The aromatase enzyme is responsible for converting androgens into estrogens by a process called aromatization. More specifically this enzyme can convert Androstenedione into estrone and/or Testosterone into estradiol. Elevated levels of these circulating estrogens can have adverse effects on men’s health. Firstly they signal the pituitary gland to reduce production of LH, a hormone which signals the testes to produce testosterone, thus reducing testosterone production. In addition high estrogens can also stimulate SHGB (sex hormone binding globulin) production which is a protein which binds to free testosterone creating a bound and inactive form which is no longer available to bind to testosterone receptors thus reducing active testosterone levels. Finally, as testosterone levels diminish and estrogen levels increase this creates an imbalance which could not only potentially increase a mans risk of developing prostate problems and even prostate cancer it also creates a situation where estrogens can bind to testosterone receptors thus blocking testosterone’s effect thus further exacerbating andropause symptoms.
The aromatase enzyme is found in higher concentrations in fat tissue so if your overweight you may be more likely to have high estrogen levels. Experts have also estimated that approximately 60% of men genetically have overactive aromatase enzymes which also can contribute towards high estrogens.
Symptoms of Andropause
These symptoms include: decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory problems, decreased energy and strength, increase in body fat, loss of muscle mass, prostate enlargement, osteoporosis, depression, inability to concentrate, reduced mental agility and loss of enthusiasm.
It is therefore important that estrogens are reduced if tested and found to be excessive in order to achieve levels in the normal range to prevent the situation described above. It is also very important that estrogen levels are not reduced too low as they are still essential for our normal physiology. As is always the case with hormones it is always about achieving the optimal balance!
Estrogen reduction can be best achieved by using an aromatase inhibitor (AI) which prevents their production which is more effective than using an estrogen antagonist (tamoxifen) which only blocks their action at the receptors but does nothing to control their level. The main aromatase inhibitor we recommend for men primarily is Chrysin Cream and in rare circumstances anastrozole capsules.
Other stratagies include using SSKI iodine drops which helps stimulate the conversion of estrone (strong estrogen) into estriol (weak estrogen) which helps reduce excessive estrone levels and the overall estrogen activity. Stimulating estrogen metabolism with compounds such as diindolylmethane or indol-3-carbinol also helps reduce overall estrogen levels by clearing them from your system faster. Often we recommend a combination of these three strategies for maximum effectiveness.
There are many natural aromatase inhibitors such as resveratrol, zinc, ellagitannins and ursolic acid, to name but a few, which only give modest benefits at best. The natural treatment we have found to be most effective is Chrysin in a liposomal Cream (not lozenges or capsules).
Men with high estrogen is usually the result of insulin resistance and viseral body fat. It is very important diet, exercise and lifestyle (reduce alcohol consumption) are addressed to treat these issues which in effect will naturally reduce excessive estrogen levels. In addition men with high estrogen also tend to have low testosterone and this imbalance increases risks of chronic disease. We also recommend you address the low testosterone if tested and found to be sub optimal.
For men already on testosterone therapy it has long been believed by hormone experts that if aromatization occurs it should be controlled with an AI. This theory has been challenged and some now argue that the research suggests AI’s should not be used if your on testosterone therapy as it may actually be causing you harm. To be clear this does not apply to men with high estrogens who may be overweight and not on any testosterone supplementation. Our position lies somewhere in between. For men on Testosterone therapy if estrogens increase yet remain within the normal range we do nothing whereas previously we aimed to maintain levels at the low to mid end of the normal range with an AI. Now we allow levels to remain at the high end of the normal range without the use of an AI. If estrogens exceed the high end of the range we now recommend either Chrysin Cream or DIM Cream to keep them just within the high end of the normal range. We now avoid the use of stronger pharmaceutical AI’s such as anastrozole. See video below for more detail.
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