Manopause – More than a Male Mid Life Crisis
If you are a grumpy old man there may be a genuine reason for it. You may be experiencing “Manopause”.
More accurately known as Andropause, this condition is a gradual decline in the production of the hormones testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in middle-aged men.
Approximately 30% of men in their 50’s will experience andropause. In Australia, findings have shown that approximately 1 in every 200 men under the age of 60 will have low testosterone.
In men over the age of 60, that figure increases to 1 in 10 men.
Despite the fact that andropause is not currently recognised by the World Health Organisation as a medical classification, the symptoms are genuine and distressing.
Lowered testosterone will produce symptoms of:
- Loss of Libido
- Irritability and nervousness
- A decrease of muscle mass and therefore strength
- Impaired memory and lack of concentration
- Hot flushes and sweating
Not only important for sexual function, the role of testosterone in the body is to regulate energy, increase red blood cell production and protect against osteoporosis.
Testosterone naturally starts to decline from the age of 35 – usually at a rate of 0.5% a year. Alongside this reduction is the simultaneous decrease in Leydig cells (cells within the testicle that secrete testosterone).
It is also possible for men to become testosterone resistant in their late 50s whereby the hormone level remains normal however the body is not able to respond to it.
To add insult to injury, there is often an accompanying increase in oestrogen levels. This occurs naturally as a result of the breakdown of testosterone – approximately 0.3% of testosterone is converted into estradiol.
Of larger concern is the exposure to xenoestrogens and their impact on the male body. Xenoestrogens are substances that mimic oestrogen and therefore attach themselves to the receptor sites.
Common sources of these xenoestrogens are plastic wraps and containers, canned foods, detergents, pesticides and herbicides. Some brands of beer will even contain xenoestrogens.
The resultant effect of all this oestrogen exposure is weight gain around the mid-section, breast enlargement, blood sugar imbalances (hypoglycaemia), mood disorders and even prostate or breast cancer.
Often the lack of libido or erectile dysfunction will initiate advice or treatment.
Instead of initially reaching for the Viagra prescription – do your homework and find out your hormonal health.
A routine blood test can identify the levels of serum testosterone. Of equal importance is measuring the “Free Testosterone” via a salivary test to accurately determine the total levels.
Where possible, have the blood sample taken in the morning as this is when testosterone is at its highest. Testosterone levels are also vulnerable to work stress and exercise.
Consequently two blood samples taken on different days is often recommended to allow for any significant variation.
Test also for DHEA levels, Thyroid function, Luteinising Hormone (LH), Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and Cortisol (Adrenal hormone). The Emed Baseline Hormone Profile Test will cover most of these tests.
Low testosterone levels are treated with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). These are commonly applied as patches or gels and can be administered as injections or via tablets and capsules.
This will be appealing for its “quick fix” result.
Be aware, however, that TRT can increase the risk for Prostate Cancer and produce some side effects such as acne, hair loss, sleep apnoea, breast soreness and fluid retention.
A concern also is its effect on red blood cell production. Testosterone can increase the concentration of red blood cells – a condition known as Polycythaemia – resulting in the potential for thromboembolic events (heart attacks, strokes or peripheral clotting in the veins.
Mention to women the “man cold” and there is a collective sigh of despair and eye-rolling. It appears, however, that we can not be so flippant about the impact of Andropause.
Some Doctors avoid using the term male menopause as they believe it to be an inaccurate term. Female menopause involves the cessation of the menstrual cycle whereas in Andropause there is no complete lack of testosterone but rather a gradual decline.
For some men (and their partners), however, acknowledging the effects of this hormone decline can be a relief. It isn’t a mere mid-life crisis or the inability to “get on with it” – there is a genuine deficiency impacting on health.
Much can be done to restore hormonal balance. Here are some tips to reclaim your health.
Eating a diet low in sugar, high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and protein is key. Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
A decline in testosterone promotes insulin resistance so make sure those blood sugar levels remain stable. A diet containing Health Promoting Nutrients can assist here.
A male specific multivitamin is essential in guaranteeing your body receives all vital nutrients on a daily basis.
Male Nutritional Support with Moducare is a male specific multivitamin supplement scientifically formulated to provide key nutrients important for maintaining men’s health and well-being.
Assess Your Stress
Just how well are you coping these days? Are you angry and irritable? Or are you instead progressively becoming sadder and more withdrawn? What is your current strategy for coping with stress? More importantly, is it actually working?
Smoking, alcohol, caffeine and sugar are commonly used as a temporary relief from stress. The resultant effects are a thoroughly depleted nervous system and worn out adrenal glands.
The nutrients most at risk here are Magnesium and B vitamins. Inadequate levels of protein will also significantly affect neurotransmitter health. There is much you can do to boost these nervous system nutrients without needing to take antidepressants.
Herbal and Nutritional Support for Adrenal Health is a formula designed to support adrenal health that benefits the body during times of stress and exhaustion.
Lose that spare tyre
The loss of muscle mass and subsequent gain in fat mass lead to a change in body composition. Weight gain can be further encouraged by the build-up of oestrogen.
Where possible, avoid exposure to those xenoestrogens – use glass bottles, paper bags and BPA free containers.
Supplements containing a combination of broccoli sprouts, chlorella, cysteine and MSM will actively metabolise excess oestrogen build-up and encourage its clearance.
Increase your exercise especially weight-bearing as this will help with naturally increasing testosterone production.
A sad fact about nutrition today is that our diet cannot adequately provide all key nutrients at optimal levels. Here is a list of those specific nutrients for Male Hormonal health:
- Increase your Anti-oxidants (Vitamins A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and Selenium) as these will protect testosterone from being destroyed.
- Essential Fatty Acids will maintain sperm and prostate health. Click here for Emed’s Best Fish Oils.
- Include B vitamins and Magnesium to restore nervous system health, reduce insulin resistance and promote cardiovascular health.
- Zinc, Zinc and more Zinc – without doubt the essential nutrient for all aspects of male health. It is crucial for a healthy mood, strong immunity and all phases of reproductive health. Click here for Emed’s Best Zinc supplements.
The herb Tribulus terrestris has been shown to increase serum testosterone in some patients with lowered levels.
Tribulus leaf extract gently stimulates the normal production of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary.
This leads the body to maintain testosterone at healthy levels and helps with male sexual function.
This herb increases male fertility by improving production of semen in the testes. A recent study showed a 61% increase in conception when after Tribulus was taken for a period of 6 months.
Tribulus Reproductive Support is a formulation including Tribulus, Vitamin C and E, Zinc, Selenium to support healthy sperm production and increase chances of conception.
Other positive effects of Tribulus for men include:
- Decreased erectile dysfunction
- Imroves sexual arousal
- Mood improvement
- Increases physical endurance
Tribulus is often referred to as ‘herbal viagra’ because of its effects on male sexual function and increased arousal. Tribulus Reproductive Support combines Tribulus, Horney Goat Weed, Damiana and Zinc to support healthy sexual function and rejuvenate the male reproductive system.