ESTROGEN | Estrogen production
E1 and E2 are produced directly from the androgens androstenedione and testosterone respectively. E3 is produced from E2 according to the body's needs. Although androgens are considered male hormones, they play an important part in female physiology since all estrogens are made from androgens. In every tissue where estrogen is produced, it is made from an androgen.
Phytoestrogens, or 'plant estrogens', are naturally occurring in certain plant foods including soya and legumes. Their estrogenic effect is much weaker than our body's natural strong estrogens. Weak plant estrogens can attach to our estrogen receptors so our own strong estrogens can't bind and cause unwelcome symptoms of estrogen excess and excessive division of cells that have estrogen receptors like breast cells.
Selective Estrogen Response Modifiers or Receptor Modulators (SERMS) are plant chemicals that may have estrogenic effects in some tissues and anti-estrogenic effects in others. This shields certain tissues from potentially harmful effects such as the signal to multiply or 'proliferate'. Certain herbs have been shown to have these beneficial effects, for example, Black Cohosh. They may help to modulate menopausal symptoms and also protect reproductive tissues from cancer risk. Remifemin has research trials behind it proving its safety.
In menopause, weak plant estrogens can help reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms by reducing the secretion of the pituitary hormones that are one of the main triggers for hot flushes.