Many men are worried about their hormone levels, and not just because of the commercials with ex-athletes. Fact is, as we age we lose 1.6% of our testosterone every year–and we lose up to 3% of our bioavailable testosterone. But many of the problems associated with Low T, like loss of muscle mass and bone density are actually the fault of another hormone–estrogen.
Too much estrogen may actually cause more issues than Low-T. So if you’re looking into T-Boosters, good on you. But you should also be asking how you can lower your estrogen, too. In this article we’ll point out a few tips and tricks to get you back on track.
Vital Points to Keep in Mind:
Our bodies are complex machines, always making moves and always working. Sometimes, however, our bodies are working at cross-purposes to our minds. One such instance is the process called aromatase. This process, and the enzyme with the same name, literally turns your androgen hormones, like testosterone, and turns them into estrogen.
It’s not known just how many men suffer from excess aromatase syndrome, but it has a number of causes. The two leading factors are diet and medications. We’ll cover what to avoid and then mention some ways fight back against aromatase.
Breast cancer research has been focused on aromatase for decades, now, as excess estrogen in women leads to breast cancer. This is because, like in men, estrogen triggers the body to produce breast tissue–and that excess can metastasize. One benefit of this study is that years of research have identified common foods that lead to aromatase. Cutting these out of your diet can help you limit your own estrogen:
Foods that Could Increase Estrogen
There are probably some surprises in there for men–red meat? Beer? There are also some that we already knew about, such as soy products. The point of this list isn’t to strip these foods away altogether. But if you’re worried about your estrogen, look at how often you’re eating these foods. There could be a correlation.
The science behind these foods making the list is an evolving theory around something called phytoestrogens, or micronutrients that act as estrogen in the body. One school of thought is that if you eat foods that act like estrogen, your body won’t convert testosterone to get more. Another thought, however, is that the phytoestrogen genistein leads directly to aromatase. (In addition, genistein has been seen to have sperm killing effects and other fertility outcomes in men.)
Tobacco? I know, I know. One of the reasons I included it on the list is because that’s what the researchers have found. Another reason is to point out that not every solution is healthy. Like crash dieting, some “solutions” are less healthy than the “problem.” Also if you follow the link, please not these are all foods that have been researched. Look for scores close to 100 in the “activity found” column for best options.
Beside diet, there are a number of supplements on the market that can help with aromatase inhibition. And better news, yet, a lot of these supplements are proven T-Boosters; so you’re getting two effects for your total male health in each capsule.
To keep up on all the other supplement ingredients that can help with aromatase, watch out for my ongoing series on natural ingredients and the scientific research on their benefits (under the “Nutrition” tab at the top of the page).
Certain medications are known to increase aromatase activity in men, but I won’t be listing them here. That’s because of what I mentioned in the last section about how some “solutions” can actually be quite harmful. For instance, many of the medications I’ve found that increase aromatase (i.e., estrogen) are life saving medications that you should keep taking.
If you feel that you are suffering from excess aromatase, and changes to diet, supplements, and exercise aren’t helping, speak with your GP or doctor about whether your medications may be affecting your estrogen levels. But absolutely consult your healthcare provider before stopping a medication.
5. Stress and Fat
I make the analogy of our bodies being machines because it makes it easy to understand how one issue can have ripple effects for the rest of our systems. Body fat and stress are two of those issues. Not only can they both lower testosterone, they can actively increase our estrogen.
6. Body Fat
Study after study has shown a strong link between obesity–specifically body fat percentage–and estrogen levels. One of the earliest connections showed how obesity leads to that old nemesis aromatase. Part of this is because of the way body fat interferes with estrogen receptors. Later research has shown that not only does this lead to higher levels of converted estrogen, but that obese men actively produce significant levels of estrogen.
I’ve covered how important stress is to maintaining healthy testosterone levels, but new studies are showing us that stress and its primary hormone, cortisol, also has a tight relationship with estrogen. It appears that cortisol and estrogen have a symbiotic relationship, wherein increases in stress trigger more estrogen production.
Not only do many of the supplements I’ve researched increase energy and lower stress, but they can also help you get the edge you need to exercise more and exercise better. It may seem like too-simple an answer, but if weight and anxiety are keeping your estrogen too high, the right supplement with a good exercise plan may be your ticket back to the real you.
9. Odds and Ends
Not everything has the same level of effect, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention all the science I’ve come across. Maintaining hormonal health is too important to leave any stone unturned.
10. Alcohol and Liver
We’ve already covered how excess alcohol can lead to aromatase in men, but there’s another aspect to consider: liver health. It turns out that our livers are the ones processing estrogen receptors. So if you’re routinely taking any pain relievers that affect the liver (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc), or if you take them with alcohol, you’re putting your liver at risk–and possibly raising your estrogen.
I’m not trying to be political, but plastics just keep showing up in the news in all the wrong ways. Per our present article, it turns out that nearly every plastic out there has a compound called xenoestrogens. These plastics release chemicals into our foods and water that mimic estrogen when they enter our bodies. One line from the report? “... almost all commercially available plastic items would leach detectable [estrogens when]... exposed to boiling water, sunlight, and/or microwaving.”
Plastic is all-pervasive in our world, so cracking this nut could be the hardest thing in this whole piece. You can start by only using reusable plastics (their density makes it harder for them to release chemicals) and only hand washing them in warm water. Further, try to use glass storage containers for food, and never put your plastics in the microwave.
If you’re worried about the level of estrogen in your body, the good news is that there’s something you can do about it. For nearly every cause of high estrogen in men there is a solution at hand. From changing diet to getting on a good exercise and supplement routine, the power is in our hands to take back our hormonal health. Let’s get to work.