Whether you’re a man or a woman, estrogen will always play a very important role in helping you be healthy throughout the various stages of life.
Women make oestrogen mainly in the ovaries, and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands and adipose tissue. Oestrogen gives us women our feminine “curves” and plays a major role in keeping our menstrual cycle and reproductive system healthy throughout our cycling years.
Men need oestrogen for the maturation of sperm and to have a healthy and youthful libido. They make estrogen in their testes. They also need it for bone health so low oestrogen levels predisposes them to osteoporosis and bone fractures  .
Oestrogen is a wonderful hormone, indeed, and I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that it is involved in 400 activities in the body! Some of these activities are:
• Increases energy in the body by increasing metabolic rate
• Improves insulin sensitivity
• Helps maintain muscle
• Improves sleep
• Reduces the risk of cataracts
• Helps maintain the elasticity of the arteries
• Inhibits platelet stickiness
• Enhances magnesium uptake
• Decreases blood pressure
• Decreases LDL (the so-called “bad cholesterol”)
• Improves mood
• Maintains bone density
• Helps prevent glaucoma
• Increases GABA – the calming neurotransmitter
• Increases manual speed and dexterity
• Decreases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
• Improves the function of your neurons
All this means two things: 1) oestrogen is far more important to health & wellness than people and most health providers know, and 2) losing our natural reserves of oestrogen represents a drop in performance in 400 physiologic activities, simultaneously, which accelerates ageing!
We women start to lose oestrogen during our perimenopause –which means from age 30 onwards- as the ovaries begin to shrink. However, seeing a great loss in oestrogen reserves while still cycling is not normal and signals a state of imbalance and metabolic disorder in the body. Whenever I have a female client who’s still cycling and who presents with very low oestrogen levels, I know her diet is to blame and that she’s insulin resistant. In this case, the first line of therapy is to improve their insulin sensitivity which I do with diet, researched and targeted nutrients that act in the body as strong insulin sensitizers like chromium, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Berberine, or vitamin D –I do not prescribe or recommend Metformin- , and therapeutic lifestyle change.
Women lose practically all of the remaining oestrogen during menopause, which happens around the ages of 50 - 55. And the drop is brutal! We lose most of it! This is why menopausal symptoms are so debilitating and why usually women start to age faster from their menopause. If you wondered why some women tend to lose their glow and vitality after their 50’s, this is why: the dramatic loss in oestrogen and the concomitant dramatic loss in vitality that comes along.
“Oestrogen deficiency has been suggested to be a state of accelerated aging” – Birge, S. “The use of oestrogen in older women” Clin Geriatr Med 2003; 19(3): 617-27.
When a woman undergoes a hysterectomy with partial or full oophorectomy (removal of one or both ovaries), her body is forced to go into menopause regardless of her age. This is called surgical menopause and brings about typical menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, weight issues, mood changes, sleep disturbances, or vaginal dryness, among other.
Remember: losing oestrogen is equal to losing 400 activities in the body.
In a 2013 study – “Researchers estimated that over the past decade between 18600 to 91600 postmenopausal women ages 50-59 years old, who had a hysterectomy, may have died prematurely because they did not take oestrogen” - Sarrel, P. et al., “The mortality toll of oestrogen avoidance: an analysis of excess deaths among hysterectomized women aged 50 – 59 years” – Amer Jour Public Helath 2013; Juy 18
A word of caution here: some women are offered HRT (hormone replacement therapy) by their doctors either after a hysterectomy or as soon as they complain of menopausal symptoms. I urge you not to go down this route as HRT has been shown over the years in real cases and in multiple major studies to cause cancer. Please note that on top of this huge risk of getting cancer, HRT is not protective of cardiovascular disease or dementia.   .
The best option if you wish to replace your oestrogen for a natural oestrogen that won’t harm you and that will protect you against cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia, is to choose BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy).
When men lose estrogen -as they age, if they have low thyroid function, because their diet is high in bad fats, or because they're under severe stress - they can experience decreased sex drive, osteoporosis, or memory decline.
I personally love BHRT! I’m a fan of it and will be discussing the benefits of BHRT in both men and women with you real soon.
Oestrogen loss, as you saw, is a big problem. But excess oestrogen is another big problem.
In my next article, I will discuss excess oestrogen, or “oestrogen dominance”. This hormonal imbalance, in my opinion, is the real “pandemic” that we should all be concerned about.
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