The Science Behind Estrogen Blockers
Estrogen is the female sex hormone. That's what we learned in high school biology class. But it seems there's more to this hormone than our biology teacher taught us.
Estrogen's Role in a Man's Body
Estrogen plays an important role in the regulation of testosterone in men. There are three types of estrogen that impact a man's body. The primary type is estradiol (the others being estriol and estrone).
Normally, testosterone and estrogen are balanced in a man's body. Problems come into play when a man's estrogen levels increase.
As estrogen levels rise in a man's body, his testosterone levels tend to decline. When this happens, a man may experience symptoms of high estrogen along with symptoms of low testosterone. That's a double whammy that's guaranteed to bring on a bad day.
Low Estrogen Levels
Low estrogen levels in men are usually not a cause for concern. However, symptoms similar to those caused by high estrogen levels may occur and need to be addressed. A few of the possible symptoms include:
- A decline in sex drive
- Accumulation of excess fat around the belly
- Bone loss, possibly leading to osteoporosis
Estrogen imbalances in men can cause hypogonadism, a disorder in which you may lack sufficient hormone production throughout your body. That means not only will your estrogen levels be diminished, but also your testosterone levels may drop.
High Estrogen Levels
Symptoms of high estrogen levels can be difficult to differentiate from signs of low testosterone. But it isn't impossible to pinpoint the difference. Men with high estrogen levels may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Increased abdominal fat
- Sexual dysfunction, such as low libido, decreased morning erections, or a decline in erectile function
- Enlarged breasts
- Loss of muscle mass
- Lower urinary tract discomfort associated with enlarged prostate
- Emotional disturbances, especially depression
- The onset of Type 2 diabetes
One way to bring estrogen levels back into focus and hormones back into balance is through estrogen blockers.
The estrogen produced in a man's body is created in a round-about way. Studies show that between one to eight percent of the testosterone a man's body produces is converted to estrogen. An enzyme called aromatase is responsible for this conversion. Estrogen-blocking supplements don't block estrogen production directly. Instead, estrogen blockers prevent aromatase from converting testosterone to estrogen. In this way, the production of testosterone is increased naturally without the use of steroids.
Estrogen blocking supplements contain various ingredients, but most also contain herbs and natural botanicals associated with increased testosterone production.
Why Take Estrogen Blockers?
There are five main reasons why men begin taking estrogen blockers.
- Testosterone production peaks when men are in their late teens. It begins to decline each year from the time a man reaches 30 or so. For some men, the decline comes too quickly, and the reduction in testosterone drops too low. Estrogen blockers are the solution to the imbalance in the body's hormones.
- A drop in testosterone levels can trigger an increase in estrogen. When estrogen levels are out of balance, a man's body can respond with unwanted effects, such as enlarged breasts, decreased sperm production, and loss of sex drive. In this situation, estrogen blockers are a viable treatment option.
- Men who can't produce sufficient testosterone may be prescribed testosterone replacement therapy and may use estrogen blockers.
- Some cancer patients have benefitted from estrogen blockers.
- Bodybuilders, athletes, and men who want to enhance muscle growth and increase their tolerance to exercise may use estrogen blockers to increase their testosterone levels while reducing estrogen production.
If you're considering estrogen blockers, take a couple of minutes to do a bit of homework first. You have two general options: natural estrogen blockers or pharmaceutical estrogen blockers. Regardless of which route you choose, make certain to discuss it with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
Natural Estrogen Blockers
Nature loves balance. Hormone levels in the body are designed to be in balance to work properly. High levels of certain hormones, such as estrogen, can have undesirable physical effects that require intervention to bring under control.
Some of the most popular natural estrogen blockers include:
- Fruits such as citrus, berries, figs, grapes, melons, pears, and pineapples
- Fresh green vegetables such as arugula, cabbage, corn, kale, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and squash.
If controlling your estrogen levels through diet is a method that interests you, consult with a registered dietician who can help you tailor your diet to your individual needs.
Are Estrogen Blockers Safe?
The higher the estrogen levels in a man's body, the more likely he is to develop problems from the hormonal imbalance. Health issues like enlarged breasts usually require a more aggressive approach to rectify the situation. If you're having these problems, it may be time to investigate estrogen blocker supplements and cortisol-reducing hardening agents.
Remember that estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone in a man's body. The goal of estrogen blockers is not to rid your body of all estrogen. Proper use of estrogen blockers finds the optimum level of testosterone and estrogen that allows your body to benefit from these hormones.
There are two types of estrogen blockers: prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements. The prescription medications are, of course, the more powerful of the two. But that doesn't mean the less powerful over-the-counter supplements aren't effective. These are generally made from natural ingredients that are less likely to trigger adverse reactions.
If You Do It, Do It Right
Estrogen blockers are an effective, well-tolerated tool that men can use to help regulate their testosterone and estrogen levels, but they need to be used correctly. Using the supplements alone for the sole purpose of losing weight probably will leave you disappointed.
If you think estrogen blockers are right for you, your first move should be to consult with your healthcare provider. If possible, get a baseline lab reading of your hormone levels, both testosterone, and estrogen. Base your use of estrogen blockers on what your body needs, what you want to accomplish, and decide if proper use of estrogen blockers can get you there.