Menopause Happens To Guys Too – The Truth About Andropause
Written by: Greg Ashby
Are you irritable, constantly angry or short tempered? Do you get “grumpy old man” syndrome? Are you fatigued, have loss of energy, loss of concentration or feel overstressed? Do you feel you have lost your motivation to perform on the job – or even in the bedroom?
Well, you could have Low T, or andropause (take this Low T quiz to help determine how severe your symptoms could be).
A basic description of andropause is low testosterone (Low T). But it goes deeper than this – Low T involves estrogen, insulin and cortisol.
“Estrogen? But I’m a male.”
Is there a role of estrogen in males?
In 1988, it was discovered that estradiol (E2) was an important factor for the production and development of mature sperm as well as for bone formation and lipid (fat) metabolism. Newer research on estrogen in males show it is involved in reducing coronary disease.
Now, for the other side of the coin…
Excess estrogen is a risk factor in prostate cancer and autoimmune diseases. As mentioned above, estrogen has a protective effect on the vascular smooth muscle of the cardiovascular system. Estrogen aids in brain function by converting testosterone into estradiol as needed. Estrogen also modulates the immune system in males.
Here is a sad, but true report appearing in Salon magazine:
Peter McAllister stated that males are becoming the weaker sex.
- Men are more likely to develop coronaries.
- Men are more likely to have strokes.
- Men are more likely to be obese.
- Men are more likely to die of cancer.
- Male menopause – andropause is on the rise.
- Men are having rapidly declining infertility rates and lowered sperm counts.
Now, hormone changes are a very natural part of aging. Women can and often do experience slow to rapid changes in hormones. But in men, these changes – decreased sexual function, increased belly fat, energy levels and mood changes – are slow enough, that they often go unnoticed over time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, men tend to be less aware of subtle body changes. Because of these subtle changes, the depression, weight gain and loss of libido are just often seen as normal signs of aging. The research clearly shows there are 3 major factors driving andropause. Some on the minor factors are environmental toxins, such xenoestrogens and the estrogens found in some foods.
The “Big 3” Include:
- Cortisol/Stress connection
Too much stress elevates your cortisol levels. This chronic state disrupts your metabolic system so that your glucocorticoid receptors become resistant. Therefore, your body is in a chronic state of inflammation.
This also signals your cells to store fat. The danger comes when the fat tends to accumulate in your belly, called visceral fat, found behind your abdominal muscles – keeping your body inflamed, triggering insulin resistance and therefore, metabolic syndrome.
The signs of high cortisol levels in men:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune response
- Metabolic syndrome
- Adrenal burnout/fatigue, which can also be a condition of the thyroid
Some of main symptoms of insulin resistance are:
- Weight Gain/obesity (fat cells release estradiol, which can further the cycle)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Fatty liver (NAFLD)
- Type II diabetes
- Cardio artery disease
- Dementia/alzheimer’s (coined “type III diabetes”)
All of the “Big 3” conditions can impact the liver. Other factors that can alter liver function and elevate estrogen are:
- Deficiency of zinc
- Alcohol overuse/abuse
- Certain drugs that can cause estrogen imbalance
- Imbalances in cortisol
Too much insulin in males increases aromatization, the normal conversion of testosterone to estrogen. The Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in carbs, leads to elevated insulin and, because of aromatization, it increases estrogen and decreases testosterone.
You know this picture: lounging on the couch, watching the game, drinking beer, eating chips… done regularly, this is leading you right towards andropause.
Now, here are some solutions:
- Minimize refined grains and sugar
- Reduce beer intake to aid liver function
- Start moving your diet towards a low glycemic/low carb diet (50 to 100 grams only)
- Consider intermittent fasting (works best if you’re under age 50)
- Increase your vegetable intake
- Moderate your fruit intake
- Increase omega 3 intake
- Increase monounsaturated fats
- Increase nuts and seeds intake
- Eat pumpkin-tomato soup (add pumpkin seeds to this recipe)
Supplement and herbal aids:
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Berberine containing herbs: coptis, oregon grape root, California poppy, etc.
- Liver supporting herbs: milk thistle, turmeric, artichoke extract such as in the product LivRx
- Tongkat ali
- Muira puama
- Panax ginseng
- American ginseng
The first thing every man – regardless of age – needs to take responsibility for is taking charge of his health. The fact is that Low T and elevated estrogen is toxic to the body and shouldn’t be ignored.
If you need assistance in this area, please contact me.
Integrative Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Consultant
at Ask Dr. Garland
Greg Ashby, CHHC, AADP lives in Ogden, Utah and is an Integrative Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Consultant. Greg has been in the Health and Wellness industry for over 20 years.
Because of his personal experience with Adrenal and Thyroid disorders, as well as Cancer, he’s committed to the areas of Autoimmunity and Cancer prevention and management when it comes to research and his work. He enjoys studying the Psychology of Eating and Behavioral Disorders.
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