Estrogen in Women
Every day we hear from women who are frustrated. They’re frustrated with the inadequate treatment they’re receiving from their primary care physician or their gynecologist. Or they’re frustrated because they can’t find treatment at all. In particular women are frustrated by how difficult it is to get good information about treatment options.
Due to the abundance of misinformation available, this frustration is frequently focused on estrogen. Allow us to shed some light on this very misunderstood hormone.
A Brief History
Confusion about estrogen has abounded in recent years. And it’s no wonder. First women were told that replacing estrogen during menopause is healthy. And for decades, that’s what they did. To their collective relief, estrogen replacement reduced or eliminated unpleasant symptoms from menopause.
Then results were released from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2002 that cited adverse health effects from replacing estrogen. The knee-jerk response by healthcare practitioners was to take most women off of estrogen. It has been the most controversial and misunderstood hormone ever since.
Today we know that the WHI study was poorly structured, the results were not interpreted correctly, and medical professionals were grossly misinformed. Nevertheless, estrogen continues to be lost in shuffle.
The Facts about Estrogen in Women
- Synthetic hormones, not bioidentical ones, were behind the negative outcomes women and doctors heard about following the WHI study. Adverse health effects caused by synthetic hormones include breast cancer, heart attack, and even stroke. The results from more recent studies speak to the safety and benefits of bioidentical estrogen therapy, and to the weaknesses in the WHI study.
- When replacing hormones, it’s critically important to use only bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical estrogen comes from plant sources, like soy and yams. When placed under a comparison microscope, bioidentical estrogen is identical in structure to the estrogen produced by a woman’s body.
- Properly administered hormone therapy depends on balance. Effectiveness and safety involve more than just the right type and dose of estrogen. The balance of other hormones, particularly progesterone, is also important.
- Estrogen is actually more than one hormone. It’s a class of hormones, with three estrogens being most active: estrone, estradiol, and estriol.
- Estriol is the mildest of the three estrogens, and actually helps to prevent breast cancer.
Benefits of Estrogen
Let’s cut to the chase. Estrogen is the feel-good hormone for women. You simply won’t feel your best without an adequate supply in your system. Following, you will find a concise list of the many things estrogen does for your body:
- Decreases “bad cholesterol” (LDL), and increases “good cholesterol” (HDL).
- Protects your arteries by keeping them open and flexible.
- Lowers your risk of heart attack.
- Reduces homocysteine levels in your blood.
- Protects your brain and your memory, and reduces the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Increases your ability to concentrate.
- Promotes the production of collagen, which helps your skin to maintain its elasticity.
- Helps your skin retain moisture, minimizing wrinkles.
- Maintains the elasticity of your vaginal tissue.
- Prevents osteoporosis.
- Keeps your teeth healthy.
- Increases your metabolism and reduces your appetite, which helps to prevent weight gain.
- Protects the health of your eyes.
- Prevents colon cancer.
- Protects your lungs from cancer.
- Keeps your voice strong and steady.
- Reduces insulin sensitivity, and makes your blood sugar more stable.
- Detoxifies the cells in your body.
- Estriol in combination with bioidentical progesterone protects against breast cancer.
- Estriol in combination with bioidentical progesterone protects against ovarian cancer.
Estrogen can be found everywhere in your body. It keeps everything moving and growing and functioning optimally. Take away estrogen, and things don’t work as well—they decline. Replace estrogen, and everything functions better. Estrogen is key to healthy aging for women.
The Right Amount and the Right Kind
While you need estrogen for healthy cell growth, you also want that growth to be curtailed when necessary. It’s a balance.
Specifically, it’s important to replace the right kinds of estrogen, in the right amounts, and estrogen has to be delivered the right way.
Estradiol And Estrone: The Growth Promoters
Estradiol is the strongest of the three estrogens. It sends a signal for growth that is loud and clear. Most healthcare practitioners prescribe 100% estradiol, if they prescribe estrogen at all.
Estrone is a little weaker than estradiol, but also sends out a pretty strong signal for growth. It’s also worth noting that estrone is produced by fat cells.
Combined, these two estrogens can promote a lot of cell growth. That’s good—but only to a point. If cell growth goes unchecked, cancer risk is increased.
Estriol: The Growth Stopper
This is where estriol comes in. Estriol is the weakest of the estrogens. It actually curtails cell growth by binding with the super-calming receptor site called ER Beta. So when estradiol and estrone get carried away, estriol steps in and settles things down.
Biest –The Best Of Both Worlds
For most women, Biest (short for bi-estrogen) is safer and healthier than taking estradiol alone. Comprised of bioidentical estradiol and bioidentical estriol, Biest promotes cell growth, but it does so at a healthy and safe rate.
How Method of Delivery Matters
Estrogen is best taken via topical cream. Pellets and patches don’t work, and taking estrogen orally has been shown to increase breast cancer risk.
ER Alpha and ER Beta
Estrogen can bind to two different kinds of receptor sites: ER Alpha, and ER Beta. Receptor sites are like locks, and hormone molecules are like keys. When a hormone molecule attaches to the right kind of receptor, the hormone is activated. There is a link between these two receptor sites and breast health.
When estrogen binds to ER Alpha, growth is stimulated. When estrogen binds to ER Beta, growth is blocked. These receptor sites are found throughout a woman’s body, but they’re particularly prevalent in breasts.
Remember that you want healthy cell growth in your body to age well. And ER Alpha promotes that growth. But without ER Beta receptors, that growth could continue unchecked, which increases cancer risk.
Let’s apply this to what goes on in the breasts. When breasts are healthy, they have both kinds of receptors; but there will be more ER Beta receptors present than ER Alpha receptors.
ER Beta receptors step in to stop growth when necessary. They protect breasts by maintaining peace and calm. This means that estrogen, when it binds to ER Beta receptors, actually protects breasts.
So healthy breasts need to have lots of ER Beta receptors. There are a number of factors that will promote the presence of ER Beta receptors, but one of the more important ones is progesterone.
This is why our doctors will never prescribe estrogen without also prescribing bioidentical progesterone.
Treatment for Low Estrogen
We have modern medical science to thank for the longevity we enjoy today. But without estrogen, a woman’s health and quality of life will suffer. Through our Renew Woman program, we’ve helped women to optimize their estrogen levels since 1999. And we make it easy. Aging better is possible, and Renew Youth is here to help.