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Men with low levels of testosterone are more likely to feel depressed, have trouble concentrating, and develop belly fat.
While low testosterone is a sign of andropause—or male aging—it can happen at any time in a man’s life. (1) Low testosterone in men is also known as male hypogonadism.
Signs of low testosterone include:
- Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and infertility
- Decreased facial and body hair growth
- Drop in muscle mass
- Thinning bones
- Development of breast tissue
- Hot flashes
Is Testosterone Therapy Safe?
Low testosterone is considered a sign of male aging, but it can happen at any time in a man’s life. Before you consider testosterone therapy, balance hormone levels by making critical changes to your diet.
While the use of supplemental testosterone is steadily increasing in the United States, it is not risk-free. Testosterone replacement may be more of a Band-Aid than a solution, and the results may be inconsistent.
Testosterone replacement may help men feel better, but studies suggest that it also stimulates the growth of prostate cancer, enlarges the prostate, overloads the liver, makes sleep apnea worse, and thickens the blood. (2)
An article recently published in the Journal of Endocrinology explores the relationship between low testosterone and signs of metabolic syndrome. The disorders often occur together.
Signs of metabolic syndrome go hand-in-hand with signs of low testosterone, including:
- Belly fat
- Insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
- Increased urination at night
- High blood pressure
According to Mathias Grossman at Melbourne University, the cause of disorders associated with low testosterone is not clear.
How Inflammation Ties to Low Testosterone
Simply controlling blood sugar with diet and weight loss may be enough to restore levels of testosterone. (3) In fact, Grossman suggests that changes in lifestyle should be the first line of treatment in men with low testosterone and signs of metabolic syndrome.
Inflammation negatively impacts the hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis—the system that regulates levels of testosterone in the body. (4)(5)
The hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis is most influenced by:
- Diet: A pro-inflammatory diet that includes gluten and other common food irritants like casein is often at the root of hormonal imbalance. Too much sugar in the diet will also feed Candida overgrowth, making the problem of inflammation worse. Both pro-inflammatory foods and excessive sugar can interfere with the control of blood sugar. Additionally, many pesticides are endocrine disrupters and interfere with hormonal balance—so, avoiding GMO and choosing organic foods is important. (6)
- Sleep: Too little sleep, irregular sleep, or shift-work is inherently stressful to your metabolic system. Poor sleep quality sets the body up for inflammation, poor blood sugar regulation, and hormonal imbalance.
The Body Ecology Diet is a sugar-free, gluten-free, and initially casein-free probiotic-rich diet that reduces inflammation. Cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages replenish the good bacteria and yeast of the inner ecosystem to help improve gut integrity and lower inflammation.
Small adjustments in lifestyle can make a dramatic difference in levels of testosterone.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Symptoms of depression, belly fat, decreased sex drive, a drop in muscle mass, and development of breast tissue may all be signs of low testosterone in men. Low testosterone is often associated with aging, but it can occur at any time in a man’s life.
Testosterone replacement is on the rise in the US, but it does come with risks—including enlarged prostate, stimulated growth of prostate cancer, worsened sleep apnea, and more. Results may be inconsistent at best. In many cases, low testosterone is tied to metabolic syndrome, associated with symptoms like belly fat, dizziness, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
Research suggests that controlling blood sugar through diet and weight loss could help restore testosterone levels. Lifestyle changes should be the first course of treatment for men with symptoms of low testosterone and metabolic syndrome. A pro-inflammatory diet may be at the root of hormonal imbalance; the anti-inflammatory Body Ecology Diet can help to lower inflammation with beneficial bacteria found in cultured vegetables and probiotic beverages.
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- Matsumoto, A. M. (2002). Andropause clinical implications of the decline in serum testosterone levels with aging in men. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 57(2), M76-M99.
- Bassil, N., Alkaade, S., & Morley, J. E. (2009). The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 5, 427.
- Grossmann, M. (2014). Testosterone and glucose metabolism in men: current concepts and controversies. Journal of Endocrinology, 220(3), R37-R55.
- Dandona, P., & Dhindsa, S. (2011). Update: hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in type 2 diabetes and obesity. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 96(9), 2643-2651.
- Saboor Aftab, S. A., Kumar, S., & Barber, T. M. (2013). The role of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in the development of male obesity‐associated secondary hypogonadism. Clinical endocrinology, 78(3), 330-337.
- Sikka, S. C., & Wang, R. (2008). Endocrine disruptors and estrogenic effects on male reproductive axis. Asian journal of andrology, 10(1), 134-145.
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