Sex Steroid Hormones
- “Your body is not your own!”
● What are Sex
● Where are the
sex steroids produced?
● Effects of Sex
● Sex steroid
consumption affects sex steroid hormones
What are sex steroid hormones?
ENDOCRINE hormones are chemical “messengers” used
for intercellular communication, released by glands directly into the
there are 3 types of endocrine hormones,
namely, amines, polypeptides, steroid
hormones. For basic information on hormones:
Hormones 101 – “Feel Good, Look Good”
(subset of endocrine hormones)
fat-soluble hormones produced from cholesterol -
sex steroid hormones and vitamin D sterols
SEX STEROID HORMONES
(subset of steroid
produce sex differences or support reproduction - these are the:
DHEA, ANDROSTENEDIONE, TESTOSTERONE, DHT
ESTRADIOL, ESTRONE, ESTRIOL
– “Precursor to
are the sex steroids produced?
All steroid hormones are produced/secreted by the
ovaries (ovarian follicle
and adrenal cortex - in addition, further conversions, break-downs
and secretions occur in the
liver, extragonadal sites
(E.g. adipose tissue, skin fibroblasts, bone, placenta) and in other
Production requires certain enzymes
For more information, on these required enzymes, see:
Enzymes affecting Steroid
Effects of sex steroid hormones
Steroid sex hormones are largely ignored until we
hit puberty -
but then, as these
hormones “kick in”, your body is no longer your own . . .
Physical changes -
hair, girls’ breasts swell and hips
become rounder, boys’ facial hair begins to grow and their voices become deeper
Weight Maintenance becomes
an issue –
sex steroids are involved in
adipogenesis (fat formation)
Emotions run high –
confusion, depression, strong sexual urges.
PMS - at certain times
of the month you have irrational feelings. E.g. feel weepy, have cravings, snap
Pregnancy - Cravings, breast
tenderness, weight gain, feeling tired, heightened sexual feelings, depression,
an acute sense of smell, nausea, gray hair, straight hair gone curly, curly hair
Sex steroid bioavailability
Most sex steroid hormones are bound to carrier
proteins to make them water-soluble in the blood - Only a small
fraction circulates “free” / unbound (considered to be biologically active).
is determined by level of Sex
hormone binding globulin
is determined by
level of Corticosteroid-binding protein (CBG)
Sex hormone-binding carriers
Alcohol consumption affects sex steroid hormones
Study investigated the relationships between
alcohol consumption and serum levels of sex steroids -
TESTOSTERONE (T), ANDROSTENEDIONE (A4),
DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE sulphate (DHEAS),
ESTRONE (E1), ESTRADIOL (E2)) and sex-hormone
binding globulin (SHBG) in 790 pre-
and 1,291 post-menopausal women, who were
part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Results supported the hypothesis of an
influence of alcohol intake on sex hormone concentrations in blood:
Pre-menopausal women - who consumed more
than 25 g/day of alcohol had about 30% higher DHEAS, T
and free T (fT), 20% higher A4 and about 40% higher E1,
concentrations compared to women who were non-consumers.
E2, fE2 and SHBG
concentrations showed no association with current alcohol intake.
Post-menopausal women – concentrations of
DHEAS, fT, T, A4, and
were between 10% and 20% higher in women who consumed more than 25 g/day
of alcohol compared to non-consumers. E2
or fE2 were not associated with alcohol intake at all. SHBG
levels were about 15% lower in alcohol consumers compared to non-consumers.
et al, Relationship of alcohol intake and sex steroid concentrations in blood in
pre- and post-menopausal women: the European Prospective Investigation into
Cancer and Nutrition.
Cancer Causes Control. 2006