Thankfully, the winter doldrums are coming to an end for many of us. Warmer weather is here, the days are getting longer, and the heavy jackets are being packed away.
For many guys, the changing of the seasons may bring some pep back into our steps. Hope is an excellent thing. The promise of nights out with buddies, cookouts with family, and weekends near the water inspire optimism.
We may have shaken off the seasonal depression. However, some of us men still feel a nagging sense of doom and gloom.
Why is that?
Well, the majority of males will see a consistent decline in health and vitality as we reach middle age and beyond. Downward health trends tend to get worse with each passing year. Without action, this can create a spiraling effect.
Declines could manifest themselves in many ways, including:
- Persistent negative thoughts or moodiness
- Low energy levels
- Decreased muscle mass and power
- Reduced sex drive
- Lack of fertility
- Rapid weight gain
- Increased fat around the waist and chest
We’re told that these problems just come with aging and that we need to accept them. But, like many things in life, it may not be that simple.
The root cause of many male health issues could be a hormonal imbalance.
Our bodies are full of complicated systems which work symbiotically to achieve optimal healthy function from head to toe.
One of these marvels of nature is known as the endocrine system. This vast network of glands and organs is responsible for secreting the hormones needed to carry out vital bodily processes.
Proper hormone levels regulate and maintain crucial aspects of health, such as:
- Mood and mental state
- Sexual and reproductive structure
- Energy level
- Healing and injury response
- Muscle growth
For men, the highest-ranking hormone is testosterone.
Testosterone is the dominant sex hormone in males. The physical traits that make a man a man can all be attributed to testosterone. A deep voice, facial hair, and muscle structure are all credited to what some call the male hormone.
Young men have plenty of testosterone. In our early years, we had so much testosterone that we didn’t know what to do with it. Which explains why; we could have wild sex all night, get no sleep, eat anything we wanted – and still show no ill effects from it.
Yet, some men experience declining testosterone levels as early as 20-25 years old. By the time the majority of us reach 30, we are sure to see a steady decline in testosterone production.
A prodigious clinical study spanning 17 years called, “The health of normally aging men: The Massachusetts Male Aging Study,”1 established that:
- Testosterone levels decline by 1-2% per year in aging men.
- The amount of testosterone in healthy men has declined over the last several generations.
So, just like our fathers, we will experience declining testosterone levels as the sands of time slip away.
Unlike our fathers, we will start with a lower baseline than the previous generation. The average healthy man nowadays is showing noticeably lower testosterone levels than his pops did at the same age.
We believe this phenomenon of lower testosterone levels in men is because of changes in lifestyle and diet.
In our ever-evolving world, scores of guys have moved away from manual labor work to sedentary desk jobs. On top of that, many are consuming more sugar and processed carbohydrates than in previous decades. Both are contributing factors to generational declines in testosterone.
Sadly, for us, these lower testosterone levels make us more susceptible to a rash of unwanted problems.
Problems that arise in men with lower testosterone may include:
- Gynecomastia (man boobs) – A defining characteristic of masculinity is a broad, well-defined chest. Unfortunately, with low testosterone levels, the fat tends to accumulate on top of the pectorals. This creates the much-dreaded man boobs, which have left more than a few men feeling emasculated.
- Weakened or frail bones – That’s right, testosterone plays a major role in maintaining bone structure. When levels are low, we’re more susceptible to dangerous fractures and breaks.
- Irrational thoughts and cognitive decline – Studies have shown that low testosterone is correlated with depression, anger, and memory loss.2
- Declining sexual health – Testosterone is the most prominent hormone in male sexual function. It is crucial to getting and maintaining an erection, driving libido, and semen production. Studies show that healthy testosterone levels promote sex drive and erectile quality.3
Maybe, there’s some truth to the idea that older generations were tougher. It appears they had higher levels of testosterone anyhow.
But is testosterone the end all be all for male health?
The answer is no, not totally. In fact, estrogen plays a role in men’s health as well.
Believe it or not, estrogen is not just necessary for women. It’s also present in healthy men, albeit in small quantities.
A fractional amount of healthy estrogen called estradiol is synthesized in men.
An enzyme called aromatase is produced in large quantities in the male testicles. This enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into healthy estrogen (estradiol) for gentlemen.
There are multitudes of estrogen receptors throughout the body. We can find them in the brain, penis, and testicles.
Estradiol is synthesized in large volumes within areas of the brain that are related to sexual arousal. Additionally, estrogen receptors are predominant in the corpus cavernosum, 1 of the 2 columns that form the largest part of the shaft of the penis. The corpus cavernosum is loaded with blood vessels that widen and fill with blood when a guy achieves an erection.
Simply put, estrogen contributes to male sexual function both physically and psychologically.
One study found that:
“Estradiol in men is essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis.”4
When it comes to estrogen, we’d say the statement “some things are great in small doses” applies.
Okay, so we have established that men need both testosterone and estrogen to optimize health.
So, where do the problems arise?
With every year that passes, we produce less testosterone. But our bodies are still synthesizing a percentage of that testosterone into estrogen.
The culprit here is the aromatase enzyme.
This enzyme continues to go to work despite the destruction that it can cause as our testosterone levels dwindle.
A study by the Department of Medicine at Emory University declared:
“The prevalence of testosterone deficiency in older men might be as high as 50%”5
As testosterone decreases, estrogen increases.
It can be difficult to know whether one is suffering from high estrogen or low testosterone. In reality, they are two sides of the same coin and they go hand in hand.
Middle-aged men likely suffer from both decreased testosterone and increased estrogen. The medical term for this condition is andropause.
Andropause is the most common hormonal imbalance in men.
Sometimes called male menopause, andropause occurs when hormonal ratios are out of step. With too much estrogen and too little testosterone, men may experience decreased masculinity.
Unlike menopause, which comes on quickly and robs a woman of her fertility, andropause is a gradual decline that will not always completely take away male fertility. However, it can reduce and, in rare cases, terminate male fertility.
Thankfully, for the aging gentlemen, there are ways to reverse or improve hormonal imbalances.
Now, deciding which solution is right for you may be tricky to figure out. Some treatments may be very expensive or time-consuming. Others may be difficult to adhere to or downright impossible to follow. So, let’s break them down and figure out what is right for each and every one of us.
Stress also effects your body in numerous ways. Read through our post, “Lowering Chronic Stress May Be the Best Thing for Your Gains” to find out more.
Some men who experience hormonal imbalances may opt for hormonal replacement therapy. It is required to speak with a doctor before undergoing such a procedure.
In the second half of the 20th century, this treatment became popular among wealthy celebrities and the Hollywood elite.
However, it has been marred by controversy ever since because of its riskiness and many negative side effects.
Side effects attributed to hormone replacement therapy include:
- Acne outbreaks
- Frequent urination
- Shrunken testicles
- Lessened sleep quality or insomnia
- High blood pressure
- Impaired vision
- Blood clotting
- Chest pain
Some of these side effects can be quite serious, so be sure to consult a physician for more information.
Hormone replacement therapy is also the most invasive way to repair a hormonal imbalance.
Treatment can be applied in several ways:
- Injections – Generally, injections will occur in the buttocks. Sometimes injections will occur in the thigh. It may be necessary to have a doctor administer an injection every 2 weeks on average.
- Patches – Often applied to the stomach, back, thighs, or upper arms, patches must be taken as directed by a medical professional. It is common to put a patch on at night before bed and wear it for 24 hours at a time. It is important to avoid overexertion physically while wearing the patch and to keep the area dry.
- Topical gel – This gel is applied directly to the skin. Be sure to clean and dry the area of skin thoroughly before applying. Do not allow others to contact the treated area of the skin because the gel can spread after contact, sometimes causing severe reactions.
Hormone replacement therapy can be effective in extreme situations.
It requires aid and approval from medical professionals. Also, it can be extremely expensive.
Diet can significantly affect testosterone production. Processed carbohydrates and sugars can be killers of healthy testosterone levels. Avoiding alcohol and sweets is key.
In order to promote testosterone production, men should focus on eating healthy fats, meats, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
A testosterone promoting diet should include:
- Fish or chicken
- Olive oil
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Kale
Consistently focusing on your diet can improve and even reverse hormonal imbalances. But we have to stress consistency and patience are key.
Lifting weights can spur healthy hormonal levels for men. Endurance training, like running or cycling, is also great.
As the body is pushed to its limits, it will naturally react in a way that is conducive to hormonal balance. It boils down to evolution. Over millions of years, our physiologies have learned to sink or swim.
If you push your body physically, your muscles will respond to the stress. Your body will need to improve testosterone levels to meet this challenge.
Again, consistency and patience are key. It may take a few months before you see significant results.
For many guys, this may be a lifestyle change. There will be low points, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Overcoming low points is crucial to commitment in the gym.
Health supplements can be a great addition to a health program.
They require zero prescription, have no negative side effects, and they work.
Ideally, you should take a testosterone booster and an estrogen blocker.
The best dietary supplements are the ones that:
- Use a U.S. patented formula
- Have proven results
- Contain all-natural ingredients
- Offer money-back guarantees
If you’re interested in dietary supplements, then check out what PrimeGENIX has to offer. Testodren is an all-natural testosterone booster. It can be paired with DIM3X, a dual-patented aromatase blocker. Together, they fight hormonal imbalances from both sides.
Hormonal imbalances are all too common in men. Often, they can have devastating effects on health and vitality.
The good news is that they can be managed.
We’d discourage most men from seeking hormone replacement therapy. It can have some damaging side effects and it’s expensive. Not to mention the overly invasive procedures.
We’d encourage focusing on diet and exercise as well as the addition of dietary supplements to round out your regimen. These are not overnight fixes, but they can get you back to being an alpha male.
Keep your head down and stay committed. With some help, we can stem the tide of aging-related hormonal imbalances.