What are the DUTCH test estrogen pathways?
The DUTCH test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones) is a type of hormone testing that provides a comprehensive analysis of sex hormones and their metabolites, as well as cortisol levels, by analysing dried urine samples.
The estrogen pathways refer to the different metabolic pathways through which estrogen is processed in the body. Estrogen is a group of hormones primarily responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system, but they are also present in males in smaller amounts.
In females, the ovaries are the main source of estrogen production. They contain specialized cells called granulosa cells within the ovarian follicles. These cells produce and secrete estrogen, primarily estradiol, under the influence of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) released from the pituitary gland.
Additionally, estrogen production occurs in adipose tissue, particularly in postmenopausal women. Adipose tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase, which can convert androgens (such as testosterone) into estrogen. This conversion is one of the reasons why overweight or obese individuals, who have more adipose tissue, may have higher estrogen levels.
During pregnancy, the placenta takes over the production of estrogen to support the developing foetus. It produces large amounts of estriol, which is the primary estrogen during pregnancy. It’s important to note that the precise amounts of estrogen produced in each tissue can vary depending on factors such as age, sex, hormonal status, and overall health.
Estrogen metabolism involves a series of enzymatic reactions that convert estrogen into various metabolites.
There are three primary estrogen pathways:
- Estradiol Pathway – This is the most potent and prevalent form of estrogen. It is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in females, regulation of the menstrual cycle, and maintenance of bone density.
- Estrone Pathway – Estrone is another type of estrogen, which is less potent compared to estradiol. It is mainly produced during menopause and is involved in the maintenance of bone density and regulation of body weight.
- Estriol Pathway – Estriol is the weakest form of estrogen and is primarily produced during pregnancy. It plays a role in maintaining pregnancy and is considered a marker of foetal well-being.
Functional testing, such as the DUTCH test, can provide insights into the balance and metabolism of estrogen in the body. By analysing estrogen metabolites, the test can assess the activity of different estrogen pathways and identify potential imbalances or dysregulation. This information can be useful in understanding hormone-related conditions and developing targeted treatment strategies to restore hormonal balance.
If you’d like to get yourself a comprehensive hormone test using the DUTCH test, please contact us at Key Nutrition today.