Posted by Gretchen Jones on Aug 15, 2020
This article may be a little much, but I wanted to just list all the functions that estrogen does for our body. It is a lot, so hang on and enjoy the read.
Let's start with structural functions. Estrogen forms the female secondary sex characteristics. Accelerates metabolism. Stimulates endometrial growth. Increases uterine growth. Increases vaginal lubrication. Thickens the vaginal wall. Maintains the vessels and skin. Reduces bone resorption and increases bone formation. Increases hepatic production of binding proteins.
Coagulation functions of estrogen. Increases circulating levels of factors 2, 7, 9, 10 and decreases antithrombin III. Increases platelet adhesiveness and increases angiotensin II and vasopressin.
Did you know the estrogen decreases LDL and fat deposition. And Increases HDL. Increases cholesterol in bile and reduces bowel motility.
Estrogen will increase SHBG and balances out the sodium and water retention.
Estrogen supports hormone sensitive breast cancer. Promotes lung function by supporting alveoli (in rodents, but probably also in humans).
Estrogen together with progesterone promotes and maintains the uterine lining in preparation for implantation of fertilized egg and maintenance of uterus function during the gestation period and upregulates oxytocin receptors in the myometrium.
The surge in estrogen (around day 12) induces the release of luteinizing hormone, which then triggers ovulation by releasing the egg from the graafian follicle in the ovary.
Estrogen promotes sexual receptivity in estrus (an animal in heat) and induces lordosis behavior (behavior of lowering of the forelimbs but with the rear limbs extended and hips raised) and female non human mammals are not sexually receptive without the estrogen surge (i.e., they have no mating desire when not in estrus.
Estrogen is responsible for the development of the female secondary sexual characteristics during puberty, including breast development, widening of the hips, and female fat distribution. Conversely, androgens are responsible for pubic and body hair growth, as well as acne and axillary odor.
Estrogen regulates DNA repair mechanisms in the brain and has neuroprotective effects. Estrogen regulates the transcription of DNA base excision repair genes as well as the translocation of the base excision repair enzymes between different subcellular compartments.
Did you also know that estrogen increases your level of cognition and verbal memory scores are frequently used to measure this. The protective effects of estrogens on cognition may be mediated by estrogen’s anti inflammatory effects in the brain. Studies have also shown that estrogen increases the efficiency of the prefrontal cortex and working memory tasks.
Estrogen is considered to play a significant role in women’s mental health. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in lab mice may be caused by low estrogen levels. When estrogen levels were raised through the increased activity of the enzyme aromatase in male lab mice (not sure why they didn’t use females) OCD rituals were dramatically decreased. Hypothalamic protein levels in the gene COMT are enhanced by increasing estrogen levels which are believed to return mice that displayed OCD rituals to normal activity.
Estrogen may play a role in suppressing binge eating. The mechanism may be due to the replacement of serotonin 5-HT neurons. Estrogen works to activate 5-HT neurons, leading to suppression of binge like eating behaviors.
And in closing, estrogen also has vasculo protective action and helps in preventing atherosclerosis. It also helps in maintaining the delicate balance between fighting infections and protecting arteries from damage, thus lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
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