Supporting You In Addressing Male Hormones
Hormones are our body’s messengers; they are transported through the body delivering messages from our organs to our brains and vice versa, to perform many body functions.
When we think male hormones, we think testosterone, but that is not the only player to consider. Signalling from the brain sends the message to the testicles to produce testosterone, but small amounts also come from the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys.
Testosterone is working to form male genitals even before the baby boy is born. During puberty, testosterone plays an important role in the development of male attributes such as a deeper voice, facial and body hair. It is also responsible for muscle mass and sex drive. Testosterone production surges during adolescence and peaks in the late teens or early 20s. After age 30, it’s natural for testosterone levels to drop by about one percent each year.
Possible signs and symptoms
Symptoms of low testosterone can relate to mood including sadness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, decreased sense of wellbeing.
Sexual indications may include erection weakness, decreased quality of orgasm, decreased interest or desire for sex, decreased volume of semen.
Other relevant symptoms frequent joint and muscle aches, increased obesity (especially central), diminished muscle mass and strength, decreased vigour and physical activity.
Osteoporosis which we usually consider for women, can also be relevant for men.
Testosterone has beneficial effects on insulin regulation, lipid profiles and blood pressure
Higher natural testosterone levels are associated with improved insulin sensitivity, HDL, lower central obesity, lower blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL and a reduced risk of developing obesity.
Low testosterone levels are an independent risk factor for insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
Opportunities to address these imbalances
It’s important to address any imbalances as low testosterone is associated with an increase of all-cause mortality in men over 50 years old.
An overall balancing of hormones is important to manage testosterone levels. This means consuming a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
A low glycemic load eating plan full of colour and including cruciferous vegetables can be helpful.
Nutrients such as zinc and vitamin D are precursors for the synthesis of testosterone.
Essential fatty acids including omega 3 fats from oily fish, linseeds and walnuts can help.
We need to reduce excess alcohol, caffeine, saturated fats and trans fats.
Exercise increases testosterone naturally, especially regular high intensity exercise and strength training for at least 150 minutes per week.
Improving lean body mass and addressing visceral fat is important.
Obesity can contribute to low testosterone.
There is also a relationship between sleep apnoea and low testosterone. This may be a vicious cycle as lack of sleep can lower testosterone and so can obesity.
Stress management is also important as our stress hormones and sex hormones share the same pathways.
Reducing your toxic load including organochlorides, pesticides, second-hand smoke, xenoestrogens and solvents can also be important.
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Functional Testing options
Male hormone imbalances may be as a result of low testosterone or higher oestrogen or both – and we can test these markers using functional medicine. Testosterone is usually measured in blood, and due to its circadian rhythm, ideally the sample should be taken at the beginning of the day.
A male hormone testing profile may look at additional markers that are useful include liver function, female hormones such as estradiol, Luteinising hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) as well as PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen).