Estrone: The Bad Estrogen
Women have four types of estrogens: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3) and esterol (E4). Estradiol is the most important estrogen which protects us against breast and ovarian cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, etc. Our bodies also make estrone but these levels should be lower than estradiol. Estriol and esterol is primarily elevated during pregnancy. Estriol actually has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer affects. This is why women’s symptoms with autoimmune diseases improve or go into remission during pregnancy.
Problems arise when estrone is higher than estradiol. Estrone gets converted to three different metabolites, two of those can increase the risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
How can we keep the bad estrogens low? Cruciferous vegetables! So yes, eat your broccoli! Now you know why your mom wanted you to eat broccoli. Consume broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, and kale daily. For those with thyroid disorders, if you slightly steam these vegetables, this breaks down the glucosinolates that prevents iodine uptake in the thyroid.
There is a test to check these specific metabolites to determine your risk for breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer but it is not covered by insurance. Follow up with a Functional Medicine practitioner to determine if this test is right for you and help guide you to decrease your risk.
Find a Functional Medicine practitioner at ifm.org.