The primary female sex hormone, estrogen, is responsible for the growth and maturation of female reproductive tissues. It is also an important part of the male endocrine system, albeit at much lower concentrations.
There are three major estrogenic hormones produced in the steroidogenesis pathway of humans: estradiol, estriol, and estrone.
Estradiol is approximately 10 times more potent than estrone and 80 times more potent than estriol with regards to its estrogenic effects in the body.
You can see the structures of these hormones below. Note that ethynylestradiol and equaline are synthetic forms.
In females, the majority of estrogen is produced in the ovaries via aromatization of androstenedione: a weak androgenic hormone.
In males, however, estrogen is produced in small amounts in the testes, but mainly via aromatization of testosterone in fat cells.
Unlike most steroid hormones in the human body, estrogen appears to have both anabolic and catabolic properties with regards to protein metabolism, particularly by regulating the production of other hormones.
In addition to a selective growth-stimulating effect on the uterus and breasts, estrogens are, at least in man and dogs, a somatic growth-promoting agent.
The growth-promoting estrogenic steroids cannot be neglected just because they are female hormones, even though they are not as effective as the male variety.
Literature contends that estrogenic hormones increase growth hormone (GH) levels and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), both of those being favorable for promoting muscle tissue hypertrophy while inhibiting muscle tissue catabolism. [1, 2, 3]
Furthermore, estrogen promotes water retention, which is conducive to cell volume, similar to the effects of creatine supplementation.
Negative results are caused by excess estrogen in the body, as it can blockade androgen receptors and down-regulate the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the hypothalamus.
Both of these mechanisms ultimately inhibit the production of testosterone in the body, which is a potent anabolic hormone.
These compounds include Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), which you can find in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, as well as its primary metabolite diindolylmethane (DIM).
I3C comes from the breakdown of a compound found in cruciferous vegetables called glucobrassicin, which is a type of glucosinolate. Glucosinolates are amino-sugar compounds that produce a variety of therapeutic substances.
When ingested, the body breaks down I3C to DIM, both of which influence estrogen metabolism by acting on certain enzymes.
In particular, I3C and DIM work by inhibiting the actions of histone deacetylase enzymes and inducing cytochrome P450 enzymes. [1,2]
Both of these enzyme families are crucial for proper estrogen balance in the body; specifically, research shows that I3C induces an enzyme called CYP1A1. This enzyme aids in the metabolism of xenobiotics that can disrupt estrogen balance in the body. 
Furthermore, DIM works to activate histone deacetylase inhibitors, which research suggests modifies estrogen receptor binding.  Given this, both I3C and DIM appear to have significant effects on estrogen metabolism.
Animal studies have demonstrated that calcium D-glucarate lowers estradiol levels by upwards of 25%.  Research shows that calcium D-glucarate supplementation serves as an effective slow-release source of glucuronolactone, which appears to inhibit the actions of the enzyme beta-glucuronidase.
Bacteria make beta-glucuronidase in the colon of humans. This particular enzyme is responsible for breaking down certain carbohydrates.
However, excessive beta-glucuronidase activity decreases estrogen elimination in the body. Therefore, inhibiting the activity of beta-glucuronidase, as seen when supplementing with calcium D-glucarate, may help lowers levels of estradiol and estrogen precursors in the body by increasing the rate at which they’re metabolized.
Grape seeds contain two highly potent antioxidants called proanthocyanidin and procyanidin, both of which effectively block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme.
These antioxidants also promote blood flow and nitric oxide production.
Rhodiola is a herbal supplement containing a potent active ingredient called salidroside.
Research suggests salidroside suppresses cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone, and increases testosterone in human subjects.
Rhodiola also appears to have adaptogenic properties and promotes relaxation.
Eurycoma longfolia extract has been used for decades as a natural means of elevating luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), both of which increase your body’s natural production of testosterone.
Studies have suggested it also appears to have natural anti-estrogen properties as well.
Zinc plays many roles in the human body, including a role in reproduction. This is mainly because of zinc’s aid in testosterone synthesis.
Severe zinc deficiency compromises a male’s ability to produce sperm; in turn, overall fertility and testosterone production decreases.
Research on male subjects has shown that increasing zinc intake can reverse these negative effects.
Vitamin D3 is a crucial micronutrient the body makes when exposing the skin to sunlight. However, many humans do not get nearly as much vitamin D as they should and deficiency can lead to a host of health problems (including low testosterone and osteoporosis).
Increasing vitamin D concentrations in the body appears to promote longevity. The mechanism responsible for this benefit is increasing the length of telomeres.
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Featured Image Credit: Wittmannphoto via @MrOlympiaLLC For the fourth consecutive year, Jacked Factory athlete and reigning Mr. Olympia 2019 Classic Physique champion Chris Bumstead saw himself in yet another showdown with the likes of Breon Ashley at the finals of the Mr. Olympia 2020 Classic Physique contest. After dethroning Breon last year by just one... View Article
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