Most people associate aromatase inhibitors with women and breast cancer. But in recent years, there’s been a shift in its focus toward men.
As the talk of low testosterone and ways to combat it increases, more options like aromatase inhibitors for men surface.
But if you’re struggling to find concrete benefits or risks of taking an aromatase inhibitor for low testosterone, this guide will help.
We go over all the facts involving the use of aromatase inhibitors for men’s health, including the uses, benefits, and risks.
What is an Aromatase Inhibitor?
In simple terms, aromatase is an enzyme that helps to produce estrogen. Aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen. It’s found in cells that produce estrogen, including the ovaries, brain, fatty tissue, adrenal glands, and testicles.
Aromatase inhibitors block aromatase, which stops the production of estrogen. Because estrogen causes the growth of some breast cancers, women take antiestrogen pills after surgery to treat them.
These types of cancers get categorized as hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers. Women have reported menopause-like side effects from aromatase inhibitors. These include hot flashes, joint and muscle pain, and loss of bone density.
What are the Different Types?
There are three aromatase inhibitors are:
- Anastrozole (pharmaceutical name: Arimidex)
- Exemestane (pharmaceutical name: Aromasin)
- Letrozole (pharmaceutical name: Femara)
Arimidex is a pill, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to treat post-menopausal women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer. It’s taken once daily after surgery.
Aromasin is like Arimidex, except women must take tamoxifen for two to three years before starting Aromasin. They must stop taking tamoxifen before starting Aromasin.
Femara is also prescribed for postmenopausal women, diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive, early-stage breast cancer. With Femara, the women must take tamoxifen for five years. It’s also prescribed for women with advanced-stage or metastatic hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Uses for Aromatase Inhibitors for Men
Estrogen gets thought of as a “female hormone,” but it’s found in men as well. There are three types of estrogen:
The most common active estrogen in men is estradiol. This helps keep joints and brain healthy and sperm develop properly.
An increase in estrogen causes a hormonal imbalance. In men, this can lead to enlarged breasts caused by the development of female breast tissue called gynecomastia.
Other issues that result from too much estrogen in men are an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Weight gain and prostate issues are also reported.
Men take estrogen blockers if they are infertile, have a low sperm count, or develop osteoporosis. Because Anastrozole is successful at blocking estrogen, some male bodybuilders take it to boost testosterone.
The Benefits of Aromatase Inhibitors for Men
As men grow older, they lose the ability to produce testosterone. If the level becomes too low, mild to moderate symptoms may occur. Symptoms of low testosterone are:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of body and facial hair
- Trouble staying focused
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor as low testosterone could be the cause. If your healthcare professional determines you have unhealthy levels of testosterone, they may suggest testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
TRT is available in four ways:
- Transdermal (through a patch)
- Through a gel
- Mouth patch/tablet
There are risks to testosterone replacement therapy including an allergic reaction to the patch or gel. A rash and itchy skin can also develop.
While low testosterone poses risks in men, so does TRT. The most notable side effects of testosterone replacement therapy is an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
It’s important to note that not all low testosterone levels need testosterone replacement therapy. Some physicians prescribe anastrozole for men instead of testosterone replacement therapy.
A recent study found that when taken as directed, aromatase inhibitors increased testosterone. Thus, should be a consideration for the treatment of low testosterone.
Other doctors prescribe an aromatase inhibitor to keep the hormones balances while someone is going through TRT. Keep in mind, there are some precautions to this treatment.
The Risks of Aromatase Inhibitors
If a man receiving TRT takes an aromatase inhibitor, there’s a risk that his testosterone levels will increase too much.
At the same time, he loses estrogen which can result in a loss of bone density. It can also increase body fat and decrease libido.
Are There Natural Aromatase Inhibitors?
Yes. There are supplements on the market that are natural estrogen blockers. The FDA regulates herbal supplements as foods, not drugs. But many supplements include natural ingredients that do have beneficial qualities.
Wild nettle root – The roots and leaves are often used in the production of prostate medication. Nettles have compounds which act as estrogen blockers which can regulate hormone levels.
Chrysin – Chrysin is found in honey and passionflower. Human clinical trials haven’t found evidence Chrysin increases testosterone. But bodybuilders take it as an estrogen blocker, claiming it does.
Maca root – Maca doesn’t contain vitamins or nutrients but those who take it claim it blocks estrogen and increases fertility. In fact, people in Peru have taken it as a libido-booster for thousands of years. Clinical studies confirming or denying its benefits are limited.
Grape seed extract – Grape seed extract has many uses and benefits. It works in both men and women to block estrogen and is rich in antioxidants.
Other natural ways to block estrogen include reducing the use of products with parabens. You can also block estrogen by decreasing your alcohol intake and adding cruciferous vegetables to your diet.
Make sure you research the products you’re considering as well as the companies you’re buying from.
Products for Research Based on Superior Quality and Service
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone and are researching your options before heading to the doctor, supplements could be an answer. Talk to your healthcare professional about everything available, including supplements and natural products.
At RUI Products, we’ve supplied quality RC and Peptides to researchers since 2002. We develop our products in the U.S. with an in-house chemist, so there’s no worry over imported ingredients.
If you’d like to learn more about RUI Products, visit our blog to find out about our research. Our aromatase inhibitors are for research purposes only and you can find out more by reading our disclaimer.