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healingways Hormone by James Occhiogrosso W

ithout hormones, the body’s chemical messengers affect- ing every human biologi-

cal system, nothing works correctly. Testosterone, in particular, is critically important for male development, start- ing in the embryo, through puberty and into old age. After reaching peak levels in a man during his mid-to-late-20s, his tes- tosterone level begins a slow decline. From the age of about 35, it drops by about 10 percent per decade for the rest of his life, accompanied by a slight increase in estrogen levels. While women experience physical

markers when they enter menopause, there is no specific point at which men typically enter andropause, the less extreme male version of the change of life due to low hormone production. Related changes usually cause minor problems at first and then tend to be- come more severe.

Medical studies from Seattle’s

Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System, the University of Washington and Harvard Univer- sity show that testosterone deficiency contributes to reduced muscle and bone mass, male breast enlargement, depression, atherosclerosis, anemia and diabetes.

Test First Hormones travel the bloodstream in bound and unbound (free) forms; only the free ones activate various body func- tions. When evaluating a man, a doctor will typically order a blood test for total testosterone, combining both forms.

32 New Haven / Middlesex

Older men often can show a nor- mal total testosterone level, but have a low level of free testosterone. A saliva test brings clarity, because saliva only contains free hormones. Fifty-plus- year-old men with low free testosterone that show signs of hormone imbalance should consider natural supplementa- tion, even when total testos- terone is normal. It’s best to test before starting a rebalancing program and to retest after a few months. Establishing a record over time allows a man to monitor and adjust progress.

Hormone Help Starts Here

Taking supportive steps in nutrition and lifestyle choices can make a big difference. Diet. Proper nutrition,

embracing a full complement of vitamins and minerals, is essential. Eliminate red meat, cheese, fast food

Help for Guys Natural Ways to Boost Vitality

and processed snack foods, which can increase estrogen levels. Herbal supple- ments such as Tribulus (Tribulus terres- tris), or puncture vine; ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Korean red ginseng (Panex ginseng) and maca (Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum) can help by increasing testosterone levels, sexual libido or erectile function. Some influ- ence testosterone levels directly; others help enhance function by indirectly providing nutrients to improve circula- tion and general sexual health. Weight control. Excess fat, par- ticularly around the abdomen, stores and produces estrogen. Reducing fat tissue can help both lower estrogen and enhance testosterone. Environmental exposure. Endo- crine disruptors, called xenoestro- gens, from everyday exposure to toxic estrogenic industrial chemicals, can mimic the effects of estrogen in a man’s body. These routinely appear in petrochemicals, pesticides, pharmaceu- ticals, dairy products, meats, canned foods, personal care products and plastics. Bisphenol- A (BPA) in the lining of metal food cans is particularly dangerous.

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