Photo by: Jelle.
This post will discuss the “male” menopause (andropause) phase at around age 60 and how balance your hormones.
Everyone knows about “the change” that women go through after 50. Women are better equip than men in dealing with extreme changes to our bodies from years of practice. Not only are men not used to dealing with changes in their bodies, there is not much support in our community or the internet to help them. Can you imagine two men sitting next to each other, beer in hand, talking about the “changes” happening to their bodies? I would love to see my husband and brother doing that 20 years from now.
A man’s testosterone levels start to decline after age 30, but drops dramatically after 60. By the time a man reaches his mid-50s (although symptoms might start to show up around your 40s), andropause (aka. “male menopause”) is in full swing with fatigue, lack of energy, loss of sexual interest (or dysfunction), obesity, depression, panic attacks, short term memory fog, and insomnia. During andropause, testosterone declines significantly (“puberty in reverse), hence men experience a “lite” version of the menopause that women go through.
This hormonal shift during male menopause can lead to weight gain in a number of ways. Testosterone is the hormone involved in the development of bone and lean muscle mass in men. When this hormone’s level decline, there is a loss of muscle strength and endurance during physical activities and body fat starts to accumulate. From my previous post, we know that since overweight males have more estrogen, they start to hold on to fat like women.
Factors that throw your hormones out of balance (other than aging):
1. Typical western diet with high saturated fats found in fast food, processed foods, and red meats), hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and refined sugar.
If you read any of my previous posts on balancing your hormones, you know this is the number one reason why we are not feeling our best.
2. Environmental factors such as foreign compounds, chemical toxins that mimic estrogen (DDT, PCBs, and dioxin) and exposure to heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
3. Smoking – nicotine increase enzymes that deactivate male hormones such as testosterone.
4. Stress – the adrenal glands makes either DHEA or cortisol. DHEA is an antioxidant, hormone regulator, and building block to testosterone. When you are stressed, your body opts to make cortisol instead. That is not good.
How to get your hormones back in balance:
1. Decrease the consumption of refined sugar, saturated fats, and food preservatives.
2. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, essential fatty acids (flaxseed, evening primrose, and borage oils), legumes, nuts and seeds.
3. Make sure to get enough vitamin E (500 IU) and magnesium (500 mg) which strengthen the heart and circulation.
4. Make sure to get enough zinc (50 mg) which boost male virility and reduce prostate problems such as swelling.
5. Make sure to get enough primrose oil (3,000 mg) which aid the production and release of hormones.
6. Consider ginseng (2,000-4,000 mg). Panax ginseng, an Asian variety, has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Extreme use of any supplements is not good. Too much ginseng has serious side effects such as headaches and skin problems.
One final note, like women, men have the option for hormonal replacement therapy for testosterone (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) during andropause. Your doctor should test your hormone levels with a saliva or blood test before going this route. But like the hormonal replacement therapies for women, there is the risk of prostate cancer.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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