By Amanda Box
Low testosterone is one of those subjects that is typically whispered under someone’s breath. Its lack of recognition is comparable to “erectile dysfunction.” It is as if higher testosterone has become synonymous with masculinity!
But, there is absolutely no reason for this subject to be so hush, hush! A decline of testosterone as men age is as normal as its increase during puberty! It happens to EVERYONE!! So now that I’ve tried my best to relieve the stigma, let’s talk about low testosterone. What causes it, what are its symptoms, and how do you remedy it naturally?
The Causes of Low Testosterone
Like I stated above, low testosterone does come with age. Men as early as 40 can start feeling the effects of low testosterone. Some have labeled it “Male Menopause” or “Andropause.” Whatever you want to call it, it is real and it definitely deserves more attention.
But, low-T is not entirely simple. Let me explain.
- Age doesn’t just equal a lower production in free testosterone.
- It is the shift in the hormone production cycle that ultimately reduces testosterone.
As a man ages, the enzyme that converts his free testosterone into DHT (di-hydroxy testosterone) becomes more prevalent. You may recognize the hormone DHT, especially if you’re lacking in the hair department. Excess DHT likes to bond to both hair follicles and the prostate to can cause baldness and prostate problems. This conversion leaves less free testosterone in the body and more DHT, which is not a healthy balance.
Estrogen is another hormone that competes with free testosterone. If a man has too much estrogen, it tells the brain to turn the production of testosterone down. Everyone has seen a man with too much estrogen. Many times they look “soft” and may have visible breasts and a protruding belly.
What causes the spike in estrogen? Well, the cause can also be the effect – and vice versa. Stored fat from overeating can trigger the body to convert more of its testosterone to estrogen. Once the balance of estrogen is too high, the overall production of testosterone decreases.
The opposite can also happen. Estrogenic compounds exposed to or ingested, can cause the body to grow breasts and store excess fat. Again, the rise in estrogen turns down the production of testosterone. This is why, many times, just supplementing with testosterone may not fix anything. Balancing all the hormones is key, not just increasing testosterone.
Estrogenic compounds (xenoestrogens) are everywhere and are dangerous for anyone to be exposed to – man, woman, or child. They can cause hormone disruptions which precludes many health problems. Some examples of products containing xenoestrogens include:
- Any food containing soy
- Fabric Softeners
- Plastic Containers
Before I list the obvious symptoms of low testosterone, I want to remind you again that every man will experience it in his lifetime. Symptoms or no symptoms, you may have low testosterone. I believe it is important for every man to get his testosterone levels checked in his 50s. There is more and more research coming out confirming the connection between low testosterone and the increased likelihood of many diseases and even death.
Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and her colleagues at the University of California San Diego tracked 800 men in California with ages ranging from 50-91. They concluded from their study that men with low testosterone had a 33% greater risk of death over the next 18 years of their live, than men with higher testosterone.
Many other studies have been performed connecting low testosterone to a whole host of health problems. Those include:
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