Why Men Are Losing Their Mojo
Low Testosterone: Why are we seeing it in 30-year-old men?
To start with, low testosterone levels are a strong sign of poor health.
Testosterone is classified as an androgen, produced primarily in the testes and is required not only for reproductive purposes, sperm production, sex drive, muscle mass and strength, but it also increases bone mass, regulates fat distribution, facilitates healthy production of red blood cells and surprisingly to some men, how much oestrogen (oestradiol) you make.
Yep, men make estrogen! And by the looks of new research, its proving to be more beneficial than first thought when it comes to keeping a man’s testosterone at optimal levels. But as with many instances in life, too much of a good thing, is still too much.
The balance between testosterone and oestradiol, while physiologically unique to the individual, needs to strike a balance that works for the man to support the life he has, or help him support the life he wants to create.
A study at the NIH (National Institute of Health) has shown that a decrease in testosterone leading to a decrease in oestradiol led to effects including, but not limited to a loss of muscle mass, strength, low libido and erectile dysfunction. The research highlight’s that it is a decrease in both of these hormones which is wreaking havoc, showing why some men don’t improve in their health and physical symptoms with testosterone replacement therapy alone.
While the levels at which testosterone deficiency become medically relevant still aren’t well understood, we are witnessing that if homeostasis isn’t regulated (a fancy word for biological balance), then a large number of precipitating illness become present.
Currently our health sector is aware of a few triggers that cause low testosterone in men.
• DHEA’s (Dihydroepiandosterone), a pathway that can control both testosterone and estrogen metabolism, determining its balance in the system.
• Aromatase: an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. High levels in male physiology can causes an increase in the conversion, thereby lowering free testosterone, increasing estrogen which can lead to female characteristics, where a man will accumulate fat deposits in predominately female areas, including breast tissue, hips, waist, lower stomach and thighs.
• Obesity and refined carbohydrate intake: Increases in free circulating insulin, prior to a diabetes diagnosis, reduces luteinizing hormone, which can lower testosterone levels. Some studies showing that it can take up to a year of restricted carbohydrate consumption to normalise insulin sensitivity.
• Xenoestrogens and estrogens in our water supply: estrogen metabolites are showing up in council water supplies from women who take birth control and pee in the toilet, rushing it into our water supply. They don’t normally screen for the levels, so they don’t take it out! Xenoestrogens are found in most plastics containing all analogues of BPA’s, phthalates and the other toxic chemicals found in plastics. These are known endocrine disruptors (endocrine simply means hormonal), and in high doses have been suspected to stop the onset of puberty in boys. So, no plastics!
• Stress: What doesn’t stress mess up! It causes huge spikes in cortisol, suppressing hormonal pathways that are responsible for optimising testosterone.
• Beer: I know I shouldn’t say it, but here goes. One research study found that moderate consumption of beer can decrease a man’s testosterone levels by 6.8%.
Another avenue that has caught the attention of researchers is looking at mortality rates in men experiencing heart failure. It appears that in too high or too low levels of oestradiol the increase in heart attacks rose significantly, whereas the men whose oestradiol levels were balanced had the best survival rate.
It has also been demonstrated at optimal levels to reduce depression, lower inflammation leading to arthritis, reducing the incidence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome and normalising health cholesterol levels.
So outside of helping to keep you virile and strong, the right balance may also just save your life!
If you feel like you or your loved one needs assistance in getting their testosterone levels where they should be, with an understanding of how they got there and what to do about supporting the body’s natural processes to boost it back up, then contact Katy at Healing Hands Natural Health Centre for more details.
C. Chrysohoou, C., Panagiotakos, D. Et al. 2013. Low Total Testosterone Levels are Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome in Elderly Men: The Role of Body Weight, Lipids, Insulin Resistance, and Inflammation; The Ikaria Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3932069/
Ferguson KK1, Peterson KE, et al. Prenatal and peripubertal phthalates and bisphenol A in relation to sex hormones and puberty in boys. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24945889
Poliquin, C. The Testosterone/Estrogen Balance in Men. http://www.strengthsensei.com/the-testosteroneestrogen-bal…/
Sierksma A1, Sarkola T, et al. Effect of moderate alcohol consumption on plasma dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, testosterone, and estradiol levels in middle-aged men and postmenopausal women: a diet-controlled intervention study.
Stress Hormone Blocks Testosterone's Effects. 2010.https://news.utexas.edu/…/stress-hormone-blocks-testosteron…
Wein, H. 2013. Understanding how testosterone affects men.https://www.nih.gov/…/understanding-how-testosterone-affect…