safest estrogen metabolites (breakdown products) and these are thought to be cancer protective. The 16-OH and 4-OH pathways produce metabolites that are potentially harmful to DNA. The 4-OH estrogen metabolites are the most harmful to DNA. DNA damage can lead to the initiation of cancer.

We know that estrogen metabolism diagram (below) can be overwhelming when you see it for the first time, but don’t worry – you can read more on our estrogen page. For now, all you need to know is that, in Phase 1, it’s important to keep your estrogen mostly in the green detox pathway, and less in the orange and red pathways. And it’s important to ensure you are converting all your used estrogen into neutralised metabolites in Phase 2 so they can be excreted safely.

You can change the pathways your estrogen get broken down along if you change certain nutrition, environment, and lifestyle choices. You can also take key supplements to help steer estrogen down the safer 2-OH pathway in Phase 1, plus you can take supplements to help neutralise estrogen metabolites in Phase 2.

You can do a genetic test to see if you have any genetic variations at key places in this process. These variations could possibly hamper that way your body detoxes estrogen and could lead to more harmful estrogen metabolites (4-OH) forming that can damage DNA.

To test exactly how your body is detoxing estrogen in the present moment, whether or not your genes are being ‘turned on or off’ for chronic illness, you could do a ‘Urine Hormone Metabolites Test’. This test gives you the exact percentages of how much of each estrogen metabolite (2, 4, 16-OH) you are making.

Both the genetic and metabolites test are very useful to do, although if you need to choose one, you might find the urine hormone metabolites test more useful to take action on immediately.

Please call or email us if you have any questions about the above: +27 11 262 2067 /

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