Steroid Pathway

What is the Steroid Pathway?

The DUTCH Steroid Pathway is a summary depicting where hormones come from and how they form through various cells in the body. It includes supplements, nutrients, herbs, and medications shown in the literature to increase or decrease particular enzymes affecting these hormones.

Please note: This is a general steroid pathway and does not specifically differentiate from cells in the ovaries, adrenal glands, or testes.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this handout is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not medical or treatment advice. Any information and statements regarding dietary or herbal supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The use of any information provided in this handout is solely at your own risk.

How do I read the chart?

Begin at the top of the page with cholesterol and follow the arrows downstream to see the conversion of cholesterol into various steroid hormones. Hormones depicted with a solid color bubble are measured by the DUTCH Test, while hormones depicted with an outline are not. The outlined hormones are too far upstream to test directly with our methodology. Instead, we test the downstream metabolites of that hormone.

Hormones are color-coded for convenient reading:

  • Cholesterol
  • Pregnenolone
  • Cortisol
  • Androgen
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone

Next to each arrow on the steroid pathway chart is the name of the protein responsible for moving each hormone further downstream. These proteins are important because they can be targeted with lifestyle changes and supplementation to improve symptoms associated hormone imbalances.

Steroid Pathway_Vertical

Contributing Factors

Use the corresponding number next to a protein to find the list of contributing factors that may be affecting the results of a DUTCH Test.

See below for the references annotated above:

We are here to support you on your journey

With these metabolites, DUTCH Test provides the industry’s most extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones. Additionally, the daily (diurnal) pattern of free cortisol is included, along with melatonin (6-OHMS), 8-OHdG, and nine organic acids. This unique combination of clinical information is not available through any other testing method.

8-OHdG: Our Oxidative Stress Biomarker

Oxidative stress refers to cellular damage or DNA damage. The body needs healthy and robust cells and DNA. Cell-signaling influences blood sugar, hormone production, detoxification, the creation of new cells, etc. Oxidation is like aging. If cells age too quickly, the body is unable to heal and recover well.

8-OHdG measures the effect of endogenous oxidative stress and DNA damage, it is also used to estimate the DNA damage in humans after exposure to cancer-causing agents such as tobacco smoke, asbestos fibers, heavy metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

What Happens?
When local antioxidant systems fail, oxidative damage permanently occurs to lipids of cellular membranes, proteins, and DNA. In nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, 8-OHdG is predominantly formed due to free radical-induced oxidative (pro-mutative) lesions.

Studies and Cancer:
60 women with malignant tumors in a breast cancer study1and 82 men in a prostate cancer study showed 8-OHdG levels significantly higher than controls2. Levels did not decrease with prostatectomy but did decrease with androgen suppression hormone therapy.

Additional Information:
Orange juice (but not pomegranate, apple, grapefruit or cranberry) reduced oxidative stress measured by 8-OHdG3. Taking micronutrient and mineral supplements with antioxidants improved 8-OHdG in people who otherwise did not eat vegetables4. When renoprotective effects of berberine were measured by 8-OHdG in patients with both hypertension and type 2 diabetes, berberine reduced 8-OHdG among other measures5. 8-OHdG increased in the kidney and liver with a copper releasing implant, and researchers supposed that this might also happen with copper IUDs in humans6. Smokers who have high 8-OHdG can lower it by taking moderate amounts of fish oil with combined EPA/DHA7. Urinary BPA increases associated with urinary 8-OHdG increase8. Urinary methylparaben (MP) and ethylparaben (EP) increase along with 8-OHdG in pregnant women and their infants9.

See below for the references annotated above: