The Other Male Sex Hormones.
Currently due to media attention, most men are focused on low testosterone or low T levels in their bodies. Testosterone is the critical male sex hormone. It is what makes a ‘man a man.’ However the 2 other sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone play crucial roles in men’s health. Men have small amounts of these female hormones. As they age, testosterone and progesterone levels decline and estrogen levels rise. Estrogen is produced in men by a process called aromatization. The enzyme aromatase is found in high levels in fat. Aromatase converts testosterone into estrogen. So the more fat, the more conversion to estrogen. As men age, fat deposits increase and explain the gradual rise of estrogen levels. Estrogen also causes a rise in the level of binding proteins in the blood. These proteins bind testosterone and leave even less available free hormone, further worsening low testosterone levels.
Besides testosterone conversion, men are also exposed to many other sources of estrogen. Xenoestrogens are estrogen like compounds found in our foods and environment. There are tens of thousands of these compounds including many plastics, pesticides and hormones given to animals.
Testosterone and progesterone balance the effects of estrogen in men. As testosterone and progesterone decline and estrogens increase, a hormone imbalance known as estrogen dominance results. Estrogen dominance has many deleterious effects on the male body. Estrogen dominance can cause prostate and breast tissue growth, increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. Estrogen induced prostate growth leads to the symptoms of prostate hypertrophy like decreased flow and nocturia.
To treat estrogen dominance, the goal is to rebalance hormone levels as well as decrease estrogen levels. Progesterone, estrogen and testosterone levels should be measured via salivary testing. This allows us to see the actual levels of free hormone the tissues are seeing. Low testosterone can be replaced with testosterone supplementation. If progesterone is low, supplementation with a progesterone cream is also warranted. Progesterone has protective effects to balance the estrogen effects. Progesterone decrease prostate size and has been shown to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia.
Decreasing estrogen levels involves lowering environmental intake as well as lowering aromatase activity. Diet and exercise and decrease fat deposits and will lower estrogen. Some aromatase inhibitors include chrysin, resveratrol, arimidex and DIM.
Protection from xenoestrogens
- Buy organic meat, fish and poultry as they are not supplemented with any hormones, antibiotics or other growth stimulants.
- Buy organic vegetables, fruit and other foods, grown without pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers.
- Avoid fried processed foods, which sometimes contain trans fats that perpetuate the production of estrogen.
- Avoid recycled drinking water. Synthetic hormones are not filtered out of municipal water, so the level of estrogens recycled tap water are rising all the time. Our drinking water is filled with the metabolites of prescription drug users.
- Use glass, high quality stainless steel or ceramics to store food and drink.
- If you must use plastics, do not heat them or leave them in the sun.
- Throughout your home and garden, try to avoid all chemical cleaners, deodorants, dyes, personal products, garden products, stationery and anything that gives off chemical smells. Try to use as few chemicals as possible, stick to products made with natural ingredients that you understand. A new car, new furniture, curtains (drapes), clothes, carpets, products made from chipboard and whatever all give off toxic gas for a time. Try to keep the windows open and minimize your exposure until the “new” smell goes.
- Lose weight, exercise, and drink plenty of pure water.