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Why Estrogen is a Woman's Friend, Not Her Enemy

by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) Have you figured out how the medical establishment works?  If you have, you will know that it poo-poos just about everything that leads to real long lasting good health, because there is no money to be made when people are healthy.  For example, it says all foods are the same and the only thing that matters is calories, meaning that half a cup of Cool Whip is equal in food value to a half cup of blueberries because they both have the same amount of calories.  And that's just what it does to steroid hormones too, trying to convince us that our hormones cause disease and are our enemies. So for the record, let's take a good look at these hormones that are supposed to be so bad for us, starting with estrogen.

Before we get specific, it's good to know that the human body is a lot like an orchestra - when all of its hormones are working together and functioning as they should, the body makes beautiful music.  But if a some hormones are completely missing or have taken the day off, the music doesn't sound so good.  Get enough cacophony going and the orchestra leader will get fired and the body will develop degenerative disease.

Many people think estrogen is the most abundant hormone in females, but that is simply not true.  Testosterone is the most abundant hormone in females just as it is in males.  The ratio of testosterone to estrogen in females is about 12 to 1. Though the amount of estrogen is tiny, it is a mighty hormone that creates the essence of femininity. 

Estrogen shapes the uniqueness of a woman's mind, emotions and body.  It powers the menstrual cycle, the transformation from childhood to womanhood, and it sets the stage for implanting and nourishing the early embryo. 

Estrogen makes a woman feel sensual, bringing fullness to the breasts, clarity to the mind, and moisture to the vagina.  Estrogen is the basis of female pride, vitality and sensuality.  It is the reason women spend so much time and money trying to make themselves look good.  When estrogen levels begin to drop, usually in the early 40's,  this female essence begins to disappear.

More than 300 systems in the body are affected by estrogen in a major way.  Estrogen impacts skeleton, urinary tract, circulatory system, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and a whole lot more.


Estrogen has three primary forms

The word 'estrogen' actually describes a broad category that has three primary members, estradiol, estriol and estrone.

 Estradiol is created by the conversion of androstenedione to estrone, which then converts to estradiol, and also by the conversion of testosterone to estradiol, illustrating the ability of the steroid hormones to easily morph into different forms.  Estradiol is produced in the ovaries and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands and the arterial walls.  Estradiol is by far the most aggressive of all the estrogens.

Estradiol functions as a growth hormone and it is responsible for the development of breasts and a curvy body. It also affects joints and fat deposition, skin composition, and the quality and amount of bone. Estradiol is absolutely essential for cognitive functioning, memory, and a good night's sleep. And it is what gives a woman softness, a full head of shiny hair, and the radiance that attracts.

Fluctuating levels and periods of sustained low levels of estradiol have been correlated with anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and depression.  The sudden withdrawal of estradiol following hysterectomy creates total havoc in the body.

Although mainstream medicine has made estadiol the scapegoat for breast cancer, it has been repeatedly shown in studies that estrodiol is highly protective of breast tissue when balanced with optimal levels of progesterone and testosterone. 

Estriol is the guardian of DNA, according to Dr. John Lee from the Harvard Medical School, the man who has told women so much about themselves.  It is made in the placenta during pregnancy.  Throughout the time when the developing embryo is being differentiated into hands, feet, brain, eyeballs and all the rest, estriol levels are surging.

Several years ago estriol was shown in a five year clinical trial to be highly protective against cancers of the breast and uterus. The researchers credited this effect to its ability to induce a more mature state of glandular cells, making them resistive to damage from chemicals and radiation.  It is through this mechanism that early pregnancy is known to convey as much as a 70 percent reduction in the occurrence of breast cancer later in life.  

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angles have discovered that estriol significantly reduces symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), one of the diseases that strike women when hormone levels decline.

Estrone is referred to as 'old lady estrogen' because it is the only form of estrogen present in noticeable quantity in women that have completed menopause.  Most estrone is made in belly fat, although small amounts are made in the adrenal cortex. 

Ideally, estrone exists in the ratio of 1 to 2 with estradiol.  But as women age and estradiol levels fall, estrone is no longer balanced, setting the stage for the development of breast cancer.

The average age at diagnosis of breast cancer is 60, just at the time estrone is running the show all by itself. When the National Cancer Institute says the biggest risk for breast cancer is getting old, they are referring to the loss of estradiol and the resulting dominance of estrone.  But the funny thing here is the fact that they don't recommend restoring estradiol and the other steroid hormones to the levels had by young and healthy women.  Probably too much money at sake.   

If you would like to learn more about estrogen and other steroid hormones, many of the leading specialists in anti-aging medicine have highly informative websites.  These are some of the best:

See also:

Replacing Lost Hormones is the Greatest Gift You can Give Yourself

Understand the Great Importance of Hormones to Your Health

The Whole Truth about Bioidentical Hormones

It's Time to Stop Being Afraid of Hormones

For more information:

About the Author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

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