By: Dr. Jordan Robertson ND
We have all heard, until blue in the face, that a woman’s hormones change and deplete as she ages, causing significant reduction in quality of life, and a whole range of symptoms.
But what about men?
Men experience changes in their hormone levels as they age, leaving them feeling lackluster, depleted and with low vitality. They may also experience changes in libido, increased body fat (mostly abdominal and breast tissue), or depression.
(Men with low testosterone may actually be at a higher risk for mortality in general (1))
Men beginning in their 30’s have shifts in their hormone production that results in less testosterone production, less ‘bio-available’ testosterone, and increases in estrogen, which affects metabolism and weight gain.
Fat cells turn testosterone into estrogen through an enzyme called “aromatase” which creates a vicious cycle of increased abdominal weight, increased aromatase enzyme, increased estrogen and then increased abdominal fat.
Beating the cycle of weight gain and hormone imbalance requires your practitioner to fully understand the hormones involved, and to develop a plan that will actually target the root of the problem. In addition to estrogen levels, cortisol (2) and insulin (3) imbalance can also shift hormone production away from healthy free testosterone levels, increasing bound testosterone (unavailable) and (even more) estradiol. These elevations in estrogen make men more likely to lay down fat tissue (4) and disturbs blood sugar which increases risk of diabetes (5).
A complete health assessment of middle aged men who are interested in managing their muscle mass (keeping it), reducing fat mass, and improving energy, mood and vitality are candidates for a complete hormone assessment to determine the cause. Men should also have a drug inventory done with our Doctors to ensure that commonly prescribed medication for men (such as Lipitor (6)) aren’t responsible for the decline in testosterone.
- Shores MM, Smith NL, Forsberg CW, Anawalt BD, Matsumoto AM. Testosterone treatment and mortality in men with low testosterone levels. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jun;97(6):2050–8.
- Hu G-X, Lian Q-Q, Lin H, Latif SA, Morris DJ, Hardy MP, et al. Rapid mechanisms of glucocorticoid signaling in the Leydig cell. Steroids. 2008 Oct;73(9-10):1018–24.
- Wallace IR, McKinley MC, Bell PM, Hunter SJ. Sex hormone binding globulin and insulin resistance. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Mar;78(3):321–9.
- Zou B, Sasaki H, Kumagai S. Association between Relative Hypogonadism and Metabolic Syndrome in Newly Diagnosed Adult Male Patients with Impaired Glucose Tolerance or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2004;2(1):39–48.
- Hu J, Zhang A, Yang S, Wang Y, Goswami R, Zhou H, et al. Combined effects of sex hormone-binding globulin and sex hormones on risk of incident type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes. 2016 Jul;8(4):508–15.
- de Keyser CE, de Lima FV, de Jong FH, Hofman A, de Rijke YB, Uitterlinden AG, et al. Use of statins is associated with lower serum total and non-sex hormone-binding globulin-bound testosterone levels in male participants of the Rotterdam Study. Eur J Endocrinol Eur Fed Endocr Soc. 2015 Aug;173(2):155–65.