Yes, men need estrogen

Men's Health

By pH health care professionals

When it comes to male hormones, most people immediately think of testosterone. It’s the “manly” hormone that makes you feel better, look better and perform better. But you may be surprised to learn that estrogen also plays a key role in men’s physical health and sexuality. Just as women need a small amount of testosterone, men need a small amount of estrogen.

Why is estrogen important for men’s health?

Estrogen is important for sperm health, bone strength, cholesterol metabolism, as well as cardiovascular and circulatory health. Estrogen also plays an important role in brain chemistry, triggering natural sexual functions.

What if estrogen levels are too low?

Balance between estrogen and testosterone is key for both men and women, but not many men think about estrogen. However, too little estrogen can negatively impact a man’s health just as much as too little testosterone.

Research shows men with low estrogen are at an increased risk for a hip fracture, and especially so if they have both low estrogen and low testosterone. When aged men suffer a bone fracture, their risk of dying is significantly higher than women.

However, for most adult men, the problem is not too little estrogen, but too much. A primary cause of hormone imbalances in men as they age is that testosterone is increasingly converted to estrogen, resulting in an excess of estrogen hormones.

What are some of the risks if male estrogen levels are too high?

  • Low testosterone: High estrogen in men tricks the brain into thinking that the supply of testosterone is adequate, which slows down the natural production of testosterone. This combination of low testosterone and high estrogen is particularly dangerous because it can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in men and negatively affect the prostate gland.
  • Prostate cancer: High estrogen levels have been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Gynecomastia or “man boobs”: Overdevelopment of male breasts can be caused by too much estrogen.

Some possible causes of high estrogen levels in men include:

  • Aging: Aging men may experience an increase in the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
  • Impaired liver function
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse (amphetamines, marijuana or cocaine)
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including pain-relievers and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin; antibiotics; anti-fungal drugs; cholesterol-lowering drugs; anti-depressants and antipsychotics; heart and blood pressure medications; antacids; and some vitamins, nutrients and foods such as vitamin E and grapefruit.

What are some things you can do?

  • Be proactive by having your hormone levels checked to ensure low or high estrogen isn’t the roadblock to your optimal health.
  • Enjoy zinc-rich foods to promote prostate health and healthy hormone levels.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Ask your doctor about any prescriptions that could be interfering with normal hormone production.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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