To the men out there, this post is for you! I’m sure you’re well aware that testosterone is critical for your health and vitality. But are you aware of it’s decline during the aging process, and that you can start doing something about it today with healthy diet and lifestyle practices?
Andropause, sometimes referred to as ‘Male Menopause’ or ‘Hypogonadism’, is the decline of testosterone production in aging men (starting around 50s). Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is important for sexual and reproductive development. The hormone influences sex drive, sperm production, fat distribution, red cell production, maintenance of muscle strength and mass, and the prevention of osteoporosis in men. When its production starts to decline, primarily due to aging, men can experience unfavorable symptoms (many similar to menopause):
- Weakness and fatigue
- Cognitive decline
- Depression and pessimism
- Weight gain, loss of muscle mass
- Low libido and erectile dysfunction
- Insomnia and night sweats
- Hair loss
Aging is an inevitable part of life, and a top contributing factor for andropause. SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) increases with age, which binds with testosterone rendering it unavailable. A healthy diet and lifestyle can help slow the aging process and the onset of andropause. Here is what to focus on:
- BODY COMPOSITION: Managing a healthy weight is critical in early adult years. Weight gain becomes a vicious cycle with andropause, as it initially raises estrogen levels and impacts androgen levels (key for testosterone). Once testosterone begins to decline, energy levels and muscle mass decline, and weight gain continues.
- NUTRIENT BALANCE: A Paleo/Primal diet is ideal, with 45-60% of calories from fat, 20-40% from carbs, and 15-35% from protein. Prioritize whole foods and plentiful vegetables. Key nutrients for healthy male hormone production include lycopene (tomatoes, spinach, kale, berries), zinc (oysters, nuts and seeds), omega-3 fatty acids (cold water fish), and beta carotenes (carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin).
- TOXIC EXPOSURE: Limit environmental toxin exposure, particularly in industrial settings, from food sources, and personal care products. Xenoestrogens are toxins that mimic estrogens in the body, taking up space in estrogen receptor cells and interrupting the normal sex hormone balance in men (and women alike).
- ALCOHOL: Drinking can have a direct effect on the decline of testosterone. Alcohol taxes the liver, which puts testosterone production on hold. It can also lead to weight gain, leading to higher estrogen levels in men.
- STRESS MANAGEMENT: As cortisol increases, androgens decrease and testosterone production drops. The pituitary gland becomes suppressed under stress, producing less luteinizing hormone, also contributing to testosterone decline.
Bottom line – keep that male vitality going strong today and every day by adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Bauman, E. NC202.2 Men’s & Women’s Health Lecture 2 (PowerPoint Handout). Retrieved from Bauman College: https://baumancollege.instructure.com
Rettner, R. (June 2017). What is Testosterone? Live Science. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/38963-testosterone.html
The Truth About Alcohol, Fat Loss, and Testosterone. (Oct. 2016). Prostate.net. Retrieved from https://prostate.net/articles/join-30-day-alcohol-fast-t-levels-liver-will-thank