Friday, October 5, 2018

Can some foods reduce estrogen in men?

Estrogen and testosterone are hormones that occur naturally in male and female bodies. Some research suggests that certain foods can influence the levels of these hormones.

A 2016 study reports that testosterone levels decline by 0.4-2.0% each year after the age of 30. In some men, this decline leads to depression, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, and low energy. When a man has a low level of testosterone, a doctor may recommend testosterone injections.

Estrogen is [also] vital for men’s health. It supports the functioning of almost every area of the body, including the brain, heart, bones, muscles, and the immune system. However, if a man’s estrogen levels are too high, this can cause a number of health problems, including obesity and depression.

A handful of studies have suggested that specific foods can raise or lower estrogen levels. However, scant evidence suggests that these foods can address the health effects of high estrogen. Some research suggests that the naturally occurring estrogens in plants, for example, do not affect levels of the hormone in male bodies. The research that suggests certain foods may be able to diminish the level of estrogen is often low-quality or has involved animals rather than humans.

Soy-based products, including edamame and some meat substitutes, are especially rich in plant estrogens. These phytoestrogens are weaker than estrogens that the body produces. When plant estrogens enter the body’s cells, they push out the body’s own estrogens. In this way, consuming more phytoestrogens could lower a person’s estrogen level.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain high levels of phytoestrogens and isoflavones. Results of several studies suggest that isoflavones may prevent the body from converting testosterone to estrogen.

Certain varieties of mushrooms, including white button and Portobello, could raise a person’s testosterone levels and lower their estrogen levels.

Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin. A 2013 study found that curcumin may reduce estrogen levels. However, this study was not done in vitro. A 2014 study found that large doses of curcumin increased levels of testosterone in rats.

All animal products contain traces of estrogen because even male animals produce the hormone. Many farms give female animals, especially cows, high doses of estrogen to increase the amount of milk they produce. A person may wish to switch to alternate milks and sources of protein, or buy meat and dairy products from farms that do not give animals estrogen.
Drinking alcohol may raise the level of estrogen in the blood, which could increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Alcohol may also heighten some effects of low testosterone. For example, alcohol is high in calories, and it can lead to weight gain.

Some grains contain a fungus called zearalenone, which can increase the production of estrogen. Researchers in Europe, where the fungus is common, found that 32% of more than 5,000 mixed-cereal samples were contaminated. At the moment, there is no way to ensure that a product is free from zearalenone.

Many man-made products contain chemical compounds called xenoestrogens, which imitate estrogen in the body. Exposure to these chemicals may also increase the risk of cancer and endocrine disorders. Many plastics contain xenoestrogens. You may prefer to avoid plastic products, including bottle and food storage containers, when possible.

My Take:
This was an 8-page article and I coned it down as much as possible.

Beer is the real alcohol issue. Hops, a common ingredient in beer is very high in phytoestrogens. The term “beer gut” is apropos. An Australian herbalist friend of mine says that “men drink beer together to share their feminine side.”

I disagree with the use of soy, unless it is naturally fermented soy, the way it is consumed in Asia. However, increasing cruciferous vegetables is an excellent way to help balance any hormonal imbalance. Cruciferous vegetables are high in sulfur. Sulfur is vital to phase II detoxification of all hormones.

Bottom Line:
There are dietary changes men can make to naturally improve their testosterone to estrogen ratio. Avoid the grains, especially beer, plastics high in xenoestrogens, and eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables. Daily exercise, especially weight lifting, and maintaining a healthy weight are probably the most important lifestyle changes needed.

Source: October 1, 2018 NIH

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