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Andropause is described as the common effect of mid-life hormonal imbalance associated with lower testosterone levels. Besides affecting sex drive, testosterone (male sex hormone) also helps maintain bone density, muscle mass, red blood cells, libido, and a general sense of well-being.
Men start losing sex hormones such as testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androstenedione, or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) at the age of 20 at the rate of about one percent per year. It means that by the time they are 50 years old their sex hormones might be about 25 percent lower.
Symptoms may include: Erectile dysfunction, reduced sex drive, lack of energy (fatigue), irritability, anxiety, weight gain, muscle loss, problems with concentration, poor memory, flashes, premature aging of skin and hair, problems with sleeping, Gynecomastia (man boobs), etc.
- Nutritional deficiencies especially zinc deficiency. Zinc plays critical role in testosterone production. Even mild zinc deficiency, which is very common today, has been associated with suppressed testosterone concentrations. A study by Wayne State University in Indiana found that older men who had mild zinc deficiency, after six months of zinc supplementation literally doubled their testosterone levels!
- Deficiency of vitamin D3, B5, B6 and Magnesium.
- Low testosterone and other sex hormones caused by bad diet, sugar, belly fat, Type 2 diabetes, chemical hormonal disruptors such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and many other chemicals commonly found in water and food stored in plastic containers.
- Unhealthy refined diet high in bad fats, refined oils, white flour, excessive consumption of animal foods, meat and dairy products.
- Sugar and fructose also contribute to the problem because they raise insulin level, which is another factor leading to low testosterone.
- Frequent us of stimulants.
- Lack of exercise.
- Stress. There are many ways in which stress can contribute to Andropause and low testosterone and other sex hormones. For example, Stress leads to overstimulation of adrenal glands. As a result the pregnenolone (P5, steroid hormone, precursor of the androgens) instead of being used to make sex hormones is used to produce stress hormone - cortisol. It leads to the inability of pregnenolone to generate sex hormones such as testosterone, DHT, or DHEA. Thus too much stress and inability to control it leads to adrenal fatigue which replaces energy and motivation by weakness, lack of motivation and tiredness.
- Depression, low mood, anxiety, negative attitudes, pessimism.
- Sex addictions and frequent orgasms lead to zinc deficiency and hormonal imbalance, thus contributing to testosterone deficiency.
- Chlorinated swimming pools and chlorinated tap water. A hundred years ago during the pre-industrial era the average testosterone levels of a 20 to 30-year-old male were about 800-2000ng/dL. Today it is only about 200-800ng/dL! The culprit is commonly attributed to the chemicals that disrupt the normal hormone production cycle called endocrine disruptors such as mercury, arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, estradiol, BPA, pesticides and other harmful chemicals found in tap water. In a study, testosterone samples were taken from 361 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 who had spent between 125 to 250 hours in chlorinated swimming pools. According to the study results these boys had three times higher risk to have testosterone levels in the bottom 10 percentile compared to their peers who did not exposed their bodies to the chlorinated pool water. Read more >
- Zinc (necessary to produce testosterone): In one study after one month, athletes who were given regular doses of Zinc had about 40 percent more testosterone in their blood! Especially athletes, people who are very physically and sexually active need Zinc supplementation. The body uses large amounts of zinc during physical exercise. Zinc is also a key ingredient of semen and therefore excessive sexual practices lead to huge deficiency of this important mineral. Zinc is used by many enzymes during hormone production. By supplementing zinc athletes can improve performance. Zinc needs to be taken with Magnesium, B6, and D3.
- Vitamin D3 (2000-5000 IU per day with first meal). Vitamin D is actually a hormone – one that is partially responsible for the production of testosterone. It was shown, that the more vitamin D the men had in their blood, the higher their testosterone levels. German scientists discovered that athletes made better progression in the season when they had high vitamin D levels in their blood. You must also take Magnesium because if you are deficient in it (most people are), vitamin D will not be converted in your body to its final and useful form. In addition, since supplemental vitamin D uses body magnesium for its own conversion, it gradually leads to magnesium deficiency and its symptoms.
- MAGNESIUM citrate or another well absorbed magnesium such as Bisglycinate: 2 times a day 200 mg between meals. Studies demonstrated that Magnesium and Vitamin B-6 improve testosterone levels. Remember that the more vitamin D3 is used the more magnesium must be taken as D3 leads to magnesium deficiency. Magcitra (HealthAid) is an excellent magnesium citrate as it is high in elemental magnesium.
– Maca may help boost testosterone and to regulate and utilize stress hormones including cortisol and adrenalin.
- Some sources recommend using Maca alternatively with Ashwaganda or Ginseng (both have demonstrated to increase testosterone and are powerful adaptogens able to help in balancing cortisol).
– Rhodiola or Gotu Kola are known to be beneficial testosterone boosters and adaptogens.
- Raw Coconut oil has shown to increase testosterone. Apart from that, it is very effective in increasing the growth hormone necessary to build muscles. One study showed a huge increase in Growth Hormone production 30-90 minutes after the administration of coconut oil.
- Also increasing Glutathione by taking Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of body's natural testosterone protectors.
– Methylcobalamin form of vitamin B12 (must be sublingual) helped many deficient people to boost energy as deficiency of this vitamin is regarded as “rampant” today.
– All B Vitamins are very important for the nervous system, for balancing hormones, and they also participate in energy production in our body and therefore are essential to deal with any fatigue. In case of testosterone the most important is vitamin B5 and B6.
– Make sure you provide your body with sufficient amounts of all vitamins and minerals as Andropause symptoms can be magnified by deficiency of almost any vitamin or mineral deficiency especially the following ones: Vitamin B complex, vitamin A (beta-carotene), C, D, and E, pantothenic acid, folic acid, iron, calcium, and magnesium. All of them are included in multivitamin-mineral formulas but B12, D3, and Magnesium should be taken additionally as they require higher doses.
– Multivitamin-mineral formula or Vitamin B-complex: 1 tablet after breakfast. Please do not buy cheap formulas as their potency is very low and they contain only short list of inorganic ingredients. It must be a good quality formula such as Healthy Mega (HealthAid) which is excellent multi-vitamin and mineral formula fortified with alfalfa powder, rutin, citrus bioflavonoids, bromelain, herbs, super grasses, digestive enzymes and many other super nutrients. Take no more than 2 tablets daily, preferably with meals. If your diet is relatively healthy and you stay away from refined foods, sugar and stimulants then take only 1 after breakfast.
- Since Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, Folate) play very important role in balancing hormones I recommend getting B complex with a good quality multivitamin-mineral formula which is high in B vitamins. One of my favourite ones is Healthy Mega (HealthAid) as it is not only high in B vitamins and at the same time it contains zinc, selenium, herbs, digestive enzymes, micronutrients, and few super grasses. Compared with other popular formulas Healthy mega may contain even up to 60 times more vitamins per tablet! Adults may take 1 tablet of Healthy Mega after breakfast.
OTHER POSSIBLE TESTOSTERON BOOSTERS: Astragalus, Damiana, Liquorice root, Garlic, Chlorella, Avocado, Resveratrol, Spirulina, etc.
In order to recover from Andropause the following recommendations should be followed:
– Avoid eating foods rich in refined sugar and other refined carbohydrates such as white flour products (body turn white flour into blood sugar).
– Don’t use stimulants such as caffeine products, drugs, black and green tea. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
– Use only Celtic salt if you experience cravings for salty foods. This craving is often caused also by Adrenal fatigue which leads to inability to balance sodium in the blood. This, in turn, triggers cravings for salty foods which can replace the lost sodium.
- Avoid chlorinated swimming pools and chlorinated tap water. A 100 years ago during the pre-industrial era the average testosterone levels of a 20 to 30-year-old male were about 800-2000ng/dL. Today it is only about 200-800ng/d! The culprit is commonly attributed to the chemicals that disrupt the normal hormone production cycle called endocrine disruptors such as mercury, arsenic, chlorine, fluoride, estradiol, BPA, pesticides and other harmful chemicals found in tap water. In a study, testosterone samples were taken from 361 boys between the ages of 14 and 18 who had spent between 125 to 250 hours in chlorinated swimming pools. According to the study results these boys had three times higher risk to have testosterone levels in the bottom 10 percentile compared to their peers who did not exposed their bodies to the chlorinated pool water. Read more >
– Exercise every day for at least one hour trying to induce some perspiration. Fast walk outside is the best type of exercise. Energetic exercise boosts testosterone.
– Go to sleep as early as possible. Try to sleep at least seven or eight hours a day.
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH