Did you know that once a man hits his thirties he has already started to experience a drop in his male hormones? On average, men experience a 10% decline in testosterone each decade after this age unless it is acknowledged and properly addressed!
According to Nutritional Researcher Brad King, as men age, their estrogen levels tend to increase and their testosterone decreases. These are normal hormonal changes and lead to a decline in muscle mass, lower metabolism and an accumulation of body fat, among multiple other signs and symptoms.
He states: “If you are a man over the age of 40, whether you like it or not, you have already begun to experience male menopause, or andropause, a drastic decline in your male hormones. I prefer to call it “beer belly blues,” since two of the hallmarks of male menopause are an enlarged waist circumference and a decline in your once jovial mood.”
The Problem with Estrogen
The problem is not that testosterone levels decrease but that the conversion of testosterone to estrogen increases.
Brad King explains further: “Men become so efficient at producing estrogen (estradiol) from testosterone that many become estrogen dominant. In fact, estrogen levels are so closely linked to excess belly fat that a large waist circumference, 100 cm (40 inches) or more, can often be a determining factor of low testosterone and high estrogen levels. To make matters worse, as the amount of belly fat increases so does the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which breaks down testosterone into estrogen. This, in turn, can lead to an even larger belly and even more estrogen production.”
There are many other negative effects of low testosterone and high estrogen such as decreased energy, memory problems, diminished sex drive and dysfunction, moodiness and depression, hair loss, increased risk of heart complications and diabetes as well as what Brad King coins “the dreaded man-boob syndrome.”
Step One is Diet
Mr. King states that when it comes to a man’s ability to produce healthy levels of testosterone, diet is of utmost importance.
First on the list, veggies: “The best vegetables for protecting testosterone levels are the cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. These foods are rich in indoles, which can lower excess estrogens in your system and stop them from competing with your testosterone.”
He also talks about the importance of adequate fat, cholesterol and protein in maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
“When one thinks of maintaining optimal testosterone levels, one has no other choice but to understand how important cholesterol is in this equation. Not only is cholesterol a major component of all cell membranes…it also happens to be the major building block of testosterone as well as other sex hormones. Research presented in the Journal of Coronary Artery Disease, showed that low levels of free testosterone may be the real culprits in the development of premature coronary artery disease.” Brad King emphasizes a diet that has about 30% fat (no more is needed) and to focus on sources such as avocados, olive oil, peanut butter and walnuts.
“Sufficient protein intake has also been shown to support healthy testosterone levels by lowering sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This is a hormone carrier that binds to testosterone, making it unavailable to exert its effect on the body.”
Step Two is Exercise
Brad King explains that “…diets higher in fat are most effective in raising testosterone levels when they are accompanied by proper exercise such as weight resistance. The more resistance on the muscle, the greater the stimulus for testosterone production. Also, compound exercises seem to be more effective at generating an elevated level of testosterone. Some examples include squats, dead lifts, lunges, bench presses, and pull-ups in sets of three… try to perform between eight and twelve repetitions per set.”
Step Three is Natural Supplementation
A natural way to combat this hormonal imbalance is by using specific ingredients that improve the body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate harmful chemicals and excess hormones.
These include chrysin, which helps block the aromatase enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen. Also, stinging nettle root extract competes with the protein SHBG to counteract its effects (making testosterone unavailable). In addition to these, indole 3 carbinol, sulforaphane and broccoli sprout extract should be considered to help regulate the production of “good” estrogens and inhibit the production of “bad” estrogens. It is also wise to take in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients to protect the cells. Examples of these include quercetin, turmeric and citrus bioflavonoids.