Let's talk about Hormones
As men age, the "male" hormone testosterone naturally declines. While men naturally make and use small amounts of the "female" hormone estrogen, this amount should be very small in comparison to testosterone. When testosterone is really low or when the "female" hormone estrogen becomes the dominate hormone, this can result in a condition called "low T" (aka low testosterone or 'man'opause).
Testosterone is important for men and helps to prevent accumulation of stomach fat and helps to prevent insulin resistance (diabetes). Both of these conditions are seen in metabolic syndrome. Testosterone is also important for proper liver function. Men with low testosterone are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and low bone mineral density. Men with low T experience erectile dysfunction, low libido, depression, cloudy thinking, lethargy, muscle loss, increased body fat and more. According to the Cleveland clinic, low testosterone affects almost 40% of men aged 45 and older.
So what can be done if low T is a problem?
Interestingly, in one study, participants who consumed extra virgin olive oil daily experienced an increase in testosterone levels between 17-19 percent over a 3-week period.
Another step to limit exposure to environmental estrogen mimicking substances. Our standard American diet (SAD) could be contributing. Conventionally raised animals are fed steroids and/or bovine growth hormones. Also, pesticides are known to cause hormone disruption preventing optimal testosterone production. Other hormone disrupting substances include phthalates, BPA, parabens, etc. (think conventional body care and cleaning products). Frequent exposure to these hormone disruptors can suppress optimal testosterone production
Another strategy is to help the body naturally remove excessive estrogen by supporting its ability to detox. Bone broth contains glycine which helps support detox pathways to secrete estrogen. Cruciferous Vegetables (kale, cauliflower, etc.) also support estrogen metabolism as well as vitamins A, C and K.
A substance called phytoestrogens from plants will help block stronger environmental mimicking estrogens with a weaker form to bring overall estrogen down. Foods that contain phytoestrogen are chick peas, flaxseed, walnuts, apples, olive oil, etc.
Finally, weight loss can help. Excess fat accumulation actually helps to create estrogen. In contrast, exercise has also been shown to increase testosterone.
Review of health risks of low testosterone and testosterone administration, Huanguang Jia, et al. World J Clin Cases. 2015 Apr 16; 3(4): 338–344, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391003/
Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Abdelfettah Derouiche et al. Natural Product Communications [01 Jan 2013, 8(1):51-53] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23472458/
Exercise training improves free testosterone in lifelong sedentary aging men, Endocr Connect. 2017 Jul; 6(5): 306–310, Lawrence D Hayes, Peter Herbert, Nicholas F Sculthorpe, Fergal M Grace, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510446/