As men age, their testosterone levels decrease naturally. However, testosterone that decreases too much or too quickly may result in hypogonadism. This condition, characterized by the body’s inability to produce this important hormone, can cause many symptoms, including:
- loss of libido
- drop in sperm production
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
Estrogen, primarily thought of as a female hormone, ensures that the male body functions properly. There are three types of estrogen: estriol, estrone, and estradiol. Estradiol is the primary type of estrogen active in men. It plays a vital role in keeping men’s joints and brains healthy. It also allows sperm to develop properly.
A hormone imbalance—for example, an increase in estrogen and decrease in testosterone—creates problems. Too much estrogen in the male body can lead to:
- gynecomastia (the development of female-type breast tissue)
- cardiovascular issues
- increased risk of stroke
- weight gain
- prostate problems
You can take a number of steps to restore a balance in your estrogen levels. For example, if your excess estrogen relates to low testosterone, you may benefit from a testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) like an estrogen blocker.
These natural, everyday steps might help you control your estrogen levels without therapy:
- Lose weight. More importantly, lose body fat. Excess body fat is linked to excess estrogen.
- Add cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts contain compounds shown to regulate estrogen. They also contain zinc, which helps to increase testosterone.
- Avoid environmental estrogens. It’s impossible to avoid all environmental estrogens. However, avoiding meat products from animals raised with synthetic hormones is a good place to start. Plastic food wraps or food containers can leach estrogen into food. Shampoos and toiletries that contain parabens also include estrogens. Steer clear of these products when possible.
- Reduce soy products. Soy is high in phyto-estrogens. Some research has implied that soybeans, tofu, soy milk, and concentrated soy products alter estrogen levels in men and women. The isoflavonoids found in soy are converted to phytoestrogens in humans and have been shown to change how estrogen is handled in the body.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Alcohol interferes with liver and kidney function, which in turn affects the body’s ability to regulate estrogen.
In addition to lifestyle changes, these natural products may help block estrogen:
- wild nettle root: Nettle root or nettle leaves are often used to produce prostate medicines. Nettles contain compounds that act as natural estrogen blockers. Regular supplements can regulate production of the hormone.
- chrysin: This flavonoid is found in passionflowers, honey, and bee propolis. Proponents argue that it blocks estrogen and increases testosterone. However, others claim that there’s no evidence that it alters hormone levels.
- maca: Maca is a cruciferous plant that originates in Peru. Proponents say it has a host of benefits, including enhancing fertility and blocking estrogen in men. Although maca does contain many vitamins and valuable nutrients, there’s little scientific evidence that it plays a role in regulating hormones.
- grape seed: This extract has been shown to act as an aromatase inhibitor (estrogen blocker) in women with breast cancer. Men may find similar benefits when taking it as a nutritional supplement.
Certain pharmaceutical products can have an estrogen-blocking effect in men. Typically designed for use by women, they’re gaining popularity among men—particularly those who wish to have children. Testosterone supplements may lead to sterility. But prescription estrogen blockers, such as Clomid, can restore hormone balance without affecting fertility.
Some medications known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)—commonly marketed as breast cancer treatments— also may be used to block estrogen in men. These drugs can be used for a variety of conditions related to low testosterone, including:
- low sperm count
These medications should be used selectively, based on the condition being treated. Examples include:
Too much estrogen can cause problems for men, but so can too little. For example, you’re at higher risk for developing osteoporosis if your estrogen level is too low. The goal of estrogen blockers should never be to lower estrogen to an unhealthy level.
Speak to a doctor if you’re concerned about your estrogen level. They can carefully monitor your hormone levels with blood tests and discuss hormone therapy options with you.