Men go through menopause too… did you know? It’s called andropause.
November is Men’s Health Awareness Month; so we’re going to be talking all about men’s health, but this topic (and testosterone pertains to ladies too– so keep reading!). Let’s dive in.
Sure, Menopause is a term we are all familiar with, but what about Andropause? This so-called “male menopause” occurs when there is a decline of the sex hormone testosterone in aging males.
Unlike menopause, which occurs in all women and generally happens quickly, andropause is not universal amongst men and is a slow progression that can occur over decades. According to research, risk for testosterone depletion increases with aging as well as other medical conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome.
How is Andropause diagnosed?
Diagnosis of the condition is made with the presence of low testosterone levels in the blood of less than 11 nmol/l and a free testosterone level of less than 220 pmol/l, combined with the presence of symptoms.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced muscle mass and strength
- Increased fat mass
- Osteoporosis/low bone mass
- Depressed mood
How is it treated?
The most common treatment for andropause is testosterone replacement therapy, yet this is contraindicated in individuals with prostate cancer or benign prostate hyperplasia. There are a number of options available for testosterone therapy including intramuscular injections, transdermal patches and gels, and others. These are shown to be effective in establishing healthy testosterone levels as well as relieving symptoms.
However, there are a number of practical diet and lifestyle factors that can also help slow the progression of andropause as well as help restore normal testosterone levels.
6 Tips for balancing testosterone levels:
- Exercise and strength training. Research shows that physically active men have higher testosterone levels than those who are sedentary.
- Consume a balanced diet. This should include adequate amounts of complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats at each meal. This style of eating supports optimal metabolism, blood sugar control, and muscle growth and will help reduce the risk factors associated with andropause.
- Manage stress. Both physical and psychological stress increase levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, which lowers testosterone. Practicing yoga, meditation or any other type of mindfulness can help here.
- Supplement with a high quality multivitamin. Certain vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin D, Zinc and the antioxidants vitamin C & E help support healthy testosterone levels. Even the most balanced diet can benefit from supplementing with these essential nutrients.
- Consider taking a natural testosterone booster. Research shows that the adaptogenic herb ashwaghanda may help increase both testosterone levels and sperm count. The hormone DHEA also demonstrates a favorable effects on boosting testosterone.
- Eat foods including: Those that both increase and decrease testosterone; we need a balance of both!
- Egg yolks (yep, they’re important!) – may help to boost testosterone
- Mint- may reduce testosterone
- Licorice- may help to decrease testosterone levels by inhibiting various factors to it’s creation
- Flaxseed- may reduce testosterone levels (but you need these too!)
- Nuts (in general)- may help to decrease and balance testosterone
- Ginger – boosts testosterone and helps to balance male hormones
- Pomegranates – may raise sperm count (and health) by up to 22%- by lowering oxidative stress in the body
- Green leafy vegetables- the magnesium in them may help to boost testosterone
- Onions – may increase T
We all want the men in our life to be feeling and function their best, right? By being aware of the risk factors and signs of andropause, you can be equipped to both prevent and/or manage this condition from both a medical and holistic standpoint.