If you have had your radio or TV on or if you have picked up any fitness/health magazines lately you have probably seen an advertisement for low testosterone clinics. According to the New York Times, 500 million doses of testosterone drugs were given in 2012 and the numbers are continuing to climb (Singer, 2013). With all the hype on this subject I think it is important to ask a couple questions; “What are the effects of low testosterone,” and “Why are men in our nation suddenly having low testosterone?”
Low testosterone (Low T), or hypogonadism, is often associated with loss of hair, loss of muscle, decreased bone density, fatigue and low sex drive in men. Did you catch the fatigue symptom? We will come back to that. Low T is also associated with cognitive decline, dementia and coronary artery disease (Wolfson, 2015).
Any guesses as to why I emphasized the fatigue symptom? In previous articles I have mentioned that fatigue is typically attributed to our diet and the same is said when it comes to low T.
In some circles of the health world it is thought that low T contributes to obesity, diabetes and dementia but if we take a step back and look at the big picture we might see it differently.
Obesity, diabetes, and dementia have all been linked to our favorite friend sugar and you can blame it for low T as well. An article published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that 57% of men in their study with type 2 diabetes had reduced levels of free testosterone and 43% had reduced total testosterone (Grossmann, 2008). The main cause driving type 2 diabetes is a poor diet high in sugar and low in good fats, veggies and protein. This is because a high sugar diet causes high insulin which can attribute to men producing more estrogen than testosterone.
Another factor that is running wild in our society and contributing to low T is general inflammation. Studies also show that diet induced obesity and low T are not only caused by inflammation but can cause neuroinflammation that can lead to nerve damage (Jayaraman, 2014).
So what could be causing the inflammation that leads to low T?
Stress is a common driver of inflammation but it doesn’t just come in the form that we usually think of. It can come from emotions, situations but it can also be caused by what we fuel our bodies with. So why guess at what you should be eating when we can test it! Testing for food sensitivities allows us to see what foods work best for you. Remember no one person is alike and that is why one diet cannot work for everyone but we can help design a food lifestyle that helps you function and feel your best.
Food is not the only thing we put in our bodies though. Over the counter medications and prescription medications can cause deficiencies as well. Recent research has found that long term use of ibuprofen could be contributing to infertility because it causes a man’s testes to decrease production of all sex hormones including testosterone (McDermott, 2018).
Do you need testosterone replacement therapy? In some circumstances men may need exogenous hormones but in many cases making some lifestyle changes can address the root cause of the low T and avoid the side effects that come with hormone replacement. If you would like more information on where your T is at and how it can be improved we can help with lab work and by helping create a food lifestyle that suits your T needs.