Month: February 2017

Beauty Lies in the Beholder of Estrogen


“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth – for your love is more delightful than wine.”[1]

Song of Solomon 1:2

She lingered for just a moment by the brook that runs through their family’s vineyard. I mustn’t risk discovery she pondered as she curled her toes into the sand warmed by the morning sun. Absence of the familiar boisterous noises flagged her memory. Ah yes, her brothers were out hunting, and wouldn’t be there to find her not tending to the young grape buds. I feel good, she mused to herself as her darkly sun bronzed legs carried her like a gazelle up the terraced hillside in search of her lover. Thoughts of her lover’s kiss danced lightly on the corners of her mind. Her body hungered for his attention and touch. “Oh that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth!”[2] “Oh that his left hand were under my head, and his right hand embraced me!”[3] “For your love is better than wine.”[4]

Her heart thrilled when she spotted her lover shepherding his flock for a drink down by the brook. No longer could she resist. Where have you been, my lover? “If you do not know, O fairest among women, following the flock.”[5] Hidden in this ancient text can be found the ageless notions of beauty, health, love and romance. It is a love story whose meaning will continue until the end of time.  

The desire to be beautiful is woven into the soul of every woman, and yet without estrogen there could be no feminine beauty, love, romance, passion, sexual desire, or procreation. Beauty, sex and estrogen lies at the epicenter of a woman’s ability to reap the rewards associated with beauty, good health, long life, sense of wellbeing, her capacity to establish meaningful emotional connections with others, and desire for sex.

Estrogen is the most ancient of all hormones.[6]  Even today, estrogen is critical to a woman’s body for a wide range of biologic processes. To achieve the distinction as “fairest of them all,” as king Solomon’s bride was, requires the convergence of multiple factors. Estrogen not only fashions the secondary sexual characteristics at puberty but also plays an important function at maintaining those characteristics throughout a woman’s life. How a woman looks, or how she feels has more to do with her estrogen production than any other single factor. This is why scrupulous attention to the factors responsible for optimal estrogen production is necessary for a woman to achieve her full biologic potential.

Thousands of physiological functions in the female body are directly dependent on estrogen for regulation. When estrogen goes missing there is a death signal propagated throughout her body heralding the start of a progressive downward spiral of deterioration. Long before she lays her ovaries in their final resting place she begins to experience distressing changes that rob her of health, beauty, joy, energy, sleep, memory, and sexual passion.

In the case of Solomon’s bride, she was molded in the finest crucible Mother Nature could provide. Hidden in the details of this ancient love story are clues to the factors necessary to assure optimal estrogen production. The best thing that could have befallen her, long before she became Solomon’s bride was to be relegated by her angry brothers to tend to their family’s vineyard. Their intent was to punish her, but it served a greater purpose of placing her in the best environment for fostering estrogen biosynthesis (how the ovaries produce estrogen).

In the case of vitamin D, its receptors are strategically expressed in the ovaries and play an important role in the regulation of estrogen biosynthesis.[7]  Exercise in the sun has a profound impact on physical and conformational development based on its impact on estrogen production. It turns out that “features of feminine beauty are associated with the highest estrogen levels.   Women with the highest levels of estrogen were rated as more attractive, healthier, and feminine looking than those with lower levels.”[8]  Puberty is a critical time in a woman’s development for establishing health and beauty. “These effects on appearance are likely to depend on the action of estrogen throughout puberty.”[9]

The combined insulin sensitizing effects of estradiol and vitamin D are instrumental in preventing obesity. Estradiol is a major determinant of body fat distribution, and promotes flat stomachs and sculpting of the gluteal and femoral region in ways that are pleasing to the eye. The influence of estradiol on body fat distribution appears to be related both to fat tissue specific expression of estrogen receptors and local tissue estrogen metabolism.[10]

On the other hand, estrogen is essential for the normal development, shape, tone, and function of the breast. Well-formed and perky breasts are the byproduct of sufficient estrogen, assuming adequate nutrition. Too often gravity is blamed for falling breasts when in actuality it is a symptom of declining estrogen.

When enough estrogen is present it blocks the deposition of fat in the fat cells of the stomach and trunk, while at the same time signaling the muscles to become more efficient at burning fat.[11] This important role of estrogen in determining regional body fat distribution not only results in the pleasing physical confirmation of the healthy female body, but also places her at 1/10th the risk as her male counterparts for developing cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin D, the mood boosting and feel good vitamin, is the precursor to a powerful steroid hormone that regulates the activation and deactivation of enzymes throughout the brain involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and nerve growth.[12]  Not only does vitamin D promote the biosynthesis of estradiol by the ovaries but also has a direct impact on neurotransmitter production, enhancing mood.

Additionally, estradiol has been recognized as an important neurotransmitter in the brain, but estradiol plays a critical role in the production of other neurotransmitters including the manufacture, release, reuptake and degradation of serotonin.[13] [14] [15]   Optimization of your estrogen production is one of the best defenses against symptoms of depression, anxiety or OCD. How a women looks and how she feels is critically dependent on her estrogen biosynthetic capacity.    

The capacity to feel spiritually grounded when life stressors seem over powering is the result of estrogen easing a woman’s stress response, and enabling her to take charge and effectively be the calm in the storm. When estrogen is at optimal levels a woman feels calm and she is much more inclined to pursue those spiritual quests that interest her.

“Upon my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer. I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not. The watchman found me, as they went about the city. Have you seen him whom my soul loves? Scarcely had I passed them, when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mothers house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.”[16]

Hardwired into the biology of every woman is the prime directive to transmit her genetic information. Whether she chooses to fulfill her prime directive is a personal choice. However, biology is destiny, and it is estrogen that transforms a woman into a fully operational reproductive female equipped with all the accouterments of sexual allure and armed not only with the capacity, but the passion to initiate a wide variety of mating rituals. The more completely estrogen can morph a woman into a work of perfection the more discriminating she can be in selecting her mate. Obviously, only the “fairest of them all” can seduce the heart of the prince, or in the case of Solomon’s bride, the King. What this means given the right environmental factors, estrogen can transform you into the best your genetic potential dictates.

In the healthy female, the desire for intercourse is primarily dictated by how much estrogen is produced. In accordance with the prime directive, the ultimate function of love, romance, and other courting rituals, as well as sex, is to propagate parental genes, and therefore reproduce the species. It is not primarily the desire to procreate, but sexual pleasure and the need to form emotional connections, facilitate bonding, and reduce sexual and interpersonal tensions, that are the prime motivators for sex. Without adequate estrogen, a woman perceives little to no need for sex. Without it, sex is no longer perceived as pleasurable, and for many, the idea of having sex becomes repulsive, leading to the avoidance of sexual intimacy all together.

The loss of sexual desire frequently leads to fractured relationships. Sex and sexual incompatibility was sited as the single most common contributing factor to divorce and is the catalyst behind 43 percent of all divorces.[17] The ability to produce estrogen is a function of how many eggs remain viable in the ovaries. As estrogen levels gradually diminish over time, 48% of women age 40 and older, never, or almost never have a spontaneous sexual thought, reflecting shifting priorities dictated by a woman’s declining egg count.

This is in stark distinction from those “sex crazed” teenagers, or those “overly sexed” college coed stereotypes of her younger years gone by. Even the female protagonist in the Song of Solomon exhibits a hungry desire for sexual intimacy with her lover. This can be ascribed to the natural outcome of possessing a healthy, fully loaded and operational reproductive system. At the most fundamental of levels humans can be defined as disposable DNA replicators imbued with the prime directive to pass on their genetic information to assure survival of the species. Both sexes are biologically invested in assuring the survival of our species and under ideal conditions exhibit comparable proclivities for sex and are equally libidinous.

If what you have just read doesn’t ring true with your own personal experience you’re not alone. Many features of modern civilization disrupt our endocrine function. Modern food consumption for example does not provide the nutritional elements necessary to support our basic physiology, nor does it have the nutritional power required to support the complexities of the female reproductive system. One reason our female protagonist developed sufficiently to be designated “the fairest of them all” was she grew up in a place once referred to as the “land flowing with milk and honey.” Not only was the soil rich and fertile, she ate an abundance of fruits and vegetables freshly harvested and organically grown from their family farm. She ingested plenty of protein, much of which came from freshly killed lamb, infused with omega 3 fatty acids. If your ovaries are to perform to their full potential, they require the best nutrition possible. Your ovaries will fail you in an environment of sugar, processed food and soda pop. Don’t expect to reap the full health and beauty benefits that estrogen can provide if your diet looks like the Standard American Diet.

In recent years estrogen’s reputation has been tarnished. Articles published in the last decade have women wary of anything that smacks of estrogen replacement. The trend by the media in recent years has been to pathologize estrogen and created fear and confusion among women and physicians alike. We have become so afraid of estrogen we have forgotten its central role in supporting every aspect of a woman’s health. When estrogen is balanced and nutritional optimization has been achieved, and there is sufficient fun in the sun, a woman’s body will function at peak efficiency. She will then reap the full benefits that estrogen was intended to supply.

[1] The Song of Solomon 1:1 Revised Standard Version

[2] The Song of Solomon 1:1 Revised Standard Version

[3] The Song of Solomon 2:6 Revised Standard Version

[4] The Song of Solomon 1:2 Revised Standard Version

[5] The Song of Solomon 1:8 Revised Standard Version

[6] Trime, Susan, “Estrogen Emerges As Most Ancient of Hormones,” Columbia University Record, Vol 26 issue 21, May 7:2001

[7] Harkness LS, Bonny AE.   Calcium and vitamin D status: key roles for bone, body weight, glucose tolerance, and estrogen biosynthesis. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2005 Oct; 18(5): 305-311.

[8] Vance, G. (2005). Hormone Levels Predict Attractiveness of Women. Retrieved from–hormone-levels-predict-attractiveness-of-women

[9] Vance, G. (2005). Hormone levels predict attractiveness of women. Retrieved from–hormone-levels-predict-attractiveness-of-women

[10] Mayes JS, Watson GH. 2004   Direct effects of sex steroid hormones on adipose tissue and obesity. Obes Rev 5:197-216.

[11] Mayes JS, Watson GH. 2004   Direct effects of sex steroid hormones on adipose tissue and obesity. Obes Rev 5:197-216.

[12] Welland, D.   Does vitamin D improve brain function?   New studies show low vitamin D may impair brain function: Scientific American Mind. 2009, Nov;

[13] Fink, G., et al. Estrogen control of central neurotransmission: Effect on mood, mental state, and memory. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 1996; 16(3): 325-44.

[14] Halbreich, U., et al. Role of estrogen in postmenopausal depression. Neurology. 1997; 48(5): 516. Supplement 7.

[15] Studd, J., et al. Hormones and depression in women.   Climacteric. 2004; 7(4):338-46.

[16] The Song of Solomon 3:1-4 Revise Standard Version

[17] PRLog (Press Release) 2008 Sex Is Most Common Factor In Divorce