Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone with numerous important functions throughout the body. In addition to its well-known roles in male reproductive health including sperm count and libido, it also has an anabolic effect on the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and bone density. Recent research suggests that testosterone plays a role in the maintenance of cognitive function throughout the aging process, and that healthy testosterone levels may play a role in the prevention of age-related dementia and cardiovascular function. Lower levels of testosterone in older men have been associated with declining overall mental health, including decreased cognitive performance and depression.
Testosterone levels typically peak in men in their late 20’s and gradually decline from age 30 onward. Recent research, however, suggests that male testosterone levels are declining across the board, at a rate greater than expected even after age is taken into account. In 1988 men over 50 had higher serum testosterone concentrations than did comparable 50 year old men in 1996, suggesting that factors other than age are contributing to this decline.
Symptoms of low testosterone can be hard to identify as they often overlap with signs of adrenal insufficiency. If dad is experiencing any of the below symptoms, a baseline free testosterone level could help guide treatment:
- Decreased libido
- Decreased muscle mass
- Decreased flexibility
- Burned out feeling
- Sore muscles
- Increased joint pain
- Neck or back pain
- Bone loss
- Thinning skin
- Rapid aging
- Aches and pains
- Decreased erections
The evidence for maintaining healthy testosterone levels is clear, the obvious solution being testosterone supplementation, but because testosterone is classified as a Schedule III drug requiring a prescription from a doctor, its availability is limited. Providers often wonder what other means are available to naturally boost testosterone levels in men whose levels are low and suboptimal. The following suggestions are a good place to start:
The androgen DHEA is a prohormone, or precursor, to testosterone; supplementing can help to boost testosterone levels significantly. Keep in mind that DHEA is also a prohormone for estradiol, so regular testing is important to both establish a baseline hormone level as well monitor levels during treatment.
Herbs such as tribulus terrestris, eurycoma longifolia and epimedium can help to boost testosterone directly.
The bioflavonoids luteolin, resveratrol and chrysin, as well as zinc, can serve as “aromatase inhibitors”, which block the enzyme aromatase that converts testosterone into estradiol. It’s always a good idea to supplement with an aromatase inhibitor when supplementing with testosterone and DHEA.
Saw palmetto is a 5 Alpha Reductase inhibitor which blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT, thus contributing to the preservation of testosterone levels. Progesterone also has a weak 5-alpha reductase effect.
Stinging nettles binds to Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), interfering with SHBG’s ability to bind to testosterone, thus freeing up testosterone’s availability to tissues.
Establishing healthy testosterone levels will give dad the boost he needs to enjoy all that summer has to offer.
Need Help or have questions? Call me Frank Nuber (636) 278-6561
From Labrix newsletter 0616
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