Natural Estrogen Blockers
One of the questions that frequently comes up on
The Peak Testosterone Forum is the
subject of natural estrogen blockers. The reasons are generally due to concerns
The poster's physician simply does not understand or know how to manage male
estradiol, the "bad" estrogen..
The man wants to manage his own testosterone and estrogen levels through supplements, which
he considers to be a more "natural" approach.
The man does not have access to pharmaceuticals, perhaps because of lack of insurance, a
tight budget, etc.
The poster's physician believes that high levels of estradiol are okay and the man
wants to take matters "into his own hands".
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NOTE: These issues have been increased and accelerated by the proliferation of
Hormone Replacement Therapy. Many men are getting boosted into
the 700+ ng/dl range with pellets and injections and estradiol levels can go quite high
Now I actually do not believe that any of the above are valid reasons to search for natural estrogen blockers. And the reason is simple: male estradiol levels have a fairly tight range. From what I have seen, most knowledgeable docs try to keep their male patients in the 20 to 35 pg/ml range and the reason is that going either too high or too low can lead to cardiovascular, erectile, mood and other general health issues if it continues for long enough. The primary point is that a man really needs to be monitored and managed by an
expert. And if one's physician does not have
expertise in male estrogen levels, then it would be highly advisable to find a
doc who does.
Perhaps more importantly, around two thirds of men in the U.S. are either
overweight or obese. The extra aromatase in fatty tissue will generally
raise baseline estradiol - the "bad" estrogen - levels and lower baseline testosterone levels.
And many men can dramatically lower their
estrogen levels simply by losing weight. In other words, looking for any
kind of an estrogen blocker can in some cases just be masking the fact that a
man has too much body fat. It's always better to treat the root cause,
So, that said, is there a legitimate use for natural estrogen blockers?
Yes, I believe so, assuming, of course, one is monitored by a physician, and
that is simply for this simple reason: virtually all
men in modern societies are inundated with estrogen. Bisphenol-A is on
receipts and in plastics. Phthalates are in many plastics.
Pesticides and many household chemicals as well as food additives can all
increase a man's estrogen load. Unfortunately, rarely are men exposed to
things that increase their T levels to balance things out. And this is
undoubtedly one of the big reasons that we see fertility and testosterone levels
However, as you will see below, the natural estradiol blockers used by HRT clinics and sold by supplement companies have some major issues associated with them in my opinion. If you are considering of the standard methods, I highly recommend what you read below. men on HRT are particularly concerned with this, because their estradiol levels climb with the boost in testosterone. Clinics and doctors will sometimes suggest dubious solutions, such as DIM, zinc, zinc/copper and chrysin, that may put their guys at risk long term. I got my estradiol in line by getting my body fat down to 12% and by going to subQ cypionate injections and lowering my dose a little. I believe most men can control their estradiol much more safely by using that strategy as opposed to the supplements below.
1. CAUTION: DIM. DIM (diindolylmethane) is a well-known estrogen
controller and a phytochemical in a number of plant foods including cruciferous
vegetables and kale. Of course, researchers noticed these properties and a
number of studies have shown promising results. DIM is known for switching
the estrogen profile from the "bad" metabolites to the "good" metabolites.
However, DIM aficionados
have gone one step beyond the studies and swear by Indolplex DIM, a DIM that is
supposedly better absorbed than regular DIM and actually lowers estrdiol levels.. I believe both iHerb and the parent
company sell it.
WARNING and NEWS FLASH: I recommend staying away from DIM and I3C. One researcher has found a link between DIM / I3C and liver cancer in animal studies and wrote that "we performed a tumor study in trout to examine the effects of DIM on cancer development compared to 17β-estradiol. Feeding the trout either DIM (24 mg/kg/day) or estradiol in the diet long-term following acute exposure to a liver carcinogen resulted in more tumors compared to control animals. Concentrations of DIM lower than 24 mg/kg/day did not significantly increase the number of tumors. We confirmed that DIM was promoting cancer by acting like an estrogen by comparing gene expression in the liver samples over the course of cancer development." 
For the record I have no affiliation with this product. However, it has a
good reputation in the steroid community for lowering estradiol levels and
so I am just passing along information. However, there are two things
to be aware of: a) although Indolplex DIM is fairly widely used in the alternative
and steroid communities, there are no studies that I know of and, therefore,
very little data on side effects and b) it is fairly expensive costing around
$31 as of this writing for 60 capsules.
And how do you determine dosage? Well, you're forced to go by word of
mouth. One of our posters on
this thread of the Peak Testosterone Forum,
basically got into a hypogonadism user group and found a word of mouth dosage
and stuck with that. This is a big disadvantage in my mind as Arimidex dosing is
fairly well known. An experienced doctor can fairly well look at your
estradiol levels along with a couple of other factors and determine a reasonable
starting dosage for Arimidex. Indoplex DIM seems much more art than
Sure DIM is in food, but once you megadose, is it really "natural" any more?
I'll leave it up to you and your doctor to determine if this is a more natural solution.
CAUTION: This one is powerful enough that you should be under a physicians
guidance and have your estardiol monitored regularly for the reason mentioned
above. Again, you can hurt yourself if you drive your estrogen levels too low
for too long. We had
one user on the forum who claimed that his
estradiol levels never recovered after months of taking too high of
dosage on Arimidex for example and potentially the same thing could occur with DIM. 
HRT USERS: Some men on HRT may find that they only need to control
estradiol with a supplement or medication for six to twelve months, because
often the body's testosterone and estrogen levels are stabilizing. You may
be able to get away with lowering estradiol for six months while your a)
estradiol levels stabilize or b) you lose weight.
2. Zinc. Although the studies have been somewhat mixed,
many experts feel that zinc supplementation will likely raise testosterone
in zinc deficient men. And zinc deficiency is probably not too unusual.
As you can see in
My Page on Sleep Aids, a combination of zinc, magnesium
and melatonin greatly improves insomnia and some users on the forum
have reported that just simple ZMA greatly helps with sleep. (Anything
that helps with sleep will likely give a little boost to testosterone.)
Zinc is also known for its ability to limit the activity of aromatase. I
don't think anyone has any doubt that it works to a certain extent and probably
most powerfully if you are zinc deficient. However, I don't know of any
studies that actually show zinc being used to clinically lower male
estrogen/estradiol levels. (If you know of one, please post it on The
Forum!) Furthermore, I do not read of the steroid guys reporting zinc
as a silver bullet in this area.
WARNING: I suspect the reason is that, to get a significant E2-lowering
effect, one would have to consume a lot of zinc and this is probably risky based
on the opinion of many experts. I cover this in my issue article on
Zinc Dangers where I discuss how zinc supplementation could easily lead to increased risk for prediabetes, prostate cancer, dementia and other chronic diseases. Too little zinc and too much are both potentially huge issues.
So the bottom line is that taking a reasonable dosage (1-3 RDA's) of supplemental
zinc, especially vegetarians and plant-based eaters, is not a bad idea.
You may get a little bump downward in estradiol levels and many other benefits
from taking zinc. However, but don't expect it to solve elevated estradiol
CAUTION: My HRT clinic, in guys whose estradiol is not too high, will use a
combination of zinc (15-30 mg) and copper (2-4 mg) per day to pull down E2
(estradiol) levels a little. Zinc and copper compete and so many experts
worry that giving supplemental could lead to copper depletion and inflammation.
However, I have some concerns with this, because copper has been implicated in a
number of neurological diseases and excesses are hard on neurons. These same experts believe that we are slowly poisoning ourselves in
many cases with copper pipes. You'll have to do your own research and decide
where you stand on the issue.
3. Chrysin. This is an old and well-known aromatase inhibitor. It has
a spotty reputation for a number of reasons, including poor absorbtion.
However, a few years ago, Life Extension release a turbo-charged version that
basically included piperine. Piperine increases the absorption rates of
many herbals and supplements and it seems to work well with chrysin. For
example, two of the anti-aging physicians,
and Whitcomb, that have
answered the Peak Testosterone Questionnaires have mentioned (unprompted)
chrysin as a regularly-used estrogen controller. And the fact that Life
Extension, which is a well-respected supplement company, backs it is also a sign
of its efficacy.
WARNING: Are there concerns with chrysin? One side effect that has been reported is
the slowing down of thyroid function. Obviously, you don't want to solve
your estradiol problems just to create a new thyroid issue. See my link on
Controlling Estrogen for a study that shows this as well.
4. Grape Seed Extract. Many studies have shown Grape Seed Extact to
be an aromatase inhibitor .
It also, in vitro at least, gives Vitamin C a longer shelf life. However,
Grape Seed Extract has a couple of cautions that need to go along with it:
1) in combination with Vitamin C it apparently raises blood pressure  and 2)
it may slightly decrease free testosterone because it can raise SHBG, the
protein that binds to testosterone. It also is known for improving venous
insufficiency. That said, Grape Seed Extract has many properties that will very
likely help with erectile dysfunction and perhaps serve as a cheap subsitute for
Pynogenol. For more information, read about it on my page covering Grape Seed Extract and Erectile Dysfunction.
However, there is one problem in using Grape Seed Extract as an aromatase
inhibitor: you would simply have to take too much. For this reason,
I have read of very few men actually using it for this purpose.
5. I3C (Indole-3-Carbinol) + Calcium-D-Glucarate. One of our members,
who had his estradiol slammed down too low by Arimidex, used these two
supplements to successfully manage his estradiol. He said these brought
him into the lower 20's and was very stable, i.e. he did not have any
significant swings in estradiol. His dosage was: "Source Naturals
500mg. Morning and Evening, and Indole-3-Carbinol 200mg. with lunch.." 
Again, you'll have to do your own research and find out if you think that these
supplements are more safe than low dose Arimidex (anastrazole). Long term
effects are poorly understood in both. WARNING: The researcher above that tied increased liver cancer to DIM also tied it to I3C.
6. White Button Mushrooms. I make the case
in my page on Mushrooms: A Natural Aromatase Inhibitor, that some research
suggests that white button mushrooms, eaten in sufficient quantity, may actually
lower eatradiol levels a bit.
J Hypertensm 2005 Feb, 23(2):427-34
Cancer Res. 2006 Jun 1;66(11):5960-7