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In this article we will be look at what causes high estrogen levels in females. We will look at some of the enzymes involved in estrogen production and some of the enzymes involved in estrogen breakdown. We will also look at how to help your body with high estrogen symptoms and actual high estrogen blood levels.
So if you want to understand what causes high estrogen in females, keep reading.
What Causes High Estrogen Levels In A Female?
High estrogen levels are caused by higher than normal production of estrogen or slowed or breakdown of estrogen. We will look this hormone imbalance and the enzymes and biological functions involved in both production and breakdown of estrogens. On the production side, we have the conversion of testosterone into estradiol and the conversion of androstenedione into estrone. Both of these occur through an aromatase enzyme and the estrone can then be converted into estradiol as well.
The estradiol and estrone can then be broken down by a cytochrome enzyme called cytochrome 34A (Cyp 34A). The resulting estrogens from that are then either bound to a sulfur molecule through sulfation, bound to a glucorate molecule through glucuronidation, or bound to a methyl group through the activity of the COMT enzyme. If you have a high total estrogen estradiol or any high estrogen picture, it makes sense to enhance some of these detoxification pathways. To enhance sulfation you can use something like N-acetyl-cysteine. If you want to enhance glucuronidation you can use something like calcium D-glucarate. If you want to enhance COMT activity, you can use any methyl donor. Anything that up regulates SAMe production or actually SAMe plus magnesium. You can also enhance the activity of the cytochrome p450 enzyme by eating lots of cruciferous vegetables or maybe even taking a supplement like DIM.
High Estrogen or High Estrogen Activity
Another thing to look at is the overall activity of estrogen on the estrogen receptor in the tissues throughout the body. During both reproductive and non-reproductive years estradiol is being produced through the conversion of DHEA-s to Androsteindione. This is then aromatized into either estradiol or estrone (and eventually into the estradiol). Estradiol is the most biologically active molecule. One can argue that the high estradiol is from the increased aromatization or utilization of the aromatase enzyme. What may be more important is the overall activity of that estradiol on the estrogen receptor. The binding of estrogens to the receptors causes an estrogenic biological effect. So perhaps more important than the amount of estrogen is the amount of unbound or free estradiol floating around in your body.
In order to act in the body, all hormones need to be unbound so they can bind to the receptor. Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is the protein that carries estrogens (and all hormones) around in the body. If you have lower SHBG you have more free estrogen floating around. This allows it to bind to all of the estrogen receptors and creates more estrogen activity. Typically high estradiol and high estrogens in general will cause the liver to up-regulate the amount of SHBG that is produced. This modulates or balances out the estrogens. However high insulin levels may actually drive down the SHBG production. This creates a mismatch or a higher amount of unbound estradiol leading to higher estrogen activity in your bodies tissues. If you have high estrogen symptoms or a clinical picture of high estrogen symptoms, one should also make sure you're looking at the insulin signaling. High insulin levels and insulin resistance may trigger high free estradiol.