Men, kick-start 2014 by finding out what your testosterone level is.
Sitting across from a patient who quickly went from running his own business and being “on top of the world” to feeling grumpy, occasionally depressed, exhausted and losing his interest in sex can be tough to hear about.
However, men are increasingly experiencing these symptoms and low testosterone may be the common denominator in all of these problems.
Testosterone levels peak in early adulthood in men, with levels progressively falling with age.
Even though it is natural for men to experience a slow decline in testosterone, there are factors that can speed up this process, impacting men’s health emotionally and physically.
Fortunately, naturopathic medicine is excellent at removing such factors and achieving male hormone restoration.
One may be surprised to know that a common cause of low testosterone is due to the excessive conversion of testosterone to estrogens, creating a hormone imbalance.
In my practice, the first step for a male with the above concerns is to check his hormone levels — which will examine the level of testosterone — and can easily be done through either a blood or saliva test.
If the testosterone level is low, then the next step is to look for the reason why, not just suggest a testosterone cream or injection (which more often than not leaves men worse off than they initially started).
Such treatments have common side effects such as prostate enlargement, cancer and breast enlargement.
Managing weight through a healthy diet and exercise is an absolutely necessary part of any treatment in this situation because the enzyme responsible for this conversion concentrates in fat tissue.
Therefore, the more fat you have, the more this enzyme will convert testosterone to estrogen and the more prominent low-testosterone symptoms become.
Obesity, therefore, can cause a downward spiral in a men’s health and it can be difficult to reverse if not addressed early on.
Our environment also plays a vital role with our hormone levels. There are numerous hormone-disrupting chemicals in our environment that can affect testosterone levels.
These chemicals are often found in cosmetics, personal-care products, children’s toys, food packaging and cleaning and building materials.
If you have exposure to some of these, it may be affecting your hormone levels.
In my practice, once I have run hormone levels and identified the problem, my treatment often includes herbal remedies, as well as nutrition and exercise to increase testosterone levels appropriately.
Take the first step towards a healthy new year and get yourself tested to determine if your hormones are out of balance and make this the first of many healthy choices for 2014.
It is easy, causes no harm, and may be the key in getting you back to feeling the way to you want to with more enthusiasm and a zest for life.
Check out my website for more information on hormone testing as well as my free weekly health tips.
Dr. Shane Johnson ND was born and raised in Red Deer and is the owner of Aspire Natural Medicine. He completed his naturopathic medical training at Bastyr University, and is among only a handful of naturopathic doctors in Alberta to complete an additional one-year residency in family medicine. For more detailed information on naturopathic medicine visit www.aspiremedicine.ca.