By Karina Hammer
As men age – nearing 30 and beyond – certain issues become more common for them. This includes hormonal imbalances and prostate issues, which are the most prevalent. Besides that, men may encounter a lack of energy and libido, as well as impotence.
There are three hormones that come into play for men’s health:
• Testosterone – The archetypal, central male hormone. Supports sex drive and is responsible for expressing male characteristics, along with bone and muscle health in men.
• Prolactin – This hormone is thought to be more female, since it stimulates milk production, though these levels are observed in relation to instances of impotence – high amounts in men reduce sex drive and arousal.
• Estrogen – The main female hormone, it is also important in men. It must be present along with testosterone for healthy sex drive and function, while high levels can contribute to weight gain and breast enlargement.
For optimum sexual health, a balance between these three hormones is needed. When they become imbalanced, however, they can contribute to a variety of problems – the following being the most common:
• Low sex drive – This can be a very important part of sexual health for men. This happens when testosterone levels begin to drop (estrogen levels to some degree, too), usually around the age of 30, and prolactin levels rise to greater amounts than testosterone.
• Infertility – This often is the result of low sperm count or motility, which is a chain reaction from hormonal imbalance: though typically due to inadequate release of pituitary hormones that fail to release testosterone.
• Erectile dysfunction – Like low sex drive, low testosterone versus prolactin levels may be the cause, though there could be connections to thyroid imbalance as well.
• Breast enlargement – Excessive estrogen relative to testosterone can cause breast growth in men. Coupled with high prolactin levels as well, male milk production can happen as well.
• Hair thinning and balding – A signal for low testosterone, which happens naturally in some males with age. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is thought to be one of the major factors involved in male patterned baldness.
• Decreased muscle tone – Another signal for low testosterone, typically happening in relation to any male pattern baldness.
Has your sex drive decreased? Do you struggle with erectile dysfunction and infertility? Is hair loss, breast enlargement, and decreased muscle tone becoming a problem? If so, then you most likely need to increase your testosterone, or possibly balance other hormones in relation to it.
Tips to Boost Hormone Imbalances
If you suspect imbalance may be severe, you may want to schedule an appointment or open up a dialogue with your current health care provider or doctor. If minor imbalances are occurring, some of the following simple tips can boost those levels.
• Fitness strength training – Exercise and activity in general will be beneficial, though strength training of multiple muscle groups is best known to naturally boost testosterone levels.
• Change diet – Avoidance of estrogenic foods (especially soy products) and increase uptake of healthy omega-3 rich animal and plant fats, such as avocados and Wild Alaskan Salmon, which boost testosterone production. Brassica vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, radishes, etc.) are known to help lower estrogen, too.
• Avoid xenoestrogens – These are found in a wide variety of plastics, packaged foods, insecticides, skin care, building supplies and many other everyday products. They mimic our natural hormones; blocking or binding hormone receptors. The body may mistake these as estrogen, and in response, testosterone levels may suffer.
• Natural supplements –Natural herbal supplements known to promote healthy male hormones are maca, cordyceps, ashwaganda, zinc, and saw palmetto.