(Article Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zach Hyde)
Natural Estrogen Reduction in Men
Estrogen is a necessary hormone in the bodies of all males so why bother to lower it?
Because the beneficial effects it does possess are quickly lost when levels climb too high.
As our testosterone levels sink with age, toxin exposure, and poor habits, it’s not uncommon for estrogen to gain the upper hand.
In this article, we’ll show you how to lower your estrogen levels so that you can keep up an active, manly lifestyle.
The Balance Between Estrogen and Testosterone
Imagine standing in the middle of a see-saw.
On one side, high in the air, you have your testosterone levels.
On the other, down against the ground, you have your estrogen levels.
Both are necessary to keep you balanced, but their amounts have to be “just right” to do so.
Indeed, should you get too lazy, too fat, or expose yourself to too many toxins, that see-saw might start to shift, leaving you with elevated estrogen and rapidly decreasing T levels.
This is – to put it mildly – a big problem.
As with every other man, your testosterone peaks in your mid-to-late 20s and then begins a slow decline as you get older.
Though unfortunate, this is an entirely natural (and rather slow) process.
However, it’s important to know that the speed at which this process takes place can be exacerbated by many factors.
Metabolic problems, poor diet, eating too many high estrogen foods, alcohol use, and chemical exposure can all savage your testosterone while simultaneously empowering your estrogen levels.
In time, this will lead to a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, including:
- Reduced sex drive
- Exhaustion or lack of energy
- Excess body hair loss
- Loss of muscle mass
- Reduced bone density
- Shrinking of the penis and testicles (yes, really)
- Hot flashes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Gynecomastia (man boobs)
- Reduced sperm concentration or infertility
Now, in keeping with our “see-saw metaphor,” you might rightly assume that raising your testosterone levels is the proper antidote to this problem.
This is correct.
However, you need to keep in mind that your T levels are not only dropping due to natural processes but due to a cumulative buildup of problems that have been brewing your entire life.
That is to say: you’re talking about an uphill battle that will likely require multiple “plans of attack.”
While I’ve written tons of articles on various supplements and strategies that can help you raise your T levels, in this article, I want to discuss how you can support all of this by simultaneously acting to reduce estrogen.
Male Hormone FAQ
Due to the comprehensive nature of this article, we’re going to be using a lot of the same terms over and over again.
Rather than define them each time, I thought it would be helpful to just put a glossary here for your reference.
- Aromatase – The enzyme that converts androgens into estrogen all over the body, including in the gonads.
- Androgens – Considered “male” hormones, these regulate the development and maintenance of male characteristics.
- Estrogens – Considered “female” hormones, these regulate the development and maintenance of female characteristics.
- Xenoestrogens – Compounds that mimic estrogen but are not produced by the body.
- Phytoestrogens – Compounds found in nature that are capable of mimicking estrogen. Examples include flax seeds, hops, and soy.
- Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – A metabolite of testosterone, this hormone helps stimulate the development of male characteristics. It is developed through the conversion of testosterone by the epididymis, prostate, and seminal vesicles.
Understanding the Causes of High Estrogen Levels
In the last section, I hinted at some of the things that can contribute to higher-than-average estrogen levels in men.
However, I feel it’s important that you understand just how omnipresent threats to your hormone balance are in your daily life.
From medications to chemicals exposure to simple lifestyle choices, it’s vital that you know where this constant assault on your manhood is coming from – and what you can do about it.
Antibiotics and Estrogen in Men
Though I recommend dealing with health issues naturally whenever possible, there are specific situations in which antibiotics must be used.
However, some individuals and/or their medical professionals rely on antibiotics far too often.
Not only does this impact your body’s natural immune system function, but certain kinds (Amoxycillin and ampicillin specifically) can cause your estrogen levels to rise dramatically.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to take these medications to see the effects! Merely eating animals that have been treated with antibiotics has been shown to have the same impact.
Obesity and Male Estrogen Levels
Your male body is designed to be a lean, mean, hunter-gatherer machine, and no amount of technological advancement has been able to change that.
However, eating too much of the wrong foods and not exercising enough can.
Becoming obese doesn’t just limit your ability to perform as you did when you were young – it upsets that natural “see-saw” balance between your testosterone and estrogen levels.
Indeed, for every pound of fat that you gain, your aromatase enzyme activity increases, sapping your testosterone and converting it into estrogen.
Large amounts of fat also demasculinize your body, causing fat to accumulate in your breasts, hips, and love handles.
It also works to reduce your dihydrotestosterone into metabolites, which are far less potent.
Worst of all, the love-love relationship between estrogen and fat keeps you packing on the weight, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
Humans are omnivores, and our bodies are all too aware of this fact.
That’s why we necessitate a laundry list of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to function at optimum levels.
While supplementation can help us maintain the fragile balance our bodies require, certain foods can also help.
Good examples are cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, which contain phytochemicals that block the production of estrogen.
Liver Disorders and Estrogen Dominence in Men
Your liver is the primary vehicle through which your body expels excess estrogen.
If your liver is overburdened by other toxins, it results in this estrogen being retained in your bloodstream, where it can do all the terrible things we’ve been discussing.
Now, when it comes to liver health, there are two main factors to consider.
The first is choline.
This is an essential nutrient found in certain salts that helps export fat from the liver.
The second factor is your intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These work against choline to keep fatty acids in the liver, where it can build up and clog its ducts, thus ruining efficiency.
So eat eggs to get adequate levels of choline, and limit consumption liquid seed oils such as soy oil, corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
Then consume healthy fats from grass-fed beef, coconut and olive oils, which have been consumed by humans for thousands of years.
Plastics & Endocrine Disruption
Certain types of plastics used in food packaging can leech into our systems and wreak havoc on our hormones.
Compounds like phthalates, BPA, and xenoestrogens can either drastically lower our T levels or mimic estrogen in a way that – eventually – has the same effect.
This is one of the most problematic causes of elevated estrogen levels because it can be very difficult to avoid.
Indeed, water bottles, plastic cooking utensils, microwaved food packaging – they’re all loaded with estrogen-increasing chemicals.
Put an organic head of broccoli into a plastic bag at the store?
It’s not organic anymore.
As you can see, your body’s hormonal balance is under constant attack.
Again, the solution to this problem doesn’t just lie in defense (raising your testosterone levels) but also in offense.
That means making a concerted effort to reduce your chemical load on a daily basis.
In the next few sections, we’ll discuss a “three-pronged attack” strategy that includes changes to your habits, changes to your diet, and some powerful all-natural supplements.
Foods that Help Lower Estrogen Levels in Males
When in doubt about a health problem, look to Mother Nature.
In this section, I’ll discuss some foods you can add to your diet right now to curb your body’s estrogen production and ensure your T remains “king of the hill.”
Don’t worry – there’s nothing too exotic on this list.
Still, if you’re a meat and potatoes guy, you’re going to have to accept healthy eating means branching out a bit.
Cruciferous Veggies to Lower Estrogen Levels in Males
I already mentioned how cruciferous vegetables are a major staple of an anti-estrogen diet.
One of the big reasons for this is because they contain DIM, also known as 3’3 diindolylmethane, and IC3, two compounds that assist your liver in removing excess estrogen along with all the other trash your body doesn’t need.
It’s also worth noting that leafy greens contain tons of chlorophyll and plant sterols, both of which have estrogen-lowering effects.
What to Eat: Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, cabbage, kale, and collard greens.
Mushrooms To Lower Estrogen
There are hundreds of mushroom species out there, each with its own unique properties and chemical makeup.
One of the most common varieties, the white button mushroom, was found in one 2001 study to have the same aromatase-inhibiting qualities as many of the foods on this list.
Another estrogen-lowering mushroom is the Shiitake.
This Asian mushroom is an excellent addition to an anti-estrogen diet.
Grapes (and Red Wine)
Red grapes, and by extension red wine, are loaded with compounds that have been shown to have estrogen-inhibiting properties.
These are polyphenols, resveratrol, and proanthocyanidin, which doubles as a cardiovascular protection supplement.
The skins of the red grapes are also packed with a flavonoid called quercetin, which not only aids in the synthesis of nitric oxide but serves as a natural anti-estrogenic as well.
Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
Cooking oils have become a lot like eggs were back in the 1990s.
One day they’re good for you, the next day, they’re bad for you – it can be hard to keep up.
Fortunately, modern science has finally been able to tell us that two of our favorite oils are well worth having in your cabinet: olive oil and coconut oil.
In the case of olive oil, research shows that regular consumption can help the testicular Leydig cells of rats more easily convert cholesterol into testosterone.
The substance is also extremely high in a compound called lutropin, which was shown in at least one study to inhibit the actions of the aromatase enzyme.
Coconut oil has a similar effect.
It too has been shown to help enhance the Leydig cells’ ability to convert cholesterol to testosterone.
At the same time, the oil is packed full of plant sterols, which are naturally anti-estrogenic and aromatase inhibiting.
Lastly, coconuts contain a compound that stimulates certain natural enzymes (3beta-HSD and 17beta-HSD) to stimulate T production.
Oats to Lower Estrogen Levels
Many men limit grains by the time they reach a certain point in their lives.
Not only do these foods often lead to bloating and inflammation, but they can also inflate the body’s prolactin levels, which can hinder T production.
Oats, however, are one big exception.
That’s because they contain a specific steroid known as saponin, which not only inhibits aromatase but actually boosts testosterone as well.
So, while you may want to limit wheat consumption if you’re intolerant, some oatmeal in the AM will suit you just fine.
Turmeric is anti-estrogenic
Thanks to its popularity among health food nuts, many folks think Turmeric is the cure for everything.
Luckily, there scientific research indicating that Turmeric helps the liver flush excess estrogen out of the body
In one 2012 study performed on rats, large doses of the supplement increased T levels by as much as 250%!
Turmeric is also naturally anti-estrogenic making it an ideal supplement to keep your hormone levels in check.
Onions and Chives
Eating onions might not do your dating life any big favors, but these smelly little root veggies are well-worth the occasional bout of bad breath.
Indeed, in one study performed on rats, a steady diet of onion juice was able to triple the animals’ testosterone levels.
As if that wasn’t enough, onions are also jam-packed with flavonoids that reduce estrogen and increase nitric oxide to support your erections.
Then you have onion’s little green cousin, the chive.
These also contain high levels of quercetin, which hinders that aromatase enzyme that turns your testosterone into estrogen.
As a bonus – they won’t have nearly as strong an effect on your breath.
Algae for Liver Support
If you’ve ever looked at the stuff floating underneath you in a lake and said, “why can’t I eat that?”
I have great news for you!
Of course, if you’ve never had such a thought – don’t’ worry.
Algae is available in a wide variety of non-slimy forms as well.
You see, certain types of water plants, like spirulina and chlorella, are powerful liver detoxifiers.
And remember, when your liver is healthy, it can remove that extra free-floating estrogen much more efficiently.
And since algae is also loaded with chlorophyll, it contains the same anti-estrogenic properties as most other green, leafy foods.
Fermented Foods To Lower Estrogen
If you’ve never heard the term “probiotic” before, chances are that your gut health is not what it should be.
And if the trillions (yes, really) of bacterial cells that make up your body aren’t happy, the rest of you won’t be either.
Fortunately, fermented foods like yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, and sauerkraut can not only introduce beneficial bacteria to your intestinal workings, but they are chock full of anti-estrogenic compounds to help your liver do its job.
Pomegranates to Boost Testosterone and Lower Estrogen
If you’ve never had a pomegranate before, I can assure you that they are nothing to be afraid of.
These sort of sweet, sort of tart fruits are delicious on their own or perfect for mixing up into a smoothie.
Alternatively, you can simply buy and drink the juice (just make sure it’s not processed with too much sugar.)
But why are you guzzling this purple concoction?
Because the pun is definitely intended.
You see, studies like this one found that men who drank pomegranate juice for two weeks improved their salivary T levels by an average of 24%.
But that’s not all.
Pomegranates are excellent for your heart, with some patients seeing a 20% drop in both systolic and diastolic pressure.
As if that wasn’t enough, long-term consumption has been shown to reduce arterial plaque by up to 35%!
Of course, better blood flow = better boners.
It’s just a fact.
Blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, and currants are absolutely jam-packed with antioxidants – up to 50% more than their red and purple cousins!
They also contain high amounts of some of the anti-estrogenic compounds we’ve discussed at length on this list, particularly quercetic and resveratrol.
But there’s more.
These berries also contain a specific fiber called Calcium D-Glucarate, which can actually bond with the estrogen molecules in your intestines and prevent them from being reabsorbed into your body.
Habit Changes for Lowering Estrogen Levels in Males
Here, we’ll discuss the strategies you need to employ in your daily life to minimize exposure to (and production of) estrogen.
These are mostly lifestyle changes, some of which require a lot of effort, some of which require only a little.
Either way, I strongly suggest you consider them if you want to maintain a healthy hormone balance regardless of age.
Reduce Body Fat to Lower Estrogen in Males
As we just mentioned, one of the fastest ways to raise your estrogen levels is to allow yourself to slip into obesity.
But since obesity itself has many factors (diet, stress, genetics, lack of exercise), you need to figure out the cause of the problem while also implementing solutions.
In all cases, however, a moderate fat diet and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a huge help.
So, if you want to look, feel, and – most importantly – perform younger, you need to get in the gym right now.
Reduce Your Chemical Load
As already mentioned, there are tons of endocrine-disrupting chemical compounds in plastics.
These can not only savage your struggling testosterone levels, but also pump your body full of xenoestrogens.
Unfortunately, plastics are – quite literally – everywhere.
So, what is a guy to do?
Well, you can start by removing plastic cooking utensils from your home.
When these are exposed to heat, the chemicals inside can leech out into your food much faster than they would if you were merely using them at cutlery.
Next, you need to stop eating microwavable foods.
These all-too-often come in plastic containers with plastics lids.
You might as well fill a syringe with melted cellophane and inject it into your bloodstream.
The last step?
Stop drinking water, juice, or smoothie out of plastic containers.
Though not as potent as those exposed to heat, these containers can still fill your body with unwanted chemicals.
After that, trade in your plastic bottles for a refillable metal container instead.
Your gonads will thank you.
Read the Labels
You’d be shocked at home many personal care items contain estrogenic chemicals (the xenoestrogens we mentioned before).
Common examples include moisturizers, sunscreens, soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.
The best way to evaluate these products is by checking the labels, where you’re primarily looking for parabens.
Since you’re (likely) not a chemist, keep your eyes open for unfamiliar words with methyl, butyl, propyl, heptyl, or ethyl in the name.
Also, remember that many of these products are packaged in plastic, which means you’re giving your body a double dose of testosterone kryptonite.
Take Care of Your Liver
Many of us enjoy a drink with friends now and again, but it’s worth reminding ourselves just how much damage we can do to our livers with alcohol.
You see, we need to remember what it is our liver does.
Not only does it removes toxins from our body, but it helps remove all of those estrogenic chemicals listed above.
If you’re overburdening your liver by hitting the pub every night, you’ll retain more and more estrogen as time goes on.
But it’s not just alcohol you need to look out for.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, like those in soybean oil and canola oil keep your liver from producing choline, which helps remove fat from the liver and keeps it operating at peak efficiency.
How to Lower Estrogen Levels in Males With Supplements
The great thing about living in the modern world is that any nutrients or vitamins that we can’t get via our diets can usually be purchased as high-quality supplements.
These pills, tinctures, and powders are an essential way to ensure your body keeps up the good fight against estrogen while supporting your T levels at the same time.
Here are some of the very best:
Native to Peru, Maca Root is an amazing superfood that has just only migrated to the US in the past 15 years.
It can be eaten as food, but it is generally dried and then consumed as a powder or in the form of capsules.
It has a wide range of properties and has been sown to act in both pro-testosterone and anti-estrogen capacities.
Maca is incredibly nutritious, basically functioning as a mini multivitamin all on its own.
It has also been used for centuries to treat low libido in both men and women.
In fact, in a review from 2010 that included four randomized studies, maca was found to improve sexual desire significantly.
There is also evidence that it might actually contribute to male fertility by increasing the quality and volume of sperm in semen.
You might not know this, but there exists a “master list” of 24 essential micronutrients that we all need to stay alive.
Zinc, a chemical element normally found in its natural, metallic form, is one of them.
But if you’ve paid any attention to men’s health sites like this, you know that Zinc is so much more than that.
Indeed, Zinc has been shown to regulate a wide variety of bodily enzymes – including aromatase.
In men, studies report that Zinc can reduce the activity of estrogen receptors, thus keeping them from sapping your testosterone and turning it into estrogen.
As long as you don’t take it to the point of saturation, Zinc can also increase your natural DHT levels and elevate your free testosterone.
Grapeseed Extract is an industrial byproduct of whole grape seeds that has been shown to have an impressive amount of effects when used as a supplement.
One of the most notable is its’ ability to naturally increase nitric oxide levels in the body.
This is not only essential to a healthy circulatory system but greatly contributes to your ability to get and maintain erections.
Grapeseed Extract is also a natural aromatase inhibitor, like many of the other foods and supplements on this list.
However, GSE is unique because it has very low bioavailability for humans, so high doses are required if you want to see any results.
One solution is to take high doses (up to 2000mg per day) or to take lesser amounts on an empty stomach.
Boron To Lower Estrogen
Like Zinc, boron occupies a space on the Periodic Table of Elements.
Though not an essential mineral by any means, boron has been shown to have some pretty dramatic anti-estrogen effects.
In one study from 2011, men who consumed just 10 mg of boron for one week saw their three testosterone levels increase by 28%, while their free estrogen levels dropped by an average of 39%.
At the same time, levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increased by 10%.
If you ask me, those are some pretty remarkable numbers being put up in a very short amount of time.
When discussing wine in the anti-estrogenic food section, we spend a bit of time discussing resveratrol, an antioxidant polyphenol that’s found in red grapes.
However, if you’re not a fan of red wine or simply don’t want to rely on alcohol for your daily T boost, you should know that resveratrol extract is also available in supplement form.
Though it isn’t quite as effective as when consumed from the source, studies have shown that resveratrol supplements can effectively suppress the aromatase enzyme and help increase testosterone levels.
It’s also worth noting that, like Grapeseed Oil, Resveratrol has relatively low bioavailability unless it is taken using a specially developed powder delivery system called VESIsorb®.
If you are going to buy this supplement, you need to keep an eye out for the VESIsorb® brand on the bottle.
The rule of thumb when shopping for supplements is that the harder the substance is to pronounce, the better it works.
While far from a scientific method, this has certainly proved to be the case with imported herbs like ashwagandha and Tongkat Ali.
The latter comes from Malaysia and has been used as a pro-testosterone supplement by the locals for hundreds of years.
Studies show that it has an astounding ability to boost testosterone levels by helping reduce the active amounts of cortisol in your bloodstream.
You might recognize cortisol as the hormone released during periods of stress.
While necessary to a certain degree, large amounts of cortisol can sap your T levels and disrupt sexual function.
As with nearly every other item in this article, Tongkat Ali also has potential as an aromatase inhibitor, at least according to studies performed on rats.
Interestingly enough, science has also indicated that Tongkat Ali can stimulate the CYP17-enzymes in your testicles, which is critical to the biosynthesis of gonadal and adrenal steroids.
Keep Fighting the Good Fight
It’s important to remember that when it comes to the battle between testosterone and estrogen, there’s no such thing as “victory.”
As you age, become more exposed to certain chemicals and toxins, and suffer bouts of illness and stress, estrogen will always be there trying to gain an advantage in the hormonal tug of war.
However, as we stated at the beginning of this article, the best defense is a good offense.
In this article, we’ve given you the template to mount that offense.
From substances to avoid to habits you should change to foods and supplements to keep your hormone levels in check.
Every line of this article will aid you in your quest to maintain your manliness, fitness, and sexual vigor (regardless of your age).