Normally, when one thinks of men’s health, the prostate gland and testosterone levels immediately come to mind. Not much is said about estrogen and its effect on the prostate.
Estrogen is usually associated with women’s health, but it plays an important role in men’s health as well.
How can that be? All the “Low T” commercials, and the pharmaceutical companies that produce them, would to lead you to believe that male health is only based on Testosterone levels. The commercials say nothing about estrogen.
The truth is that the average man over 50 years of age has more estrogen in his body than a female of the same age.
As men age, their natural testosterone levels gradually diminish, at the same time, estrogen and estrogen stimulating chemicals are constantly at work, bombarding the body.
As men age; it is common to gain a few extra pounds around the waist line. The fat that accumulates around an individual’s waist, virtually turns into a “fat organ” and secretes an enzyme called aromatase.
Aromatase is an enzyme that interacts with testosterone. It increases estrogen levels in men by converting testosterone into estrogen.
Estrogen is found everywhere in our environment. It can be found in plastic drinking bottles, paints, personal care products and detergents. The beef chicken and pork products that are force fed at feed lots are injected with all types of hormones to speed up their growth.
Even foods that were once considered as health foods, like soy, may cause estrogen levels to rise. Soy additives are often labeled as vegetable protein and can be found in many snack foods, veggie burgers, energy bars, vitamin bars and even in some medicines.
As estrogen levels rise due to internal and external influences, there are numerous negative responses from the body. They range from prostate enlargement, mood swings, sexual problems, flabby muscles, to male pattern baldness.
Male pattern baldness is brought on by the body’s attempt to balance testosterone levels. In its attempt to keep hormone levels in balance, the body will convert excess estrogen into a form of testosterone, known as DHT. The problem with DHT is that it is 10 times more powerful than regular testosterone and this high level of testosterone causes hair follicles to burn out, resulting in hair loss, Not only does DHT cause problems with hair lines, more importantly, it also causes enlarged prostrate conditions.
As you can tell, the body is always trying to maintain a balancing act between diminishing testosterone levels and increasing estrogen.
We can help our body with this chemical balancing act by adopting proper nutritional habits and using specific supplements. We have seen how high levels of estrogen can wreak havoc on the body, but there is hope.
Research has shown that a nutrient called “DIM” (di-indolylmethane) can reduce the effects of estrogen. DIM can convert the excess estrogen into healthy estrogen by-products that actually increase testosterone levels.
DIM can be found in nature via the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Although these vegetables have the DIM nutrient, the best way to get a measured, consistent supply of DIM to the body is by supplement.
Along with DIM, pygeum and saw palmetto are two other well known nutrients that serve to protect the body from the effects of excess estrogen. Both saw palmetto and pygeum work to block the enzyme that converts estrogen into DHT. In doing so, these nutrients reduce DHT caused hair loss and more importantly, reduce enlarged prostate symptoms.