Men over 40 may or may not face a midlife crisis as the popular belief goes but they are certainly facing an additional hormonal challenge when testosterone levels begin to slowly decline. Not only is the quantity of testosterone reduced, but its bioavailability is also reduced, which means that the circulating testosterone is blocked by the rise of sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) in the blood.
Actually there is some more bad news.
Environment, food, and life style can worsen the natural process of hormone decline in the male body. Here are some examples:
1. Estrogen-like products
These are products used to treat plants or to produce more meat from animals. Soy products are phytoestrogens e.g. estrogen-like products derived from plants.
2. Low fat or free-fat diet
There is some data suggesting that men on low fat or vegetarian diets have lower testosterone levels. In addition, the insufficient fat intake can create a metabolic shift in favor of fat accumulation around the waist due to deficiency of essential fatty acids. The result is "big belly".
The connection between stress and waistline is well known. What is less known is that stress reduces testosterone and causes accumulation of abdominal fat that makes the waistline even bigger.
Study results show that men with waist circumference below 37 inches (94 cm) have the highest testosterone level.
The bigger the belly, the lower the testosterone levels and the higher the risk for heart disease is because low testosterone is linked to increased tryglicerides. The risk of developing heart disease doubles for men in the lower testosterone levels.
Men with waistline > 40 inches also have a high risk for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Insufficient quantity or poor quality of sleep (like sleep apnea) can lower levels of testosterone and increase waistline.
What are the manifestations of low testosterone levels in terms of daily life and health?
Some of manifestations of low testosterone levels are: lack or reduced sex drive, muscle weakness, loss of hair and a big belly.
However it is necessary to keep in mind that big belly or big waistline do not automatically mean overall obesity. A man can have a normal or slightly over the normal weight and still have a waistline that is above the healthy range. That is why it is so important to keep an eye on the waistline. It is inexpensive, affordable and easy way to assess one's risk for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome at home.
What can men do boost theirs testosterone level?
I. Diet for men:
1. Include natural sources of Vit A and Zinc
Eat plenty of red meat, chiken and fish (salmon is your best choice). Fish oil keeps SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) levels lower.
Egg omelet is a must because (egg yolk contains cholesterol which testosterone is made from).
Tomatoes, red peppers, yellow squash and leafy greens (spinach).
Apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and citrus fruits.
Take some flax oil and alfalfa-sprout.
2. Reconsider fat-free or low-fat diet
3. Reduce soy products in your diet
II. Get regular physical activity to reduce stress
III. Improve both quantity and quality of sleep
Take care of your snoring or sleep apnea (your weight may be one of the reasons)
IV. Manage your stress to reduce your cortisol level
Keep in mind that diet and exercise alone will not solve your problem no matter how hard you try unless you get enough sleep and use efficient techniques to relieve your stress.
Now, why don't you get the tape measure and start by measuring your waistline? To learn how to measure waistline and what the normal range for man is please read my article: Can your waistline save your heart?
Copy rights © Dr Stoyanova
By Neli Stoyanova MD
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