What is Estrogen?
The term estrogen can refer to any of the chemically similar hormones consisting of estradiol (E2), estrone (E1) and estriol (E3). Estrogen is produced in both females and males contrary to common belief that it is exclusive to females. Estrogen is produced on a larger scale in females primarily by the ovaries as well as the adrenal glands and fat tissue. Follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone regulate the production of estrogen in women who are ovulating. Estrogen is produced on smaller scale in men by the testes, adrenal and pituitary glands.
The main role of estrogens in the female body is to stimulate the growth and development of the sexual characteristics and reproductive capabilities.
What Does Estrogen Do?
Natural estrogen is responsible for:
- breast development during puberty
- breast development during pregnancy, specifically the development of milk ducts
- growth of uterine lining in the initial phase of the menstrual cycle
- regulation of metabolic processes such as maintaining cholesterol levels and bone development
- improves bone density therefore reducing risk of osteoporosis for men and women
- helps prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy
- promote vaginal lubrication in women
- promotes growth and maturity of sperm in men
Low Estrogen Levels
Symptoms of low levels of estrogen include:
- skin dryness
- thin bones and/or painful fractures
- temperature swings including hot flashes and night sweats
- decreased libido
Optimizing Estrogen Levels
Optimizing levels of estrogen within the body is associated with prevention of:
- heart disease
- macular degeneration
- urogenital atrophy
- memory loss
- colon cancer
- tooth loss
- decreased Alzheimer’s risk
Estrogen is an essential hormone for health and well-being. Not only does optimizing current levels of estrogen eliminate immediate symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and fatigue but it is able to increase levels of libido and sexual desire. More importantly, appropriate estrogen levels provide protection against multiple diseases.