Hormonal Balance for Men

I have received several questions from men asking about how to increase or boost testosterone levels or lower estrogen, and this concerns me because many people don’t understand that this could actually be harmful.

Good sexual health is the result of good health, overall.

The human body produces approximately 50 hormones which engage with one another in complex ways, rather like players in an orchestra. If you tweak one hormone, you risk through the balance of several others off. For this reason, anyone who attempts to adjust their hormone levels without medical guidance is asking for problems.

Hormones are extremely powerful substances. Excess testosterone can cause problems with the functions of the heart and liver in men. Testosterone is an androgenic anabolic steroid. From Anabolic Steroids: Facts, Effects and Health Risks

The adverse effects associated with anabolic-androgenic steroids are dependent on the age and sex of the user, the amount used and the duration of use.

Typical side effects of legally prescribed normal-dose anabolic steroids may include acnefluid retention, gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts), increased red cell count and changes in cholesterol levels. Users should follow up with their prescribing clinician and take periodic blood tests to monitor for these effects. Studies of men taking physiological doses of AAS medications found no changes in aggressive behavior.

Additional side effects include hair growth, hair lossinfertility, changes in libido, decreases in HDL-cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) and increases in LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).

In adolescents, use of anabolic steroids can permanently stunt growth… In men, use of AAS can cause shrinkage of the testicles, enlargement of the male breast tissue and sterility. Anabolic steroid use can damage the liver and can cause an increase in cholesterol levels.

Testosterone/androgen hormone levels are used as an indicator of male health and obviously have implications for male sexual health (and in this context, more is not better if your level is already within normal limits).

More: The Side Effects of Too Much Testosterone – A Patient’s Perspective

If you are concerned your testosterone level is too low, or your estrogen level is too high, ask your doctor to run some blood tests. Once you know what your hormone levels are, you can take the appropriate action to maintain their balance.

Why Low Testosterone Levels May Be More Common

The following features of modern life may be contributing to declining testosterone levels in men:

  • an increase in sedentary lifestyles
  • an increase in obesity rates
  • an increase in prevalence of impaired sleep
  • increased exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals

On Estrogen Levels in Men

Men need to have estrogen in order to be healthy. It’s produced in small amounts by the adrenal glands and the testes. If more is needed to maintain the correct level, testosterone can be converted to estrogen by the enzyme aromatase. This gives your body the best ability to maintain strict control over sex hormone levels.


On Age-Related Changes

Production of testosterone and sensitivity to it increase during puberty. Men remain sensitive to testosterone throughout their lives, although the amount produced can vary. For example, testosterone levels in adolescent males can fluctuate significantly and should not automatically be a cause for concern.

Your body keeps your testosterone level within a certain range. The amount of your level can fluctuate over time, and the levels for individual men can be different (but still fall within the “normal range”).

When your total testosterone level is tested, the lab report will indicate the normal range they use for reference, which could look like the one below[*]:


Males0-5 months: 75-400 ng/dL

6 months-9 years: <7-20 ng/dL

10-11 years: <7-130 ng/dL

12-13 years: <7-800 ng/dL

14 years: <7-1,200 ng/dL

15-16 years: 100-1,200 ng/dL

17-18 years: 300-1,200 ng/dL

> or =19 years: 240-950 ng/dL

Two 25 year old men could have different results; Man A could have a level of 256 and Man B could have a level of 895 but they would both fall within the normal range. If Man A did the test again, he might get a result of 275 – a variation from the first result, but still within the normal range.

[*] Clinical: Testosterone, Total, Bioavailable, and Free, Serum

Men experience a slow decline in testosterone of about 1% per year from the age of 30, but among men of a given age, testosterone levels can vary a lot. Some men will experience symptoms of low testosterone; many/most do not.


Considerations for Hormone Balance

Before you take specific actions to balance your hormones, consider these potential contributing factors:

  • How much alcohol do you drink? Alcohol can lower testosterone and raises estrogen.
  • How much bottled water do you drink? The chemical BPA, used to modify texture in plastics and to line cans of food, is a known “endocrine disruptor”. Endocrine disruptors also include phthalates – additives that modify the texture of plastics – and perfluorinated compounds – used to make other materials stain- and stick- resistant.
  • How much do you weigh? Fat is not a metabolically inert tissue – it can affect hormone levels. Fat cells synthesize the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into a form of estrogen.
  • How active are you? Activities and exercise that increase your heart rate are associated with better (age-appropriate) hormone levels.
  • Inadequate quantity and quality of sleep can have negative impacts on testosterone levels.
  • Are you sexually active? Masturbation counts. Sexual activity promotes healthy hormone levels.
  • Excessive consumption of certain botanicals such as licorice, reishi mushrooms, green tea and spearmint can alter hormone levels.


Nutritional Approaches to Hormonal Balance

Two of the nutrients involved in testosterone production are zinc and vitamin D. Deficiencies of these nutrients will depress testosterone levels, however supplementation will not increase testosterone if zinc and/or vitamin D levels are normal. Ensuring dietary adequacy for these is easily accomplished by regularly consuming beef, lamb, pumpkin or sesame seeds, lentils, garbanzo beans, cold water fish such as salmon or tuna, milk, eggs, and shiitake mushrooms. Your body can also produce the vitamin D it needs when your skin is exposed to strong sunlight. Do not take supplements without medical supervision.

There are no diets that are designed to prevent low testosterone. You can eat any diet you like as long as you get enough healthy fatszinc and vitamin D. Do not take zinc supplements without medical supervision because you will increase the risk of a copper deficiency. Eating foods that contain zinc is perfectly safe.

The following foods have been found to have androgen-balancing activities: soy, green tea, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, avocados, nuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil.

Dietary intakes of flax seed and soy do not materially impact testosterone in most men. See More on the effects of flax for men [below].

Inositol is a nutrient falsely described as a B vitamin what has been found to lower testosterone levels in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It has not been found to have the same effects on testosterone levels in men.


More on the effects of flax for men:

Flax contains lignans, which are plant chemicals with estrogenic properties.

Studies on rats and humans have looked at the impact of flax lignans on hormone-sensitive conditions, such as benign prostatic hypertrophy, and breast cancer. The lignans appear to have anti-androgenic (anti-testosterone) effects.

I have not found any studies that showed dietary consumption of flax (seeds, meal or oil) has adverse effects on testosterone levels in healthy men.


This article was originally published here: https://healthechatter.quora.com/Men-s-Health-Hormonal-Balance