Aromatase might not sound dangerous, but it can actually cause harm in more ways than one - your sex drive, muscle mass, and even bone density can be severely affected. That’s why you should consider taking natural aromatase inhibitors.
You’re not worried since you’re taking anabolics? You’ll have to keep in mind that aromatization (the process that aromatase facilitates) mainly exists to maintain hormonal balance.
That means whenever there is suddenly too much testosterone in your body, there’s a chance that the hormone will be converted into estrogen. And as you’ve probably heard already, having too much of the female hormone can be harmful.
Gynecomastia (or male breast development) is among the effects of excessive estrogen. While not a serious problem, it can definitely cause pain – both physically and psychologically.
Natural Inhibitors to the Rescue
If you’re thinking of fighting aromatase naturally, you should consider these popular natural products picks:
Red wine’s aromatase-inhibiting properties are mainly due to resveratrol – a compound produced by plants as part of their defense mechanism. This polyphenol is most commonly found in grapes.
If you’re wondering whether white wine contains resveratrol at all, just consider this – the compound can only be extracted from the skin of grapes. As you know, white wine is made specifically from the pulp.
Resveratrol isn’t merely about preventing aromatase action. It’s also capable of boosting testosterone production, mainly by increasing the amount of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) within the cells.
StAR determines that rate of steroidogenesis – the process in which steroid hormones (and that includes testosterone) are formed from cholesterol molecules.
It’s unfortunate though that resveratrol is quickly degraded in the liver. This means that only a small amount of the compound manages to enter the bloodstream – and yes, it needs to be there to provide its perks.
Even if you want to beat aromatase, you shouldn’t solely rely on red wine. Also, drinking more than three glasses daily isn’t a smart move since excessive intake can raise your blood pressure.
Red wine's aromatase-inhibiting properties are mainly due to resveratrol - a compound produced by plants as part of their defense mechanism.
Olive oil’s beneficial effects can be attributed to oleuropein – a bitter compound typically found within olive leaves. This is considered a strong natural aromatase inhibitor and is on par with resveratrol.
Though yet to be fully explored, olive oil shows potential in boosting the effectiveness of other aromatase inhibitors.
This common cooking ingredient managed to enhance the estrogen-suppressive effects of both letrozole and anastrozole – two well-known estrogen suppressors used by bodybuilders.
What’s so good about olive oil is that it can easily be added to all kinds of dishes. Whether you’re preparing salad or seasoning a steak, this Mediterranean miracle will surely make your food healthier and more flavorful.
Oysters, despite being rather simple in structure, actually rely on sexual steroids for reproduction. In a study examining the androgen metabolism of Crassostreagigas, a detected aromatase-like activity was suppressed by pharmacological compounds present within it.
While the specifics of this interaction are yet to be mapped, the researchers managed to identify the compounds that exhibited aromatase-inhibiting effects. These include 4-hydroxyandrostenedione and cytochrome P450 inhibitors.
You’ll be glad to know that oysters are also rich in zinc– a mineral that’s necessary in testosterone production. In fact, deficiency in this micronutrient has been linked to hypogonadism, which in turn has been associated with erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia, and even muscle wasting.
There’s a study in which the anti-estrogenic effect of 3,3′-DIM was analyzed. It was discovered that the compound can be taken to prevent the development of thyroid proliferative disease (TPD).
DIM doesn’t simply prevent estrogen from functioning though. It works by keeping the right balance between good and bad estrogen – the latter being often associated with increased cancer risk and mood problems, despite supporting bone health to a certain extent.
Getting a good dose of DIM doesn’t mean you’ll have to eat cabbages and Brussels sprouts daily. There are many other cruciferous vegetables for you to enjoy, such as kale, arugula, broccoli, collard greens, watercress, and cauliflower.
White Button Mushrooms
In a study about the role of estrogen in cancer, it was shown that the phytochemicals present in white button mushroom suppress aromatization. This simply shows the potential of mushrooms in controlling aromatase activity.
Actually, they’re so potent that they exhibit the capacity to shrink tumors, aside from slowing down the spread of cancer itself. This serves as further proof that the white button mushroom is among nature’s most effective aromatase inhibitors.
Here’s something that should make this edible fungus even more tempting – it manages to reduce swelling even at the cellular level. Since the formation of plaque in the arterial walls usually start with inflammation, the mushroom’s anti-inflammatory effect is definitely welcome.
If you do decide to shop for mushrooms, you should specifically search for Agaricusbisporous. While it’s likely that other mushroom varieties also have aromatase-inhibiting effects, this particular kind is the most extensively studied.
You might have heard that celery is an aphrodisiac. Well, it boosts sex drive because it increases the availability of testosterone (or to be more specific, androsterone).
Celery’s effectiveness as an aromatase inhibitor though, is due to the fact that it contains apigenin – a flavonoid commonly found in plants with anti-inflammatory properties.
How does this compound prevent the conversion of testosterone into its female counterpart? Simply put, it blocks two enzymes that allow aromatization to take place, namely 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and aromatase itself.
As you’d expect, celery isn’t limited to that purpose (much like the other food items featured on this list). For one, it’s quite effective in lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels.
It also rids your body of excess water, while keeping you hydrated. That’s made possible by celery’s diuretic effect and its considerably high water content (it’s actually around 95 percent water).
Being relatively cheap and safe, natural products are becoming more and more popular as of late – even among the bodybuilding crowd.
Alternatives From Laboratories
Those pills even offer all sorts of perks, much like their natural counterparts. They won’t require much of your time either, especially since you won’t have to stay in the kitchen preparing them.
Most importantly, supplementation allows you to take in larger amounts of anti-estrogen compounds within a shorter time frame. The amount of inhibitors you’ll get from a glass of wine will surely pale in comparison to a single dose of these synthetic solutions.
Well, although aromatase is best kept at a minimum, it still plays an important role in the body. Supplements that block the enzyme (given their potency) can cause serious health problems if not taken in proper quantities – and to convince you, here are some examples of those concerns:
Joint and Muscle Pain
Joint pain or arthralgia is a common effect of having too little aromatase. You might experience pain in your hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, and in other parts of your body.
The good thing is that this is a short-term issue. There are no reports suggesting that aromatase inhibitors can lead to permanent joint or muscle damage.
A severely low estrogen level can cause cardiovascular problems, including heart attack or stroke. Estrogen helps keep both total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (aka bad cholesterol) levels in check.
Any unnatural changes in the heart’s electrical pulses are also mitigated by estrogen. Aside from that, depriving yourself of the hormone may limit the blood supply in your heart.
Any unnatural changes in the heart's electrical pulses are mitigated by estrogen. Depriving yourself of the hormone may limit the blood supply in your heart.
Mental and Emotional Stability
Estrogen also serves as a neurosteroid, meaning it influences how your neurons work. Not having enough of the hormone may negatively affect your memory, emotion, personality, and mood – even major depressive disorder becomes a possibility.
While it’s true that testosterone should have a protective effect when it comes to these things, it still needs to be converted to estrogen to function in that manner. Also, the conversion specifically needs to occur within the brain.
Going With the Safer Option First
In several key aspects, natural aromatase inhibitors are definitely outclassed by laboratory-produced estrogen blockers. However, you should be cautious of the negative effects that these pills can cause.
Even if some of these effects are only temporary, it won’t hurt to be a bit more cautious – we’re talking about your health and physique, after all. Surely, it would be hard to justify the joint and muscle pain since you won’t be able to engage in your daily workout routine.
If you’re just looking for ways to maximize and maintain your gains, it would be better to choose the safer option and just enjoy meals containing any of the food items listed here.
However, if you’re really serious about skipping these natural aromatase inhibitors, you should at least consult with a doctor or dietitian before taking any supplements. Know how much anti-estrogen you need and don’t forget to follow the recommended dose.