How to Increase Your Estrogen
STEP 6: Assuming you are low estradiol, how could you increase it?
The last thing most of us guys over about 35 need is a boost in our estrogen levels.
As we age, most of us put on some body fat, which increases our aromatase
stores, and the extra aromatase converts our testosterone into estradiol, the
"bad" estrogen. (Read my link on How Extra Estrogen
(Estradiol) Can Negatively Impact Male Health for more details.) However,
this is NOT always the case and some men end up with estradiol levels that are
too low and this also can cause major issues, including bone and libido loss for
example. (For more information, see
Why Men Need Adequate Estradiol
Before, I go on, let me explain that I am using the word estrogen here, but
estrogen is actually a family of three estrogens, estrone, estriol and
estradiol. Estradiol (E2) is the big gun in the family. If you go to
the doc and get an "estrogen test," he should actually test your estradiol
levels. So, again, when I say "estrogen," I am really talking about
estradiol, because estradiol controls erectile, bone and brain function.
Let me lay out a very common scenario that I see on the Peak Testosterone Forum:
a man writes in with, say, low testosterone of 330 ng/dl and also mentions that
his estradiol level is 12 pg/ml. His focus is almost always on the low
testosterone, but what he does not realize is that the low estradiol is very
likely causing him just as significant of issues. Remember that a man's
estradiol comes from testosterone. So, if testosterone is low, then a man
can very easily be low estradiol as well. And this will likely over the
months and years lead to bone loss and eventually osteoporosis.
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But there is another thing that comes along with low estradiol: misery.
That's right - recent study work has shown that most of the symptoms we
associate with low testosterone can also be caused by low estradiol. There
is little difference between the two.
So here are Three Common Reasons that can Cause Low Male Estradiol (Estrogen) Levels, which is normally below about 15 pg/ml from what I have seen, but discuss with your doctor:
1. Use of an Aromatase Inhibitor. Some men need to boost their estradiol levels, because they have "crashed their estrogen" from taking Arimidex or a
Suicide Inhibitor. In this case, usually
all that is required is a two to three week wait time.
2. Low SHBG Men (on HRT). SHBG is a protein that bind to testosterone and
estradiol and creates a "reserve" or pool of these critical hormones. Some
men, for reasons not totally understood yet, have very low SHBG levels.
This condition is usually tied to a suite of symptoms including insulin
resistance and liver dysfunction that I outline in my link on Low SHBG.
Practically speaking, a low SHBG guy will clear out his testosterone and
estradiol so quickly, i.e. urinate them out of his system, that his plasma
levels are too low. This can give him mediocre HRT results and many other
problems. If you are low SHBG, please join us on the
Peak Testosterone Forum and ask
some questions there as this is a whole subject on its own.
3. High SHBG Men (not on HRT): High SHBG will naturally push down free estradiol levels. So a man with low medium estradiol could end up with overly low free estradiol levels due to so much of his estradiol pool being bound up.
4. Low Testoserone. As discussed above, a big percentage of low testosterone men are also low estradiol, simply because they do not have enough base testosterone from which to convert to estradiol.
The bottom line is that many men need to actually boost their estradiol levels and below I discuss the
good and bad ways tioactually do this:
How to Increase Your Estradiol Levels
1. Boost Your Testosterone Naturally. The best way to pull up your
estradiol levels is to increase your testosterone. Again, as your T rises,
more of it will be converted to estradiol by the aromatase enzyme and so your
estradiol levels will go up in parallel. There are many very common ways
to boost testosterone naturally, including fixing a Vitamin D deficiency,
varicocele, sleep disorder or hypothyroidism. For other ideas see this
page on How to Increase Your Testosterone Naturally.
2. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Some men just cannot boost
their testosterone levels naturally and will end up on some form of testosterone
therapy. This is the most common way that I see doctors boosting a man's T
levels. Again, as testosterone rises, estradiol follows. It can be a
little tricky to get both testosterone and estradiol in the proper range but
that is another subject. See these links on Various Testosterone Therapies for
So, on a practical level, docs usually raise a man's estradiol by increasing his
You can buy bioidentical estradiol creams - some women use them - but I have never heard of a physician
prescribing them to one of their male
How NOT to Increase Your Estradiol Levels
All of these will increase your body fat, but they are unhealthy in the long term.
However, I mention them for general knowledge:
1) Body Fat. Body Fat=Estrogen. It's a simple formula and it's very true. As your fat cells grow - you
don't really get new fat cells - the more aromatase that accumulates in fat tissues. And aromatase is
what converts your precious testosterone into estrogen. As testosterone falls and estrogen rises with
increasing body fat levels, eventually a nasty point of secondary hypogonadism can be reached, where
testosterone falls precipitously. This is why by losing weight, you can often get a substantial boost in
testosterone, something I document in my new book
15 Natural Erectile Dysfunction Cures. Yes,
some fat is good. Yes, some estrogen is good. But in modern societies, obesity is
a plague and, more often than not, leads to too much of both.
2) Immoderate Alcohol Consumption. Alcohol is a notorious estrogen increaser.
However, alcohol does not increase estrogen via the activity of the aromatase
enzyme. It increases estrogen by inhibiting the “P430 system” of the liver which
is responsible, among many other things, for clearing estrogen from the blood.
In other words, alcohol leads to an increase in estrogen levels, because your
body clears it from the blood more slowly. Alcohol is associated with
heart health, but if you are struggling with issues that seem to be related to
estrogen (such as gynocomastia, loss of libido, low percentage of free
testosterone, erectile dysfunction, etc.), I would lay off alcohol
for awhile and see if it helps.
3) Food Additives. Researchers
recently found two food additives that are
xenoestrogens, i.e. environmental estrogens that can impact us. The first
food additive, propyl gallate, is a common preservative used to prevent fat
spoliage in items such as baked goods, shortening, dried meats, candy, fresh
pork sausage, mayonnaise and dried milk. The second additive, 4-hexyl
resorcinol, is used to prevent discoloring in shrimp, lobsters and shellfish.
These kind of xenoestrogens
reduced sperm counts (and increased breast cancer in women), but they
likely affect us men as well.
These do not measure on an estradiol blood test as far as I know but can definitely produce estrogenic symptoms.
4) Canned Products.
acidic and pull a toxin,
Bisphenol-A, out of the lining of the tin can it is
stored in. Bisphenol-A is a xenoestrogen associated with various
reproductive disorders in animals. Even
very minute amount can have a negative effect. And
in a recent Consumer Union study of various canned goods, the BPA problem was
found to be much more widespread than previously imagined.  Almost every canned product tested,
including green beans, Juicy Juice, soup, corn, chili and baby formula, had
signficant BPA levels and researchers estimate that it would be very easy for
someone to consume levels of BPA close and equivalent to that which caused
reproductive issues in animals. I recommend that you avoid canned goods
until the FDA sorts this out. In addition, read my link on
on Bisphenol-A for more details.
This also does not measure on an estradiol blood test as far as I know but can definitely produce estrogenic symptoms.
2) Prevention, Jan 2010, p. 101
3) Alessio Amadasi et al., "Identification of Xenoestrogens in Food
Additives by an Integrated in Silico and in Vitro Approach, Chemical Research in
Toxicology", 2009; 22(1):52