In the holistic medicine world, women receive much of the focus when talking about hormone balance, but it’s estimated that 1 in 4 men struggle with infertility, and many aren’t aware of the factors that create healthy hormone balance for men.
In this article you’ll learn the holistic methods you can start right now, symptoms of men’s hormone balance and how better hormones mean better moods, increased stamina, more virility, and of course, a healthier life!
What Is Male Hormone Imbalance?
In men, testosterone is the main sex hormone, and it’s produced by the testes (testicles) to support libido, mood, energy, lean muscle mass, and sperm production.
The endocrine system is responsible for regulating testosterone, and other hormones that help to communicate crucial functions within the body. When the endocrine system becomes dysregulated or hormones begin to fluctuate, this can cause hormone imbalance.
Health Issues Impacted by Hormone Imbalance Include:
- Low testosterone. Also referred to as hypogonadism, which can have dozens of physical and mental signs and symptoms.
- Prostate issues or prostate cancer. This includes an enlarged prostate.
- Infertility. Which is considered the inability to produce sperm or adequate sperm.
- Erectile dysfunction or decreased libido.
Symptoms of Men’s Hormone Imbalance
- Low energy
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Decreased libido
- Trouble losing weight, or weight gain
- Erectile dysfunction
For better fertility, hormone balance, and testosterone health, start by addressing the following 6 factors.
Excess stress can cause symptoms of male hormone imbalance like increased inflammation, low libido, and low energy levels.
Pursue stress management options that work for you–whether it’s breathing methods, moderate exercise, or simply finding a hobby that makes you feel relaxed. You’re more likely to maintain healthy hormone balance when stress levels are in check.
2. Quality Sleep
Not just a problem among men, but a collective problem that plagues modern society, lack of sleep increases risk for chronic disease, hormone imbalance, and weight gain. Plus, the highest levels of testosterone production happen during REM sleep, so if sleep gets put on the back burner consistently, hormone imbalance and lower testosterone levels may be looming (1).
Wait a minute–men have estrogen, too? Yes, men definitely have estrogen too, albeit less than their female counterparts, but it’s just as important that estrogen levels remain at a healthy balance for men’s hormone health. Symptoms of men’s hormone imbalance can have a lot to do with estrogen imbalance as well.
In males, the testes and adrenals glands naturally produce small amounts of estrogen. It helps modulate libido and plays a role in producing sperm. However, environmental factors can throw this delicate system out of balance.
Excess estrogen from environmental toxins
In our food, water, air, and body care products there are man-made compounds that mimic our body’s own estrogen. Once these estrogenic compounds make it into your body, they take up a receptor site on a cell which would normally be available for your body’s natural estrogen.
The bad news is that exogenous estrogenic compounds don’t perform the same functions as real estrogen, so they can ‘trick’ the endocrine system and contribute to hormone imbalance.
You can reduce your outside toxin exposure by filtering your water and air, eating a whole-food diet, and swapping your personal care products for more hormone-friendly options.
4. Increased Body Fat
Male obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions, but high levels of body fat can also be problematic for men’s hormone balance.
Fat cells, called adipocytes, increase activity that converts testosterone to estrogen in the body. Increased estrogen levels then communicate to the endocrine system not to initiate more testosterone production, resulting in a reduction in serum testosterone levels (2).
Too much estrogen shuts down testosterone production at the level of the brain, and this can be a significant problem.
Holistic medicine for men’s hormone balance will aim to support healthy levels of estrogen, as well as balancing testosterone.
5. Exercise, Especially Strength Training
Moderate exercise stimulates libido and encourages normal testosterone. Plus, lean muscle mass promotes healthy testosterone production as well.
Moderate exercise is usually defined as anything that brings your heart rate to 50-70% of your maximum. An easy way to calculate your max heart rate is about 180 minus your age, plus or minus 5 for varying fitness levels.
Exercise alone won’t balance hormones, but it will help to improve other markers of hormone balance, including body fat & weight, insulin, and stress. Regular exercise is one of the most influential ways you can improve your health and promote better fertility.
6. Get Your Diet in Check
How important is a healthy diet for men’s hormone balance and fertility? Very! Several dietary factors play a pivotal role in providing nutrients and biological factors for healthy sperm, testosterone, and hormone function.
Whole, real foods are the best choice for both men and women looking to balance their hormones. Nutrient- and fiber-dense fruits and veggies, quality protein sources, nuts & seeds, and minimally processed fats like olive, coconut, avocado, and grass-fed butter are the best way to get the nutrients you need for hormone balance.
Zinc is an essential mineral for men’s fertility. Zinc enables the body to produce testosterone and promotes healthy sperm quality (3).
B Vitamins (especially folate and B12) are essential for sperm health, and they promote the normal function of DNA in sperm. Increase greens, and vegetables like broccoli, or opt for a high-quality, fully methylated supplement.
Essential fatty acids found in foods like fatty fish, walnuts, ground flax, chia, and avocado reduce the viscosity of semen (its stickiness). Basically, the stickier it is, the less likely it will be able to travel the distance to reach its target–the egg. EFAs also support healthy motility and maturation of sperm (4).
Holistic Medicine for Men’s Hormone Balance: The Takeaway
Get your diet in check.
Testosterone and fertility need nutrients from whole food, not processed franken-food.
Too much body fat = too much estrogen.
Reduce stress and get some sleep.
Want to tank testosterone? Increase stress and don’t sleep.
Healthy muscle mass promotes healthy testosterone levels.
Reduce excess estrogen.
By decreasing body fat if you’re overweight, eating healthy foods, and using clean body care products.