Let’s start out with a guess today.
What is responsible for erectile dysfunction in men as they get older?
And we have an answer — increased estrogen is the culprit.
As men get older, their estrogen rises.
And sometimes their testosterone falls.
While a lot of people think testosterone always falls, but we know that’s not true.
As we’ve seen in other newsletters, testosterone does not always fall in men healthy men as they age.
Instead, estradiol levels in men rise and interfere.
At this point, I want to mention one very important thing about estrogen.
Estradiol is the most powerful form of estrogen.
But that’s not what I want to mention.
Instead, I want to mention that measuring estrogen with blood tests is very tricky.
And it’s tricky because the levels in the blood don’t correspond necessarily with levels in the tissue.
So the estrogen levels test can’t be completely accurate.
This study is one of the few the points it out.
Plasma levels of estradiol do not necessarily reflect tissue-level activity as peripherally formed estradiol is partially metabolized in tissue.
This is why it’s futile to test estrogen levels directly in a blood test.
You can test things like prolactin or estrone levels and get a good idea of what estrogen levels are.
But testing estradiol in the blood does not yield useful results.
However, some men have a lot of internal inflammation going on.
These men tend to be fat or obese.
What are their estrogen levels?
In this study, researchers studied the estrogen levels of obese men.
I know, I said that a blood test doesn’t show estradiol levels effectively.
But it’s what the study used, and it makes a decent baseline.
This is what researcher concluded:
Serum estrone (E,) and 17β-estradiol (E2) were noted to be 2-fold elevated in a group of morbidly obese men.
So estrogen levels may be much higher in obese men. And this makes sense because fat cells produce a lot of estrogen.
And now let’s turn our detective powers to a study of penile tissue.
We want to see the effects of estrogen on erectile dysfunction.
They used rabbits in this study.
The researchers gave the rabbits estrogen injections.
Chronic treatment with estradiol and phytoestrogen significantly reduced the systemic total testosterone levels.
Keep in mind that phytoestrogen is the same as soy.
There are many many phytoestrogens, but soy is probably the most common in the Western diet.
With regard to the contractile effect, both types of estrogen treatments significantly potentiated norepinephrine-induced antierectile contraction of the corpus cavernosa.
Being the detectives that we are, we scratch our chins, puff on our pipes, and say “that can’t be good!”
Indeed it is not.
The study authors conclude:
These results indicate that estradiol treatment and chronic exposure of phytoestrogen may cause erectile dysfunction.
And our detective work is complete.
Estrogen levels tend to increase to higher amounts in fat, obese, or sick men.
It then leads to erectile dysfunction in these men.
And this is why we have such an epidemic of erectile dysfunction today.
Increased Estrogen Production in Obese Men
Estrogen and Phytoestrogen predispose to erectile dysfunction: do ER-α and ER-β in the cavernosum play a role?