Not All Estrogens Are Equal

We most often refer to estrogen as just that, ESTROGEN, not realizing that we make three different types, depending on where we are in our life’s cycle. It’s important to understand the distinctions between these three, in order to better understand their roles when it comes to cancer, weight gain (menobelly), overall inflammation and the chronic diseases that often plague postmenopausal women.

If you’d rather listen or watch then click here to watch my short video on this topic.

Note: I’ve expanded a bit more on this subject here.

Now let’s get to know these three ‘E’s a bit better.

E2- Estradiol is the most abundant type of estrogen circulating in our bodies during our fertile years, unless we are pregnant or are on birth control pills.

This type of estrogen is very non-inflammatory and affects, in a positive way, every cell and tissue in our bodies. It helps with fat distribution, appetite suppression, insulin sensitivity, moods, bones, digestion, and the list goes on.

It’s produced in our ovaries until our ovaries shut down with menopause or with chemically or surgically induced menopause.

E1-Estrone is an interesting estrogen. It’s mainly made from our fat cells in both men and women but can be converted from estradiol as well. We need a little bit, not a lot, as it has an inflammatory aspect to it. 

Now, we do need some inflammation in our bodies because without it, our bodies would not be able to fight infection nor clot when we have an injury but again, we do not want too much. Inflammation is the underlying driver of all diseases, including cancers which is why this type of estrogen, in abundance, is not desirable.

Have you noticed either with yourself or post menopausal women how weight shifts from the hips to the abdomen area once reaching menopause? This is our body’s attempt to make estrogen once our ovaries are no longer making it. (1)

Our bodies are not very happy with the huge drop in estrogen when we hit menopause and are very smart in creating a new way to produce even a little bit by laying down some extra abdominal fat/visceral fat to make more in any way it can.

The problem is that it makes the more inflammatory form, estrone, through the action of an aromatase enzyme, which gives way to more issues with insulin sensitivity, diabetes and heart disease which begets more visceral/belly fat which = more estrone production and inflammation. And a vicious cycle begins.

E3-Estriol is our third type of estrogen, produced mainly when a woman is pregnant. It’s the weakest form of estrogen and is produced mainly by the placenta but is also converted from estradiol in small amounts. 

It has very anti-inflammatory properties and calms the immune system which is why there has been some suggestion for the use of estriol, therapeutically, for autoimmune diseases like MS. (2)

So now you have a good foundation and know that an estrogen is not just an estrogen! You’re way ahead of most people! I hope this introduction to estrogens will be helpful as we move through this hormone series. It’s a fundamental component to unraveling the enormous controversy surrounding HRT (hormone replacement therapy)

1.  Alina Kuryłowicz, Published online 2023 Feb 24, Estrogens in Adipose Tissue Physiology and Obesity-Related Dysfunction,,. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines11030690

2. Mirla Avila, Jie Pan, Roberto Hernandez Quintana, Dargelis Chi, Smathorn Thakolwiboon, Alan Peiris, Kenn Freedman, Charles Thompson, and John Garza, May 3, 2022 issue, Neurology, Vaginal Estriol as a potential adjunctive therapy for MS remyelination (P5-4.007), link to site

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top