Estrogen is a major female hormone that is produced in the ovaries. In fact, estrogen determines the outer appearance of women. This is the hormone that is responsible for the characteristic female shape - breasts, body figure, distribution of subcutaneous fat.
The latter is particularly important for the structure of the body. Men also produce estrogen, but in much smaller quantities.
Functions of estrogen
Estrogen is responsible for the female form and enables the deposition of fat, reducing their use as a fuel and filling fat gaps in the body. The assistance of estrogen in the accumulation of excess fat explains its unusual effect on growth hormones that help the body to oxidize and mobilize acids.
Estrogen facilitates the release of a growth hormone, but also interferes with the signals which are necessary for its activation, neutralizing the same effect of overactive releases. Along with this, optimal levels of estrogen promote the function of insulin. Together with some other hormones, estrogen assists with the retention of water.
Lack of estrogen in the female body is one of the main causes of emotional disorders. Women suffer most from these emotional disorders in the periods immediately after birth, during menopause and before menstruation - in periods of reduced secretion of estrogen.
If the female body has a shortage of estrogen, collagen fibers are gradually destroyed and the skin begins to dry and shrivel. Namely, estrogen is responsible for cell renewal and preservation of youthful-looking skin. When estrogen levels decrease, hair shine disappears and it starts to break easily.
Partial deficiency of estrogen a few years after menopause may result in the development of osteoporosis and potential bone fractures. For women over 45 years of age, estrogen deficiency is a common cause of atherosclerosis, which in turn increases the risk for angina, heart attack and stroke. It is not uncommon to have excessive an increase of hair growth.
Foods rich in estrogen are numerous. These are dairy and soya products, flaxseed, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Fruits and vegetables rich in estrogen are: potatoes, plums, pomegranates, tomatoes, pumpkins, sour cherries, apples, beetroots, olives, cucumbers, carrots and papaya.
Spices that increase estrogen levels are: oregano, cloves, ginger, thyme, turmeric, parsley, clover and others. The healthiest stewed ingredients in this regard are: chickpeas, lentils, peas, red beans and regular beans. Barley, brown rice and oats also contain a good amount of estrogen.
High levels of estrogen
High levels of estrogen are one of the main reasons for the accumulation and hard removal of stubborn body fat. High estrogen contributes to water retention in the body, thereby increasing the levels of fat. Excess estrogen increases water amounts due to retention of sodium. As a result, sodium is not removed from the body, while potassium continues to be expelled.
Women who consumed 1/5 tsp (0.5 g) of caffeine per day in the follicular phase of the estrous cycle had a 70% higher level of estrogen than women who drank one cup of coffee. The conclusion is that caffeine intake should be limited as much as possible.
The estrogen test is one which measures the levels of the most important estrogen hormones in the blood or urine - estradiol, estrone and estriol. Estradiol is the most common sex hormone studied in women who are not pregnant.
The levels of estradiol in the blood vary depending on the menstrual cycle. After the onset of menopause, estradiol levels decrease and then remain constant.
Estrone is usually examined in women who are going through menopause. Estrone can be checked in men and women who suspect ovarian cancer, testicular cancer or cancer of the adrenal glands. Estriol is typically checked during pregnancy.
The testing of estrogens is performed to detect defects during pregnancy, for the assessment of estrogen-producing tumors of the ovaries, for the assessment of deviations in the secondary sex characteristics in men.