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IMAGE: Estrogen supplements change the bacterial composition in the intestinal tract, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, according to a new study in mice by researchers at the U. of I. From… view more 

Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Long-term therapy with estrogen and bazedoxifene alters the microbial composition and activity in the gut, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, a new study in mice found.

According to the study, led by University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, the enzyme B-glucuronidase (GUS) plays a pivotal role in metabolizing synthetic estrogens in the intestinal tract.

The findings of the study, published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest that changing the chemistry in the gut could be a way to improve the efficacy and long-term safety of estrogen supplements for postmenopausal women and breast cancer patients, Madak-Erdogan said.

“Our findings indicate that clinicians might be able to manipulate the gut biome through probiotics to change the half-life and properties of estrogens so that long-term users obtain the therapeutic benefits of estrogen-replacement therapy without increasing their risks of reproductive cancers,” said Madak-Erdogan, also the director of the Women’s Health, Hormones and Nutrition Lab at

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