From the late thirties men’s testosterone levels slowly begin to decline. The change is gradual but by the time men reach their fifties, up to 30% will experience symptoms of low testosterone. Other hormones begin affecting this relative decline in testosterone.
Symptoms of low testosterone:
Symptoms of low testosterone are varied and include loss of libido, depression, sexual dysfunction, issues with prostate function and cardiovascular issues.
Testosterone deficiency is made worse by the rise of other hormones. Namely oestrogen and dihydrotesterone (DHT). DHT plays a part in enlarged prostate as well as acne and male-pattern baldness. Oestrogen can also encourage prostate growth too.
Other physiological factors contribute to this hormonal imbalance and these are factors over which you have some control.
1. Insulin resistance:
When the cells of your body are no longer sensitive to insulin this leads to insulin resistance. This condition increases levels of oestrogen in the cells and contributes to the decline of testosterone. Also, weight gain acts as a reservoir of oestrogen as it is stored in the adipose tissue. Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced by eating meals containing good quality fats and protein is key to preventing insulin resistance as is avoiding sugary foods and starchy carbohydrates.
Constant stress – emotional or physical will lead to elevated cortisol levels. This will impact on blood sugar levels and can lead to insulin resistance. It also means your body is busy making more ‘stress’ hormones and so has less capacity to make sex hormones like testosterone.
3. Energy production:
If cellular energy production is compromised due to poor thyroid function then testosterone levels will suffer. Even sub-clinical issues with thyroid function might impact on sex hormone production. If you suffer with cold extremities, weight gain, poor concentration or live in an area where fluoride is added to your water supply consider running a simple temperature test to find out if your thyroid function is affected.
4. Liver function:
If liver function is poor it might mean that your not producing enough cholesterol to manufacture enough hormones. This may well be an issue if you take cholesterol-lowering medication.