Estrogen: The Unrecognized Male Hormone

Written by COHEN, M.D., Rick

Testosterone is commonly-recognized as the ‘master’ male hormone because it controls and directs the rate of a man’s sexual development. Testosterone also plays a key role in determining a man’s overall health and well-being. High levels of testosterone mean sexual, physical and mental energy, stamina and vitality. Low levels contribute to fatigue, premature aging and disease.

While testosterone levels naturally decline with age, a number of other lifestyle factors including stress, physical inactivity, over-training, lack of sleep, chronic illness, smoking, drinking and the use of prescription medications and drugs can also contribute to the onset of low testosterone.

Along with this decline in testosterone with age and lifestyle, many men also experience increases in the levels of estrogen. The result is a testosterone/estrogen imbalance that directly causes many of the debilitating health problems associated with normal aging. The vast majority of men are surprised to learn that estrogen (a ‘female’ hormone) is also present in their bodies. It is produced in very small amounts as a by-product of the testosterone conversion process. In fact, balanced levels of estrogen in men are essential to encourage a healthy libido, improved brain function, protect the heart and strengthen the bones.

But due to aging, body fat, hormonal replacement, pesticides, nutritional deficiencies, prescription medications and excessive alcohol intake many men experience high levels of estrogen which are detrimental to their health. In fact, studies have shown that the estrogen levels of the average 54-year-old man is higher than those of the average 59-year-old women! The end result is that these high levels of estrogen can cause reduced levels of testosterone, fatigue, loss of muscle tone, increased body fat, loss of libido and sexual function and an enlarged prostate.

In youth, small amounts of estrogen are used to reduce the cell-stimulating effects of testosterone. But when there is too little testosterone present, estrogen attaches to testosterone cell receptor sites throughout the body. Subsequently, as estrogen levels increase with age, testosterone is not able to stimulate the cells causing reduced sexual arousal and sensation as well the loss of libido. Other problems associated with excessive levels of estrogen include:

(1) The shut down of normal testicular production of testosterone. Excess estrogen can saturate testosterone receptors in the hypothalamus in the brain therefore reducing the signal sent to the pituitary gland. This in turn reduces the secretion of luteinizing hormone, which is necessary for the gonads to produce testosterone.
(2) Increasing the body’s production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds testosterone therefore reducing the amount of the clinical important free testosterone in the blood available to cell receptor sites.
(3) A reduced effectiveness of the testosterone replacement therapy due to excess aromatization of testosterone medications to estrogen.
(4) Long-term health risks including an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

The evidence is clear that it is essential for men who are concerned about healthy aging, who are suffering from symptoms of low testosterone or undergoing testosterone replacement therapy need to take aggressive action and assess their estrogen levels and reduce any excessive estrogen to a safe range.

Saliva testing is an excellent method to inexpensively test the important male hormones including estradiol, the most active form of estrogen. If testing shows that your estradiol levels are high and/or free testosterone levels are low or low normal, you are using testosterone or prohormone support, you desire increased abdominal fat loss or you want to protect your prostate the following protocol is suggested.

(1) Lose weight. Fat cells, especially in the abdominal region, produce the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen.
(2) Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption to enable your liver to better remove excess estrogens.
(3) Get 80-90 mg a day of zinc. Zinc functions as an aromatase inhibitor for some men.
(4) Increase the amount of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower and flax these promote the liver to metabolize and excrete excess estrogen
(5) Reduce or eliminate and medications that you are regularly taking that may interfere with your healthy liver function. Common medications include NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin), the “statin” class of cholesterol lowering drugs, some heart and blood pressure medications, and some anti-depressants.
(6) Use a topical chrysin/ diindolin formula such as Anti-Estrogen SportsCreme ® by MedLean. This formula contains:

Extracts of Passiflora coerulea including chrysin: These naturally-occurring bioflavanoid (isoflavones) are potent inhibitors of aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol. Along with the many other natural flavonoids that exist in a plant based diet including genistein, rutin, tea catechins, these extracts may contribute to the effectiveness of plant based diets for the prevention if cancer. They also have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Their direct effect on the neuroreceptors in the brain may create a calming effect in many men.
Note: Chrysin is poorly absorbed when taken orally, but the beneficial effects of this phytonutrient are seen when applied topically.

Di-Indole-Methane: An extract of cruciferous vegetables, DIM, acts to promote and support a favorable metabolism of estrogen and related hormones by enhancing the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen to “weaker” 2-hydroxyestrone. DIM, may reduce prostate cancer incidence as it has been shown to stop human cancer cells from growing by (54-61%) and provoking the cells to self-destruct (apoptosis). DIM, also improves prostate function, enhances insulin sensitivity and increases abdominal fat loss.

Urtica Dioca:A special extract of this popular herb has been shown to increase bioavailable (free) testosterone levels by freeing it from SHBG – the testosterone-binding protein in the blood. In addition, it inhibits aromatase and protects the prostate by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

(7) If after six to eight weeks, the above protocol does not lower excess estradiol levels, then it is recommended that you try the prescription medicine Arimidex ® (anastrozole), a potent aromatase-inhibiting drug starting at the low dose of 0.5 mg, twice a week increasing to a maximum of 1.0 mg daily. Side effects from this medication is rare.

In conclusion: Testosterone is the ‘master’ male hormone but if you have too little or too much estrogen, you will never be able to look and feel your best.


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