Andropause — myth or reality?

June 9, 2014

June/July 2014 Issue, Men

Andropause — myth or reality?

Lower levels of testosterone can impact many different areas for a man. A male can experience loss of muscle mass, increased body fat percentage, decreased bone density, sleep disturbances, insomnia and low sex drive.

Lower levels of testosterone can impact many different areas for a man. A male can experience loss of muscle mass, increased body fat percentage, decreased bone density, sleep disturbances, insomnia and low sex drive.

by Dr. Saman Rezaie — 

Debate exists as to whether andropause, a.k.a., male menopause, is a real condition. While some people argue that it is a myth, the reality is that once a man reaches the age of 30, he will see a 1.0 to 1.5 percent decrease of total testosterone per year for the rest of his life. It will decrease by 50 percent, or half, by the time he is 80 years old.

Lower levels of testosterone can impact many different areas for a man. A male can experience loss of muscle mass, increased body fat percentage, decreased bone density, sleep disturbances, insomnia and low sex drive. He can also experience infertility, low self-confidence, depression and decreased motivation.

The best way to find out if your symptoms are related to low levels of testosterone is to get a blood test. Make sure to have your blood drawn between 7 and 10 a.m. for the most accurate reading. If you do have low testosterone, many things can be done to increase it.

 

Diet and exercise

First, you must get a few things out of the way to help raise your testosterone level. The items to eliminate from your diet are sugars, grains and refined carbohydrates. Sugar does two things that are not beneficial — it increases insulin levels which lower testosterone levels and increases fat tissue on your body. The higher the body fat percentage, the more you will turn testosterone into estrogen.

The second thing to do is add more fats from healthy sources to your diet, such as olive oils, grass-fed meats, raw nuts (almond, walnuts and pecans), avocados, coconut oil and organic pastured egg yolks. The healthy unsaturated and saturated fats are essential for building testosterone in your body.

Exercise is key to building lean muscle, reducing your body fat percentage and increasing testosterone. The two best ways to help increase your levels are with high-intensity interval training and weight-lifting exercises that include movements involving large numbers of muscle groups.

High-intensity interval training is where you do a burst of exercise at high intensity for 20 to 30 seconds and then recover at a slow to moderate level for a rest period of two to three times that length. You will get a better workout in just 20 minutes, as opposed to doing hours of cardiovascular training.

The intensity of weight lifting is just as important. Having good form and going slower maximizes the number of protein filaments in muscles, which increases the intensity of the workout. Doing movements such as squats and deadlifts involve larger groups of muscle to help boost testosterone levels.

 

Vitamin D

Your vitamin D level could be decreasing your testosterone level. Today, low vitamin D levels are becoming an epidemic. Get your level checked to find out if you have this problem. In a recent study, overweight men were given vitamin D supplements for one year. At the end of that year, a significant increase in their testosterone levels was found. Find out what dosage of vitamin D replacement is right for you from your health care practitioner.

 

Testosterone replacement

There has been a lot of discussion since the end of 2013 about the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy. A recent research study found that possible increased risks exist from testosterone replacement. The conclusion is being drawn that men on testosterone replacement are at increased risk of cardiovascular and prostate health issues, but the research does not reflect this across the board for all men.

It shows these health risks in men who are taking very high levels of testosterone replacement and in men over the age of 65.

What is not mentioned is that many studies reveal the benefits that men can get from testosterone replacement therapy — cardiovascular protective effects, better prostate health and improved bone density. When men return to an optimal mid-range of testosterone levels, they have improved health across the board.

If you are getting testosterone replacement, make sure you are getting appropriate blood level monitoring. With this in place, testosterone replacement can be safe and helpful.

 

Dr. Saman Rezaie is a naturopathic doctor who is a general practice physician, specializing in autoimmune, leaky gut and gastrointestinal problems. He also works with pain management and structural alignment at Integrative Health in Scottsdale, Ariz. 480-657-0003 or integrativehealthcare.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 3, June/July 2014.

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