Estrogens have long been considered the regulators of female reproductive functions, and there is no question that they are hormones responsible for women’s sexual characteristics.
However, today it has been confirmed that they not only fulfill this function. Estrogens act in various body parts and play an essential role at other levels.
For example, estrogens help build and maintain bones, exert cardioprotective effects, and influence mood.
During menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels often drop. This can negatively affect mood, sex drive, bone health, and body weight. That is why for some women increasing estrogen may be necessary.
Here you will find complete and reliable information on estrogens. How to increase them, where are they produced, and what foods or vitamins affect their levels?
What is estrogen?
The term “estrogen” is used to describe female hormones collectively; the most potent is estradiol. Other important but less influential estrogens are estrone and estriol.
Estrogens are sex steroid hormones that play an essential role in regulating several biological functions. They affect the growth, differentiation, and part of the entire body, not only in those areas involved in the reproductive process.
Estrogen plays a critical role in regulating bone density, brain function, cholesterol levels, electrolyte balance, and skin health. Additionally, estrogens can affect the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, and libido.
Where is it produced?
In women, estrogens are synthesized from cholesterol in the ovaries in response to pituitary hormones.
An adult woman secretes 70 to 500 µg of estradiol per day, depending on the menstrual cycle phase. Estradiol can be converted into other forms such as estrone and estriol. (1)
In addition to the ovaries, estrogens are also produced by the aromatization of androgens in fat cells, skin, bones, and some brain parts.
Unlike women, men rely heavily on local estrogen synthesis in areas outside the sex glands.
How to increase estrogen?
Although the most common risk factor for low estrogen levels is age, estrogen levels can also decrease due to genetic defects or poor nutrition.
When there is a decrease in the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body, it can increase the risk of various diseases. Sexual functions can be impaired and increase the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
Increased estrogen can be achieved through diet and
lifestyle modifications. How to increase fiber foods, reduce fat, lose weight, exercise, and increase the intake of phytoestrogens. (1)
Phytoestrogens beneficially influence estrogen synthesis through a variety of mechanisms. They have a similar structure to estradiol and can bind to the same receptors, increase plasma levels of SHBG and decrease the activity of enzymes that block them.
Here are some food sources and vitamins that can help increase estrogen levels.
- Soy derivatives – Soy and the products made from it, such as tofu, are a great source of phytoestrogens.
- Nuts and Seeds – Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, and walnuts contain large amounts of phytoestrogens.
- Vegetables and cereals – Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in vegetables and whole grains, are preferred to simple carbohydrates for endogenous estrogen production. On the contrary, excess sugar and other simple carbohydrates can unbalance sex hormones. (1)
- Fruits – Some fruits and vegetables are rich in phytoestrogens: apples, carrots, pomegranates, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes.
- Herbs – the following herbs contain phytoestrogens: red clover, licorice root, and hops.
- Vitamins and minerals
- Vitamins B, D, and E – Vitamins B, D, and E play an essential role in the creation and activation of estrogens in the body. Low levels of these vitamins can lead to reduced estrogen levels.
- Boron – Boron is a trace mineral that has a variety of functions in the body. Researchers believe that boron influences estrogen receptors by allowing the body to more easily using available estrogen.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is an essential cofactor for one of the enzymes that optimizes estrogen methylation and excretion.
- Lignans – These compounds are found in high fiber foods like flax seeds. Lignans stimulate the production of SHBG in the liver, thereby reducing the levels of free circulating estrogen.
- Curcumin – Curcumin is a polyphenol component of turmeric that can be found in supplement form. It has been shown to reduce xenoestrogen-induced breast cancer cell growth. (1)
Natural supplements or solutions may not be effective for everyone.
If estrogen levels are deficient and symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and depression appear, medical treatments may be necessary—for example, hormone replacement therapy.
Creams, tablets, and suppositories are used in this type of treatment. A doctor should always indicate this type of therapy as it can increase the risk of serious diseases such as cardiovascular diseases or breast cancer.
Ways to increase progesterone naturally
Progesterone works in conjunction with estrogen to fulfill essential functions in the human body.
In many cases, if you have low estrogen levels, you may also have low progesterone levels. This is especially common during menopause, when most female hormones drop dramatically.
Choosing healthy foods, avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep are ways you can control your progesterone and estrogen levels during this stage.
Another possible way to increase progesterone is through natural herbal supplements. However, not all herbal supplements effectively stimulate progesterone, and some may even lower it. If you are not sure what the effects are, check with your doctor or through reliable sources of information.
Too much estrogen can also be bad for your body. A variety of factors can cause this.
Some women naturally produce more estrogen than progesterone, so supplementation or drug therapies can cause some hormonal imbalance.
Symptoms of high estrogen levels in women are:
- irregular periods
- humor changes
- memory problems
Men can also experience excess estrogen, presenting gynecomastia, erectile dysfunction, and infertility.
If you start to experience these symptoms after using natural estrogen supplements or foods, it may be due to too much estrogen.
Estrogens and progesterone are two of the leading sex hormones in the human body.
By having low levels of estrogen and progesterone, not only the reproductive function can be affected. That is why changes in mood, sexual desire, and bone health occur during menopause.
Some ways to increase estrogens in your body naturally are to increase your consumption of foods with phytoestrogens, foods with plant fiber, vitamin D, and BYE, and to reduce alcohol, smoke, and fatty foods.
In addition, other supplementary and medical solutions directly affect the creation of estrogen or replicate its activity in the body.
If you have low estrogen levels, consult your doctor to evaluate the most appropriate treatment. An excess of these hormones can be dangerous to health.