Men are often forgotten in the world of health when it comes to hormonal balance and the underlying factors that bring about ill health. Often they dismiss the signs of hormonal imbalances as just a natural part of aging. While women’s hormonal balance is more overt, subtle changes in the endocrine system in men can cause a variety of conditions such as hot flashes, psychogenic changes, bone mineral loss, decreased libido and/or sexual function, weight gain, depression and other symptoms identical to the female menopause.
These conditions happen more often as men age. However, men at any age can suffer from adrenal insufficiency which is a leading factor of insulin resistance and low testosterone levels. In younger men, this manifests as burnout, anxiety, PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), insomnia and depression.
Hormones are extremely potent substances; it only takes a very small amount to initiate an action. They are secreted into the bloodstream by the glands and then enter cells through “receptor” sites. Once inside, they get to work, flipping the switches that govern growth, development, and mental and physical functions throughout life.
When your hormones become unbalanced due to physical/emotional stress or the effects of aging, hormone functions become disrupted. Signals do not reach the right place at the right time. On occasion, cell functions shut down completely. In other cases, cells are over stimulated. All this chaos causes unpleasant symptoms, at the very least. In severe situations, these imbalances can lead to chronic disorders or disease.
To maintain the intricate systems in which hormones operate, the body must constantly fine-tune hormone release in order to keep levels within proper limits - much like an orchestra keeps music “in tune”. This balance is accomplished through an intricate series of positive and negative feedback mechanisms. For example, an overproduction of one hormone usually prompts the release of one or more complementary hormones in an effort to restore balance. Because of the complexity of these interactions, a hormonal issue rarely stems from only one type; more often, the problem involves a series of hormones. In addition, a disruption in the balance of hormones produced by one gland or set of glands can cause other gland systems to malfunction.
Since fat cells manufacture estrogen (a powerful hormone), it is crucial for men to maintain normal weight to have balanced sex hormones. Excess fat can lead to an excess of estrogen in men. When you see a man with a beer belly and breast-buds (female-like development of breasts), he probably has an estrogen excess made by fat cells. This may be the reason that overweight and obese men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). In males, higher levels of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone derived from testosterone, is associated with BPH and possibly prostate cancer; increased levels of estrogen also appears 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 the thyroid hormone will change sex hormone levels; replacing the sex hormone in any quantity will not correct the problem until you have compensated for the thyroid function. Changes in liver function can also cause a shift in the relative amounts of various hormones, because the liver processes most sex hormones. Many menopausal-aged people, both men and women, still have 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 associated problems. 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).
Remember that overall good health is critical to the body’s production of hormones. Inadequate nutrients from diet is a major factor in hormonal imbalance. Excess alcohol, refined carbohydrates (sugars), and “trans” fats will all have a negative effect on hormone levels.
When we suspect a hormonal imbalance, we recommend blood tests and/or salivary hormone tests which often reveal what may be happening. Without laboratory testing, it is difficult to know exactly which hormones are out of balance and by how much. The conventional approach involves potent hormone injections, and, therefore, is an extreme approach. If you are interested in preventing age-related changes that occur with diminished sex hormones, then laboratory testing and personal consultation is advised. Since every man is different and requires a personalized strategy, we recommend a combination of these methods which will allow us to specifically address your particular issues. A personal consultation provides you with a strategic plan for repairing and enhancing your system; your blood chemistry and salivary hormone panel assist in forming a picture of your particular hormone landscape. Together, we can then determine what areas may be causing a failure in the endocrine system.
From the findings, a unique protocol of natural supplements, herbs, nutrition, acupuncture, and/or allergy elimination can often remedy the condition and create profound improvements in health (refer to Testing and Treatment for more details). Even though most natural hormone balancing supplements are safe, professional guidance and monitoring is suggested in order to make sure the right treatment is being given at the right time in the right dose.
See patient testimonials in How We Have Helped Others.