- A moderately potent estrogen. Binds primarily to Estrogen Receptor Alpha (ERα).
- Estrone is metabolized into 2-OH E1 ("good"), 16-OH-E1 ("bad"), and 4-OH-E1 ("bad").
Produced by the ovaries, the estrone hormone is one of three types of estrogen, and it is one of the major hormones found in the bodies of postmenopausal women. While research into estrone function is still ongoing, largely due to the fact that it is the least powerful of the three types of estrogen, women should still understand this hormone and its known effects on the body.
Specifically, estrone (also called oestrone) is estrogen-like estradiol and estriol. Unlike the other two, estrone comes from the ovaries, as well as the adipose tissue and adrenal glands.
It is a weaker estrogen, commonly found in higher quantities in postmenopausal women.
How Does Estrone Function?
As an estrogen, estrone is responsible for female sexual development and function. Because it is less powerful than the other estrogens, estrone can sometimes serve as a repository for estrogens, and the body can convert it to estrogen when needed.
Possible Problems with Estrone
The effects of low Estrone or high Estrone levels are not yet well known. Women who have breast cancer or men who are being treated to reduce testosterone levels — such as in prostate cancer treatment — may need to have their estrone levels monitored because estrone levels can increase in these cases. Women who are obese will produce more estrone from fatty tissue. Too much estrone has been linked to breast and endometrial cancer growth. Besides this potential outcome, other results of increased estrone levels are not yet known.
Women who have too little estrogen hormones, including oestrone, 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 oestrone levels may be the reason. However, research has not yet found a definite link between the ovary hormone and these symptoms.
Estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3) are three endogenously produced estrogens.
- Made via aromatization in several tissues like fat and muscle
- Weaker compared to Estradiol (Research says the estrogenic activity is about 4% of estradiol’s activity)
- Most abundant in menopause
- Converts into estradiol (E2)
What does Estrogen do?
1. Growth and development of female secondary sex characteristics
2. Thickens the uterus for implantation, increases vaginal acidity to protect against infection, important for vaginal lubrication (particularly E3)
3. Necessary for bone health
4. In the brain helps maintain body temperature, protects against memory loss, increases serotonin and serotonin receptors
5. Important for collagen production, skin thickness, and getting blood supply to the skin
6. Helps protect against atherosclerosis
7. Estrogen through the ER helps induce or upregulate the expression of the PR
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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