Secrets to 17 Alpha Estradiol: Key Benefits and Effects

Written by Donika Vata | Last updated on August 4, 2023

In the intricate web of hormones that regulate our bodies, there exists a key player with remarkable potential: 17 alpha estradiol.

It is considered an isomere of 17 Beta-estradiol which mimics the function of estradiol, a central hormone to almost every biological process within our bodies. 

That is why it is crucial to focus on vital points such as therapeutic usage and certain side effects, its role and function, benefits and more.

Now, let’s piece together everything!

What is 17 Alpha Estradiol?

What is 17 Alpha Estradiol

17α-estradiol (αE2), an endogenous stereoisomer of the hormone 17β-estradiol (E2), is capable of binding to estrogen receptors (ER). 

It mimics the behavior of the natural estrogen hormone called estradiol, a hormone that is significantly essential for regulating several physiological functions specifically in females. 

Estrogen belongs to a group of hormones named estrogens renowned for their critical roles played during female reproductive development.

While natural estradiol is produced by the ovaries in women, actually 17 alpha estradiol is a modified version of estradiol created in the laboratory. 

The modification alters its chemical structure, leading to differences in its interactions with estrogen receptors in the body.

Due to its unique properties, 17 alpha estradiol has found applications in medical and therapeutic settings. It can be used in the treatment of certain conditions related to hormone imbalance, reproductive health, and menopause. 

It has also been studied for its potential anti-aging and lifespan-extending effects, although further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and benefits. [1]

What is The Exact Biological Mechanism?

Reproductive Development

In physiological terms, estrogens are pivotal in catalyzing essential changes in the development of reproductive organs as well as secondary traits that characterize gender identity.

In females, estrogen levels rise during puberty to facilitate organic developments central to sex-specific maturation. 

This includes the growth and formation of breasts, and widening of hips; alongside stimulating pubic and underarm hair growth that contribute to gender-specific appearances. 

Hence, these transformations mark a vital process for sexual maturity considered a notable human milestone. [2]

Menstrual Cycle Regulation

The exquisite balance needed for successful maintenance of menstruation relies on several interconnected hormonal signals managed primarily by 17 alpha estradiol. 

By regulating tissue growth and shedding within the uterus, this hormone plays an integral role in ensuring proper functioning throughout every component phase within each cycle.

As menstrual cycles begin with their initial phase - termed follicular - there is a rise in levels of 17 alpha estradiol that continues on their upward trajectory. 

This hormonal spike has significant implications for nurturing and enhancing endometrial growth and development within the uterus' inner lining.

The result? An augmented thickness and vascularity cultivate an environment perfectly suited for promoting possible pregnancy.

Furthermore, 17 alpha estradiol plays a role also in maintaining the integrity of the endometrium during the subsequent luteal phase. 

Following ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovary, the ruptured follicle transforms into a structure called the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone, another key hormone involved in the menstrual cycle. 

17 alpha estradiol works synergistically with progesterone to support the continued growth and sustenance of the endometrium, ensuring its readiness to receive a fertilized egg.

When fertilization does not take place, the body goes through hormonal changes where there is a decline in both progesterone and 17 alpha estradiol levels. 

The uterus starts shedding its lining resulting in menstruation starting. A critical component within this process involves cyclic variations of 17 alpha estradiol that guarantee secure reproductive capacity throughout each specific phase. [3]

Maintains Bone Health

The hormones mentioned here are significant players in maintaining a delicate balance of processes that foster bone formation while preventing its breakdown. 

Hormones like 17 alpha estradiol represent varying forms of estrogen whose collective contribution towards sustaining optimal bone density.

A woman's hormonal system relies heavily on adequate amounts of Estrogen production, especially during the 40s. 

To really appreciate how important Estrogen really is for women’s long-term health, a picture that declining levels often accompany menopause. And we all know that menopause is a phase that leads to many negative symptoms.

Poor Bone Health among such symptoms indicates that insufficiency in this hormone impairs normal growth & maintenance processes. Increased chances for Osteoporosis or other potential complicating factors affecting the quality of life are other risks that women struggle with.

Without enough Estrogen coursing through veins, the delicate balance of building new bone tissue and repairing older tissue gradually collapses. 

The resulting decrease in bone density makes it more likely for senior women to experience painful bone breaks and fractures as well other forms of damage with weaker bones overall. [4]

Promotes Cardiovascular Health

The link between estrogen and heart health is multifaceted- one of its most notable effects is on optimal lipid profile maintenance. 

In particular, estrogen helps boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Or "good" cholesterol while quite effectively reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Or "bad" cholesterol.

Possessing a favorable effect on HDL levels can be an effective strategy to remove excess lipids from vessels by working as a scavenger to ferry them away and back to the liver for later disposal. 

Meanwhile allowing LDL levels too high can contribute significantly towards arterial plaque accumulation leading to potentially severe cardiovascular disease.

The ability for estrogens to exhibit vasodilatory effects results in promoting relaxation and dilation within our bloodstream. 

Reducing resistance allows for the maintenance of healthy normal ranges for our overall blood pressure levels. [5]

Enhances Brain Function

There is a significant part estrogen plays in promoting healthy cognitive functions. Basically, it impacts specific areas related to our ability to sustain concentration overtime period and comprehend new concepts when learning new things. 

Records show that estrogens have been tested to strengthen memory retention and alertness.

Proper scientific examination has also supported the crucial role of estrogen in rendering a notable boost in cognitive function - extra attention is given to regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus, wherein these effects are enhanced.

Estrogens also interact with neurotransmitter systems in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. 

These neurotransmitters play crucial roles in mood regulation, emotional well-being, and cognitive function. 

Another interesting important aspect of estrogens' effects on the brain is their neuroprotective properties. 

It has been found to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which help protect neurons from damage and support their overall health. 

These neuroprotective properties may contribute to a reduced risk of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. [6]

Therapeutic Applications of 17 Alpha Estradiol

17 alpha estradiol has been studied for its therapeutic applications in various medical conditions. 

Although its use is not as widespread as other forms of estrogen, research has shown potential benefits in certain areas.

To provide effective therapy for certain gynecological issues, utilizing 17 alpha estradiol offers therapeutic benefits. 

Amongst these cases is treating endometriosis – a disease where abnormal growth of uterine tissue exists outside its natural boundaries. 

Through repressing this development and lessening complications such as heavy menstrual flow or pelvic discomfort, healthcare providers utilize administering hormonal therapy. [7]

The battle against breast cancer requires effective treatments that can provide real results for patients facing this life-altering illness. 

One such treatment option demonstrating great potential is estradiol therapy. A critical breakthrough when traditional hormonal treatments fail or prove ineffective against resisting tumors' growth mechanisms. 

It has been observed to inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in estrogen-resistant breast cancer cells. [8]

It is crucial to recognize that research into applying 17 alpha estradiol as a therapy remains ongoing, rendering its efficacy limited to specific scenarios or under professional medical guidance. 

Dosage level, period of treatment duration, as well as administration route selection, shall rely upon personalized considerations.

Uses of 17 Alpha Estradiol

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for Transgender Women

A common treatment in hormone replacement therapy for transgender women is 17 alpha estradiol administered by healthcare professionals. 

Its aim is to promote feminization in patients by fostering female secondary sexual traits such as breast growth, redistribution of body fat, and reduced bodily hair coverage. 

Dosage and administration protocols are highly personalized according to individualized patient requirements assessed via meticulous hormone level monitoring. [9]

Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms

Women experience menopause naturally as they get older, which signifies decreased levels of reproductive hormones and causes various related bodily discomforts. 

To alleviate these kind of struggles and pains at this point in life is hormone replacement therapy using hormonal supplementing. 

It helps diminishing estrogen levels thereby restoring hormonal stability, particularly during this transitionary phase. [10]

Management of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal menstrual patterns that aren't tied to any structural problems within the reproductive system are termed as dysfunctional uterine bleeding. 

It can produce a range of symptoms such as intense flow for prolonged periods or an unpredictable cycle altogether. One viable solution offered for those experiencing it is hormonal therapy. 

By stimulating controlled growth and shedding of the uterus lining, it helps regulate menstruation while also minimizing excessive blood flow.

Adjuvant Therapy in Hormone-Responsive Cancers

For those grappling with certain types of hormone-receptive cancers (notably endometrial cancer), adjuvant therapy supplements might make for an adequate means of achieving remission/management. 

By obstructing the growth potential among cancerous cells through either impeding access to key estrogen receptors or stunting estrogen production, this hormone therapy ultimately aims to minimize the effects of disease. 

17 alpha estradiol may be prescribed in combination with other medications or as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. 

The whole focus is to target hormone-sensitive tumors and prevent their recurrence.

Investigational Uses in Dermatological Conditions

The potential therapeutic uses of 17 alpha estradiol in certain dermatological conditions are currently being explored through research studies. 

Specifically, researchers have been investigating its efficacy in managing hormonal imbalances that cause acne and hirsutism (excessive hair growth). 

Nonetheless, more research needs to be carried out to ascertain the safety and effectiveness of this compound for these particular dermatological applications. [11]

Potential Application in Osteoporosis and Bone Health

Utilizing this hormone could have promising effects on curing osteoporosis or as a preventative method that implicates the management of good bone health. 

Yet further studies are required to discern the proper dosage range and also investigate any long-term effects connected to estradiol hormone administration.

Possible Side Effects of 17 Alpha Estradiol

Despite its potential benefits for various therapeutic needs, it’s crucial to comprehend the probable risks involved when using 17 alpha estradiol. Here are some plausible side effects associated with its usage:

Hormonal Imbalance

Its imperative to recognize that 17 alpha estradiol is a strong estrogen hormone with the potential to disturb the hormonal harmony within us. 

As a result, we may experience various symptoms like breast soreness, shifting menstrual patterns, and fluctuating moods.

Fluid Retention

Some individuals may experience fluid retention or bloating while taking 17 alpha estradiol. This can cause temporary weight gain and discomfort.

It Can Cause Headaches

Headaches are a common side effect of hormone therapy. These headaches can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea or sensitivity to light.

Nausea and Vomiting

17 alpha estradiol can sometimes cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed by taking the medication with food or adjusting the dosage.

Skin Changes

Estrogen hormones can affect the skin, leading to changes such as acne breakouts or increased pigmentation. These skin changes are typically mild and may resolve on their own over time.

Increases The Risk of Blood Clots

It's important if you are pursuing treatment involving 17 alpha estradiol to understand that estrogen hormones come with the risk of promoting blood clot development. 

This threat is higher in those who already have various health issues like cardiovascular disease or past incidents involving blood clots. 

Factors, like prescribed dosage amount and inherent sensitivities, are unique to each person or group. 

Sources of 17 Alpha Estradiol 

Pharmaceutical Medications: 17 alpha estradiol can be obtained through prescription medications, such as oral tablets or topical formulations which are specifically formulated to deliver the hormone.

Compounded Formulations: Compounding pharmacies can create custom formulations of 17 alpha estradiol based on the specific needs and prescriptions of individuals. These formulations can be tailored to different routes of administration, such as oral, transdermal, or sublingual.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Clinics: Specialized clinics that focus on hormone replacement therapy may offer 17 alpha estradiol as part of their treatment options. These clinics are staffed by healthcare professionals who are experienced in managing hormone therapies.

Online Pharmacies: Some online pharmacies may offer 17 alpha estradiol for purchase, but it is important to exercise caution and ensure the legitimacy and safety of the source. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before purchasing medications online.

What to Look For in 17 Alpha Estradiol Supplements

Taking 17 alpha estradiol supplements requires careful consideration regarding which product to choose to suit your needs best.

Always go for products from well-known manufacturers who have rigorous quality standards and undergo consistent third-party testing.

Think about consulting with a healthcare professional who can identify the appropriate dosage that’s right for you! Choosing pharmaceutical-grade supplements could be more beneficial as they may offer higher quality and consistency.

Ensure that the supplement's bioavailability matches your preferred dosage form for effective absorption as it's crucial to achieve satisfactory outcomes. 

Discuss any potential side effects or precautions required/needed with your healthcare provider beforehand as they can furnish personalized recommendations. 

Following these steps should make taking these supplements safe and efficient! [12]

Similar Supplements to 17 alpha estradiol

17 beta-estradiol

As a derivative of estrogen 17 beta estradiol shares analogous physiological effects with its close relative - 17 alpha estradiol. 

Its significance in various therapeutic treatments may be attributed to its fitting indications for hormone replacement therapy and the management of menopausal symptoms.

Ethinyl estradiol

One can come across ethinyl estradiol - constituted artificially - in most combined oral contraceptive pills widely used today. This synthetic version largely displays analogous traits with natural hormone-17alpha-estradiol in terms of exhibiting significant estrogen-like characteristics. 

Its applications include curbing potential births and alleviating specific gynecological disorders besides serving as a hormone replacement therapy.

Conjugated estrogens

Conjugated estrogens comprise various estrogen hormones including equilin, estrone and 17 alpha estradiol that are derived from natural origins like the urine taken from pregnant mares. 

Their application in hormone replacement therapy remains an effective means for alleviating menopausal symptoms while concurrently diminishing the threat of developing osteoporosis.


When a woman becomes pregnant, estriol – an alternate form of estrogen – begins synthesizing organically within their body. 

Though not as strong as alpha estradiol pertaining to its estrogenic activity; it can still contribute effectively during hormone replacement treatment specifically designated for postmenopausal females.

Of note: this category may choose estriol over other forms due to reduced risk factors concerning related symptoms because estriols concentration isn’t much compared to others when referring to its low potency levels overall.


What is 17 alpha estradiol used for?

In managing a range of health conditions and challenges. 17 alpha estradiol has notable implications for replacing hormones effectively.

It is applied in treatments such as controlling menopausal symptoms and alleviating dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

Additionally. It plays a role as an adjuvant therapy for certain hormone-responsive cancers and assists reproductive technology. Still, there is needed for more research to conclude surely about anything.

What is the difference between 17 beta-estradiol and 17 alpha-estradiol?

One important differentiation between 17 beta-estradiol and 17 alpha-estradiol is their distinct chemical structures. Despite both being types of estrogen their positioning of the hydroxyl group is dissimilar.

This contrast in structure can cause differences in their physiological effects and potential uses for treatment.

What does an estradiol level of 15 mean?

A reading of 15 when measuring estradiol concentration in blood indicates levels of this particular form of estrogen.

The significance differs based on various elements like the reference range applied by the lab and what led to carrying out the test in question. 

We suggest consulting a healthcare provider for precise insight.

What are normal estradiol levels by age?

Estradiol levels are known to fluctuate owing to several variables such as age and menstrual cycle phase. 

For women of childbearing years typical level ranges are between 15 to 350 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) although there may be variance in reference ranges based on personal conditions requiring the intervention of a qualified healthcare provider for interpretation.

What is a bad estradiol level?

It should be noted that interpreting an individual's estradiol level must be done cautiously after assessing various factors about their current condition, lifestyle choices along their medical history profile. 

While low concentrations could reflect endocrine disorders like Hypopituitarism or could occur naturally during menopause transition cycle periods- high readings can correlate with frequent use of oral contraceptive pills. 

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and even some kinds of tumors among others.

It is highly recommended that patients interpret such reports in the presence of a medical expert who can provide appropriate analysis, guidance, and treatment options based on their individual needs.

Which estradiol is strongest?

The effectiveness of estradiol correlates closely with its potency to initiate estrogenic effects within an individual's body constitution.

Typically, human cells respond significantly well to 17 beta-estradiol as it carries high biological activity amongst all other forms of estrogens found in the human body.


With multiple therapeutic applications that are beneficial for human health, 17 alpha estradiol deserves attention and more research for its versatility. 

As a compound utilized in hormone replacement therapy for transgender women and managing menopausal symptoms, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and hormone-responsive cancers; it's crucial to consider potential side effects also.

One must also ensure reliable sources are available to ascertain the quality of supplements consumed while comprehending similar alternative solutions. 

With appropriate medical guidance during usage it can have a significant positive impact on health improving the overall quality of life.


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About the author 

A Medical Doctor with a rich experience for 5+ years in Medical Writing/Researching along with patient care. Collaborated with more than 10 companies, leveraging my skills to create high-quality content in various formats, including books, blog posts, articles, research papers, and social media medical content.

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