Certain sex hormones in the body contribute to several functions since puberty. Even in adulthood, these hormones continue to play a role in various systems.
In men, the main sex hormone is known as testosterone1. The primary sex hormone that is found in the female body would be estrogen.
A small amount of estrogen is present in men. At the same time, there is a little testosterone in the female body too. When estrogen levels rise too high in men, complications can develop. This is when a hormonal imbalance develops, causing the man to suffer certain health risks.
Some foods contain estrogen-like compounds. This can cause estrogen levels to increase in the male body
The Importance Of Hormone Balance In Men
There are many hormones in the male body. These are compounds that assist in the regulation of certain chemicals in the body.
Men need to maintain a hormonal balance. When there is an imbalance in critical hormones, the chemicals and functions they regulate will not work properly.
When there is an imbalance in hormones, a man may experience several complications in their body. This can lead to changes in their physical well-being. It may also affect the man’s mental health and even cause them to suffer problems in the bedroom.
Testosterone is one of the most critical hormones that we need to discuss when looking at hormone balance among men.
Testosterone is most commonly associated with features classified as “masculine.” These are the features that make a man a man. Testosterone contributes to the growth of lean muscle mass – which means it is essential in the production and maintenance of muscles in the male body.
Other factors of the male body that are also dependent on a healthy balance of testosterone4:
- Production of red blood cells
- Muscle size
- Muscle strength
- Distribution of fat
- Bone mass and bone health
- Prostate health
When an imbalance causes estrogen levels to increase, it can become dangerous. This is especially concerning in older men. Research suggests an increased risk of heart attacks, prostate disease, and strokes.
Can Men Reduce Their Estrogen Levels?
When estrogen levels in men increased too much, it usually also means there will be a decline in testosterone levels. This causes an imbalance in hormones. The imbalance can cause several adverse effects.
High testosterone in men can cause these problems:
- Prostate enlargement
- Erectile dysfunction
Gynecomastia is when there is excessive growth in breast tissue. This causes a man’s breasts to become larger. Erectile function tends to decline, and there will usually be a reduction in sperm quality. In turn, the reproductive health of the man is adversely affected.
This is why a lot of men are looking for ways to reduce estrogen levels in their bodies. The good news is there are ways to accomplish this goal. Men do, however, need to consider their options carefully.
It would certainly be a good idea to consult with a doctor first. When a man suspects high estrogen levels, a doctor can help to confirm this issue. There is a blood test that can be conducted. The blood test shows levels of certain hormones in the body.
This would yield a reading for testosterone. Estrogen levels can also be tested. A man can then see if they have high estrogen levels. This would usually be accompanied by low testosterone.
Some testosterone in the body is generally converted into estrogen. When too much is converted, it leads to low testosterone levels. Estrogen levels, on the other hand, would increase through this mechanism of action.
A doctor will also be able to discuss the cause behind high estrogen. When a man knows why he has high estrogen levels, developing a treatment plan is easier.
In women, high estrogen is often caused by hormone replacement therapy. This is a treatment for women going through menopause. The same treatment is not used in men. Thus, other causes need to be considered.
Some lifestyle factors in men can contribute to this type of hormonal imbalance. Thus, men will also need to take a closer look at their own lives.
Can Certain Foods Increase Estrogen Levels?
Many things can cause estrogen to rise too high in the male body. Lifestyle factors are often considered important.
Men do need to realize that their diet plays a role too. Some foods can alter certain hormones in the body. Some foods can increase testosterone. On the other hand, certain foods may cause an elevation in estrogen levels.
The primary concern that comes to mind here would be phytoestrogens. This is a term given to some chemicals found in plants. Not all plants contain phytoestrogens, however. There are some benefits associated with phytoestrogens.
Women, for example, could potentially reduce menopausal symptoms by consuming food that contains phytoestrogens. This may help with hot flashes and other similar problems in post-menopausal women too.
The issue here comes in when men eat food with phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are sometimes also referred to as dietary estrogen. These are chemicals that are naturally found in certain plants.
When men eat food with phytoestrogens, levels of estrogen in their body may increase. The phytoestrogens may also have a similar effect as estrogen in the male body. Thus, when a man eats too many foods with phytoestrogens, estrogen dominance may occur.
Some studies have looked at this particular subject. It has been found that phytoestrogens do interact with estrogen receptors in the male body5. Thus, it will continue to play the role of estrogens in men.
The subject is more complex than this, however. Phytoestrogens possess estrogenic properties. At the same time, these chemicals may also possess antiestrogenic properties.
It is crucial to consider the food sources of phytoestrogens. The specific types of phytoestrogens also matter. Eating the wrong foods causes an estrogenic effect. This leads to an elevation in estrogen levels.
Eating foods with phytoestrogens that yields an antiestrogenic effect, however, has the opposite effect. These may actually cause estrogen levels in the male body to decline.
Foods High In Estrogen
There are different types of phytoestrogens in plant-based foods. Some have a positive effect on the male body.
Others cause a hormonal imbalance. This can lead to a high level of estrogen hormones in a man. In turn, the man is at risk of certain health complications.
Men need to understand which foods are high in dietary estrogens. In particular, a focus should be placed on foods with phytoestrogens that yield an estrogenic effect.
When these foods are recognized, a man can alter their current diet. By reducing the intake of these particular phytoestrogens, there may be a reduction in estrogen levels. This may also help to restore a normal hormonal balance – and even assist in improving a condition like low testosterone.
Below, we will consider a few foods that should be avoided by men. These foods may have an estrogenic effect on the body. This may lead to an increase in estrogen levels.
- Soybeans: A popular plant-based source of protein. Soybeans are generally considered healthy, although some concern has been raised. Among women, there has been concern regarding breast cancer risk and soy products. In men, the consumption of soybeans may also cause problems with estrogen levels. The isoflavones in soybean may have an estrogen-like effect in men6. This may also cause an increase in estrogen levels in the blood circulatory system.
- Sesame seeds: Another important food that may raise estrogen levels would be sesame seeds. These seeds are high in fiber. They also offer great taste and several vital nutrients. Unfortunately, sesame seeds are also loaded with phytonutrients. The phytonutrients in sesame seeds may have an estrogenic effect on men.
- Refined sugar: There are thousands of food items on the market that are filled with refined sugars. These sugars cause a significant spike in insulin levels. It also leads to a reduction in globulin. This is a hormone that is critical for the binding of sex hormones. Both estrogen and testosterone rely on globulin.
In men, low globulin may lead to an increase in estrogen. At the same time, levels of testosterone could reduce.
Rice syrup, caramel, cane juice, and cane sugar are all high in refined sugar. High-fructose corn syrup should also be avoided. Others include maltose, dextrose, and glucose. Foods with these ingredients should be limited or, if possible, eliminated from a man’s diet.
- Conventional milk: Milk is a very popular drink. It is used in coffee, milkshakes, the production of ice cream, and more. Conventional milk may not be too good for men, however. These milk products tend to contain progesterone and estrogen chemicals. In turn, they may cause men to experience an increase in testosterone. This is because these chemicals cause gonadotropin to be suppressed.
Other Ways To Reduce Estrogen Levels
A change in diet is an excellent way for men to reduce estrogen levels. Looking at the potential causes is important too.
This can help a man identify particular issues that affect them. A personalized treatment program would always be more beneficial.
Apart from these, there are a few other things that men can do too.
Some foods can actually help to reduce estrogen levels in the male body. A man with high estrogen should eat more of these foods:
- Bok choy
Men also need to consider their weight. Obesity may cause estrogen levels to rise. This may also reduce testosterone.
Reducing weight can help an obese man also experience a decline in estrogen levels. This should include a healthy diet and an appropriate exercise program.
When a man becomes more physically active, they may experience a more significant positive effect on their hormonal balance.
Sleep should also be necessary for a man, especially if they find that they experience signs of high estrogen levels. Poor sleep can cause havoc on the endocrine system.
High estrogen levels in men can lead to gynecomastia and even cause problems with erectile function. There are several potential causes of high estrogen among the male population.
In some cases, the diet may contribute to this elevated level of this particular female sex hormone. We looked at how men can avoid high estrogen levels by limiting certain foods in their diet. We also considered why it is vital for a man to focus on maintaining a healthy balance of hormones in their body.