Definitions of Steroid Hormones
Estrogens - Estriol, estrone and estradiol are all estrogens and predominately female hormones. As an adult, they are important in maintaining healthy reproductive tissues, breasts, skin, even your brain. Excessive amounts of estrogen can be the cause of fluid retention, weight gain, migraines and over stimulation of your breasts, ovaries and uterus, leading to cancer. On the other hand, insufficient levels of estrogen can lead to hot flashes, vaginal dryness, rapid aging of your skin, urinary problems and excessive bone loss. For men, excessive levels of estrones relative to testosterone levels, are thought to be a part of the creation of prostate problems. Most scientists now agree that the by products of estrogen dominance are the cause of both prostate and breast cancers.
Progesterone - Progesterone is often described as "the hormone balancer", particularly of the estrogens in your body. It helps to enhance the known benefits of estrogen, while preventing the problems associated with having too much estrogen.
Androgens - Androgens, such as DHEA, testosterone and androstenedione, play an important role in the regeneration of your body's tissue, especially in the skin, bones and muscles. As you age, DHEA levels begin to decline, and in some cases, supplementation can restore your energy, and improve your mental function. Testosterone plays a role in the maintenance of your lean body mass, bone density, skin elasticity, sex drive and cardiovascular health for both men and women.
Glucocorticoids - These hormones, primarily cortisol, are produced by the adrenal glands, to help your body deal with situations such as emotional distress, exercise, surgery, illness or starvation. Cortisol plays a vital role in immune function, to mobilize your defenses against a bacterial or viral infection. However, ongoing excessive levels of cortisol suppress your immune system which can lead to frequent infections.
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