[ ESS-truh-jen ]

Estrogen refers to a group of hormones primarily associated with female reproductive development and functioning. It is predominantly produced in the ovaries, although small amounts are also produced in other tissues, such as the adrenal glands and fat cells. Estrogen plays a crucial role in the regulation of the menstrual cycle, the development of secondary sexual characteristics in females, and the maintenance of bone health. It is involved in the growth and development of reproductive tissues, breast development, and the thickening of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout a woman's life, with significant changes occurring during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. While estrogen is primarily associated with females, it is also present in males in lower quantities, where it contributes to various physiological processes. Imbalances in estrogen levels can lead to hormonal disorders, reproductive issues, and other health conditions.

Estrogens have 3 different metabolic pathways: 2 hydroxy estrone, 4 hydroxy, and 16h hydroxy. The 2 hydroxy pathway-especially after proper methylation to 2 methoxy is a protective metabolite and is associated with a lower risk of cancer. The 4 hydroxy pathway is harmful. It is a strong metabolite that has DNA-damaging effects and is a high-risk metabolite for breast, uterine, and prostate cancer. 16 hydroxy is not as as 4 bad but is also risky.