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different from human estrogens. These and coumestrol present in grapes (resver- products; another compelling reason to
are the most common formulations used atrol), alfalfa and clover. In moderate dos- avoid them.
for hormone replacement therapy in the es, phytoestrogens have been shown to Estrogen and progesterone are an-
United States. Synthetic estrogens are de- exert a protective effect on breast cancer tagonists. Their actions are designed to
rived from the urine of pregnant mares, by inhibiting the production of estrogen. balance each other and keep each other
as the name Premarin implies. The most in check. We cannot live in a healthy
popular preparations are conjugated Estrogen Metabolism state without hormonal balance. Hor-
equine estrogen (Premarin), esterified es- mones do not act independently, under
trogen (Estaratab), and ethynil estradiol The various metabolites of estrogen normal circumstances, in healthy bodies.
(Estynil). must also be considered in evaluating the
Xenoestrogens are produced as by- overall hormonal milieu in your body. Progesterone
products of the chemical pollution in our These metabolites are 2-hydroxyestrogen
society and are very hazardous to your (2OH), 4-hydroxyestrogen (4OH) and Progesterone is manufactured pri-
health. They can be absorbed through 16alpha-hydroxyestrogen (16OH). The marily by the corpus luteum (the follicle
your skin, inhaled when you breathe and 2-hydroxyestrogen metabolite is consid- transformed after ovulation) and also to
ingested with your food. Examples in- ered a “good” estrogen because it has a small degree by the adrenals. In the
clude dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls anti-cancer properties. It does not exert ovary, progesterone production is activat-
(PCB), and dichlorodiphenal-trichoro- proliferative effects on other cells and an- ed at ovulation (15 days before the next
ethane (DDT), among others. They can tagonizes the effects of other estrogens. menstruation), stimulated by the release
be stored in fat cells for long periods of This metabolite also reaches very high of luteinizing hormone from the pitu-
time and although relatively weak, they levels during pregnancy, suggesting a pro- itary gland and is crucial to the survival
can act in combination to increase your tective effect against high hormone eleva- of the ovum once fertilized. When preg-
risk for certain cancers. tions. Synthetic estrogens can reduce the nancy occurs, progesterone production
Phytoestrogens are abundant in na- formation of 2-hydroxyestrogens. A com- increases rapidly and its manufacture is
ture and can weakly interact with estro- peting pathway results in the production taken over by the placenta. If a woman
gen receptors. These compounds include of 16alpha-hydroxyestrogen which has a does not get pregnant, the corpus luteum
lignans found in cereals, vegetables, high affinity for the estrogen receptor and involutes and progesterone production
green tea, legumes and flax; isoflavones strongly stimulates cell proliferation lead- diminishes and eventually disappears in
in soy, beer, chickpeas, beans and lentils; ing to cancerous changes in estrogen sen- parallel with estrogen production, her-
sitive tissues. Studies have shown this 16 alding menstruation.
alpha metabolite to be important for pres- Progesterone is a precursor to most
ervation of bone tissue. It is, therefore, sex hormones, including estrogen in the
important to maintain an optimal ratio of ovaries, testosterone, all androgens, and
2-hydroxy:16alpha-hydroxy metabolites. other adrenal hormones, making it an
The ratio can be measured by a urine or extremely important hormone for reasons
blood test. A low ratio may put you at in- far beyond its role as a sex hormone. Pro-
creased risk for breast, uterine and ovar- gesterone in the breast and uterus coun-
ian cancer. A minor pathway leads to the teracts the stimulation of cell growth,
production of the 4-hydroxyestrogen me- which is a direct action of estrogen. It
tabolite. This metabolite also promotes accomplishes this action by activating
cancerous changes but doesn’t bind to the progesterone receptor, which in turn,
an estrogen receptor, rather it works by down-regulates the estrogen receptor. Be-
directly damaging cellar DNA. Synthetic cause progesterone suppresses estrogen-
estrogens are metabolized to 4-hydroxy driven cell proliferation, progesterone in
24 NaturalNutmeg
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