Healthy levels of testosterone are critical to healthy aging for men, and an increasing number of men are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone at younger ages. This pattern is referred to as Andropause or “Male Menopause.” Symptoms may include low energy, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, mood changes, and/or loss of muscle. Below, learn how you can find out if you are going through andropause, and if you might benefit from natural therapies to support your hormonal health!
The key before starting any type of testosterone boosting program or prescription is to test your levels. Prescription hormones, especially testosterone, carry some undesirable side effects when prescribed without expert testing and monitoring. Working with your practitioner to get accurate saliva and blood tests will help you keep an eye on where your levels are.
Natural Ways to Support Male Hormone Levels and Prostate
- Zinc can decrease the breakdown and conversion of testosterone, which will allow more to be available in the body. You can add foods that are high in zinc, including shrimp, beef, spinach and pumpkin seeds, to your diet. Four to seven servings a week is generally sufficient. If supplementing, it’s a good idea to work with a practitioner to get the dose that’s right for you (typically between 15mg and 50mg per dose).(Note: *Make sure to balance long-term Zinc supplementation with Copper intake.)
- Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with low testosterone and a recent study showed that supplementing vitamin D in men with low D and low testosterone helped to increase their testosterone levels. Foods that contain vitamin D include Cod Liver Oil, sardines, mackerel, salmon, mushrooms and eggs. Your doctor can easily test your vitamin D levels in a blood test.
- Stinging Nettles Root has been shown to decrease Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), which is a protein that can bind testosterone making it unavailable for use by the body. Nettles Root Extract has been used to help support prostate size and urinary function.
- Saw Palmetto is a fat soluble extract native to Florida that inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase which normally breaks Testosterone down. This herbal extract has extensive research on its ability to support prostate health.
- Tribulus terrestris impacts the nitric oxide pathway boosting blood flow to support male erectile function.
- Adrenal Support – such as Ashwagandha or Maca help to support the adrenals to optimize a healthy stress response. Often when there is low testosterone, the adrenals need additional care as well.
- Regular exercise, defined as 30-45 minutes per day 3-4 times per week, can help promote health, longevity and balanced hormone production, but did you know that men benefit from Kegel exercise too? Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor, can promote optimal urinary flow and decrease incontinence and leakage, and may even improve sexual function.
Happy Father’s Day!
Dr. Julia Strickler, ND* received her Doctorate of Naturopathy (ND) from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. Dr. Strickler assists patients through nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and mind-body awareness. She lives in Austin, TX.
*Naturopathic doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.