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Natural Awakenings Boston

Andropause: The Male Menopause: Natural Ways to Rebalance and Revitalize

Jun 01, 2011 05:00AM ● By Barry Taylor, N.D.

 

Women may not be the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones. Men experience a decline in their testosterone after age 55, often reporting symptoms that are remarkably similar to those of women going through menopause: fatigue and sleep disturbances; hot flashes; depression and irritability; changes in hair growth and skin quality; reduced libido and potency; poor memory; and a decreased sense of well-being.
 
Diagnosis and Treatment
 
Andropause can be diagnosed by checking testosterone levels and other nutritional relationships. For men 40 and older, hormone and nutrient test results can be used to guide appropriate treatment to correct imbalances and boost health. Men with true testosterone deficiencies may benefit from natural hormone replacement; administering testosterone, via pellets or transdermal creams, can help reduce symptoms and lead to an improved sense of well-being. Unfortunately, many medical doctors fail to evaluate important nutrients that might be low due to diet or stress. Assessing these nutrients and making adjustments through better food choices or specific supplements can dramatically affect many of the symptoms men often tolerate as part of the “normal” aging process.
 
Some of the nutrients and supplements that may benefit andropausal men include:
·       Zinc, an important mineral depleted by the processing of foods (such as the conversion of wheat to white flour), can be found in ginger, meats, oysters, whole grains, dark chocolate, peanuts and sesame and pumpkin seeds.
·       Acetyl-L-carnitine, produced by the body, is necessary for proper brain function and may decline with age. The highest concentrations are found in beef, pork and tempeh and through supplementation.
·       Arginine, an amino acid produced by the body, is necessary for proper vascular functioning and may decline with age. Sesame seeds, soy protein, gelatin, peanuts and crustaceans are good food sources.
·       Adrenalin (cortisol) and DHEA, hormones produced by the adrenal glands, can become depleted due to aging or stress. Supplementation under medical supervision may help.
·       B-complex vitamins are depleted by eating white sugar and flour, consuming alcohol and managing stress poorly. Good sources are dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, peanuts, potatoes, salmon and whole grains.
·       Manganese, an essential trace mineral necessary for bone and enzyme formation, is found in whole grains, green and black teas, egg yolks, legumes and nuts.
·       Vitamin E helps the body to normalize blood flow and use oxygen and hormones more efficiently. The best food sources include sunflower seeds, almonds and other nuts, papaya, olives, leafy greens, wheat germ and vegetable oils.
·       Herbs, if used carefully under medical supervision, can work synergistically to increase libido, memory and strength as well as testosterone levels. Some of the most effective herbs include ginseng, gingko, tribulus, ashwaganda and yohimbe.
 
The body is resilient and has wonderful capacities to mature gracefully. Despite our modern, “more-is-better” lifestyle that offers less-than-optimal food choices and creates demands that cause stress to become distress, men today have abundant natural options for improving their health and well-being, no matter what their age.
 
Naturopathic physician and healer Barry Taylor consults with people from all over the world; lectures in spas, hospitals and health care centers; and teaches doctors the health benefits of natural remedies to encourage the body to heal. He sees clients in his office in Weston. For more information, call 781-237-8505 or visit DrBarryTaylor.com.

 

While female menopause and peri-menopause are life changes marked by specific, identifiable symptoms that deviate from a woman’s typical ovulation cycle, male menopause, also known as andropause, often manifests more subtly and can occur between ages 45 and 55. Acute drops in testosterone, usually due to infections, radiation or chemotherapy, are uncommon. Instead, most men experience a gradual decline in testosterone that they typically do not associate with their symptoms. Men who smoke heavily or have diabetes, generalized vascular diseases (atherosclerosis), hypoglycemic conditions or compromised immune systems may be at higher risk for more significant hormone imbalances.
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