Andropause & The Mid-Life Crisis (4)

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Natural Ways to Combat Loss Of Testosterone

The andropause, which is caused by a decrease in bio-available testosterone along with a sometimes dramatic increase in estradiol levels around the time of a man's middle ages, can have dramatic effects on his well-being. These are described elsewhere on this site.

The lowered levels of testosterone can be dealt with by the application of testosterone replacement therapy, but the issue of the increase in estradiol levels is somewhat more challenging.

However, there are many ways in which you might seek to change your hormonal profile, and these can reduce or reverse the symptoms of the andropause, especially if you are seeking to balance out the levels of testosterone and estradiol.

Many studies have shown that testosterone replacement therapy can reverse symptoms of the andropause, but many men may not wish to use testosterone until it is more widely accepted as a replacement therapy for men in mid-life. 

If you wish to optimize your testosterone level between 40 and 50 years, and enjoy the best physical and emotional health, then here are some specific suggestions:

1 Physical exercise can help to increase your testosterone levels.

Many research studies show that regular, high-intensity exercise can help to keep a man’s testosterone at the best, optimal levels for his age and health. For example, in 1999 one study demonstrated that heavy resistance training in men of all age groups affected their testosterone levels: in fact, men experienced a statistically significant raising of testosterone levels after exercise. And more recently, a 2001 study also showed that resistance training in middle-aged (in their forties) increased levels of free testosterone. It's important to understand that good health can be maintained by simple steps - keeping fit, easting the right diet. Conditions like gout, gallstones, and high cholesterol may be kept in check with the right remedies - and they are often simple - exercise, diet, stress reduction, and good sleep. Find out more here about gallstones.

2 Protein combats SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), helps maintain optimal testosterone levels.

Consuming adequate amounts of protein maintains both muscle mass and adequate levels of SHBG. In 2000, one study showed that diets low in protein in men between 40 and 70 could lead to increased levels of SHBG levels and a decrease in the availability of testosterone. As you may know, a decrease in the levels of bio-available testosterone may cause a decline in sexual function as well as muscle and red cell mass, not to mention the fact that it can contribute to a loss of bone density.

3 Soy and fish oil keep estradiol and SHBG levels under control

Men in mid life often experience an unhealthy increase in levels of SHBG and estradiol because of the activity of the aromatase enzyme converting testosterone into estradiol. Two recent Japanese studies suggest the ratio can be improved in favor of testosterone with relatively higher levels of soy intake, perhaps because soy inhibits the aromatase enzyme. Another Japanese study showed that EPA and DHA (fish oils) both reduced levels of SHBG in men of middle age and older. Certainly problems like gallstones can be a product of ageing. But then so can many problems, including gout, arthritis, and prostate problems. However, remedies are available for many of these issues. This site has some useful information - www.sexafter50.org - on a variety of conditions including gallstones food ideas.

4 Indole-3-carbinol helps to protect men from high estradiol levels and possibly prostate cancer.

Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is found in vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage, or which can be taken via supplements, may be very helpful for men both in that it reduces estrogen levels and it decreases the risk of prostate cancer. Increases in Indole-3-carbinol increases the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone, which effectively means there is an increase in good estrogen and a decrease in bad estrogen. This may be a factor in determining whether or not a man gets prostate cancer. The risk of clinically evident prostate cancer may be reduced.

5 Zinc is essential for optimal testosterone production.

Every man who is having trouble with his testosterone levels should be taking a zinc supplement, This mineral has a role to play in almost every aspect of a mans testosterone metabolism. It affects sperm motility, sperm formation and testosterone production. Infertile men given 60 mg of zinc daily for 45-50 days showed significantly increased levels of testosterone and sperm count rose a dramatic 250% - from 8 million to 20 million.

6. Chrysin is a natural aromatase inhibitor.

There is a bioflavonoid called chrysin which has been much discussed on the internet recently. It is a possible aromatase inhibitor. And it has found favor with the bodybuilding community who have used it as a way of boosting testosterone - when it inhibits aromatase less testosterone is converted into estradiol. However, it is poorly absorbed into the blood stream, and has not led to the effects that were once hoped. Some studies have shown that when it is combined with piperine, reductions in serum estradiol and corresponding increases in total and free testosterone can be seen within 30 days. In one study, in the Journal of Molecular Biology, chrysin and 10 other flavonoids were tested against an aromatase-inhibiting drug. Chrysin was shown to be the most powerful aromatase inhibitor. However, since it is not a patentable drug, it is not likely to get as much exposure as Arimidex®, a commercially available drug which inhibits aromatase.

If you prefer to use natural compounds rather than trying to convince a doctor to prescribe aromatase-inhibiting drugs not approved by the FDA as anti-aging therapy, there are some good natural alternatives - see below. (Arimidex® is used for estrogen-related breast cancer patients to prevent testosterone from aromatizing into estrogen.)

7 Nettle root produces more free testosterone by liberating “bound” testosterone.

Testosterone bound to serum globulin is obviously not available to cell testosterone receptor sites and does not induce sexual desire or higher libido. As testosterone binds to SHBG it loses its biochemical activity and is no longer the desirable form - free testosterone. As men age the ability of SHBG to bind testosterone increases by about 40% and this coincides with loss of libido and other symptoms of the andropause. Some studies suggest that decline in sexual interest with advancing years is more to do with increased binding of testosterone to SHBG. That would clearly explain the anomalous finding that some men who taking testosterone replacement therapy do not report increase in sex drive or other reductions in andropausal symptoms. Artificially administered testosterone bound by SHBG is not bio-available to tissue receptor sites where it could otherwise have a libido-enhancing effect. However, some constituents of nettle root bind to SHBG preferentially than testosterone, which actively increases the level of free testosterone.

8. Human Studies Using Combination Nutrients.

The Life Extension Foundation has sponsored clinical studies to look at the effects of specific supplements on free testosterone, estrogen, SHBG, and so forth. A formula called Super MiraForte has been produced by the Life Extension Foundation based on the results of these tests which combines chrysin, piperine, nettle root, muira puama, and other essential nutrients with powerful anti-ageing effects, and the ability to boost free testosterone and reduce the impact of estradiol in aging men. This is suitable for men who wish to avoid testosterone-boosting drugs and those designed to reduce estrogen or estradiol. Complete information is available at www.lef.org/test.

Other pages on the andropause

Andropause 1
Andropause 2 / midlife crisis
Andropause 3 / testosterone
Andropause 4 / testosterone
Testosterone therapy
Self help for the andropause

Other pages on this site

The-penis.com - home page
Masturbation and the penis
Male arousal and desire
Andropause: low testosterone
Orgasm and ejaculation
Male initiation: rites of passage
For gay or bi men
All about semen
The testicles and scrotum
Mature masculinity