Even though it is often referred to as a “female hormone”, estrogen is present in bodies of males, and is thought to play an important role in enhancing quality of sperms and strength of bones. However, the hormone is only useful when present in low quantities. If its concentration goes past a certain level, the affected person is bound to experience certain health problems. Below are some of the negative effects of high estrogen in men:
Estrogen is usually responsible for development of breast tissues. While this is considered okay in in females, big breasts in men can elicit social discomforts to the individual. Breast growth in males, known as gynecomastia, happens when the hormone is in excess.
Low sex performance
People suffering from erectile dysfunction might be having elevated estrogen levels in their system. The same also applies to men who have low interest in sex.
Stroke and heart attack risks
Stroke and heart attacks occur when clots prevent supply of oxygen to the brain and heart respectively. Increased estrogen levels raise the risks of developing blood clots in veins.
Increased estrogen brings weight gain. The excess weight may then spark multiple problems, including diabetes, breathing difficulties, and cancer among others.
On the other hand, a correlation between low estrogen and reduced bone density has been established. This means that having too little of this hormone increases the chances of a person developing osteoporosis. To lead a qualitative life, it is therefore important that your body retains the right hormonal balance.
Recommended estrogen levels by age
The standard unit for measurement of estrogen concentration is pg/ml (pictogram per milliliter). A 2000 Clinical Endocrinology Study in healthy men recorded their average estrogen concentration by age as follows:
20 to 29 years: 28.0 pg/ml
30 to 39 years: 25.7 pg/ml
40 to 49 years: 24.7 pg/ml
50 to 59 years: 22.1 pg/ml
60 to 69 years: 21.5 pg/ml
70 to 80 years: 21.9 pg/ml
The figures above are calculations of averages, and so your own concentration may vary a bit from what is shown on the table. However, the closer it remains to the figure prescribed for your age bracket, the better.
Causes of high estrogen in men
Both internal and external factors may contribute to elevated levels of estrogen in men. Below are some of these causes:
High carb foods increase sugar content in blood, which in turn increases insulin production. With high insulin, the body finds it difficult to get rid of estrogen, leading to its high accumulation.
Moreover, presence of high body fat around the waist contributes to release of more than necessary aromatase enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen. Keeping a healthy body weight is therefore essential for regulating aromatase levels in blood.
High alcohol intake impedes the functions of the liver and kidneys. One function of the liver is to destroy toxins and excess hormones, with higher preference for the former. Consuming more alcohol forces the organ to focus more on processing toxins, and this gives chance for estrogen to accumulate.
When the kidney does not eliminate destroyed hormone components in time, they may find their way back to the blood. Beer and certain red wines can facilitate this delay.
But certain types of wine actually help to protect the body against the harmful effects of estrogen; examples of these include Pinot, Spanish, Merlot, and Sardinian wines.
Xenoestrogens are chemical substances that make the body to react in the same way that it does to estrogen. Consuming Xenoestrogens is therefore almost similar to adding the hormone to your body. The sources of these chemicals include plastic, insecticides containing DDT, certain skin care products, pesticides and food preservatives among others.
How to reduce high estrogen in men?
Proper diet is one of the most useful ways to lower your estrogen levels. Apart from going slow on sugars, minimize intake of industrial meat, especially products from regions where there are no stable policies barring use of steroids in animals.
While foods rich in isoflavones have some health benefits, too much consumption of these may also add estrogen to your system. The key is therefore to eat them with moderation. Examples of sources of isoflavones include soy, green beans, peanut, clovers, cowpea, and tofu.
Exercise is another good way to reduce estrogen levels. Exercising not only enhances the functioning of body organs, but also reduces stress levels and promotes burning of calories.
Supplements of zinc, B vitamins, and magnesium may also help in promoting hormonal balance. Complement these with intake of omega 3 oils, broccoli, green tea and foods rich in vitamin E.
Another crucial factor to consider is the amount of poison that enters your body. While you cannot completely clear away plastics, pesticides, and other pollutants form your environment, try to minimize contact with them. Also, buy safe skin care products.
Filed in: Health and Lifestyle