Male menopause has long been scoffed at, cruelly put in the same box as man flu.
But it’s real and it can have a significant impact on men’s health, physically and mentally.
Just as the symptoms of female menopause can reduce with a healthy lifestyle, so can male menopause which starts to happen, very slowly, from the age of 40.
Testosterone levels of about 1 per cent a year mostly decline from this age but that rate will dramatically accelerate with poor health, exercise and nutrition.
The result will be a range of symptoms – decreased energy, depressed mood, more body fat, less muscle and less libido. Hot flushes can also happen to men but because this process is so gradual, many may not even be aware of it unless they get a full blood test, including hormone levels, prostate, cholesterol, liver function and glucose levels.
It’s even more important for men with Type 2 diabetes to be checked because they’re more likely to have lower testosterone. Also, low testosterone will make it more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life if you don’t have it already.
WAYS TO HELP BOOST TESTOSTERONE
1. Sleep. Studies have shown that when men are restricted to only 5 hours of sleep a night, their daytime testosterone levels fall by 10-15 per cent. So, make sure you work in harmony with your body clock, go to bed at a similar time each night, don’t eat within three hours of bedtime, limit alcohol and caffeine intake and ensure your room is cool.
2. Alcohol. Heavy alcohol intake (more than 15 drinks a week) can lower testosterone and impair fertility. When chronic, it can cause an increase in the female hormone, estrogen and the stress hormone, cortisol.
3. Fat. Keep your body fat range below 20 per cent and your waist circumference below 94cm. It can really help slow the age-related decline in hormones.
4. Strength. Do strength training at least 3 times a week to rebuild lost muscle, protect joints and bones but also increase testosterone levels. It also boosts growth hormone which helps better regulate blood glucose, reduce cortisol and build metabolically active muscle tissue.
5. Diet. Ensure each meal contains adequate protein to help build and repair lean tissues. Foods rich in zinc and magnesium are key to maintaining optimal testosterone levels and so is Vitamin D.
So, come on guys. This is your body, your health and your choice.