The Critical Balance: Men’s Estrogen and Testosterone Levels
The role of estrogen in men is quite an important topic, even if it might cause some men surprise or discomfort.
Here a couple of facts you should know about the role of estrogen in the male body:
- Estrogen plays an important part in a number of key systems of the male body, many of which are considered to be markers of masculinity
- 80% of the estrogen in men is derived from testosterone
To say that in another way:
Estrogen, commonly known as the female sex hormone, is critical to many masculine traits, and most of it comes from the testosterone your body naturally produces.
Men’s Estrogen: What Does It Do?
To clear up any confusion, estrogen is produced in much higher levels in women, and it’s also true that estrogen is critical to the healthy functioning of the male body. However, it must be understood that the balance of estrogen to testosterone production is the key to a complete hormonal formula that properly powers a man’s body. Tipped scales one way or the other can be the source of a number of unpleasant symptoms.
Much of the estradiol, a form of estrogen, found circulating in a man’s body is actually testosterone that has been converted by the enzyme called aromatase. Estradiol has a number of functions that, as we mentioned above, might surprise you in their masculinity, such as:
- Controlling sex drive
- Enabling erections
- Generating sperm
- Regulation of fat tissue production compared with lean muscle mass
In short, estradiol plays a key role in testicular functioning.
Testosterone and Estrogen: Balance Is Key
Since the necessary level of estradiol that men require is derived from testosterone, a necessary correlation exists between the 2 hormones.
If your testosterone is low, your body doesn’t have the raw materials required to produce sufficient quantities of estradiol. If you have low testosterone, you may have low estrogen (estradiol) too, probably leading to the symptoms of hormone imbalance—symptoms commonly associated with Low T:
- Decreased sex drive
- ED (Erectile Dysfunction)
- Excess belly fat
- Poor muscle development or muscle deterioration
- Anxiety and/or mild depression
- Poor sleep regulation
Reading that list of symptoms should make it apparent how masculine healthy estrogen levels are, and you should be able to see how important both hormones are for you to operate at your best.
The Research on Male Estrogen
These conclusions are supported both by sound logic and by scientific evidence. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital studied 400 otherwise healthy men between 20 and 50 years of age, who were divided into 2 groups.
The first group was first given a testosterone suppressor to lower the natural production of both testosterone and its byproduct estradiol. Then, this group was given either a placebo or varying strengths of a testosterone supplement.
The second group was given the suppressant, anastrozole (an estrogen blocker that prevents conversion of testosterone to estradiol), or the supplemental testosterone.
The men in group 1 showed a significant increase in body fat across the board, but that increase was significantly higher in the group receiving the suppressant very low doses of supplementary testosterone.
The men in group 2 also experienced an increase in fat tissue, and again, all the subjects except those receiving the highest doses of testosterone showed the highest weight gain. Lean body mass also decreased noticeably in group 2.
Sex drive also diminished among the men in groups 1 and 2 receiving all but the highest doses of supplemental testosterone.
All these negative changes can be attributed to high estradiol-to-testosterone balances. Effectively, all these men had low testosterone.
Why Would Men’s Estrogen Wind Up Out of Balance?
There are a variety of reasons why your body may be producing too much estrogen, but the primary cause is obesity. In that case, excess fat can actually begin producing excess estrogen beyond what a healthy male body normally produces.
We also occasionally see elevated estrogen levels arising from higher testosterone levels resulting from TRT that’s practiced without proper supervision, including the following poor practices:
- Your hormone levels are not being regularly or carefully measured
- You’re not receiving an aromatase inhibitor at appropriate levels
- Your medical provider isn’t extremely careful about his or her methods
In these cases, much of the extra testosterone being introduced into your body can be converted into excess estradiol, and the situation we described above is more likely to manifest.
Maintaining a Healthy Overall Hormone Balance
We must emphasize that driving up testosterone alone is not a solid plan to resolve any symptoms you might be experiencing.
Once more, it’s incredibly dangerous to use testosterone without proper medical supervision, as testosterone can also result in uncontrolled estradiol production. As we increase the level of any one hormone to treat your symptoms, it’s critical to carefully monitor the reaction of your other hormones to ensure treatment efficacy and safety.
Frequent professional screening is part of our therapy process at Testosterone Centers of Texas (TCT). Our expert staff look forward to helping you improve your quality of life, while keeping your overall health as our top priority.