Health Alert 42
Today’s letter to you is about male hormones. You have heard that they decline with age. Recent studies are revealing how and why and their affect on aging. This is important because it gives men the option of reversing the decline, which can then affect their aging. In an upcoming Health Alert, I will tackle the very controversial subject of female hormones.
We men have always known that our bodies dramatically change as we age. It wasn’t until recently that science revealed that nearly all of these changes are intentionally “signaled” to occur by changing hormones.
As you get older, genes turn on and off, partly according to a preprogrammed sequence and partly in response to your environment. Which genes are turned on determine hormone levels and they affect your metabolism and capabilities. They can even affect your physical form. It is the principle reason that you are physically different at 60 than you were at 18.
Hormones also affect mood, memory, mental clarity and energy.
The most important hormones for male health and masculinity are:
We all know that testosterone is the hormone that makes a man, a man. But this hormone does much more than that. Testosterone helps to control body fat, mood, energy, sexual desire, cognitive function, and aging.
Testosterone doesn’t decline all of a sudden like female hormones do at menopause. The decline is gradual but over time just as profound. Testosterone levels are at their peak in your twenties. By the time you reach 80, your testosterone levels decrease between 50% and 70%. 1
- Improve sexual performance
- Promote libido
- Stimulate muscle growth
- Increase energy levels
- Improve memory, mood and mental clarity
- Build stronger bones
- Keep urinary and reproductive systems healthy
Before tinkering with testosterone, you should consult with your doctor. Have all of the male hormones listed above measured in your blood. Once you do that, it is possible to boost your own levels of male hormones including testosterone naturally.
Restoring Testosterone Naturally
Because you make all of your sex hormones from DHEA, taking a DHEA supplement is often a good place to start. Note: DHEA is a hormone. Hormones always act as “double-edged swords”. Too little or too much can both be bad. Never take any hormone without having blood levels checked. See Health Alert 40 for more information about DHEA.
The athletes call androstenedione “andro”. Like DHEA, it is available over-the-counter at nutrition stores. Andro is the immediate precursor to testosterone. They use it as a sports performance and muscle building aid. It is effective but they don’t measure blood levels and they take too much. If they take too much the excess is converted to estrogen. With the constant exposure to environmental estrogens, this is the last thing aging men need.
If you take “andro”, you must have blood levels checked. My experience is that 5 to 10 mg is all men need to restore youthful levels.
For many men in my clinic, the preferred way to restore testosterone has been with the natural herb Tribulus.
Tribulus terrestris has long been used to boost testosterone in Asia. It has been given to men who have weak muscle and sexual problems. It was reintroduced to the world by East German Olympic athletes. Tribulus gently boosts testosterone levels, which explains both its aphrodisiac effect and its sports performance enhancing effect.
One study analyzed the effect of Tribulus on healthy men. The men experienced an average 30% increase in testosterone levels 2 after just 5 days of oral supplementation. This is about the average rise in testosterone that I have experienced in my clinic. I use a starting dose of 250 mg once a day.
1 Wright J. Maximize Your Vitality and Potency, Smart Publications, CA: 1999
2 Muscle and Fitness, 1996 Sept; 140: 224