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Optimizing Testosterone Levels in Aging Men

As men age, decreasing levels of testosterone can have widespread effects throughout the body. They may suffer from fatigue, a decrease in sexual performance, decreased sex drive, reduced strength, poor sleep, emotional instability, breast enlargement, or loss of muscle mass. This can be collectively referred to as male menopause, adrenopause, or “manopause.” You may keep quiet on these concerns out of embarrassment, but you need to recognize the importance of maintaining optimum testosterone levels and bring it up for discussion with your healthcare provider. There are some very effective means of addressing these concerns of middle-age and aging males.

Many times aging men feel that declining testosterone is a normal part of aging. But it is far from the truth; a recent study found that testosterone decline is not a normal part of aging, but is largely explained by changes in health status such as diabetes, obesity, depression, and smoking. The Healthy Man Study showed a connection between decreased levels of serum testosterone, obesity and a history of smoking in men over 40. The same study also demonstrated that the men who considered themselves in very good or excellent health showed no decline in serum testosterone. Obesity, which is related to diabetes, can have some significant effects on hormone balance. As adipose tissue increases in men, an enzyme called aromatase is released in greater quantities. One of the actions of aromatase within the male body is to convert testosterone into estrogen. Have you noticed men with gynecomastia or abnormal breast development? The vast majority of them are probably overweight, which is most likely highly correlated with the development of breasts.

Chemicals such as herbicides that are used in the production of our food have also been shown to decrease testosterone levels. A glyphosate-based herbicide was tested in rats at levels from 1ppm to 10,000ppm, ranges that have been observed in human urine and in the environment. At toxic levels, this herbicide was shown to provoke rat testicular toxicity, but even at non-toxic concentrations (1ppm) it was shown that testosterone levels were decreased by 35%. Organic foods are not treated with chemicals such as this, which in large part why choosing to eat organic food is healthy habit for everyone.

Once declining levels of testosterone are identified, there are several supplements that have been shown to support healthy testosterone levels. A few options are:

Zinc: Zinc acts as a natural aromatase inhibitor. This is a nutrient that is essential for healthy testosterone expression in males. It is recommended that men take 60 mg daily with 2 mg of copper to maintain appropriate levels.

Tribulus: Tribulus terrestris has been shown to significantly increase serum free testosterone in rat models at a dosage of 12.5 mg/kg of body weight. The recommended dose is 250 mg up to three times per day of an extract standardized to 40% saponins.

Horny Goat Weed: Horny Goat Weed has been shown to support libido in men with renal dysfunction. It has been customarily used in traditional Asian medicine for people suffering from sexual difficulties. The recommended dosage is five grams up to three times a day.

Saw Palmetto: Saw Palmetto has been shown to be an effective aid for male hormonal metabolism. One of the effects is through the inhibition of 5-a-reductase, which happens to prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (DHT is a form of testosterone that has been connected to men going bald). An appropriate dosage is 2-4 mL of a 1:4 tincture three times a day.

Many of the factors leading to premature testosterone decline can be corrected through simple lifestyle changes; “beer belly” is not something to be proud of or laugh about, it is likely robbing you of your masculinity. Eating a well-balanced diet and get some high quality exercise every day will go a long way in helping to support healthy testosterone levels. Lifestyle change is never easy; but with the right attitude and advice, it is very achievable.

Tag: testosterone, aging men, middle-age, diabetes, obesity, depression, smoking, hormone balance, gynecomastia, male menopause, adrenopause, manopause, zinc, tribulus, tribulus terrestris, horny goat weed, saw palmetto, DHT, dihydrotestosterone