Andropause: When Low Testosterone Strikes, What to Do About It

Low testosterone is a problem for many people; even when symptoms are not noticed, a low testosterone level can promote a number of diseases. When levels drop significantly, symptoms may develop. It is not uncommon for low testosterone to go undiagnosed until a severe deficiency develops. Although both sexes require testosterone, women have much lower levels and the effects of low testosterone are more pronounced in men.

The Some of those symptoms include:

1.An inability to build muscle
2.Loss of muscle mass
3.Low libido or impotence
4.Heart disease
5.Obesity
6.Diabetes
7.Osteoporosis
8.Depression

Some of these symptoms may not be recognized immediately. A drop in muscle mass or libido may be attributed to the aging process, not realizing that testosterone levels have dropped below the normal range of 300 nanograms per deciliter. Unlike women’s menopause, men’s hormones tend to drop gradually over a number of years so the symptoms are also gradual. The symptoms of low testosterone cannot be assumed to indicate that testosterone levels have dropped below normal. Blood or saliva tests are necessary to determine actual levels.

There are many reasons for testosterone levels to drop aside from the natural aging process. These include:

1.Alcohol
2.Eating beef with hormones
3.Exposure to pesticides in large amounts
4.Drinking from plastic bottles & heating food in plastic

How Lifestyle Impacts Testosterone
Lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on testosterone. The most important factors that promote a healthy testosterone level include:

1.Proper sleep is beneficial for both testosterone and human growth hormone levels. Aim for 7-8 hours every night.

2.Proper diet including adequate protein and fat. It is a little known fact that a low-fat diet can result in a testosterone deficiency. Never decrease fat intake below 20% of your caloric intake.

3.Resistance Training – Lifting weights helps to build and protect your muscle while stimulating the production of testosterone and growth hormone.

Standard Treatment for Low Testosterone

The standard treatment for low testosterone is hormone replacement with bio-identical hormones. There are potential risks to this treatment as there is with any hormone replacement therapy. The degree of benefit varies from person to person. About 10% see little to no improvement in their symptoms, 90% see some improvement and approximately 1% see significant benefit. There are some other options that can be used as an alternative to hormone replacement. There are specific contraindications to testosterone therapy such as having prostate cancer, prostate hypertrophy, congestive heart failure, sleep apnea and high red blood cell count. Generally speaking, bio-identical testosterone treatment can be a safe and effective means of increasing testosterone levels, when not contraindicated.

Supplements for Increasing Testosterone

DHEA is a precursor to testosterone and can be taken in supplement form. It is not uncommon for people to have a deficiency of this important building block; correcting the DHEA deficiency can sometimes allow the body to resume production of testosterone. A standard starting dose is 25 mg, however, it is recommended that you have a blood test for DHEA-S in order to properly dose and monitor its effects.

A comprehensive formula, known as Night Gain by Natura Health Products contains a number of products to balance the testosterone levels. This formula contains L-Arginine, which assists in the natural production of testosterone. DIM and Chrysin which helps to prevent the testosterone from being converted into estrogen (a problem for older men). Three powerful herbs that help to stimulate the production of testosterone: Longifolia jack, Tribulus terrestris and Macuna pruriens. For best results, take 3 capsules before bed and 3 capsules in the morning.

Protecting the Prostate During Testosterone Replacement

As testosterone levels normalize, the body may inadvertently produce more of a compound called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a more potent form of testosterone the can promote prostate enlargement. It is recommended that men on testosterone replacement therapy take a comprehensive prostate formula to prevent the DHT from triggering prostate growth. I recommend Ultra Natural Prostate , by Life Extension Foundation, 1 capsule twice daily. A suitable alternative is New Chapter’s Prostate 5-LX formula.

Article Written by: Ray Hinish, Pharm.D.,CN,C.P.T.

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