When you look at our sex hormone profiles you will see that men don’t just make testosterone, we also make estrogen. Like female’s, men also have both hormones in our body and each play a very important role in how we look and feel. Estrogen is a sex hormone that helps men with libido, erectile function, the production of healthy sperm, increase muscle strength and size, improve bone density and much more. A balanced hormone profile in men will have a more dominate testosterone to estrogen ratio. This is key to long term hormonal health and optimizing the way our bodies perform.
Aromatase is an enzyme responsible for converting androgens like testosterone to estrogen. Some men can be more sensitive to this which can offset the balance and create unwanted side effects like elevated estrogen levels. Having higher estrogen levels can create some obvious side effects like gynecomastia which is the formation of breast tissue in men (man boobs), acne, hair loss, and some of the typical low testosterone symptoms like erectile dysfunction, low libido, lack of muscle, etc. It is important to understand that sometimes too low of estradiol levels can often feel like elevated estrogen levels. Monitoring blood work to determine estrogen levels during your testosterone replacement therapy or testosterone boosting program is important to make sure you take the correct amount of anastrozole to optimize your testosterone programs outcome.
Sometimes we will see clients who have elevated total testosterone but lower than ideal free testosterone (the testosterone that absorbs at the receptor site). This is likely because estrogen, mainly estradiol levels are too high, and that estradiol is clogging up the receptor sites that testosterone is trying to find to be absorbed. Testosterone and estradiol both fit into the same receptor sites and whichever one finds the receptor first blocks the other from utilizing it. Remember that old game where you had different size and shape pegs and they only fit into certain holes of that some shape? Consider testosterone and estrogen being so similar in size and shape that they both fit into those same receptors. If estrogen finds it first the total testosterone floating through your system will not have the receptors to utilize and become absorbed, therefor creating what feels like low testosterone.
Our bodies will naturally try to balance our hormone levels, therefor taking exogenous testosterone or boosting agents are likely to inadvertently raise your estradiol levels. When your estradiol levels are increased, testosterone levels will also go up. The trick is to maintain a proper ratio of testosterone to estrogen.
We recommend a low dose anastrozole regiment to help maintain lower levels of estradiol, yet high enough to where the negatives of too low estrogen levels are avoided. This can take a few months to be optimized and may require a few blood tests and adjustments to find that sweet spot. If you have too low levels, you can also experience achy joints, tight ligaments, and what feels like low testosterone symptoms.
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