Optimal Result: 0 - 2486 U/mL.

Other names:

Β-glucuronidase / β-G / Beta-glucuronidase / b-glucuronidase

What is Beta-glucuronidase and where is it produced?

Beta-glucuronidase is a very important enzyme produced naturally in cells of the liver, kidney, and intestinal epithelium (=single cell layer that forms the luminal surface of both the small and large intestine of the GI tract). However, this enzyme is also produced excessively by bacteria known to be pathogenic, and high levels may be an indication of adverse metabolic activity of the intestinal microbiome.

The major producers of beta glucuronidase are these bacteria: 

- Bacteroides fragilis, 

- Bacteroides vulgatus, 

- Bacteroides uniformis, 

- Clostridium paraputrificum, 

- Clostridium clostridioforme, 

- Clostridium perfringens,

- Escherichia coli, 

- Eubacterium, 

- Peptostreptococcus, 

- Ruminococcus, 

- and Staphylococcus. 

What are the functions of Beta-glucuronidase?

Beta-glucuronidase is involved in phase 2 of liver detoxification. 

The enzyme hydrolyzes B-glucuronide to make glucuronic acid and an aglycone, such as imine, thiol, or alcohol. Glucuronidation by way of beta-glucuronidase is a major route of detoxification in the human body. However, this enzyme can also convert pro-carcinogens to carcinogenic compounds.

This enzyme is used to digest carbohydrates and is a product of E. coli and anaerobic bacteria (bacteroides and clostridia). It is a key component of phase II detoxification (glucuronidation pathway) that helps clear pharmaceuticals, carcinogens, bile acids, and estrogen. 

Diet and intestinal bacterial imbalance modulate Beta-glucuronidase activity. High fat, high protein and low fiber diets are associated with higher Beta-glucuronidase activity compared to vegetarian or high soluble fiber diets. Higher Beta-glucuronidase may be associated with an imbalanced intestinal microbiota profile. Some major bacterial producers of fecal Beta-glucuronidase include Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Escherichia coli, Clostridium, Bacteroides fragilis and other Bacteroides species, Ruminococcus gnavus, and species that belong to the genera Staphylococcus and Eubacterium.

Low b-glucuronidase activity is an indicator of abnormal metabolic activity among the intestinal microbiota that may be influenced by dietary extremes, diminished abundance and diversity of the intestinal microbiota, or heavy probiotic and/or prebiotic supplementation. A low fat, low meat and high fiber diet, such as consumed by strict vegetarians, may be associated with lower b-glucuronidase activity compared to a typical “Western diet.” High-end consumption of soluble fiber (e.g. inulin) and supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus may be inconsequentially associated with lower fecal b-glucuronidase.

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References:

- Heerdt AS, Young CW, Borgen PO, Calcium glucarate as a chemopreventive agent in breast cancer.  Israel Journal of Medical Sciences.  31(2-3): 101-5, 1995. [L]

- Walaszek Z,  Potential use of D-glucaric acid derivatives in cancer prevention. Cancer Letters 54(1-2):1-8, 1990 [L]

- Abbou-Issa H.  Moeschberger M, el-Masry W. Tejwani S. Curley RWJr. Webb TE.  Relative efficacy of glucarate on the initiation and promotion phases of rat mammary carcinogenesis. Anticancer Research.  15(3):905-10, 1995. [L]

- Murray. Breast Cancer:  Update on a growing Epidemic Natural Medicine Journal. March 1999.  2(1);1-6

- beta-glucuronidase and beta-glucosidase Activity in Stool Specimens of Children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease [L]

- LiY ,ZhangX, Wang L, Zhou Y, Hassan JS, LiM. Distribution and gene mutation of enteric flora carrying beta-glucuronidase among patients with colorectal cancer. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015;8(4):5310-5316. [L]

- Mroczynska M, Libudzisz Z. Beta-glucuronidase and beta-glucosidase activity of Lactobacillus and Enterococcus isolated from human feces. Polish journal of microbiology / Polskie TowarzystwoMikrobiologow=ThePolish SocietyofMicrobiologists.2010;59(4):265-269. [L]

What does it mean if your b-Glucuronidase result is too low?

Low b-glucuronidase activity is an indicator of abnormal metabolic activity among the intestinal microbiota that may be influenced by dietary extremes, diminished abundance and diversity of the intestinal microbiota, or heavy probiotic and/or prebiotic supplementation. A low fat, low meat and high fiber diet, such as consumed by strict vegetarians, may be associated with lower b-glucuronidase activity compared to a typical “Western diet.” High-end consumption of soluble fiber (e.g. inulin) and supplementation with Lactobacillus acidophilus may be inconsequentially associated with lower fecal b-glucuronidase.

What does it mean if your b-Glucuronidase result is too high?

Beta-glucuronidase plays a pivotal role in digestion, particularly in breaking down certain things such as complex carbohydrates, detoxification of estrogen, thyroid hormone and other environmental toxins.

However, if levels of beta-glucuronidase enzyme get too high, then this creates a very undesirable situation. You will start to reabsorb hormones like estrogen and toxins that should be eliminated. This is one of the main causes behind high estrogen. Many people take DIM supplements to improve estrogen detoxification but if your phase 2 of liver detoxification is not working well then you can reabsorb them back into your body, no matter how much DIM / broccoli you eat.

If your levels get too high of beta-glucuronidase then this can interrupt the body’s natural detoxification process.

Beta-glucuronidase is produced by the intestinal epithelium and certain intestinal bacteria. Observational studies have indicated a correlation between high Beta-glucuronidase activity and certain cancers, but a definitive causal relationship has not been established. Higher levels of Beta-glucuronidase have been associated with higher circulating estrogens and lower fecal excretion of estrogens in premenopausal women. A potential dietary carcinogen derived from cooked meat and fish induces high Beta-glucuronidase activity and prolongs internal exposure to the toxin in an experimental animal model.

This enzyme needs to be present just the right amount--not too little and not too much. When beta-glucuronidase is in excess, the bonds between toxins and glucuronic acid are broken, and toxins and hormones that were meant to be excreted are then reabsorbed into the body. 

- Toxins stimulate Beta-glucuronidase activity and dietary red meat and protein increases the enzyme. 

- Antibiotics increase B-glucuronidase levels. 

- High levels of fecal beta-glucuronidase can indicate unfavorable changes in the colon. Evidence of increased enzymatic activity of intestinal microorganisms may suggest increased risk of digestive tract cancer. 

These are the things that will increase your levels:

- If you are an individual that consumes a lot of meat, processed foods, sugar, or alcohol then you are at risk of elevated levels of beta-glucuronidase.

- If you know you need to decrease your levels of beta-glucuronidase, you can do so by establishing a healthy gut microbiome and eating a diet high in glucuronic acid. Glucuronic acid is high in foods such as apples, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and oranges. 

- Glucuronic acid is available in capsule form as Calcium D-glucarate. Calcium D-glucarate inhibits beta-glucuronidase so that the body is able to properly excrete toxins. This supplement can be beneficial for women with certain forms of breast cancer. It is important to work with a provider and receive Integrative testing to determine the amounts and types of supplements that will work best for your body as a whole.

- If you have a poor diet then this can put you at risk of this enzyme being produced at high levels.

Therefore, a healthy foundation that focuses on proper and balanced nutrition is of the utmost importance moving forward.

While supplements such as Calcium D-Glucarate can help lower beta-glucuronidase in the short term it is always best to address the underlying cause of why you have high levels of beta-glucuronidase.

A low-calorie, vegetarian/vegan diet can reduce fecal B-glucuronidase levels.

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