How To Balance Estrogen Naturally

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Once a chemical formula is commonly prescribed at a rate of 6 out of 100, thorough studies have to take place on it to understand its cost benefit. Nevertheless, the existence of such a component in the body would require its study in a deeper way to outweigh any potential harms of its imbalance as well as the difference in its impact on our body. This crucial concept applies on the estrogen, either in a natural form or in combination with a synthetic adjuvant.1

What is estrogen?

Estrogen is a female sex hormone that is mostly secreted by the ovaries under the effect of a controlling hormone’’ FSH_ Follicle stimulating hormone’’, secreted by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. It is interesting that the secretion of its controlling hormone is regulated by another controlling hormone that is released from the higher centres in the brain hypothalamus.

Estrogen is also called estradiol, estrone and estriol, where the first is the most active form known as E2. Estrogen becomes metabolically active in the liver and gets excreted through the kidneys.2 It is worth noting that only a small portion, up to 5%, of estrogen can be secreted by fat cells.

Estrogen, as a hormone, is transported in the blood either bound to protein or free to diffuse inside the cells where it needs to act. The estrogen acts on its specific receptors, named alpha and beta, inside the nucleus of the cells where it controls the DNA of cells towards the production of certain proteins and duplication of the cells. It is worth noting that some components or hormone derivatives, of similar benzene-ring formed chemical structures, can bind to the estrogen receptors affecting its levels.3

Estrogen was linked to effects on several organs as following:4

  • Breasts, where estrogen plays a role in the growth of the breast tissue as well as the mammary glands. This serves the physiological changes across different stages such as puberty and pregnancy
  • Uterus, where estrogen helps the growth of the endometrial glands in  to increase the endometrial thickness both in the first half of the menstrual cycle, pre-ovulation, and along the pregnancy
  • Vagina, where the estrogen enhances the growth of the vaginal lining and maintains its thickness.
  • Ovaries, where it plays a feedback inhibitory role in the release of its controlling hormone.This role is important in contraception
  • Bones, where estrogens help the growth of bones and closure of their cartilage end plates. Additionally, it prevents bone turnover and decay
  • Heart and vessels, where estrogen reduces the cholesterol and increases the high density lipoproteins, scavengers of the blood from harmful fat

What causes estrogen imbalance?

The estrogen level ought to be balanced between synthesis within the body, according to the needed functions, and degradation for excretion. Yet, several factors may contribute to disrupting the balance of its level. Among the factors that increase its secretions are:5

  • Oral overuse of synthetic estrogen for oral contraception in the fertility period or hormonal replacement therapy in postmenopausal women
  • Ovarian cancers such as granulosa cell ovarian carcinoma

The level of estrogen may fall down due to the inhibition of the hypothalamus-pituitary controlling axis of estrogen secretion in the brain due to:6

  • Increased cortisol level with external intake or diseases such as Cushing syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases 
  • Inflammation
  • Brain cancers
  • Menopause or premature ovarian failure
  • Chromosomal anomalies such as the missing x chromosome in the case of Turner's syndrome

What are the signs of having an estrogen imbalance?

Since estrogen is mainly a sex hormone with other multiple functions, any disturbance in its levels can primarily interfere with the gynaecological health of the female. This includes several stages. In early life, females may experience signs of delayed or early menarche as well as delayed or late puberty. In the childbearing period, abnormal frequency and amount of menstruation with a possibility of exaggerated pain can be experienced. Infertility or misconception may happen. Later on menopause, females may experience intolerance to cold weather due to poor circulation as well as instability of the mood with bone pain and fractures. Loss of sexual desire was also reported with low estrogen levels.

On another aspect, males who have high estrogen levels may experience diminished sperm count due to its interference with testosterone. Sexual dysfunction and disturbed masculine secondary sexual character may result from the rise in estrogen level.

What will happen if you have an imbalance in estrogen?

Based on the major secretion of estrogen by the ovaries, severe disturbances of the oestrogen level occur postmenopausally or after the failure of the ovaries. Estrogen affects hundreds of body functions, so its low level may lead to several harms as the following,

  • Psychological effects and mood disturbance, up to depression and disturbed sleep patterns, can occur because estrogen preserves the serotonin. 7 Episodes of hot flushes (flushing and perspiration) have been demonstrated in postmenopausal women, especially in those who have ideal or low body weight. This may reflect the importance of fat in compensating the diminution of estrogen secretion8
  • Stature development abnormality where delayed skeletal growth is a sign that is associated with low estrogen level, explaining the low-stunted body in the case of Turner's syndrome patients
  • Sexual maturity where low estrogen levels are associated with delayed puberty as well as the appearance of female secondary sexual characteristics and growth of breast, a case that is seen with Turner`s syndrome9
  • Osteoporosis, which is low bone density, may result from low estrogen levels, especially after menopause. This renders bones more liable to fractures10
  • Fertility is highly affected with the low estrogen level, due to the improper uterine lining for later childbearing
  • The decrease in estrogen level may be accompanied by increased insulin resistance in both men and women, causing glucose  intolerance up to diabetes mellitus11

Whether by external take or internally within the body, a rise in  estrogen level was linked to several effects, including:

  • Breast cancer due to the excess augmentation of the breast tissue and mammary gland cells12
  • Uterine cancers have shown a dependent growth on the estrogen due to the increase of its receptors in the uterus than the progesterone one, rendering the uterus responsive to estrogen rather than to progesterone13

How to balance estrogen naturally?

As a result of demonstrating the already established harms of estrogen which outweigh the further complications of estrogen increase, several studies explore different methods to increase estrogen levels in the body. This can occur either naturally or pharmaceutically.

Natural way 

  • The natural way includes eating foods of high estrogenic content such as soy-rich food products (Tofu and milk) and sesame seeds.  Additionally, citrus fruits and green vegetables play a prominent contributing role in estrogen level balance within the body11
  • Exercise would additionally contribute to a reduction in the level of some estrogen types that were linked to breast cancer14
  • Emotional adjustment may not significantly reverse the low-estrogen caused depression, however, stress was linked to inhibition of the brain control on estrogen secretion15

Supplements

  • Exogenous intake of estrogen, especially the pharmaceutical formulas, as a kind of hormone replacement therapy can improve bone, mental and cardiovascular postmenopausal problems16
  • Intake of vitamin D and perseverance of body calcium level may improve estrogen synthesis since a study on mice showed that deficiency of vitamin D may be a leading factor to less estrogen production17
  • Frequent intake of vitamin B6 may be useful in balancing the high estrogen level due to their potential interaction and competition for estrogen receptors18
  • Vitamin C supplement proverb to compensate for estrogen deficiency by strengthening the vascular lining with a subsequent improvement of body circulation19

Advantages of having a balanced estrogen level

Preservation of the estrogen level balance can positively impact several aspects; personal, familial, social and national ones. Starting with the personal level, such a balance can help each individual to live a healthy life with fewer mental and physical problems. 

Everybody can imagine the degree of happiness that a human can experience in getting protection from, if not reversing, a cause of cardiovascular and mental diseases. This gets more serious when the causative hormonal imbalance is a sequence of the normal ageing process or abnormal chromosomal abnormalities. 

It is believed that this feeling of comfort will reflect on the surrounding families of the suffering personnel in a better way while having this person who may be a mother, sister or daughter in an improved psycho-medical status.

The society can enjoy a part of this welfare by having fewer morbidities, including fracture bone injuries with osteoporosis, psychic disturbances and cardiovascular strokes for instance. This would result in less burden on the national income, legal authorities and the medical teams who are still suffering from the pandemic`s work overload.

Summary

Estrogen is a natural gift that humans have enjoyed since their birth. However, the inevitable genetics and our physiological variations may intervene in our enjoyment of this gift, inserting some people into horrible consequences of the imbalance of this hormone. Hopefully, we can still control this intervention as long as science offers us everyday new or updated alternatives that can substitute even a part of this imbalance. 

References

  1. Ruggiero RJ, Likis FE. Estrogen: physiology, pharmacology, and formulations for replacement therapy. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health [Internet]. 2002 May 6 [cited 2022 Dec 13];47(3):130–8. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/S1526-9523%2802%2900233-7
  2. Hamilton KJ, Hewitt SC, Arao Y, Korach KS. Estrogen hormone biology. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2017;125:109–46.
  3. Baker ME. What are the physiological estrogens? Steroids. 2013 Mar;78(3):337–40.
  4. Delgado BJ, Lopez-Ojeda W. Estrogen. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 18]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538260/
  5. Tanaka YO, Tsunoda H, Kitagawa Y, Ueno T, Yoshikawa H, Saida Y. Functioning ovarian tumors: direct and indirect findings at mr imaging. RadioGraphics [Internet]. 2004 Oct [cited 2022 Dec 18];24(suppl_1):S147–66. Available from: https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/rg.24si045501
  6. Plechner AJ. Cortisol abnormality as a cause of elevated estrogen and immune destabilization: insights for human medicine from a veterinary perspective. Medical Hypotheses [Internet]. 2004 Apr 1 [cited 2022 Dec 18];62(4):575–81. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030698770300392X
  7. Douma SL, Husband C, O’Donnell ME, Barwin BN, Woodend AK. Estrogen-related mood disorders: reproductive life cycle factors. Advances in Nursing Science [Internet]. 2005 Dec [cited 2022 Dec 20];28(4):364. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/advancesinnursingscience/Abstract/2005/10000/Estrogen_related_Mood_Disorders__Reproductive_Life.8.aspx
  8. Erlik Y, Meldrum DR, Judd HL. Estrogen levels in postmenopausal women with hot flashes. Obstetrics & Gynecology [Internet]. 1982 Apr [cited 2022 Dec 20];59(4):403. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/1982/04000/Estrogen_Levels_in_Postmenopausal_Women_with_Hot.1.aspx?casa_token=Q80uLN4HRNoAAAAA:jamNo6AMpZh7hAzMTrzoxJm8Tg39xpAH-sSuSAGpwQzFKOOa2RWfOwQyhM16X07_pEXoESIGiXIhRjjEgM9cw_lqHkHK
  9. Mantovani A, Fucic A. Puberty dysregulation and increased risk of disease in adult life: Possible modes of action. Reproductive Toxicology [Internet]. 2014 Apr 1 [cited 2022 Dec 20];44:15–22. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623813001366
  10. Levin VA, Jiang X, Kagan R. Estrogen therapy for osteoporosis in the modern era. Osteoporos Int. 2018 May;29(5):1049–55.
  11. Suba Z. Interplay between insulin resistance and estrogen deficiency as co- activators in carcinogenesis. Pathol Oncol Res. 2012 Apr;18(2):123–33.
  12. Harris HR, Bergkvist L, Wolk A. An estrogen-associated dietary pattern and breast cancer risk in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Int J Cancer. 2015 Nov 1;137(9):2149–54.
  13. Fujimoto J, Hirose R, Sakaguchi H, Tamaya T. Estrogen dependency in uterine endometrial cancers. Oncology. 1998 Dec;55 Suppl 1:53–9.
  14. Smith AJ, Phipps WR, Thomas W, Schmitz KH, Kurzer MS. The effects of aerobic exercise on estrogen metabolism in healthy premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 May;22(5):756–64.
  15. Kalantaridou SN, Makrigiannakis A, Zoumakis E, Chrousos GP. Stress and the female reproductive system. J Reprod Immunol. 2004 Jun;62(1–2):61–8.
  16. Vigneswaran K, Hamoda H. Hormone replacement therapy - Current recommendations. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2022 May;81:8–21.
  17. Kinuta K, Tanaka H, Moriwake T, Aya K, Kato S, Seino Y. Vitamin D is an important factor in estrogen biosynthesis of both female and male gonads. Endocrinology. 2000 Apr;141(4):1317–24.
  18. Rose DP. The interactions between vitamin B6 and hormones. Vitam Horm. 1978;36:53–99.
  19. McSorley PT, Young IS, Bell PM, Fee JPH, McCance DR. Vitamin C improves endothelial function in healthy estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women. Climacteric. 2003 Sep;6(3):238–47. 

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Mohamed Abulfadl

Master of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology- Faculty of Medicine, Aswan University, Egypt


Mohamed is a medical doctor with neurology and nephrology research interest. He has an experience
of working for three years as a dual specialist of diagnostic Medicine (both diagnostic imaging and
Laboratory medicine).
Additionally, he has an interest in supporting university students, either as a teaching assistant, mentor
or even invigilator since 2016.
He is currently on a PHD study on translational neuroscience in Bristol medical school in UK.

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