Male Menopause: Is It Real?
Jun 02, 2013 10:08PM
● By Dr. Luke Gafken
Contrary to what many believe, both men and women go through hormone changes as a natural part of aging. Although the familiarity of menopause is high, the concept of male menopause, known as andropause, is somewhat new. Andropause is a constellation of symptoms, which are the result of low testosterone (TST). Some men have only a few symptoms while others have many such as a loss in sex drive, declining physical strength, lowered energy levels, and a loss of enthusiasm for life and love.
Men generally begin losing testosterone, which has an affect on nearly every aspect of the male body in their mid-30s. As mental and physical fatigue become part of a man’s daily routine and he ultimately notices things aren’t the same anymore, his professional, social, and family life may become increasingly strained due to the changing hormone physiology and downward spiral of affects in any and all aspects of life.
The term andropause describes men who have undergone a gradual decline in their ability to produce and maintain a testosterone advantage throughout their lifetime. This predisposes men to an increased risk in cardiovascular disease and obesity, insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes, loss of red blood cell count, greater risk of osteoporosis, decreased lean body mass, loss of libido, and a greater risk for declining mood and depression.
The management of andropause is much more complex than administering testosterone therapy although there are those where this is an appropriate intervention. The most common cause of andropause is the conversion of testosterone directly into estrogen, which takes place in adipose (fat) cells. Administering testosterone replacement therapy in this case would be similar to adding fuel to the fire and would perpetuate the testosterone-to-estrogen conversion. This in many cases leads to men not seeing subjective improvement with this popular treatment, and at times experiencing an increase in symptoms.
Nutritional strategies to consider are Chrysin, which has shown a unique ability to prevent conversion of testosterone into estrogen; Tribulus Terrestris and Panax Ginseng due to their ability to naturally increase testosterone production; Peruvian Maca, as it increases fertility; and Saw Palmetto due to its ability to decrease the chances of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). Each individual natural compound plays its part in optimizing male hormone physiology and increases the chances for men to stay on top of their game.