Estrone is one of three main circulating estrogens in humans. Like estradiol, estrone is secreted by the ovaries, but it is also predominantly produced in peripheral tissues by the action of aromatase on its precursor androstenedione. Its estrogenic activity is intermediate to that of estriol, the weakest estrogen, and estradiol, the strongest. Estrone is converted to the more potent estradiol in tissues by the action of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, and through this conversion it represents the main source of circulating estradiol in postmenopausal women and in men.
Estrone is the predominant circulating estrogen in postmenopausal women, compared to estradiol which predominates in premenopausal women. This is because ovarian estradiol production declines significantly post-menopause while estrone production from androstenedione changes minimally compared to premenopause. The aromatization of androstenedione to estrone increases with increased body weight, since aromatase is prevalent in fat tissue. This increased availability of estrone contributes to the rise in circulating estradiol with increasing body mass index in obese postmenopausal women.
Simpson ER. Sources of estrogen and their importance. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2003;86:225-30.
Bagot CN, Marsh MS, Whitehead M, et al. The effect of estrone on thrombin generation may explain the different thrombotic risk between oral and transdermal hormone replacement therapy. J Thromb Haemost. 2010;8:1736-44.
Jones ME, Schoemaker M, Rae M, et al. Changes in estradiol and testosterone levels in postmenopausal women after changes in body mass index
Women who have too little estrogen hormones, including estrone, may develop osteoporosis. Low estrogen levels can also cause the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, fatigue, poor sex drive, and depression. For women who are postmenopausal and who are still struggling with these symptoms, low estrone levels may be the reason. However, research has not yet found a definite link between the ovary hormone and these symptoms.
Why does estrogen decrease?
- Age (peri-menopause and menopause)
- Irregular cycles/skipped cycles/anovulation
- Hysterectomy with ovaries removed
- Low cholesterol (backbone to hormones)
- Extreme exercise or training
- Extreme stress resulting in skipped menses
- Under appropriate body weight percentage for height/age
• Mixed research: suggested <15% body fat = amenorrhea
- Hypogonadism (ovaries fail)
- Hypopituitarism (pituitary not communicating)
- Decreased blood flow to the ovaries
- Ex. Surgery or smokers
- Fertility medications
- Opioid pain medications (in last 6 months)
- Hormonal birth control – pill, patch, ring, implant, injection
Why do Estrogen levels increase?
2. Peri-menopause = surges of estrogen
5. Estrogen supplementation
6. Steroid medications
7. Poor liver clearance so estrogens build-up
8. Dysbiosis/Estrobolome problems
9. Over aromatization from testosterone
10. Environmental estrogens (difficult to test, however)
11. Alcohol (2 or more glasses/day shown to increase E)
12. Ovarian cysts
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