The most widely held belief regarding estrogen is that it is a female hormone that obliterates testosterone and “all that is man”. That may be an oversimplification, but the reality isn’t too far off. Just the idea of estrogen in their body can provoke images of embarrassing man boobs or emotional mood swings typically attributed to women.
These can indeed be unwelcome symptoms of elevated estrogen levels, but we’re talking severely high levels of estrogen. Estrogen in and of itself should not be considered the enemy of man.
One of the primary reasons for this article is to debunk the myth that estrogen is “bad” for men. Hopefully, after reading this, you will walk away with a better understanding of the role estrogen plays in men’s health.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of estrogen in male health, natural methods for balancing hormones, including estrogen blockers and when to use them, and other causes and symptoms associated with estrogen problems.
Estrogen shows up in men through one of two ways – natural production and conversion. Aromatization is the process that converts testosterone into estrogen 2 (estradiol) through an enzyme called aromatase. Estradiol is the most common type of estrogen found in men.
The aromatase enzyme is present in hormonal cellular receptors located throughout the body. These estrogen receptors are concentrated in the brain, fat tissue, adrenal glands, penile vasculature, and the testes.
The default position regarding estrogen and testosterone is that the former is a “female hormone” and the latter is a “male hormone.” In reality, estrogen is incredibly important to the overall health of men, much like testosterone.
Having too much or too little estrogen can negatively impact your libido, mood, and even testosterone levels. If this sounds similar to the effects of having too low or too high T-levels, you’re not wrong. Both of these “sex” hormones need to be balanced (along with other hormones) for your body to function optimally.
Before we talk about potential contributors to high estrogen levels and what can happen to your body as a result, let’s explore all the ways estrogen positively benefits male health.
Much like in women, estrogen plays an important role in the bone health (density) of men. Men also rely on estrogen to maintain cardiovascular health and to keep their blood pressure stable.
Estrogen works as a neuroregulator in the brain to promote impulse control and curb anti-social behaviors. It’s also a useful protection against inflammation and disease in your brain.
Estrogen levels in the brain and testicles are instrumental in the optimal functioning of the libido, reproductive capacity, and sexual performance. In the brain, estradiol synthesis is increased in areas related to sexual arousal.
Removing estrogen from men’s bodies is not a good idea. It can be downright dangerous if estrogen levels get too low. On the flip side, extremely elevated estrogen levels don’t do you any good either.
So, how do you know if your estrogen levels are too high?
While we agree with science that estrogen can be good for men, certain conditions have been known to contribute to high estrogen levels. The presence of one or more of these conditions may be an indicator that your estrogen levels are out of balance.
A few of the most common causes of high estrogen in men are:
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) – Studies have shown that TRT can lead to increased estrogen levels in men who take TRT via injectables1.
- Obesity – This is perhaps the most common cause of high estrogen levels. Studies have shown that in men that are overweight, there is increased activity converting testosterone into estradiol (E2)2.
- Certain Dietary Products – Dairy and soy products contain hormones, such as estrogens and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Preliminary studies show these foods may affect male and female health3.
- Exposure to Certain Chemicals – Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may activate estrogen receptors and interfere with normal hormonal balance4.
If any of these conditions apply to you, you may be experiencing elevated estrogen levels. Even if you are not affected by one of these conditions, you may not be fully in the clear.
Take a look at some of the common signs or symptoms of a testosterone or estrogen hormonal imbalance.
It’s becoming more well-known that testosterone production declines as men age, which leads to lower testosterone levels. The same is true for estrogen in men. Production of estradiol may increase as we get older.
When high levels of estradiol are present, it can increase the production of SHBG, which binds to and inactivates testosterone. It can also circulate back to your brain, reducing the production of pituitary FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone), which also reduces testosterone.
This type of hormonal imbalance affects men even if they aren’t suffering from the conditions we mentioned earlier. This is because the aging process affects us all.
When this kind of hormonal imbalance occurs, it can lead to a variety of side effects, including:
- Breast tenderness or enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Bloating or excess water retention (weight gain)
- Increased emotional instability (depression, irritability, or mood swings)
- Sexual dysfunction (erectile issues, infertility, low libido)
- Low energy and increased fatigue
- Loss of muscle tone or inability to increase muscle mass despite weight training
- Cognitive decline and memory loss
- Hair loss
- Difficulty sleeping
To know for sure if you’re dealing with a hormone imbalance, we suggest speaking with your doctor about testing your testosterone and estrogen levels.
Before you schedule an appointment, check out a few things to consider when reviewing your results.
We should evaluate the testing results of sex hormones in the context of other hormones. What we mean is that you should avoid testing for one hormone in isolation.
Three hormone tests you should evaluate (though you can order more) are ultra-sensitive estradiol, total and free testosterone, and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).
You may need to discuss with your doctor about ordering the ultra-sensitive estradiol test, which evaluates low levels of estradiol in the serum. The standard estrogen test was created for women and is not as useful for men.
If your tests indicate you have high estrogen accompanied by low testosterone, there are safer and more sustainable methods of getting your hormones (and your body) back in balance.
Keep reading to find ways you can take your hormone health into your hands.
Altering estrogen levels when they are normal can lead to unwanted side effects and cause your body to function at a diminished capacity. Suppressing your estrogen completely will not solve whatever health issue you are experiencing.
What you can do, however, is get your estrogen and other hormone levels in check using natural methods.
Some studies suggest that eating a diet with certain foods can lower or raise estrogen levels, but more research is needed.
In the meantime, try adjusting your diet to increase the following helpful foods:
- Soy Products – Soy products are rich in phytoestrogens, which can have a pro-estrogen, anti-estrogen, or neutral effect when they bind to estrogen receptors, allowing them to increase or decrease estrogen levels.
- Cruciferous Vegetables – These vegetables contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, which may have anti-estrogen effects. Eating these vegetables may lower the risk of prostate cancer.
- Mushrooms – Oyster mushrooms, specifically, contain compounds (such as hispolon) that naturally block aromatase, reducing the amount of estrogen in the body.
- Turmeric – Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which studies have shown may reduce estrogen levels. One study even found that large doses of curcumin increased testosterone levels in rats.
According to some research, dairy, meat, alcohol, grains, and legumes may increase estrogen levels in men and women.
Start exercising several times per week. Weight lifting has been scientifically proven to have a positive impact on hormones. Several studies have shown that higher amounts of aerobic exercise may increase testosterone and reduce estrogen in men.
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule and getting enough sleep can also help regulate your hormone levels.
Xenoestrogen is a big word, but it refers to something simple to understand. Certain human-made products contain xenoestrogens, which are chemical compounds that imitate estrogen in the body.
It may be hard to believe, but these compounds are found in many plastic products such as bottles and food storage containers. Even if you don’t have elevated estrogen levels, you might avoid these compounds as they may increase your risk of cancer and endocrine disorders.
Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements or natural estrogen-blocking supplements help your body metabolize and eliminate excess estrogen from circulation. Natural supplements that are the most effective contain Diindolylmethane (DIM), Indole-3-carbinol, or calcium D-glucarate.
DIM and indole-3-carbinol are found naturally in certain plants and vegetables. Consuming veggies such as broccoli and cabbage can help naturally provide your body with some of these nutrients. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to eat a large enough quantity to have a meaningful impact.
Upping your consumption of these vegetables should be combined with taking a natural estrogen blocker to increase your chances of positively influencing your hormone levels.
What is most commonly referred to as an estrogen blocker is actually an aromatase inhibitor. Don’t get us wrong, estrogen blockers are a real thing. Estrogen blockers are prescription medications that help you regain hormonal balance so you can feel like yourself again.
What we mean is that when talking about “estrogen blockers” that are not prescriptions, the term is being misused. To clarify, let’s examine the different estrogen blockers available.
Types of Estrogen Blockers
- Medication – Prescription estrogen blockers reduce the total amount of estrogen in the body by reducing the production of the hormone. The goal of these medications is to reduce the amount of estrogen your body converts from testosterone.
- Natural Supplement – More accurately called aromatase inhibitors or estrogen metabolizers, these types of estrogen blockers work by blocking the action of estrogen by inhibiting the estrogen receptor at a cellular level. They also promote the creation of healthy estrogen metabolites.
Aromatase inhibitors may not be as “strong” as estrogen-blocking medications, but they also don’t produce harmful side effects either. Using prescription estrogen blockers is usually only necessary for men on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) or men with extremely high estrogen levels.
It’s important to remember that having both testosterone and estrogen at optimal levels will provide the greatest health benefit.
It should be more than clear at this point exactly how estrogen is essential for healthy physiological and psychological function in men. That isn’t to say that having excess estrogen isn’t disruptive to daily life.
Estrogen blockers and aromatase inhibitors often serve a dual purpose. Besides regulating estrogen levels in men, they also help increase or maintain testosterone levels. This is a key benefit for men dealing with sexual dysfunction or infertility issues.
They are also a useful alternative to testosterone replacement therapy if you are looking for a natural remedy or your hormone levels don’t warrant this treatment. Raising testosterone levels naturally can positively affect your physical and sexual performance.
The signs of hormonal imbalance we discussed earlier reflect symptoms of high estrogen or low testosterone. When your hormones are out of balance, aromatase inhibitors, like DIM3X by PrimeGENIX, can regain balance.
PrimeGENIX DIM3X is a proven effective natural estrogen blocker for the average guy working to keep their hormones in balance. DIM3X contains diindolylmethane, a compound that naturally metabolizes and reduces excess estrogen.
When considering the use of aromatase inhibitors, it’s important to ignore the marketing hype and get the facts. Maintaining hormonal balance is crucial for our physical health, but it’s also very important to our sexual and mental health.
While you’re lowering your estrogen levels, don’t miss out how the best, “9 Ways To Naturally Boost Your Testosterone This Summer.”