- Medically reviewed by Dr Andrea Pinto Lopez, M.D.
Estrogen is one of the most well known female sex hormones.
Estrogen plays a number of key functions in both females and males, though males produce a much smaller amount than women.
There are things we can and cannot do to help improve our hormonal health. Some factors are out of our control when it comes to estrogen such as certain health conditions, prescription medications and the ageing process (in women, estrogen naturally begins to decline as we age.)
Read on to find out about how you can increase your estrogen levels.
How to increase estrogen levels
There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to increase estrogen levels.
Some of these methods include:
- Regular exercise
- A balanced diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing your caffeine intake
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Regular exercise helps to ensure the healthy production of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is your “feel good” hormone. Regular exercise also helps the body to release dopamine, another happy hormone. But at the same time, regular exercise has been found to lower estrogen levels if your levels are too high. That means that despite what type of hormonal imbalance you’re dealing with, exercising can help balance your hormones and keep your hormonal levels within the normal range.
Regular exercise has an infinite number of health benefits that can help you to promote good hormonal health. Getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day helps to boost estrogen levels according to Piedmont Healthcare, as well as combatting the negative symptoms associated with menopause.
During the ageing process, estrogen decline may correspond with weaker bones, found in conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis, therefore weight beating exercises are best.
Regular exercise also helps to promote good sleep and a healthy weight which are essential for healthy hormonal production.
A balanced diet
Ghrelin is our “hunger hormone”, when we get hungry, or “hangry” (anger caused by hunger), the body is likely producing the hormone ghrelin. Estrogen and ghrelin both help regulate each other, and abnormal estrogen levels can make you feel hungrier than normal — which can lead to a harmful feedback cycle in which you eat more, gain weight which affects your estrogen production, and then produce more ghrelin which keeps you hungry.
Cut down on refined carbohydrates such as white breads, pastas, pastries etc because they cause a spike in our sugar levels. Instead include whole-grains, fresh fruit and vegetable and healthy fats.
Read: Foods high in estrogen
Getting enough sleep
Get enough sleep each night. Every time we put enough sleep in the piggy bank, we are promoting better overall health.
According to one study, evidence suggests that sleep disturbances, including insufficient sleep due to bedtime curtailment and poor sleep quality, may represent novel risk factors for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Both health conditions may have a negative impact on healthy hormone production.
The body needs enough time to for healthy hormone production. The more you put in, the more you get out. Getting into the habit of leaving your mobile phone outside of your room can have a wonderful impact on your sleep levels.
Other sleep hygiene habits that can help improve the quality of your sleep include:
- Get into bed only when you’re about to sleep. This will help your brain associate the action of getting into bed with sleeping.
- Turn off any lights inside your bedroom and create a cool, dark, and quiet environment to promote sleep.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule and try to go to bed at around the same time each night.
- Avoid heavy or spicy foods right before bed.
- If you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes, get out of bed and distract yourself by doing something else (just avoid screens!) until you feel sleepy again.
Reducing your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant, and in some cases, it can lead our body to working faster than it needs to. If you drink a lot of coffee, it could also be promoting the production of our stress hormone known as cortisol.
The production of cortisol may inhibit the production and circulation of estrogen. Caffeine also affects the metabolism of estrogen causing less estrogen to circulate in the body because more will be excreted.
Try to stick to one cup of coffee per day.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Estrogen is made in the ovaries, the adrenal glands, but also the fat cells.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important to ensure that your hormone levels are kept at healthy levels.
Being over-weight or obese is associated with estrogen levels that are too high, and a condition called “estrogen dominance”.
If you are struggling with your weight, speak with a certified health professional who will be able to share the best methods for you to get control and maintain a healthy weight.
Who need to increase their estrogen levels?
The people who will most likely need to increase their estrogen levels include:
- Women approaching the menopause
- Women experiencing the menopause
- Post-menopausal women
- Those with a family history of low estrogen
- Those who have a history of eating disorders
- Those who have a history of excessive exercising
- Those with issues of the pituitary gland.
- Those who have undergone chemotherapy
- Those who have undergone radiation therapy
- Those with a substance use disorder.
What are the symptoms of low estrogen?
Read: Low estrogen symptoms in women to find out everything you need to know.
- Read: What does estrogen do? Everything you need to know about estrogen
- Read:High estrogen symptoms, causes and treatment
- Read: Low estrogen symptoms in women
- Read: Foods high in estrogen
Written by Hannah Kingston on June 21, 2021
- What does estrogen do? Everything you need to know about estrogen - stdwatch.com
- How exercise helps balance hormones- piedmont.org
- Role of Sleep and Sleep Loss in Hormonal Release and Metabolism - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Pharmacology of Coffee - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- High estrogen symptoms, causes and treatment - stdwatch.com
- Low estrogen symptoms in women - stdwatch.com
- Foods high in estrogen - stdwatch.com