High Estrogen Levels In Aging Men And Its Implications On General Health
Estradiol is a molecular variety of estrogen – the primary female sex hormone. Clinical research indicates that estradiol is biologically more active in men and is mainly produced endogenously via conversion of testosterone in fat tissues via aromatization process.
The secretion of androgen declines gradually in men with physiological aging (both from (from gonads and adrenal gland), but aromatization of testosterone to estradiol continues, which may sometimes lead to a state of estrogen-excess. Besides aromatization, age related fat accumulation in belly is also responsible for this imbalance. The subcutaneous fat in abdomen mimics the action of secretory glands and produces high levels of estradiol in blood via peripheral conversion (thereby reducing the bioavailability of testosterone for vital biological activities).
In obese males, increased aromatization of testosterone may lead to noticeable complaints or symptoms; either due to excess amount of estradiol and/or insufficient levels of testosterone.
The symptoms of excessive estrogen includes (2):
- Weight gain and abdominal obesity
- Development of breast tissues in males (gynecomastia)
- Negative changes in the muscle mass
- Unexplained fatigue
- Emotional disturbance (depression, anxiety etc.)
- Diabetes or abnormal glucose metabolism
These symptoms are also suggestive of low serum testosterone levels, which may sometimes delay the diagnosis of estrogen excess (1).
Estrogen Should Not Be Lowered Too Much!
Adopting strategies to reduce estrogen levels may seems like a logical step, but very low levels of serum estrogen are not healthy because men require estrogen in moderation for various vital activities; such as:
- Regulation of intellectual and cognitive functions
- Maintenance of bone-mineral density
- Stabilization of endothelial lining i.e. inner lining of walls of the artery.
The ideal range of serum estradiol is an aging male ranges from 20 to 30 pg/ml; while levels above 30pg/ml can increase the risk of cardiovascular dysfunction or stroke. On the other hand, risk of developing osteoporosis increases when estradiol drops below 18pg/ml.