The Hormones–Progesterone and Estrogen
INTRODUCTION TO HORMONES:
We are going to be going over some more hormones over the next couple weeks. One thing that people don’t realize is the impact everything we eat, drink, put on our skin and breath has on our hormones. Our endocrine system (hormones) pretty much dictate how our body works. Along side our gut and digestive, the hormones are such a vital importance to our life.
If you want to live a healthy life – a truly healthy life – you will learn more about these two systems in the human body and these posts will be a good starting point for you.fast payday loans for every one
A few pieces of info before we start:
After the age of 20, it is said that our basal metabolic rate drops about 2% per decade and after 40, it slows down 5% per decade.
A woman’s testosterone and progesterone peaks in their 20′s. They decline the rest of their lives.
The HGH (human growth hormone) secretion declines by about 75% after the age of 35.
We need to look at it that weight loss or weight gain isn’t about your metabolism, but instead it’s an expression of what our metabolism does. ( I heard this great quote somewhere but can’t remember who said it.)
Our metabolism is the combination of all the molecules, hormones and the brain, gut and fat cell messenger chemicals that regulate the rate you burn calories. Obviously more than just weight.
As we eat, there are important enzymes in our digestive tract that break down the food we eat and the beverages we drink.
This is what takes place: protein is turned into amino acids, fats are turned into fatty acids and carbs are turned into glucose.
Then, the blood will take each of those components to the body’s cells. When they arrive at the cells, a chemical reaction is triggered and this is what determines how each component is used aka metabolized. It will either be burned now as energy or stored as fat or used to build muscle. All this will be done with hormones.
What you eat really does make a difference.
So, what are these hormones and how are they altering the very life we live each day? Today we are discussing the hormones PROGESTERONE and ESTROGEN…These two hormones will be the last of the hormones we will be discussing in this series.
ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE
- These are known as the female sex hormones, and although estrogen is primarily a female sex hormone, both males and females have it. These are known as steroid hormones which means the body creates these hormones out of cholesterol (can you see how dangerous it could be to mess with cholesterol levels???)
- in women, both of these hormones are mainly produced in the ovaries, but a tiny amount is produced in the adrenal glands, fat tissue and placenta.
- Femininity is the essence of estrogen. This one hormones directs a woman’s entire development from childhood into adulthood. It clearly serves as the main builder of the female physique. Estrogen is responsible for enlarging the breasts as well as widening the pelvis. Estrogen gives women a curvy figure. Every female should keep this in mind.
- Outside of appearance characteristics, estrogen increases alertness, can lower body fat, increases insulin sensitivity, builds bones, improves glucose tolerance, protects against heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease and it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It also has a major impact on blood fats, digestive enzymes, water and salt balance within the body, bone density, heart function and memory. Estrogen is a powerful and is needed in the female body.
- During a woman’s reproductive years, estrogen is produced in her body everyday. This is a good place to bring up that excess estrogen alone isn’t cancer causing. If that were the case, every young girl would have breast cancer since their bodies are loaded with estrogen. When the issue of breast cancer comes up, it is due to excess estrogen and too little progesterone (basically the unbalance of the ratio between these hormones) or the excessive amounts of synthetic estrogens, or estrogen mimicking substances in your body. Many of these mimicking hormones are coming from the foods we eat (soy being one of the major foods).
- Estrogen and progesterone are both produced naturally in the male and female body, but then our bodies are contaminated with a huge amount estrogen from the environment and the food we eat. One type are known as Xenoestrogens. These are man made estrogens that are found in pharmaceutical drugs for hormone replacement therapy, food additives and environmental toxins such as pesticides, dioxins and plastics. The other is known at phytoestrogens which are plant sources of estrogen that are found in items such as flaxseed, soy and wine. Both types of these have a profound effect on the overall balance of estrogen in the human body – and for the most part it is on the negative side.
- During the last 2 weeks of a woman’s cycle, the ovaries produce progesterone, which is necessary to carry a pregnancy, if a woman were to get pregnant. When progesterone levels are low it can cause conceptive to never occur, or if it does occur, a miscarriage is usually bound to happen.
- Estrogen is made up of three molecules that the body does produce naturally: those are E1 which is ESTRONE, E2 which is ESTRADIOL and E3 which is ESTRIOL.
- The E2 or ESTRADIOL is made in the ovaries and this is what gives women their curvy appearance: the hips, breasts as well as our smooth skin, regulates our menstrual cycle and protects the brain, heart and bones. In proper levels it helps keep a woman’s body lean. It also lowers insulin levels, blood pressure levels, lowers LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL levels (good cholesterol). Women who have higher levels of estradiol, usually have high levels of muscle and low levels of fat.
- E1 or ESTRONE is produced in the adrenal gland as well as in our fat cells. Before menopause, Estrone is converted to Estradiol, but after menopause, it remains Estrone, which causes lower level of Estradiol leading to unbalance in hormones.
- E3 or ESTRIOL has very low levels and is mostly made during pregnancy by the placenta.
- Around the time of menopause, the ovaries shrink. When this happens, E2 (ESTRADIOL) levels decrease although your body still needs Estrogen. E1, Estrone, then becomes the main type of Estrogen found in postmenopausal women – which actually is not a good thing.
- E1, Estrone, will start to shift fat from the buttocks and move it to the belly, creating belly fat instead of a curvy appearance. This new abdominal fat then begins to produce more E1 or Estrone (remember it is produced from body fat). Then this only means that more belly fat is in your future. A terrible, never ending cycle. When this happens, it will be very difficult to lose weight because the actions of your hormones shifting are against you. This is why it’s crucial to support Estrogen production – or you gain weight year after year without any success in losing weight.
- Low Estrogen, also known as Estrogen deficiency is possible at any age, especially in these times when hormones are so completely out of balance from our diet and environment – but you usually find these symptoms more during the menopausal stage. These symptoms include weight gain, headaches, vaginal dryness, night sweats, hot flashes, decreased mental clarity, frequent bladder infections and more.
- As we said before, if you are taking in extra Estrogen into your body or your Progesterone levels are too low, then you can experience symptoms of excess Estrogen which are: breast swelling, depressions, bloating, bad headaches, excessive vaginal bleeding and more.
- The ideal Estrogen to Progesterone levels in young women are around 20 to 1, but if you tested females today, you would see the ratio far off from this ideal healthy number.
- So, where does Progesterone come in? Progesterone down regulates Estrogen. Progesterone levels rise at the end of a female’s cycle in order to prepare for conception. If conception does not take place, then Progesterone levels plummet and the uterus sheds its lining – which is known as your period.
- Progesterone is released when the follicle bursts and releases and egg.
- Other functions of Progesterone are: helps build and maintain bones (as does Estrogen), it reduces anxiety and has a natural calming effect on the body (meaning it makes women happy), it increases sleepiness (better quality of sleep), slows the digestive process, stores fat (important during pregnancy), aids in the maturing of breast tissue, prepares the breast to produce breast milk and promotes appetite. One of the main causes of PPD (postpartum depression) is due to the rapid decline in Progesterone levels.
- What happens when Progesterone levels drop and are too low and out of balance with Estrogen? Anxiety, PMS, irregular and/or heavy periods. Symptoms of extremely high of levels Progesterone include drowsiness, sleepiness and depression.
- Levels can drop at any age, and like Estrogen, our modern day diet has led this epidemic to be common even among young women. Most usually Progesterone will sharply drop around the time of menopause.
- More research is coming out on the process that E1, E2 and E3 are metabolized. They have found that these 3 molecules that make up Estrogen are broken down and detoxified into Estrogen metabolites that can either have a strong or weak Estrogenic activity. This means that a woman’s risk of breast, uterine and other cancers increases due to having way too much Estrogen in their bodies. Young girls are hitting puberty years earlier than they use to. Sperm count has decreased in men and increasing prostate cancer rates have risen – which are also sings of Estrogen dominance.
- This hormonal disruption is due to all the Xenoestrogens and Phytoestrogens in our environment and food. Basically it’s because our bodies have become toxic and we are addicted to all the things that have made our bodies that way.
- Estrogen overload is coming from many places: ingredients in our cosmetics, skin care items, lotions, cleansers, toners and more. They are coming from food preservative, plastic (from bags, food containers and water bottles) as well as things such as stress, excessive sugar intake, lack of healthy fats and proteins, soy consumption, processed foods, refined grains and sugars and so much more.
- Some even say in agreement with John R.Lee MD, that Estrogen dominance during menopause or perimenopause is created when Progesterone levels plummet, not because there is a dip in Estrogen levels. One thing that can cause Progesterone levels to decline is stress, since your body releases the hormone Cortisol when you’re stressed and Cortisol and Progesterone both compete for the same receptors on the cells of the body. Most people live in a 24/7 state of stress which unhealthy in so many ways.
- Research shows that breast cancer has risen 40% in the past 35 years and most doctors will say that it’s from low levels of Estrogen, especially when dealing with women who are menopausal or perimenopausal.
- There are many things we can do concerning our diet that can help with these dangerous Estrogen metabolites and in return can possibly help prevent cancer. Some of those things are: exercise, consuming flaxseed, cruciferous veggies, healthy natural fats, omega-3 fatty acids and avoiding processed and refined foods and estrogenic foods.
- What about males and Estrogen? Estrogen is what sensitizes the male brain. Unfortunately, with our modern day diet, males now have too high of Estrogen levels (especially if males are consuming soy products), which leads to weight gain because of the imbalance in the Estrogen to Testosterone ratio. When men consume too much caffeine, if they’re obese – this can lead to the overproduction of Estrogen in their bodies, instead of Testosterone. Another issue that contributes to this issue is insecticides on our foods, which is just one more reason to buy and eat organic foods.
- When Estrogen is in dominance in a male’s body, men can lose their muscle building, fat burning ability. When this happens, you see men with ‘love handles’ and what everyone refers to as ‘man boobs’ . When you think about it, those are features females have, that they get from Estrogen. So – it’s a clear point that the Estrogen/Testosterone balance is off kilter in a man. Don’t believe that this is normal and how our bodies age. That is a lie.
- Low progesterone levels in males can lead to too much DHT being produced which stimulates the multiplying of prostate cells, which then enlarges the prostate gland and narrows the urethral channel, which then leads to urination problems.
Once again, after reading all this information, so many things become clear regarding the health of people today – especially women. The rise of infertility, breast cancer, premature menstruation, miscarriage, uterine cancer and more is so common place today, we have been taught to believe that this is just a part of life. No it isn’t! It is clear that the unbalances in our bodies is forcing our bodies into an unnatural state of being. Even men are affected by the Estrogen dominance issue and are losing their God-created physique they are suppose to have. It’s time we really begin to be diligent about taking care of our bodies. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to spend the rest of my life declining in health, having uncomfortable and unnecessary health issues arising consistently – all the while feeling that there is nothing I can do! I choose to be proactive in my health and the health of my family to make sure we don’t go down the road so many have traveled, only because they didn’t know any better.
I hope you enjoyed this series on what I think are the most important hormones in our body. I hope you learned information you were unaware of. I hope you take this knowledge and apply it to your life to ensure a healthy and enjoyable future!
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