Your sex hormones play a major role in regulating your immune response, and each hormone has a different impact on your body. Keep reading to learn how estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels affect your immune system!
Sex hormones and the immune system
Many immune cells have sex hormone receptors on them, which is why your sex hormones could help regulate your immune response. Due to the changes in sex hormone levels during menstrual cycles, women may experience cyclical changes in their immune and inflammatory response as well.
Estrogen and the immune response
Estrogen is generally considered to enhance your immune system. An increase in estrogen can lead toward a stronger autoimmune response, as the body stimulates more antibodies.
Hormonal balance is more important than the actual levels of estrogen itself, so low levels may stimulate the immune system as long as other hormone levels are comparatively balanced.
Progesterone and the immune response
Progesterone is generally known as an immunosuppressant as it can inhibit innate inflammatory immune responses. This may be useful for pregnancy, as during this time, progesterone can suppress the production of T cells and reduce inflammation around the uterus.
Currently, researchers are investigating the use of progesterone to reduce inflammation for COVID-19 symptoms.
Testosterone and the immune response
Similar to progesterone, testosterone and other androgens are known as immunosuppressants. Because of these properties, testosterone can be anti-inflammatory and suppress the immune response
Especially for men, high testosterone could result in a weaker immune response. Generally women are considered to have stronger immune responses than men, although this can also lead to increased inflammation and other side effects.