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UGT1A1

UGT1A1 encodes an enzyme expressed largely in the liver, kidney, gut, prostate, ovary and breast tissue. It is responsible for the inactivation of molecules such as estrogen and other steroid hormones, thyroxine and common drugs such as morphine and acetaminophen (paracetamol), and bilirubin, preparing them for excretion via urine and bile. Variants in UGT1A1 can cause low enzyme function. Due to the bacterial production of an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, intestinal dysbiosis can cause inactivated (conjugated) compounds to become reactivated (unconjugated) and re-released into circulation.

Foods that support this pathway include apples, oranges and cruciferous vegetables (all of which naturally contain calcium-D-glucarate, a compound shown to inhibit beta-glucuronidase released by gut bacteria), and watercress.

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