Menopause can be a challenging time for women, however, it’s not just women who suffer from this. Men face their own challenges as hormone levels start to decline in later years.
The dominant hormone in men is testosterone, which starts to slowly decline after the age of 30. As testosterone decreases, men can experience decreased libido, decline in muscle mass and strength, increased fatigue, decreased bone density, increased body fat and even hot flashes.
While age is a major factor, diet and lifestyle choices also play a part. Stress can wreak havoc with hormone balancing, especially if it impacts on sleep. Excessive consumption of alcohol is linked to a lowering of testosterone. Poor gut health impacts hormone balancing as hormones are produced and processed within the gut microbiome. It’s not uncommon in my practice to see men who are stressed out, tired, not sleeping properly, overweight and drinking too much alcohol. It all leads to a decline in health and vitality that, while challenging, is not unavoidable.
The good news is that action can be taken to slow down the aging process and boost testosterone naturally. One of the best ways is with exercise, especially lifting weights to build muscle mass. Research has shown that an increase in muscle mass leads to an increase in testosterone. Losing weight and improving gut health improves energy levels. Taking a probiotic supplement boosts levels of good gut bacteria.
Protein is an essential nutrient to support muscle mass and efficient hormone balancing. The common trend I see in overweight clients is that they overdo energy-rich foods like bread, pastry and potatoes and are not eating enough protein.
Testosterone improves when levels of magnesium, zinc and vitamin D are optimal. Magnesium is found in dark chocolate, nuts, leafy green vegetables, avocado and whole grains; zinc in red meat, oysters, whole grains and milk products; and vitamin D in fatty fish like salmon as well as tuna, oysters and anchovies. Vitamin D levels increase when you spend time in the sun although in winter months, a vitamin D supplement may be necessary.
Sleep is vitally important and getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night helps with stress management.
We can’t stop the aging process, but by making better lifestyle choices we can slow it down and age gracefully.