Did you know that testosterone starts to decline 1-2% yearly from about 30 years of age?
Poor dietary choices, bad lifestyle choices, exposures, lack of exercise and increased stress is resulting in men in their 20s and 30s seeing this process sped up.
Male factor infertility is 30% of the cause between couples. Yes, that is right, it isn’t all just the women. If you’re looking to conceive both partners need to be considering preconception care at least 3 months out for improved pregnancy outcomes.
Why at least 3 months out? Sperm takes approximately 74 days to mature.
Where are androgens made in men?
- more than 95% of testosterone is made in the testicles
- 80% of DHEA is made in the adrenals
- 20% of DHEA is made in the testicles
- 100% of DHEAS is made in the adrenals
What are some of the symptoms of an imbalance of men’s hormones?
- weight gain
- low motivation
- low mood
- sexual dysfunction
- loss of muscle strength
- enlarged prostate
- fertility issues
What does Testosterone do?
- improves energy, mood, and motivation
- increases body mass, muscle strength and is important in bone health
- important for a healthy sex drive and sperm formation
Why does Testosterone decrease?
- increased aromatisation to estrogen – testosterone converts to estrogen with an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase likes to hang out in fat tissue. Therefore the more fat you have, the more estrogen you have. It’s a bit of a cycle because this leads to more fat gain. Aromatisation also increases with increased insulin and stress.
- zinc deficiency
- vitamin D deficiency
- low cholesterol levels
- elevated SBHG
- environmental toxins eg BPA
- opioid pain medications
- heat in the testicle area
- steroid use (performance and corticosteroids)
What causes increased Testosterone?
- increased growth hormone levels
- resistance training/HIIT
- low levels of SHBG
What is 5a-Reductase and DHT?
These are enzymes found in the reproductive tract, gonads, skin and nervous system. They convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is more potent than testosterone., 2-5 times stronger. If testosterone goes down this pathway at an increased rate, the side effects can be acne, hair loss on the head, prostate problems and anger. It is more optimal the hormones go done the 5b-reductase pathway which is less androgenic (The DUTCH test assesses which pathway the body is preferring).
What does Estrogen do?
Estrogen in men is mostly made via aromatisation as mentioned earlier. Increases levels can be seen with excess insulin, excess fat, increased stress and alcohol.
Symptoms of high estrogen include:
- low mood
- low libido
- breast development
- erectile dysfunction
- weight gain
Treatment and Management Strategies
If you think you have an imbalance, always address the cause. Test to determine exactly what is going on for you. Low androgens may be improved with strategies using resistance training, intermittent fasting, zinc and/or maca powder. It is also important to reduce aromatisaion. With both high androgens and high estrogen remember the liver detoxifies hormones out of the body. Therefore it is important with any hormonal condition to ensure your liver pathways are working optimally. Always eliminate and reduce your exposure to environmental toxins.
If you’d like help getting your hormones into balance book in for a consult and DUTCH test. Don’t guess, know :)