High Estrogen can be the reason for Autism in children - Seeker's Thoughts

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High Estrogen can be the reason for Autism in children

According to the findings published in the journal Molecular psychiatry, Scientists have identified a link between exposure to high levels of estrogen sex hormones in the womb and the likelihood of developing autism.

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Estrogen is one of the two main sex hormones that women have. The other one is progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for female physical features and reproduction. Men have estrogen, too, but in smaller amounts.

Why is estrogen important?

Estrogen helps bring about the physical changes that turn a girl into a woman. This time of life is called puberty. These changes include:

-       Growth of breasts

-       Growth of pubic and underarm hair

-       Start of menstrual cycles

Estrogen helps control the menstrual cycle and is important for childbearing. Estrogen also has other functions:
It keeps cholesterol in control, it also protects bone health for both women and men, and it affects the brain including mood, bones, heart, skin and other tissues.

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How does estrogen work?
The ovaries, which produces a woman’s eggs, are the main source of estrogen from the body. Adrenal glands, located at the top of each kidney, make small amounts of his hormone, so does fat tissue. Estrogen moves through your blood and acts everywhere in the body.

How scientist found high estrogen connected with autism?
In 2015, a team of scientists at the University of Cambridge and the State Serum Institute in Denmark measured the levels for prenatal steroid hormones, including two known as androgens, in the amniotic fluid in the womb and discovered that they were higher in male fetuses who later developed autism. 

These androgens are produced in higher quantities in male than in female fetuses on average, so might also explain why autism occurs more often in boys. They are also known to masculinize parts of the brain and to have effects on the number of connection between brain cells.
Today, the same scientists have built on their previous findings by testing the amniotic fluid samples from the same 98 individuals samples from the Danish biobank, which has collected amniotic samples from over 100,000 pregnancies, but this time looking at another set of prenatal sex steroid hormones calls estrogens.

All four estrogens were significantly elevated, on average, in the 98 fetuses who later developed autism, compared to the 177 fetuses who did not. 

High levels of prenatal estrogens were even more predictive of the likelihood of autism than were high levels of prenatal androgens (such as testosterone). Contrary to popular belief that associates estrogens with feminization, prenatal estrogens have effects on brain growth and also masculinize the brain in many mammals.

"This new finding supports the idea that increased prenatal sex steroid hormones are one of the potential causes for the condition. Genetics is well established as another, and these hormones likely interact with genetic factors to affect the developing foetal brain."


"These elevated hormones could be coming from the mother, the baby or the placenta. Our next step should be to study all these possible sources and how they interact during pregnancy."

What estrogens do in pregnant women?

The hormonal and physiological changes that come with pregnancy are unique.

Pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. They also experience a change in the amount and function of a number of other hormones.

 These changes don’t just affect mood they can create the “glow” of pregnancy, significantly aid in the development of the fetus. Alter the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body.

Oestrogen and progesterone changes
Oestrogen and progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. A woman will produce more estrogens during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. The increase in estrogen during pregnancy enables the uterus and placenta.

-       Improve vascularization (the formation of blood vessels)

-       Transfer nutrients

-       Support the developing baby

In addition, estrogen is thought to play an important role in helping the fetus develop and mature.
Estrogen levels increase steadily during pregnancy and reach their peak in the third trimester. The rapid increase in estrogens levels during the first trimester may cause some of nausea associated with pregnancy. During the second trimester, it plays a major role in the milk duct development that enlarges the breasts.

Progesterone levels also are extraordinarily high during pregnancy. The changes in progesterone cause a laxity or loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. In addition, high levels of progesterone cause internal structures to increase in size, such as ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys with the maternal bladder. Progesterone is also important for transforming the uterus from the size of small pear- in its
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