Estradiol is the strongest of the three estrogen hormones. It is naturally produced in both genders, with much higher levels in females. It is predominantly produced within the ovarian follicles, but also in other tissues, such as the adrenal glands, fat, liver, breasts, brain, testes, and placenta (during pregnancy).
The primary function of estradiol in females is to mature and maintain the reproductive system, including the mammary glands, uterus, and vagina. Estradiol also plays important functions in the male reproductive system, skeletal system, skin health, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
Males who have high estradiol levels can be affected by infertility, gynecomastia (increased breast tissue), erectile dysfunction, slowed growth leading to short stature or delayed puberty, reduced sex drive, fatigue, reduced muscle mass and bone mass, and reduced growth of penis and testicles. Elevated estradiol in males also increases the risk of diabetes, blood clots, stroke and certain cancers. Increased estradiol levels can occur due to certain antibiotics, specific herbs, inherited factors, stress, obesity, certain tumours, liver diseases, and conditions that affected hormone balances.
Reduced estradiol levels in males can occur due to many reasons, including autoimmune conditions and genetics disorders, hemochromatosis, radiation exposure, HIV infection, malnutrition, and surgeries. The symptoms of low estradiol can be similar to the symptoms associated with high estradiol.
Following a healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fiber, combined with adequate physical exercise can help males maintain estradiol levels in the normal, healthy range.