Hormones are regulated and recycled by the detoxification pathways in the liver. The whole
detoxification system is simple, yet complex.
- Phase 1: breaks down anything we breathe in, consume, or make internally (i.e.
hormones) into a smaller substance. That substance is then converted into a
water-soluble compound in phase 2.
- Phase 2: turns phase 1 substances into water soluble compounds so that phase 3 can
- Phase 3: elimination through bowel movements, urination, and the gall bladder’s release
Glucuronidation is one component of the phase 2 liver detoxification pathway. It helps to
process and filter out excess and / or toxic products from the body by attaching an acid
molecule to the toxin. This makes it easier for these products to be eliminated through the
bowels or the bladder. Substances are natural compounds the body makes like hormones, as
well as inhaled or ingested toxins.
Interestingly, glucuronidation is not isolated to the liver. It is also impacted by the health of one’s
digestive tract. Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme that is produced and regulated by the bacteria
in the digestive system. This enzyme reverses the glucuronidation step of detoxification in order
to regulate the level of hormones in the body. Think of it as a feedback pathway that helps to
maintain the balance of hormones that the body needs to function. Unfortunately, when the
gastrointestinal system is out of balance, beta-glucuronidase levels rise. This rise then
uncouples or reverses the glucuronidation step that is trying to eliminate harmful levels of toxins,
hormones, and other substances.
Assessing gut flora and maintaining a healthy digestive system is an important aspect of health
and wellness. One way we can test Beta-glucuronidase is through the GI Map stool test. When
patients have an elevated level of this enzyme, it is an indication that the microbiome of their
gastrointestinal tract is out of balance and they need to support their gut microflora.
Additionally, an elevation in beta-glucuronidase means this person would be a good candidate
for liver support, especially if they are using bio-identical hormones. We all need liver
detoxification support. We eat, inhale, and ingest overt or trace levels of chemicals all the time.
We ask a lot of the liver and it is not uncommon for it to need some extra support to help
balance hormones. If you haven’t already, take our bioidentical hormone quiz or watch our quick
primer video on hormone regulation. We would love to support you in thriving and living your