Men Have Hormones Too!
We sure do talk about women’s hormonal health a lot around here, but I know that men have hormones too! Here, I will walk you through some of the most important hormones for a man’s health, and then share some tips on things you can do to keep these hormones optimal.
Men, meet your hormones:
This is the hormone that we most associate with men. When it is low, you can experience fatigue, depression, sleep problems, low sex drive, bone loss and/or irritability. It naturally declines with age, but it has also been found to be low in younger men. Some of the reasons for this include taking certain medications such as pain relievers, statins, steroids or sleeping pills, eating a poor diet, and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment.
DHEA is the precursor to testosterone that is produced in our adrenals. It is also responsible for improving bone density and depression, and is key in slowing the aging process. Working to increase DHEA is one of the best ways to improve testosterone levels naturally.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is also produced in our adrenals. It should peak first thing in the morning, and then steadily decrease during the day. When we are exposed to chronic stress, cortisol levels can remain high, disrupting our energy levels and ability to sleep. High cortisol is also associated with belly fat, which is the worst type for our health.
Insulin is the hormone in charge of keeping our blood sugar balanced. When our insulin is elevated, it causes decreased production of DHEA in the adrenals. Cortisol can decrease insulin levels, which will lead to elevated blood sugar as well.
Tips to balance these hormones (if you’ve ever read anything we’ve written, I don’t think you are going to be surprised 😀):
Stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, yoga and getting out into nature have a beneficial effect on all these hormones. Most importantly, it helps to boost DHEA and decreases cortisol.
Eat healthy fats
Eating healthy fats, like avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, coconut products, & purified omega-3 fish oil supplements can help to increase DHEA.
Get your protein
Healthy protein sources to boost DHEA production include free range chicken, turkey, and eggs, grass-fed red meat and wild-caught fish.
Eliminate sugar and refined foods
Sugar and refined foods increase insulin and cortisol levels and decrease DHEA. Just say no!
Exercise of any type will help balance these hormones. Starting off with an intense aerobic program can increase cortisol levels, however, so it might be smart to work your way up in intensity if you haven’t been exercising. Weight training is especially great for improving insulin uptake.
Getting enough good quality sleep will also help improve cortisol, DHEA and insulin levels.
Avoid endocrine disruptors
More and more data is showing that endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates, that are in our environment can have a negative impact on our health. Avoiding plastics as much as possible, and definitely not heating food up in plastic, are ways to cut down your exposure. Looking for natural fabrics and materials for items in your home and drinking pure, filtered water out of glass or metal containers will help too.
Acupuncture and Herbs
And, of course, I would be a bad health care professional if I didn’t mention that acupuncture and herbs can help to regulate these hormones. Inserting acupuncture needles in specific points can trigger a cascade of hormones that work to harmonize the entire endocrine system. Herbal formulas created just for you can also decrease cortisol, battle insulin resistance, and improve both DHEA and testosterone levels.
So, guys, do you feel like you’ve gotten your turn?
As always, feel free to call, email, or chat with us about any of this at your next appointment.