By Dr. Carlos Santo, MS, NMD
Few physicians if any consider measuring estrogen (sometimes aka. estradiol) levels in men. Traditionally only considered an important variable in women’s health, estrogen plays a crucial role in the process of both health and disease in men.
In my practice I almost routinely see elevated estradiol levels in my male patients. Rising estradiol in my opinion is as significant a disease factor as is falling testosterone. Signs such as abdominal weight gain, loss of motivation, erectile dysfunction, insomnia, loss of muscle tone, excessive plumping of the face (often accompanied by a slight feminization of facial features), low spirits or excess sensitivity to emotional situations, are among the many signs a man’s estradiol may be too high. Medical evidence is mounting that excess estradiol may associate with prostate enlargement as well as potential testicular and prostate cancers as well.
Exactly why estradiol appears to rise with each decade of life is uncertain, but younger males are showing signs of this growing issue as well. Gynecomastia (male breast development) is no longer reserved for middle aged men as adolescents often display such tendencies as well. Gynecomastia may also be accompanied by delayed voice deepening, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and delayed sexual development. Potential links may include hormones added to livestock and their feed, drinking water contaminated by industrial contaminants that exert estrogen-like effects and pesticides and herbicides which make their way up the entire food chain to us. One of my biggest pet peeves is bovine somatotropin which has been routinely added to our dairy cows since the early 90’s.
Proper testing is the first step toward addressing this issue. We are partial to saliva testing which is a highly sensitive and specific way to measure both testosterone and estradiol, while providing the added advantage of measuring the key adrenal hormone, cortisol. The ideal testosterone to estradiol ratio we seek to attain is a minimum of 10 to 1. When men fall much below this we see many of the aforementioned symptoms tending to arise.
Estrogen Dominance is a phrase first coined decades ago by the late Dr. John Lee. Formerly reserved for women, we now know it applies to men as well. We fortunately have to our avail not only the ability to adjust hormone formulas accordingly, but access to two known estrogen modulating nutrients as well. DIM is a key nutrient extract of the cruciferous vegetable family and Chrysin is an extract of the Passionflower plant. Both help the body clear out excess estrogen while also helping reduce the conversion of testosterone to estrogen (aka aromatization) in the body. Zinc is an excellent third player in this plan. We have found an excellent product called Prostate Supreme which satisfies many of these nutrient requirements and serves as a wonderful adjunct to our patients’ bio-identical hormone protocol.
This rapidly developing angle on optimizing men’s health helps explain why so many men can feel ‘unwell’ despite having ‘normal’ testosterone levels. Unless the bigger picture is recognized and holistic treatment is properly implemented, only limited benefits will be achieved.
Carlos Santo, MS, NMD
Editor’s Note: Doctor Carlos Santo is the Medical Director for Prana Wellness LLC.
Dr. Carlos Santo, licensed Naturopathic Physician and Acupuncturist, is a graduate of both the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Purdue University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Manhattan College. Dr. Santo is a Certified Yoga Teacher and he teaches a variety of yoga and fitness classes at the Gainey Village Health Club in Scottsdale, AZ.
Dr. Santo is active in his community as a dynamic lecturer and teacher, as well as a fitness and martial arts enthusiast. Contact Dr. Santo if you are interested in having him present at your home, work, or studio on any number of natural medicine, fitness, or yoga-related topics.
For more information visit: www.pranawellness.net