Andropause also known as Hypogonadism occurs as a result of plummeting levels of testosterone, the dominant male hormone. This hormonal function starts to decline between the ages 35-40 for different men. Just like menopause, when decreasing levels of estrogen play havoc on the female body, it can apply to men as well. Because of this condition, symptoms such as the loss of libido, impotence, moderate to severe depression and a lack of energy are a few symptoms that may present themselves.
Let’s shy away from Andropause for a second and focus on testosterone. What comes to your mind when you think of the word: testosterone? Mark McGwire and the bottle of andro found stored in his locker? Pumped-up, Juice-packed muscle men strutting the stages at competitions and shows?
The Testosterone hormone regulates numerous processes in the male body besides sex-related functions and muscle building characteristics. Blood sugar controlled to normal levels, the regulation of cholesterol, oxygen uptake also enhances the immune system and helps to create healthy, strong bones.
All of these are all attributed to the work of this one hormone. Metabolic processes are also speeded up, like cell production and cell growth. In addition, Testosterone appears to help in mental concentration, improves mood and is reported to prevent depression and even Alzheimer’s disease. Testosterone isn’t simply an ingredient found in steroids that pack muscle mass. It is an integral part of the human body that helps shape, build, and maintain bodily processes.
Let’s examine how Andropausal men’s bodies work and result in this decline in Testosterone levels. Testosterone is developed in the brain. The pituitary glands in the brain produces a hormone called luteinizing hormone responsible for giving one special order to the testicles: produce testosterone! Remember, the brain does not produce ¨T.¨ It regulates the glands which produce the hormones that send receptor messages directly to the testes.
The combination of failing testes and the inability of the pituitary gland to send messages to the testes is the reason for testosterone decline. If the pituitary gland is not secreting enough of the luteinizing hormone, the testes will not function. On average, 5 grams of testosterone are made daily. The secretion of this hormone is prominent during certain times of the day, most notably in the morning and sundown. Semen is also affected – less is produced as we age.
¨T¨ hormones work by connecting themselves to proteins in the blood. These proteins follow through the bloodstream and reach the vital areas of the body where the hormone works. A small amount of testosterone does not attach themselves to any protein – these are called free testosterone.
This free hormone is the most impactful hormone in your system. When Andropause comes to fruition, more testosterone attach themselves to proteins, leaving less of the free testosterone available. As you can see, proteins can have a reverse effect on us as well! It is a paradox – a hormone working too hard does more damage than good!
As men grow older, androgen levels start to decline. Remember guys, estrogen is to women as androgen is to men. Androgens are produced in the adrenal gland (located above the kidneys) and in the testicles. These hormones are responsible for producing sperm, promoting sex drive, aiding with erectile function, and helping determine the gender of an unborn child. If you are a bodybuilding enthusiast, please note that lack of androgen will affect your muscle build, causing decreased muscle mass and loss of strength.
No amount of whey protein, creatine, or glutamine can remedy this problem. Instead of building six-pack abs, you will have increased body fat in the areas you need it least. Squats (total body building exercise) and deadlifts (compound exercise that works the back) are nearly impossible to perform, as Andropause can cause osteoporosis (loss of bone tissue) and back pain.
This should not deter you from having a daily exercise regimen, however. Exercise has been scientifically proven to lessen the effects of testosterone loss and your routine should be altered to accommodate this as you age.
There are also alternatives such as testosterone cream that can help you regain your sex drive and stamina. With the right nutrition, including diet and exercise, Andropause can be a comfortable passage.
Sincerely PPE Team.