by: Sayed Farah
I can’t believe how many so-called experts, including doctors, are wrong about estrogen (Estradiol). It’s Progesterone (P4) and synthetic prescribed estrogens that can contribute to weight gain, not Estradiol (E2). I am tempted to list 50 references. I won’t. You can take my word for it or do your own research, whatever makes you happy. The evidence is so overwhelming. E2 increases water retention of all cells including subcutaneous fat cells and skin cells. That also includes muscle cells and gives the youthful look of muscle fullness in both sexes.
The human brain recognizes volume (size) very well. It analyzes with accuracy what the eyes see to make very important decisions. If the decision is wrong the human may end up dead or severely injured reducing the chances of survival. Imagine if you were a primitive man walking the wilderness and it was your first encounter with an elephant. If this unknown animal charges towards you do you stand your ground or do you run for your life? Fight or flight?
The same instinct controlled how we view other humans, the odds are primitive you wouldn’t risk fighting a better-built fellow Homosapien.
If fire and the wheel are the best inventions, I believe the mirror and the camera are the worst. If you’re wondering what does this has to do with estrogens you’d be right, I lost focus and ranted. Back to the estrogens, you need those to build muscles and be virile. You need estrogens to lose fat and to be happy.
I had a gym mate back in the day who wanted to compete at a local show and asked for my help to prep him. He was, probably still is, as stubborn as a mule. I used to be a very impatient man before being diagnosed with diabetes. At that period of my life, I did not have the patience to repeat myself or explain my instructions. If I tell you something you do it, no discussions. The guy’s head was so full of myths. He just loved dragging me into bro-science arguments. Following one of the arguments, I researched the aromatase enzyme and from all the resources I have under my disposal, I found on Wikipedia mentions of rare cases of men that lacked the enzyme. The men were very tall with low mineral density fragile bones which is expected. The surprise is that they were obese!
They had elevated superphysiological levels of Testosterone and DHT with almost non-existent E2. Still, they were FAT, I won the argument. I convinced my gym mate to stop the aromatase inhibitor he was using. Within six weeks his physique transformed. Although he was cutting, he gained impressive muscle size. So what happened? How could he have gained size on a calorie deficit? Well, he simply was dehydrated and regained muscle fullness. It was water but who cares? Size is size. The judges won’t take biopsies from competitors and count protein fibrils. Anti-estrogen measures, especially Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators, should be delayed to the last 2 days if you choose that path which I advise you not to.
Ironically, some men suffer from high estrogen symptoms while their blood tests indicate a crushed Estradiol level. I have witnessed cases where normal Estradiol levels caused reported nipple sensitivity issues and the development of gyno in men, which did not occur before using the drugs. When a person synthetically changes the androgen to estrogen ratio, a multitude of adaptive measures take place. That is quite a complicated matter to rectify. You see, after the teenage years, the hormonal environment is supposed to stay within a certain balance. An individual balance that took years to get calibrated.
Even at the highest circles of competitive bodybuilding, most believe that aromatase inhibitors, medications that prevent the conversion of Testosterone and other aromatizable steroids into estrogens, reduce fat gain. That can’t be further from the truth. It’s actually the complete opposite. Estrogens prevent fat gain in males. The very few coaches that know this are the successful ones whose athletes make it to the very top of the sport. This is the most guarded secret that both the coaches and the athletes would tell no one. They are more than happy to keep the stupid myth out there.
most men and women naturally produce more than enough Testosterone and Estrogens that provide the anabolic environment needed to reach and maintain the physiques they desire.
I don’t like to work with enhanced competitive physique athletes and models, both males and females. Nevertheless, I coached and gave consultations to several enhanced individuals over the years and in the process became an expert on anabolic agents and other performance-enhancing drugs. I do not condone the use of anabolic steroids, as most men and women naturally produce more than enough Testosterone and Estrogens that provide the anabolic environment needed to reach and maintain the physiques they desire.
Getting back to enhanced competitive physique athletes and models. Testosterone must be stopped a couple of weeks before a show or a photo shoot, if a long ester was utilized, and a week before in the case of a shorter ester for the athlete to lose the very last amount of subcutaneous mushiness to display a rock-hard physique. Probably that is where estrogen got its bad reputation and the reason the myth remains alive. They believe that by reducing the amount of testosterone the amount of E2 drops, which it does, and that the mushiness is bodyfat.
The reality is that the mushiness is not body fat. One other rarely mentioned fact is that the Testosterone molecule itself stores fat by stimulating the classic Progesterone receptor in a manner different from other several anabolic agents. By dropping the Testosterone, the stubborn fat gets mobilized and burnt off. Most non 5 alpha reduced C19 steroids agonize the Progesterone receptor to some extent.
Reducing E2 and other estrogens, or blocking their receptors, dehydrates cells in several tissues. That includes skeletal muscles. E2 enhances insulin sensitivity in tissues and protects the lining of the arterial vasculature. Reducing/blocking estrogens will practically destroy virility, increase body fat deposition, especially in the abdominal cavity, and drastically shrink muscle volume. These effects are more notable in people suffering from unfavorable nutrient partitioning.
estrogen receptors were the latest to evolve according to scientists and are the most sophisticated and the least understood
Other misconceptions regarding estrogens originated from the use of widely available prescribed synthetic estrogens prescribed for postmenopausal women in hormone replacement protocols and avoiding pregnancy in premenopausal women. Those molecules are not bioidentical. The estrogen receptors were the latest to evolve according to scientists and are the most sophisticated and the least understood. There are at least 3 variants of the classical nuclear intercellular receptor and newer recently discovered docking sites for estrogens on cell membranes. Synthetic estrogens bind in different affinities to those receptors, agonizing some and antagonizing others.
By the way, the greatest thing about the Smart Protocol lifestyle is that it delivers to practitioners their desired physiques and allows them to maintain the results without the need to resort to any performance-enhancing drugs. The determining factor is how efficiently nutrients are partitioned and not the anabolic environment. Excessive unopposed anabolism is very harmful. Take, for example, kidney failure in bodybuilders. The unopposed growth makes the kidneys unable to perform the required blood filtration.
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