How Does Estrogen Impact Weight Gain in Men?

Estrogen is commonly thought of as a “female” hormone, but men also produce small amounts of it. While estrogen is essential for both sexes, too much estrogen in men can lead to unwanted side effects like weight gain. Here’s an overview of how estrogen affects male body weight.

What Is Estrogen?

Estrogen refers to a group of hormones that play key roles in female reproductive health. The three major forms are estradiol, estriol, and estrone.

Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries in women, but men also produce small quantities of estrogen in their testes and certain tissues. Estrogen helps regulate functions like bone health, cholesterol levels, and body weight in both sexes.

How Estrogen Impacts Fat Storage

How Estrogen Impacts Fat Storage

One way estrogen promotes weight gain is by shifting where fat gets deposited in the body. In those with higher estrogen, more fat tends to accumulate around the hips, thighs, and rear. Estrogen activates certain genes that drive fat storage in these “feminine” body areas. This fat storage pattern is one reason why women tend to struggle more with lower body fat compared to men.

Estrogen also directly influences fat cell activity by acting on estrogen receptors in fat tissue. This triggers biological processes that boost fat storage and expand fat cell size and number. So, higher estrogen signals the body to both store more fat overall and increase capacity for fat storage.

Factors That Increase Estrogen in Men

As men age, they often accumulate higher levels of body fat and start losing muscle mass. This shift in body composition leads to higher circulating estrogen. That’s because fat tissue contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone and other androgens into estrogen. As men carry more fat tissue, they produce more estrogen. It’s a vicious circle.

Obesity is another major driver of elevated estrogen in men. Belly fat in particular contains high levels of aromatase enzyme which drives estrogen production. Certain health conditions like liver disease and genetic disorders also lead to impaired estrogen breakdown and metabolism, resulting in buildup. And surprisingly, diets higher in phytoestrogens from soy or flax can slightly raise estrogen as well.

Signs That Estrogen May Be Impacting Weight

There are several signs that suggest estrogen imbalance could be contributing to male weight gain:

  • Fat accumulating around hips and thighs rather than abdomen
  • Breast tissue growth (gynecomastia)
  • Low libido, sexual dysfunction, or infertility
  • Mood changes like depression or irritability
  • Bone loss or osteoporosis

If these estrogen-related symptoms occur alongside unexplained weight gain, it warrants a hormone panel test. This measures levels of key hormones to pinpoint any underlying imbalances.

Strategies to Lower Estrogen

Strategies to Lower Estrogen

Luckily, there are things men can do to counteract excess estrogen:

  • Losing excess body fat to decrease aromatase enzyme activity
  • Avoiding foods high in phytoestrogens if levels are very elevated
  • Increasing intake of cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage, which support estrogen breakdown
  • Managing chronic health conditions like diabetes and liver disease
  • Taking targeted supplements like zinc and magnesium that block estrogen or enhance testosterone

In some cases, medication to block estrogen production may be used short term. Men sometimes use an estrogen blocker to help facilitate higher energy levels and better results in the gym. It’s worth considering if you are not enjoying the muscle gains you’d expect, especially in later life.

The takeaway is that while estrogen does play a role in male health, too much can promote weight gain and feminizing effects. By losing excess fat, improving lifestyle habits, and managing health conditions, men can keep their estrogen levels in a healthy range and maintain a lean, muscular physique.

Did you like those interesting facts?

Click on smiley face to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

      Interesting Facts
      Login/Register access is temporary disabled