I know we ladies get most of the attention when it comes to transitioning from our fertile years to our non-fertile, “golden” years, but did you realize that men go through a transition as well? Yep! I suppose you could call it “manopause.” But in all seriousness, men experience something called andropause, which is marked by declining testosterone levels, very comparable to the estrogen and progesterone decline for women.
And just as women experience symptoms associate with this natural transition—like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability and sleeplessness—men can experience symptoms too. The hint of love handles around the mid-section, a loss of muscle tone, or maybe creeping blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, just to name a few. Men may also experience hot flashes or see occasional hiccups in bedroom performance.
Andropause typically affects men in mid-life, just like menopause. Since testosterone is essential for good health, as well as all those manly qualities that make life for a man invigorating and vital, low levels can trigger a constellation of unwelcomed changes.
If you know and love a 50-something guy who wants to keep this in check—or if you are that guy—consider taking action. Adopting a healthy diet based on real food (think lean, clean protein, healthy fats, and lots of low-glycemic, non-starchy vegetables) supports healthy hormone levels, helps keep weight in check and improves overall health. If they are accustomed to bellying up to the bar, they should do so moderately since alcohol consumption has been shown to lower testosterone levels significantly. It’s also important to get enough sleep since men produce most of their daily testosterone while they sleep. Finally, give them that “honey-do list” and help them break a sweat. Exercise naturally increases testosterone levels. In fact, clinical trials show that weightlifting, in particular, boosts the body’s natural testosterone production and, as a bonus, lowers stress levels and improves mood.
Nutritional supplements can also help enhance testosterone naturally. One popular herb shown to boost testosterone levels is fenugreek. A new 12-week study of 50 volunteers published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that a daily dose of 500 mg of fenugreek improved testosterone levels up to 46% in 90% of the participants. An earlier study reported that fenugreek raised both free (bioavailable) and total testosterone among a group of weightlifters. Plus, the herb increased strength and fat loss.
Tribulus terrestris is another herb long used to naturally raise testosterone levels. A 90-day double-blind study in men with erectile dysfunction found that taking tribulus improved performance and increased testosterone levels by 16%. Tribulus may work by raising blood levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). LH is produced by the pituitary gland and “turns on” natural testosterone production in humans.
If your man is in the midst of manopause, these herbs and lifestyle tweaks can help them look, feel, and perform like their best and younger self.