The latest medical craze sweeping the country is testosterone replacement in males, with men ages 30 to 60 being found to have low testosterone levels. Usually they show up at the doctor’s office with fatigue and depression, and the diagnosis is confirmed by a simple lab test. A prescription for testosterone gel solves the problem; the patient is happy, the doctor is happy, and the drug rep detailing the drug is happy.
No one, however, is asking the very logical question: why are males all over the country suffering from low testosterone? Healthy human males should maintain normal reproductive function until the day they die. Low male testosterone levels are a strong indicator of poor health. And guess what happens when you administer a potent anabolic steroid drive the system of a guy in poor health? Eventually he crashes. And now lawyers all over the country are filing suits for heart attack and stroke victims who were taking testosterone.
So, what do we do for all these guys who have lost their mojo? We can start by looking for the causes of low male testosterone. Everything in the universe is the result of a cause, and low male testosterone is no exception. There are specific contributing factors to low testicular function. Reverse those factors and, in most cases, normal testosterone levels will be restored.
Here are the six primary factors that contribute to low testosterone:
1. Refined carbohydrates
Our entire food supply is now saturated with processed carbohydrates. The habit of a bowl of cereal with cow’s milk for breakfast, a burger and bun with fries for lunch, and pasta for supper leads to chronic elevation in insulin secretion from the pancreas. Elevated insulin occurs long before diabetes sets in. Elevated insulin disrupts central hormone pathways in the body, which suppresses testosterone production, and it takes about a year of strict carbohydrate rationing to restore insulin secretion back to normal.
2. Hormones in meat
Hormones are heavily used in the beef, pork, and dairy industries. If you're a modern meat and potatoes kind of guy, it may be contributing to the loss of your manhood. First off, eat more vegetables. Vegetables support good health, but also support normal hormone production. When you eat meat, insist on grass-fed hormone-free meat and dairy.
There are thousands of man-made chemicals present in the environment that were not here a hundred years ago, and many of them have estrogen-like activity. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates have been demonstrated to lower testosterone levels at all ages and even jeopardize the onset of puberty in young boys. Eating organic foods is one of the best ways to avoid them.
4. Estrogens in your water
Estrogens (derived from women taking pharmaceuticals containing synthetic estrogens) are showing up in municipal water supplies, where they're believed to play a role in sex changes and population drops in various species of fish. The best protection against estrogen-contaminated drinking water is installing a reverse-osmosis filtering system in your drinking water, or buying filtered water.
If you're constantly under stress, your reproductive ability is likely suffering. Chronic stress raises cortisol levels, which suppresses central hormone pathways. This suppresses reproductive hormone secretion, including that of testosterone. Stress has also been shown to block testosterone from having an effect on your body.
Moderate alcohol consumption has been found to decrease testosterone levels by up to 6.8%. Believe it or not, the hops in most types of beer have estrogen-like properties and can adversely affect testosterone. In fact, the estrogenic properties in hops are so strong that they are currently being studied as a treatment for hot flashes in menopausal women. This is another reason to avoid having a beer belly!
If you are considering having your testosterone levels checked, have your blood drawn between 7 am and 10 am when your testosterone levels peak. Otherwise, the test may come back falsely low. Also, get your fasting insulin levels checked (along with other routine blood work).
If testosterone levels do come back low, consider the long-term consequences before you start taking a prescription. Using testosterone replacement may not only increase your risk of stroke, but it could also increase your risk of prostate cancer. In addition, using testosterone will further suppress natural testosterone production. This means the response you get from using testosterone will likely be short lived.
A better option is changing your health habits. It might take a year or two to get things back to normal, but your testosterone levels can be revived
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com