Andropause is the Male Equivalent of Menopause
Jun 02, 2013 02:22PM
By Kevin Bandy, RPH
The term andropause refers to the reduced production in middle-aged men of testosterone. This generally occurs between the ages of 40 to 55, though it can occur as early as 35 or as late as 65. In most males, there is a natural reduction in testosterone production starting at about age 40. The normal rate decreases by approximately 1 percent per year, but can be much more dramatic in the 30 percent of males affected by this condition.
Low testosterone levels can affect men’s health in several ways. Men may suffer from fatigue, depression, anger or confusion. They may also experience infertility, diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, changes in body composition and loss of facial or body hair. While many forms of prescription medications are used to replace the testosterone to appropriate levels, there are also natural ways and lifestyle changes that can help increase the levels.
Several foods can naturally introduce testosterone into the body, including radishes, cabbage, turnips, beef, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garlic, oysters, eggs and cauliflower. A regular diet of these foods has been shown to boost testosterone levels. Essential fatty acids can also improve testosterone levels and can be found in flaxseed oil, avocados, peanuts, fish, canola oil and olive oil. The overall best diet for increasing testosterone levels is one comprised of high proteins, moderate fat and low carbohydrates.
Heavy exercise of large muscle groups can also have a positive affect on testosterone levels. Examples are squats, bench presses or back rows, especially when done in sets of three. On the other hand, a study at the University of North Carolina showed levels could plunge as much as 40 percent after overtraining muscle groups without allowing them to recuperate. Properly done, hard exercise can be of benefit.
Sleeping a full eight hours per night is also essential to allowing the body to repair itself. Decreasing alcohol consumption and dropping that spare tire around the middle can have positive results for increased testosterone production, as well.
Increasing testosterone in this andropause group can improve psychological well-being and mood. It may also help increase muscle mass, bone mass, strength and stature. There may be a positive effect on libido and improvement in erectile function. It is also believed that increases in testosterone have positive cardiovascular benefits. Scientists are even testing to see if it can help prevent or delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
When testosterone levels are unable to be raised by exercise, diet or lifestyle changes alone, the data shows it is beneficial to raise them by pharmaceutical intervention. A middle-aged male experiencing some of these symptoms should consider doing the right thing for their body, mind and overall health.
Kevin Bandy is a pharmacist at Mack Bayou Pharmacy, located at 82 Mack Bayou Loop, Ste. B., in Miramar Beach. For more information, call 850-622-0730 or visit mbcpharmacy.com.