How do Hormones affect Energy, Brain Function and overall health?
All hormones including estrogen, progesterone and DHEA can affect brain function and overall health. But here we are going to focus on testosterone in honor of the all the men out there. Actually, low testosterone can occur in women as well.
Symptoms of low testosterone include:
- lack of focus and concentration
- memory loss
- low sex drive
- sexual dysfunction
- increased body fat (especially belly fat)
- reduced muscle mass and strength
- increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- decreased bone density
Another low testosterone condition is gynecomastia, which is development of breast tissue in males, especially in older men and teens.
Speaking of teen boys with low testosterone, they can also develop depression and other emotional problems, low energy and failure to develop muscle mass as a result.
A young man in his early 20’s came in to the Natural Medicine Clinic complaining of gyneocomastia, low energy, weakness and depression for many years. As a teen, he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and ADD, and on put on many different medications.
I ordered lab tests which revealed a very low testosterone level of 220. This was just under the lab normal range of 280-1100, but way below the optimal testosterone level of above 550 ng/dl for adult men!
What if this was discovered years ago as a teenager? Could he have avoided years of misery?
So what are the causes of low testosterone and why is it so prevalent?
- too much sugar in the diet
- excessive alcohol consumption
- nutritional deficiencies
- excess stress, which raises cortisol
- endocrine disruptors found in plastics, pesticides and other chemicals
- medications like statin drugs and beta-blockers
Also, having low cholesterol below 150 can result in low testosterone, as cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone and other hormones!
A while ago, I saw a 70-year-old male patient who was suffering from severe depression, exhaustion, low self-esteem, fear, worry, anxiety, insomnia and weight loss. His doctors ran multiple tests and put him on antidepressants, but he was still feeling terrible. This was in addition to statins and the many other prescriptions he was taking.
I ran additional blood tests which revealed a “normal” testosterone of just above 400 but below the optimal levels of 550. His cholesterol was “normal” at 128 but well below optimal range of 150-200!
After putting him on a personalized nutrition program, he made a dramatic recovery and he was soon back to feeling good again. His doctor was even able to take him off antidepressants and some of his other medications.
So what are the solutions to low testosterone? You don’t necessarily need to do injections, patches or slather gel all over you. Often times, testosterone levels can be raised with natural treatment.
Our natural testosterone support protocol includes:
1. Complete lab testing to measure testosterone and other hormones, and to identify what other factors may be involved, such as adrenal and thyroid dysfunction, vitamin deficiencies, etc.
2. The FreeDiet™ which includes plenty of good quality proteins, essential fats, vegetables and some fruit, and avoids soy, sugar and grains.
3. A customized nutritional program to ensure you’re getting the proper vitamins and minerals. The most common deficiencies we see with low testosterone are zinc, magnesium and vitamin D.
4. Herbal remedies for testosterone support. Adrenal and thyroid support if needed by including DHEA, adaptogenic herbs and glandulars.
5. Stress reduction and getting plenty of sleep is very helpful as well. Remember, high cortisol can lower testosterone.
6. Exercise, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weightlifting are both extremely important for optimizing testosterone. Be aware that over-training, too much or the wrong types of exercise, can have the opposite effect and lower testosterone.
7. And lastly, avoid xenoestrogens which are chemicals that have estrogen like effects. Some of the ways you can avoid these endocrine disruptors are by:
-storing your food in glass containers instead of plastic, avoid using plastic in the microwave, avoid most non-stick pans.
-use natural cleaning products in your home and natural personal care products such as shampoo, sunscreen, toothpaste, and lotions.
-avoid artificial food additives and eat organic produce, dairy and meats whenever possible.
If you or a family member has any of the above symptoms and would like to have your hormones checked, email us at email@example.com or call us at 561-627-5800. We would be happy to help.
Yours for Optimal Health,
Dr. Tom Rofrano