Natural Strategies For Maintaining Male Health
Although men and women are both susceptible to many of the same diseases, those areas of men's health that pertain to the sex hormones and male sex organs vary greatly from those of a woman. Correct balance of male sex hormones is one of the most important aspect of a man's health.
Maintaining Youthful Hormone Balance
Myth: only women go through menopause (a decrease in production of sex hormones).
Fact: Both men and women have decreased hormone outputs with advancing age, but the decrease is not as rapid in men as it is in women. Men may have hot flashes, psychogenic changes, bone mineral loss, decreased libido and/or sexual function, weight gain, depression and other symptoms identical to the female menopause.
Normal weight is crucial to hormone balance. Fat cells manufacture estrogen. This can lead to an excess of estrogen in men. Ever see a man with a beer belly and breast-buds? (Female-like development of breasts)? This is caused by an estrogen excess made by the fat cells. Maintaining normal weight is important for balanced sex hormones. Perhaps this is the reason that overweight and obese men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy.
In males, higher levels of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone derived from testosterone, is associated with benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) and possibly prostate cancer. Increased levels of estrogens in males also appear to play a role in the development of BPH.
Other non-sex-hormone factors can create imbalances in the sex hormones. An excess or deficiency of thyroid hormone will change sex hormone levels, and no amount of sex hormone replacement will correct the problem until the thyroid function has been compensated for. Changes in liver function cause a shift in the relative amounts of various hormones. That is because the liver processes most sex hormones. I have found many menopausal-aged people, both men and women, who still had normal or even high levels of the circulating sex hormones. Additional mammalian hormones in this instance are inadvisable, because they can create an excess of hormones with the attendant problems.
Self-Help for Hormone Balance
Without a laboratory test, it is difficult to know exactly which hormones are out of balance and by how much. If you are truly interested in preventing the age-related changes that occur with diminished sex hormones, then laboratory testing and personal consultation is advised. Still, there are some good self help measures that you can take.
First, remember that overall good health is critical to the body’s production of hormones. Inadequate nutrients from diet is a major factor in hormone imbalance. Excesses of certain foodstuffs, especially alcohol, refined carbohydrates (sugars), and "trans" fats can all change hormone levels for the worst.
Faulty liver function, as evidenced by high cholesterol levels, contributes to inadequate transformation of hormones. Improving liver function is a key step in normalizing hormones and the body’s response to hormones. (It is possible to have adequate hormone levels and still have symptoms of deficiency or excess if the liver is not working properly).
DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS
- Diet: eat a nutritious diet high in nutrient-rich foods.
- Increase consumption of soy products.
- Achieve and maintain a normal weight.
- Exercise regularly. 30 minutes, 3 times per week minimum. Running is especially valuable for improving and maintaining erectile function in men!
- Don't smoke! The climacteric (menopause) occurs sooner in people who smoke.
- BASIC Program such as Maxi Multi's or Once Daily My Pack (Multivitamin/mineral supplement with extra antioxidants)
- Flax Oil l to 2 Caps, 3 times per day with meals.
- DHEA: 2 caps (25mg) with breakfast. This is a conservative dose for a male. Higher doses might be needed, but it is inadvisable to take higher than 50mg per day without first obtaining a hormone profile. See "Dr. Myatt's Comment" below.
For Erectile Dysfunction (ED):
For Prostate Health:
- Saw Palmetto: 1 cap, 2 times per day. This may be increased to 3 times per day if symptoms of BPH are present.
- Saw Palmetto/Pygeum Plus+: 1-2 capsules, 2 times per day with meals.
Support any organ system that scored high on the Self-Health Questionnaire (see page 6-8 in the Holistic Health Handbook)
DR. MYATT'S COMMENT:
Hormone testing takes the guesswork out of hormone balancing and make correction surer and safer. If you do not see noticeable improvement in six to twelve weeks with self-help measures, consider consulting myself or another holistically-oriented physician. Youthful hormone balance is one of the best health and longevity measures you can take!