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Men's Hormones

Information and Natural Treatment Options

Why Men's Hormones Matter

Hormones play a vital role in a man’s overall well-being, impacting everything from mood and energy to muscle strength and sexual function and fertility.

When we look at all over health and vitality, there are some specific nutrients that should be addressed, as well as hormonal levels and organ function.

In this article, we will explore both medical and natural approaches to optimise men’s hormone levels, as well as testing suggestions to help you monitor your hormonal health.

Men's health is much more complex than optimising testosterone alone.

Hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate various bodily functions, and they play a critical role in men’s health and well-being. While often associated with women’s health, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone also have important functions in men, alongside testosterone and cortisol. 

1. Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, and it plays a fundamental role in male development, reproduction, and overall health.

  • Development: Testosterone contributes to the development of male sexual characteristics during puberty, such as facial hair, deepening of the voice, and increased muscle mass.

  • Sexual Function: It is essential for maintaining sexual function, including libido and the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.

  • Muscle and Bone Health: Testosterone helps maintain muscle mass, bone density, and red blood cell production.

2. Estrogen

Estrogen is often considered a female hormone, but men also have small amounts of estrogen, and it serves several vital functions.

  • Bone Health: Estrogen is involved in maintaining bone density, and lower estrogen levels in men can contribute to osteoporosis.

  • Cardiovascular Health: It may help protect against cardiovascular disease by supporting healthy blood vessel function.

  • Brain and Mood: Estrogen can influence mood and cognitive function, and its balance with other hormones is important for mental health.

3. Progesterone

Progesterone is another hormone typically associated with women’s reproductive health. In men, it exists in smaller quantities but still has significance.

  • Immune System Support: Progesterone has immune-modulating properties that can help support the immune system’s functions.

  • Neuroprotection: Some research suggests that progesterone may have neuroprotective effects, potentially benefiting brain health.

  • Boosts other hormones: Progesterone can be used as a building block to make other hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone.

4. Cortisol

Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” and is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress and low blood glucose levels. While cortisol is present in both men and women, it is crucial for men’s hormonal balance.

  • Stress Response: Cortisol plays a central role in the body’s stress response, helping to regulate energy and reduce inflammation during stressful situations.

  • Metabolism: It influences metabolism and the body’s use of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

  • Immune System: Cortisol has immune-regulatory properties and helps to modulate the immune response.

  • Inflammation: Cortisol is a potent anti-inflammatory, and if levels are low due to long term and relenting stress, pain and inflammatory process can become unchecked.

Symptoms

Here are common symptoms of hormonal changes in men to be aware of. It is important that your practitioner runs thorough testing to discover the real reasons behind the symptoms – and not just assume they are due to low testosterone just because of your age and presenting symptoms.

The Often Missed THYROID Connection

Sadly standard medical testing of thyroid misses early and intermediate disease progression due to the overly generous reference ranges used to determine disease manifestation.

Hypothyroidism causes a big increase in Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), which binds to testosterone making it unavailable to the body for use. Even a suboptimal thyroid will affect hormonal balance of the entire endocrine system.

Check the THYROID Symptoms Below. 

  • Tiredness &
  • Sluggishness
  • Dryer Hair or Skin
  • Sleep More Than Usual
  • Weaker Muscles
  • Constant Feeling of Cold
  • Frequent Muscle Cramps
  • Poorer Memory
  • More Depressed
  • Slower Thinking
  • Puffier Eyes
  • Difficulty with Math
  • Hoarse or Deeper Voice
  • Muscle / Joint Pain
  • Low Sex Drive / Impotence
  • Puffy Hands and Feet
  • Unsteady Gait
  • Gain Weight Easy
  • Outer Third of Eyebrows sparse hair
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Decreased appetite
  • Heart palpitations
  • Bad Digestion and bloating
  • Loose bowels, especially when under stress
  • Anxiety
  • Sweaty palms and armpits
  • Insomnia
  • Increased irritability
  • Brittle Nails
  • Shakiness
  • Constipation
  • Coarse Hair/Hair Loss/Brittle Hair

Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Health

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of interconnected risk factors that significantly increase the likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Understanding this syndrome and its impact on cardiovascular health is crucial for prevention and management.

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, an individual typically exhibits three or more of the following characteristics:

Abdominal Obesity: Excess fat in the abdominal region, often indicated by an increased waist circumference.

High Blood Pressure: Elevated blood pressure levels, which can strain the cardiovascular system.

High Blood Sugar: Elevated fasting blood sugar or insulin resistance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

High Triglycerides: Elevated levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood.

Low HDL Cholesterol: Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “good” cholesterol.

Metabolic syndrome significantly elevates the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.

The Role of Hormones on Calcium Scores

The role of hormones, particularly sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, on male calcium scores is an area of interest in cardiovascular health research. Calcium scoring is a non-invasive imaging technique used to assess the amount of calcium buildup in the coronary arteries, and it is a marker for atherosclerosis, a condition characterised by the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Here’s how hormones, especially testosterone and estrogen, can influence male calcium scores:

  1. Testosterone:

    • Protective Effect: Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, has a potential protective effect on the cardiovascular system. Higher testosterone levels in men have been associated with a reduced risk of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.

    • Enhanced Endothelial Function: Testosterone may improve endothelial function, which is essential for healthy blood vessel function. A well-functioning endothelium helps maintain the integrity of the arterial walls and reduces the risk of plaque buildup.

    • Positive Lipid Profile: Testosterone can influence lipid metabolism, potentially leading to a more favorable lipid profile, including lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, which are risk factors for atherosclerosis.

  2. Estrogen:

    • Estrogen in Men: While estrogen is typically associated with female hormones, men also have small amounts of estrogen. It plays a role in maintaining bone health and cardiovascular function.

    • Cardioprotective Effects: Estrogen can have cardioprotective effects in both men and women. It may help maintain healthy blood vessel function and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

    • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Estrogen has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the arterial walls, potentially slowing the development of atherosclerosis.

  3. Hormonal Balance:

    • Optimal Balance: A balance between testosterone and estrogen is essential for overall health. When hormonal imbalances occur, they can contribute to cardiovascular issues. For example, low testosterone levels relative to estrogen may increase the risk of atherosclerosis.

    • Aging and Hormones: As men age, there is a natural decline in testosterone levels, which can affect cardiovascular health. Understanding the aging-related hormonal changes is essential for managing heart health.

It’s important to note that while hormones play a role in cardiovascular health, other factors, such as genetics, lifestyle, diet, and physical activity, also significantly influence calcium scores and the risk of atherosclerosis.

Inflammation and Weight Gain

Understanding the connections between inflammation, leptin, and weight gain in men involves delving into the intricate process of aromatisation. Aromatisation is the conversion of androgens, such as testosterone, into estrogens, specifically estradiol. This process occurs in various tissues, primarily in adipose (fat) tissue, and plays a significant role in hormonal balance and body composition.

The Aromatisation Process:

Androgen Hormones: Testosterone is a key androgen hormone produced in the testes in men. It’s associated with male characteristics, including muscle mass and body hair. In the context of weight management, testosterone can help regulate metabolism and contribute to maintaining muscle mass.

Aromatase Enzyme: Aromatisation is facilitated by the enzyme aromatase, which is found in various tissues, including adipose tissue. Aromatase catalyzes the conversion of androgens like testosterone into estrogens, primarily estradiol. This enzymatic conversion is a natural process that occurs in both men and women, but is accelerated with increase in BMI and in particular, body fat percentage.

Estrogen Production: As a result of aromatisation, the production of estrogens, such as estradiol, increases in the body. While men typically have lower estrogen levels than women, aromatisation ensures that men still maintain a certain amount of estrogen for essential physiological functions. Our current environment has seen a dramatic shift to men holding higher levels of estrogen in their body, creating a catalyst for many physiological changes.

Aromatase activity and its impact on Male Hormones

High aromatase activity in men can lead to an overproduction of estrogen, a condition often referred to as estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance in men can cause a variety of symptoms due to the imbalance between estrogen and testosterone levels. Some common symptoms of high aromatase activity and elevated estrogen levels in men include:

  1. Gynecomastia: Enlargement of breast tissue in men, leading to breast tenderness and swelling.
  2. Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, which can impact sexual performance.
  3. Infertility: High estrogen levels can affect sperm production and fertility in men.
  4. Fatigue: Feeling tired and lacking energy, which can affect overall quality of life.
  5. Decreased Libido: Reduced interest in sexual activity and decreased sexual drive.
  6. Mood Swings: Changes in mood, including increased irritability, moodiness, and emotional sensitivity.
  7. Weight Gain: Estrogen dominance can contribute to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and hips.
  8. Water Retention: Retaining excess fluids, leading to bloating and swelling, especially in the hands and feet.
  9. Hair Loss: Thinning of hair and male pattern baldness, although other factors can also contribute to hair loss.
  10. Prostate Issues: High estrogen levels might contribute to the development or progression of prostate problems.
  11. Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, leading to poor sleep quality.
  12. Reduced Muscle Mass: Estrogen dominance can interfere with muscle growth and maintenance, leading to reduced muscle mass and strength.

Here are some common reasons this enzyme can cause increased conversion of testosterone into estrogen:

Aging: As men age, their testosterone levels may decline, and the ratio of estrogen to testosterone can shift. Aromatase activity might increase with age, leading to a relative increase in estrogen levels.

Obesity: Adipose (fat) tissue contains aromatase. Therefore, individuals with excess body fat, especially around the abdomen, can have higher aromatase activity. This can result in higher estrogen levels in men.

Environmental Factors: Exposure to environmental pollutants, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and certain medications can influence aromatase activity. These factors can lead to hormonal imbalances, affecting estrogen levels in men.

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): Exposure to EDCs, found in plastics, pesticides, and some personal care products, can interfere with hormone balance, including aromatase activity.

Phthalates: These chemicals are often found in plastic products, and exposure to phthalates has been linked to increased aromatase activity.

Heavy Metals: Exposure to heavy metals like lead and cadmium, often found in contaminated water and polluted environments, can disrupt hormone regulation and potentially affect aromatase activity.

Pesticides and Herbicides: Agricultural chemicals, such as organophosphates and atrazine, have been associated with alterations in hormone levels, including increased aromatase activity.

Bisphenol A (BPA): BPA is a chemical found in some plastics and food containers. It can leach into food and beverages, potentially affecting hormone balance, including aromatase activity.

Dietary Factors:

High Fat Diet: Diets high in unhealthy fats, especially saturated and trans fats, can lead to obesity and increase aromatase activity, as adipose (fat) tissue contains aromatase.

Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol intake can increase aromatase activity, leading to higher estrogen levels.

Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates: Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are associated with higher aromatase activity.

Low Fiber Intake: Diets low in fiber can lead to imbalances in gut bacteria, potentially affecting hormone metabolism, including aromatase activity.

Soy-Based Products: Soy contains compounds called phytoestrogens, which can mildly mimic estrogen in the body. While the impact of soy on aromatase activity is debated, some studies suggest that high soy consumption might influence estrogen levels.

It’s important to note that while these factors might influence aromatase activity, individual responses can vary, and the impact of these factors on hormone levels can be complex. Adopting a balanced, healthy diet and minimising exposure to environmental pollutants are generally good practices for overall well-being. If you have concerns about your hormone levels, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for personalised guidance and appropriate testing. You can book a free 15-minute consultation at TLRC to discuss your health situation and find the necessary steps to optimise your health.

Our Recommended Testing

From a Functional Health perspective, we are not trying to diagnose a disease but to understand what is driving your symptoms in order to base treatment on your individual needs. Therefore, further testing is used to under the complete picture behind the symptoms. We aim to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.

Thyroid Profile

FASTING BLOOD
TEST

This panel tests 8 markers which is essential to understanding the function of your thyroid, your metabolism and any inflammation that is present in the body. 

Halide Profile

24 HOUR URINARY IODINE LOADING EXCRETION TEST

Bromide blocks iodine absorption in the body creating a state of ill health. Iodine has proven a useful supplement when given appropriately to boost testosterone, improve prostate growth rate, and improve energy.

Stress & Sleep Profile

DIURNAL SALIVARY CORTISOL TEST

Our Sleep and Stress test is a sensitive saliva test to identify the status of your diurnal and nocturnal patterns.

Sugar & Fat Storage

FASTING BLOOD
TEST

Essential screening for metabolic markers. Low blood sugar and insulin resistance cause adrenal problems, energy fluctuations, weight concerns, and diabetes risks.

Cardiovascular Profile

FASTING BLOOD
TEST

Elevate your cardiovascular health with our comprehensive profile. Gain valuable insights into your heart health, risk factors, and personalized recommendations for a healthier life.

Metabolic Markers

FASTING BLOOD
TEST

Metabolic Markers assess energy, metabolism, and detoxification. Uncover crucial insights into your metabolic health, tailored recommendations for optimal well-being.

Detox Profile

FASTING BLOOD
TEST

This profile assesses your detoxification status and liver function, allowing us to properly support better toxin clearance from your body.

Sex Hormone Profile

FASTING BLOOD
TEST

Key hormones are tested – testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone to understand your ratios and guide the correct treatment strategy.

Food Intolerance Profile

NON-FASTING BLOOD TEST

A simple blood test will identify foods that trigger inflammation. The long-term goal of this test is to eventually correct the intolerance to safely consume trigger foods again.

Treatment Options for Male Hormone Imbalance

Medical Treatments

Medical treatment options for men with hormone imbalance typically are hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Listed are the most commonly prescribed medication for male hormone imbalances.

Discuss potential side effects and long-term consequences with your doctor. 

This list is not exhaustive and for educational purposes only.

This involves administering hormones like testosterone to bring hormone levels back to normal. It’s often used for conditions like hypogonadism or andropause.

This medication stimulates the body to produce more of its own testosterone. It’s used for men with low testosterone levels.

Medications like anti-estrogens may be prescribed to reduce the effects of excess estrogen, which can occur due to obesity or certain medications.

hCG can stimulate the testes to produce more testosterone and is sometimes used alongside other treatments.

These drugs block the conversion of testosterone into estrogen and may be used in cases of high estrogen levels.

In some cases, growth hormone therapy may be used to address growth hormone deficiencies that can affect overall hormonal balance.

If thyroid hormone levels are imbalanced, medications may be prescribed to regulate thyroid function.

For conditions such as Addison’s disease or other adrenal gland disorders, corticosteroid medications can be used to replace deficient hormones.

For individuals with diabetes, medications may be prescribed to manage blood sugar levels and maintain hormonal balance.

In certain cases, such as testicular or pituitary tumors affecting hormone production, surgical removal of the tumor may be necessary.

Integrative Treatments

Natural medicine treatment options for male hormone imbalance focus on improving hormonal balance through lifestyle changes and natural remedies. They can be beneficial for milder hormone imbalances or used alongside medical initerventions for better outcomes.

Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen. 

Some patients wish to try natural medicine first, before resorting to medications, in which case a fully holistic treatment model is designed for them based on current pathology, symptom picture, and history.

However you wish to proceed with your health is respected, and our trained and experienced practitioners will guide you each step the way.

Common deficiencies that contribute the symptoms and disease progression of male hormonal imbalances include zinc, iodine, vitamin D3, magnesium, B12, and active folate (L-Methylfolate). A functional health practitioner can test for vitamin and mineral deficiencies so these can be correctly treated.

A healthy diet and lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight is the best approach to improving chronic disease symptoms and managing long-term health.

  • Consume a well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, including lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
  • Prioritize foods high in zinc, such as oysters, nuts, and seeds, as zinc supports testosterone production.
  • Increase dietary fiber to help regulate insulin levels and reduce inflammation.

Weight loss when there is a metabolic disorder becomes seemingly impossible, yet all too often people are told to “just lose weight”. They reduce their calorie intake, and still find they don’t get the results. It takes a specialised approach to shift this type of hormonal weight – not just over doing exercise and starving yourself – in fact, this makes it worse.

The Lucy Rose Clinic specialises in helping people lose weight in hormonally changing conditions.

Botanical medicines assist in supporting the organs and systems in the body. There is no such thing as a singular hormone imbalance – the endocrine system is a network all talking to each other. Often many systems are out of balance – digestion (constipation), circulation (hair loss, feeling cold), blood sugars (sugar cravings, “hangry”), mood (depression, low motivation).

Certain herbs like ashwagandha, maca, and fenugreek may have potential benefits in supporting hormonal balance. Consult a healthcare provider before taking herbal supplements.

We run 3-point saliva testing to assess adrenal hormone function, and sleep/insomnia – then formulate a botanical medicine liquid specific to your needs. 

Sick of symptoms affecting your zest for life?

Book a free 15-minute consultation with one of our practitioners and find out how we can help you to optimise your hormonal status and feel great again with natural medicine. We can work alongside your current healthcare plan and medication to fine tune your plan even further – and get you feeling better!