By: Dr. Spence Pentland (Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist)
Testosterone is a sex hormone in men required to be able to produce sperm. It is produced primarily in the testis and is especially abundant in young men. As we age, testosterone levels naturally decline. Statistically, at the age of 50, the decline becomes more rapid and gives way to male menopause (andropause).
Yes, it’s a fact guys, we become more sensitive with age. Tears come quicker, and we really deeply cherish the important things in life, like family and love. You may go through a denial phase and buy a really inappropriate car. You may feel the need to act out in various ways in order to feel young again. Inevitably the fact remains, that you have to accept this fate or grow old and bitter, hanging onto an array of different cousins of ‘anger’ like impatience, irritability, bitterness, resentment, and just basically not enjoying life.
Whether you are trying to reproduce, or be more manly, there are many things you can do and avoid to help slow the vanishing of the ‘James Bond’ within. The following list are things that may reduce testosterone levels in men. Most can be addressed quite easily with simple lifestyle choices. It’s time to take responsibility for your male hormone health!
1. Lack of sleep. A new study in Chicago showed a drop in testosterone levels when men did not get enough sleep.
2. High stress levels. Reduce your stress, or incorporate things into your life that help alleviate the stress such as acupuncture and time in nature.
3. Marriage and children. Once you have a family, you only need enough testosterone to properly provide and protect them. This is simply a time that requires you to put others needs ahead of yours, i.e. be more sensitive.
4. Lack of exercise. Need I say more? You know who you are.
5. Plant based protein diet. In many, many respects, this is a much healthier choice, but as far as testosterone production is concerned, a little animal protein may help, especially when trying to conceive.
6. Depression. Seek help when times are tough. Put away the ego and talk to a life coach, counsellor, or doctor of traditional Chinese medicine.
7. Alcohol. Some vino with a great meal, or some spirits with a worthy celebration is just a part of living a good life. But, if alcohol is a habit in your life, it is time to check in and make a change, for so so many reasons.
8. Tobacco. Unless being used ever so occasionally for ceremonial purposes, tobacco use should be avoided.
9. Illness. More serious infections such as the mumps can have detrimental effects on testosterone levels.
10. Testosterone and human growth hormone (‘steroids’) medications. When you supplement the body with these medications, the body stops producing them itself. Shooting yourself in the foot so to speak.
11. Age. After 30 it all starts, if at all possible, make your babies earlier in life. After 50, get ready to feel more emotions guys!
12. Obesity. An epidemic that can be avoided or reversed with proper support, sustainable healthier lifestyle choices, deep commitments to change, and shining lights on the aspects of yourself that will sabotage your success.
13. Type 2 diabetes. See #12.
14. Hypertension. Again, see #12.
15. Endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates. Found in common household products and packaged foods. Learn about these and avoid them at all costs.
When one takes a step back and looks at the above list of 15 things that can negatively affect male hormones, it is quite clear that most simply belong to a prescription for a healthy life wouldn’t you say?