Men and Testosterone - How to Support Testosterone Levels Naturally

men's health_fertility_naturally balance testosterone

The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been on the rise in this country as Americans seek improved health and longevity. According to the Grand View Research group based out of San Francisco, the HRT market size in 2012 was estimated at 15.1 billion people. This estimate is based on pharmaceutical sales of hormones and is expected to increase at an annual rate of 8.2%.

 Both men and women seek advice about hormone replacement from healthcare professionals every day. When I was in practice years ago, almost all my patients looking to receive HRT were menopausal women. More recently, especially in the past 10 years, I have noticed an increase in men who are seeking medical advice for HRT. Unlike menopause, which generally occurs in a predictable time period, changes in male reproductive hormones usually occur gradually, throughout life. It is estimated that after the age of 40, men experience up to a 3% decrease in circulating total testosterone every year. One longitudinal study reported that low testosterone levels occur in 20% of men over the age of 60.

 To date, no studies have linked testosterone replacement therapy to increased risk of prostate cancer, however, controversy remains regarding this issue. Before receiving any testosterone therapy, it is crucial that you request that your free and total testosterone and prostate specific antigen (PSA) is evaluated prior to initiating treatment. In a review this year, the Journal of Clinical Oncology stated that testosterone replacement therapy is safe following radical prostatectomy. However, the use of testosterone replacement therapy in untreated prostate cancer remains highly controversial.

Tip #1 - Sleep: Men that do not get enough sleep may see as much as a 15% reduction in testosterone levels. Men with sleep apnea have been shown to have reduced levels of testosterone.

KEY RECOMENDATIONS:

  • Get adequate sleep: 7-8 hours
  • Consider a sleep study if you snore loudly or make gasping sound in your sleep

Tip #2 - Weight: Men who are overweight (obese) convert more to estrogen and generally have lower levels of testosterone.

KEY RECOMENDATIONS:

  • Keep weight under control or lose weight.
  • Studies suggest body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 lowers testosterone levels.

Tip #3 - Botanicals: Some herbs have been shown to increase testosterone.

 KEY RECOMENDATIONS:

  •  Withania somnifera (ashwagandha)

Taking this botanical every day has been shown to improve depression, reduce anxiety, increase muscle strength, and potentially increase serum testosterone.

  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Research shows that fenugreek is a safe and effective treatment for reducing symptoms of possible androgen deficiency, improves sexual function and increases serum testosterone in healthy middle-aged to older men.

  • Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii)

This root is a vegetable and research support the use of this food (powder) to enhance male sexual health including fertility and libido.

Article by: Timothy Schwaiger, ND

To discuss how you can balance your hormones naturally, schedule an appointment at Bastyr Center for Natural Health (Seattle) or Bastyr University Clinic (San Diego) today. 

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