What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is enlarged men boobs. It is a common condition. As many as 1/3 of all men will develop it at same point in their lives.
What causes gynecomastia?
Men boobs are caused by primarily by an imbalance between a men’s testosterone levels and his estrogen levels. It does not necessarily mean that we are depleted of one or the other hormone, it might mean that these 2 hormones are not in balance between them. So what is testosterone and what is estrogen? Both are hormones.
What is Testosterone?
It is a hormone that is produced for the most part in the testicles. It is an exceptional important hormone for men because it helps in the following areas:
- Sex drive
- Sperm production
- Red blood cell production
Testosterone levels decline as we get older at a rate of 1% per year after age 30.
So what happens to a men as his testosterone levels decrease? He might experience some of the following:
- Changes to his sexual performance
- Changes to sleep habits
- Gain weight and fat
- Reduction in strength and muscles
- Hair loss
- Reduction in energy levels
- Reduction in motivation
- Self confidence
- Memory lapses
- Trouble concentrating
What is estrogen?
Estrogen is primarily a woman’s hormone, although men have it also. Woman have high levels of estrogen and low levels of testosterone. Men have high levels or testosterone and low levels of estrogen. The term estrogen includes many different types of hormones, although the primary are estradiol, estrone and estriol. Just like most hormones, they need to be in balance.
Women make the majority of their estrogen in their ovaries.
Men produce estrogen through a process that involves an enzyme called aromatase that transforms testosterone into estrogen, or estradiol to be exact.
Men sometimes have too much aromatase activity, which causes their testosterone to convert to excess estrogen. This results in depletion of vital testosterone while spiking estrogen to unsafe levels.
Other ways we are exposed to estrogen is thru chemical estrogens in plastic bottles, cosmetics, shampoo and personal care products, oil-based coatings, pesticides, and animal hormones.
The liver metabolizes estrogen. There are 3 different pathways that estrogen can be metabolized by. Lets call them a “good” pathway and the other 2, lets call them the “bad” pathways because when your liver uses these 2 pathways, you have a greater chance of cancer
- Reduces testosterone levels
- Higher incidence of bone fractures
- Higher levels of cholesterol
- Beer bellies. Estrogen encourages fat to accumulate around the mid section
- Enrlarge prostate
- Gynecomastioa or men boobs
- Heart failure
- Higher incidence of prostate and breast cancer
So now that we have a better understanding of these 2 hormones it is easier to understand that gynecomastia is caused primarily by an imbalance of testosterone to estrogen for men.
Some other causes of gynecomastia
According to mayoclinic.com, these are some other reasons that cause gynecomastia:
Gynecomastia can also be caused by certain medical conditions that have an impact on hormone levels.
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Malnutrition or starvation
Certain medication can cause gynecomastia
- Heart medications, such as digoxin (Lanoxin) and calcium channel blockers
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as Valium
- Aids medications
- Anabolic steroids and androgens.
- Anti-androgens used to treat prostate enlargement or cancer
- Some antidepressants
- Some Ulcer medications
What to do to reduce Men’s Boobs:
Reducing the amount of estrogen and balancing it with testosterone is one of the best natural ways to reduce a men’s breasts. So how can we do that?
- Block aromatase activity so we reduce the estrogen level. Nutrients such chrysin, selenium, turmeric, melatonin, zinc, green tea, and citrus flavonones—substances found in orange and grapefruit rinds along with tomato skins have the ability to reduce aromatase. Additionally, we want to try and get the liver to metabolize estrogen thru the “good” pathway. There are some nutrients that promote that. Nutrients like EPA fish oils and 2 very important nutrients, B vitamins and a substance called DIM. The B vitamins, particularly B6, B12, and folic acid. DIM is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. It is often taken in supplement form because you would need to eat large quantities of these vegetables daily in order to provide sufficient DIM to have an effect on estrogen elimination, or you can take supplements to have the desired effect . Once you shift the estrogen elimination to the “good” pathway, you want to make sure that the body actually gets rid of it. The supplement magnesium, which is an amazing supplement and helps in many many different functions for the body, does a great job in eliminating estrogen from the “good” pathway. Additionally a lot of fiber and probiotics would greatly help the excretion of estrogen from the body.
- Lose weight. The more fat your body has, the more estrogen you’ll have because fat tissue increases levels of the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.
- Exercise helps regulate the testosterone to estrogen balance
- Change your medications if you are taking a medication from the above list
- Stop consuming drugs and alcohol.
- Make some diet adjustments. Eat less carbs, more protein and take lots of Omega 3. These diet adjustments will allow your body to exert unwanted estrogen and process estrogen healthier. Additionally eat lots of flax, sesame, leafy greens, alfalfa, clover, licorice root, and legumes, or take supplements if you prefer to have the same effect. These nutrients have the ability to bind to estrogen, and reduce aromatase activity.
- Improve gastronomical health so your body can get rid of unwanted estrogen. Having a healthy digestive system and eating a lot of fiber, creates a situation where the fiber binds with extra estrogen in the digestive track so that the body can get rid of it easier. If your digestive system is not healthy and it is difficult to digest and process what we consume, than many of these chemicals stay inside of us and accumulates.
To summarize the supplements that will help you with lowering your estrogen level and reducing your men’s boobs or gynecomastia are:
B-6, Folic acid, B-12, Green Tea Extract, Chrysin, Turmeric, Magnesium, Selenium, Melatonin, Zinc, Fish Oil, DIM,probiotics and fiber. Additionally you might want to consider taking some supplements that will help you lose weight, like Chromium, Cocoa Extract, Green Coffee Bean Extract, or Rasberry Ketone.
We would be remiss if we did not mention gynecomastia for infants and teenagers. Almost half of all male infants are born with gynecomastia due to the effects of their mothers estrogen. This will usually go away within few weeks. Teenagers go thru many hormonal changes and they may develop gycomastia. This will usually go away by itself in about 6 to 24 months.
Dangers of too low Estrogen
Just like too little cholesterol can create major problems to the body, too little estrogen can create problems also. The ideal level for estrogen in men is between 20 to 30 pg/mL of blood. Levels below 17 pg/mL can create issues with bone density, cognitive functions and issues with the inner lining of arterial walls.
If you do suffer from gynecomastia, you do not have to live with it, nor do you need to restore to expensive surgery. Do something about it!