The Male Menopause

I recently had the opportunity to listen to a fascinating talk given by Peter Cox which focused on male health and male vitality past 40.

As a practising Nutritional Therapist it’s not often that I’m able to focus on the hormonal profile of male clients when women’s hormonal issues (menstrual, childbearing and post-menopausal) are frequently so more at the fore.

The Menoporshe

Peter eloquently discussed the “Male Menoporsche” (Hypogonadism): the continuous fall of testosterone after the age of 45. This hormone drop can lead to many symptoms such as loss of muscle, fatigue, midriff expansion, grumpiness, insulin and sleep disturbance. I’m sure I wasn’t the only therapist present who recognised a few of those symptoms in her own husband…

Interestingly many other symptoms correlated with those of the female menopause such as loss of libido, loss of bone mass, impaired cognitive function and hot flushes.

Top 8 ways to Reduce Symptoms of the Male Menopause

As well as the unavoidable issue of advancing age, Peter went on to discuss other exacerbating contributors to low testosterone and what we can recommend to our clients to reduce them. These included lifestyle changes such as lowering stress and modifying exercise routines, but also, of course, dietary adjustments. Zinc, as ever, being directly correlated with testosterone levels.

In addition we also discussed exotoxins, specifically those that mimic oestrogen. Peter highlighted how prevalent they are in society and their unfortunate impact on a male hormonal profile, unfortunately – in the worst examples - leading to Gynecomastia (or Moobs).

  1. Exercise. But not too much. Optimal raises in testosterone occur from strength training with short rests, but endurance-exercise-to-exhaustion lowers testosterone levels due to raised cortisol.
  2. Equally, reduce stress to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is the number one hormone, grabbing all the available nutritional building blocks before other hormones get a look-in (including testosterone). Known as “Cortisol Steal”.
  3. Get more sleep. Unfortunately tied in with point 2 above but take other steps even if you can’t reduce your work hours. E.g no electronic gadgets before bed, and remember the half-life of caffeine is 4 hours so cut back on late evening coffees or teas.
  4. Drink less alcohol (yeah, sorry), but there’s a reason why a beer belly isn’t so dissimilar to a pregnant belly.
  5. Eat a diet rich in zinc, magnesium, selenium and Vitamin E
  6. Get sunlight. Higher levels of Vitamin D can boost testosterone. Which may explain why people get frisky on their summer beach holidays.
  7. Careful of plastics such as plastic water bottles and the use of cling film in microwaves. Plastic is capable of leaching exotoxins which mimic oestrogen into our diet.
  8. Don’t drink too much cow’s milk. Contains levels of the mother own sex hormones do find their way into milk

No, not a License for Adultery

Finally, Peter concluded his talk by highlighting the effects of relationships on testosterone levels. Caring fathers for example, may find a decline in their testosterone levels but men who embark on new relationships or have multiple new sexual partners find a rise. I think this is something most women intuitively are aware of!

If your libido, or that of your partner, is waning and you’re not happy about it, please contact This Life Nutrition for ways to help.

By Saffron Rogerson

24 March 2016