Category Archives: Hormones

Low Testosterone In Men And CVD Risks

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a terrible condition, now research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism finds that men who have low testosterone levels may be at increased risk for this dangerous disease. We know that testosterone is the name given to the male sex hormone that’s key to keeping up sperm production, sex drive and the strength of bones. It’s also responsible for a man’s deep voice and increased muscle mass.

Testosterone levels are known to drop by 1% every year after a man reaches his mid 30s, considered his prime. Levels also fluctuate during the day, with the highest in the morning. Stress and other life events might up the speed of a natural age related decline. Low testosterone has been shown to cause increases in body fat, loss of muscle bulk and body hair as well as symptoms like fatigue, depression and lack of sex drive. If you’re worried, find out what’s a normal level for your age.

Cardiovascular disease is a term that covers many problems, a lot of them tied to a process known as atherosclerosis, the condition t hat comes when plaque builds up on the artery walls. The buildup causes the arteries to narrow, which makes it that much harder for blood to flow through the body. If a clot forms, it can stop the flow, and this is often a source for a heart attack or stroke. Other conditions that fall under the cardiovascular disease umbrella include heart failure (when the heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should), arrhythmia (abnormal rhythm of the heart) and heart valve problems in opening or closing.

A team from Ghent University Hospital located in Belgium has found that those low testosterone levels might also be associated with a higher risk of either being diagnosed with or dying from cardiovascular disease. It’s a modest connection according to the researchers. To conduct the work, the team examined earlier studies that analyzed cardiovascular disease and testosterone levels conducted between the years 1970 to 2013. The review brought modest evidence that low testosterone levels are associated with a higher risk of CVD.

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Low Testosterone In Men And CVD Risks Continued…

But, and this is significant, there was little evidence of any association between atherosclerosis (the hardening of the arteries that can lead to stroke or heart attack) and low testosterone levels. There was also no evidence of any link between testosterone levels and heart attacks.

The work also saw that although many older or middle-aged men are given testosterone replacement therapy (at lower testosterone levels) this appears to have no positive affect on cardiovascular health. There are many gaps in our understanding of how testosterone levels and heart disease might be connected, and more research in this area will need to be conducted.

The research does demonstrate that testosterone levels in men are important indicators and should be monitored as more study in this area is being conducted. A healthy diet and regular exercise are two very natural, side effect free ways to help any man feel (and look) his best no matter what his testosterone level.

To your good health,

The Impact Of Estrogen On Waistline

Aging is not for sissies. As the years pass, many men come into the complaints of mid life… the beer belly, the lack of strength when working out and a lower libido than in years past. The culprit, experts once believed, was testosterone, because men naturally start to make less of it as the years pass. A deficiency of this male sex hormone was thought to be the sole reason that a man might start feeling the typical midlife complaints. But another surprising fact has come out, one that doctors think might encourage more study of how men’s bodies age.

It seems that estrogen, the female sex hormone, plays a much bigger role in a man’s body than anyone thought. Falling levels are part of the reason for the expanding waistline, just the same as in a woman. The idea that estrogen has a role for men is a major advance according to Dr. Peter J. Snyder who is a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Snyder is leading a large research project on hormone therapy for men over 65 years old to try and find out which hormone does what in a man, and how body functions are impacted at different levels of hormone.

Until now, experts have focused almost exclusively on how estrogen affects women and how testosterone affects men. Estrogen is made from testosterone in both men and women, with men making so much that they end up with almost two times the amount as postmenopausal women. As the levels of both hormones naturally go down with age, the body naturally changes.

A recent study appearing in The New England Journal of Medicine provided the most conclusive evidence to date that estrogen is a big part of male midlife problems. Some male problems blamed on testosterone deficiency now appear to be almost exclusively caused by the drop in estrogen. It suggests that different side effects kick in at different levels of deficiency in testosterone. Testosterone is the chief regulator of muscle tone and lean body mass, but it doesn’t take as much of this hormone as we thought to maintain muscles. For a young man 550 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood serum is the level considered average, a reading of under 300 nanograms is thought to be so low that treatment with testosterone gels is needed. But this level is arbitrary, without a clinical rationale.

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The Impact Of Estrogen On Waistline Continued…

Muscle strength and size are unaffected until testosterone levels get under 500 nanograms. The accumulation of fat happens at the levels at the higher end of the deficit spectrum, 300-350 nanograms. In terms of sexual desire and performance, both call for estrogen and testosterone and these hormones improve things in this area as they go up. It’s too early to make specific recommendations, and no one is suggesting men take estrogen as high doses cause feminine features to appear.

The hope is that treatment with testosterone might help men walk more quickly, feel more vigorous, have better function sexually, help mentally and strengthen his bones.

To understand what’s behind the changes in a middle-aged man in your life, talk frankly with his doctor. If he is having sexual problems, taking testosterone may bring a benefit. But if he’s complaining of flagging muscle strength or other midlife symptoms, something else might be involved.

To your good health,

Not Enough Sleep Can Lower Testosterone in Men

Burning the candle at both ends with late nights and early mornings, along with the busy pulse of our modern, 24/7 world often keeps us from getting the rest we need. A new study appearing in the June 1, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that not enough sleep may have another, unintended consequence – lower testosterone levels in men. Just a week of sleep loss brought a drop in hormone levels of up to 15% in a sample of healthy young men.

For the study, the researchers compared testosterone levels in ten healthy male (average age 24) recruits from the University of Chicago campus. The potential subjects passed a battery of tests to screen for endocrine or psychiatric problems or sleep disorders.

After a week or normal sleep (eight hours at home), the subjects got three nights of ten hour sleep, followed by eight nights of five hour sleep in a sleep lab. During the sleep sessions their blood was sampled every 15-30 minutes on the last day of each stage of the experiment.

Testosterone levels went down by 10 to 15% after the week of loss sleep compared to the rested states. This drop in hormone was also associated with a loss of vigor and a change in mood according to the subjects.

Lower testosterone levels cannot only affect sexual behavior; it can also have a negative impact on the overall health of a man’s body. He might experience low energy, fatigue and poor concentration in addition to no (or low) sex drive.

This hormone is also important in building muscle mass/strength and bone density. The levels naturally go down as a man gets older – at age 40 and over, by about 1% to 2% each year.

Experts believe that about 15% of adults in the U.S. get five hours (or less) of sleep each night. That means these poor souls struggle through their days exhausted, being less productive, less sharp and energetic, more prone to outbursts of temper or frustration.

This work suggests that prolonged sleep loss can have a negative impact on important hormones, as well as overall well-being.

So what to do?

We’ve talked before about how important sleep is to your overall well-being. But adults vary a lot in how much sleep they need to feel rested, and your sleep needs change over a lifetime. The NIH (National Institute of Health) suggests from 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is enough for most healthy adults.

To find the right amount of sleep for you, plan ahead and let yourself to sleep in, waking naturally. Use this number of hours as a guide to what you need to get most nights.

Once you know how much sleep you need, here are some tips to help you get it.

1) Keep your bedtime the same, even on weekends, vacations and holidays and get up at the same time of day, every day.

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Study: Sleep Loss Cuts Testosterone In Men… Continued…

2) Nap if you need to make up sleep, rather than sleeping in. A daytime nap is less likely to disturb your sleep wake cycle. Take your nap in the early afternoon, and keep it to 30 minutes, no longer.

3) Fight early evening drowsiness with something mildly stimulating, doing dishes, calling a friend, making lunches, setting out things you’ll need for the morning.

4) Make your bedroom quiet, dark, cool and comfortable – a sleep haven and do nothing else in bed but sleep.

5) Follow a routine to wind down… shut off the TV, power down the handheld devices and do something relaxing like take a bath, listen to soothing music or do some easy stretches.

By stopping the vicious cycle of not enough sleep and getting the rest your body needs, even the young and healthy can benefit and are more likely to stay healthy, sharp and ready for anything.