Men’s Health and Hormones
It’s a common misconception that women are the only ones who should worry about hormonal health. Everyone’s body however, produces hormones. Hormone health is critically important for both sexes. In this blog we’re going to take a look at hormone health in men because it’s a subject that is rarely touched upon.
We’ve already posted a blog about Hormone Issues, but let’s get a quick review of some of the things we’ve previously written. Our bodies are made up of and governed by different systems. The endocrine system is responsible for the creation and regulation of hormones. It helps maintain the body and it’s many other systems. The endocrine system is made up of glands located throughout the body, from the brain to our reproductive organs. There are many purposes for these glands. They help with development, growth, metabolism, regulating internal temperature, body energy distribution, mood, the immune system, nutrient distribution, appetite control, detoxification, bodily water content, heart rate, sex drive and the activity of every organ. These glands produce proteins known as hormones, which affect and regulate the physiology of the body.
The pituitary gland is located in the brain and is where the production of hormones begins. It produces five different kinds of hormones. The thyroid and parathyroid glands create hormones that regulate temperature and calcium levels in the blood and bones. The thymus gland produces hormones that monitor the immune system. The pancreas produces insulin hormones to regulate blood sugar levels. The adrenals produce cortisol, which raises blood sugar levels, suppresses inflammatory reactions, stimulates mental alertness and suppresses the immune system. Finally, the testes produce and regulate testosterone and maintain male sexual characteristics.
The three main hormones that a man produces are: testosterone, growth hormone and cortisol. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that helps a man feel confident and creates the desire for sexuality. It’s produced in the testes and regulated by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Testosterone is in muscles and shapes a man’s configuration – both physically and mentally. It’s natural for testosterone levels in men to drop by one percent each year after a man turns thirty. However, any dip larger than that is unnatural, but unfortunately has been happening more often to a lot of men. Large dips in testosterone leads to dulled sexual desire and lower self-confidence.
Growth hormone is responsible for physical growth. The more growth hormone a boy has before starting completing puberty, the more genetic expressions his body will have towards being taller. Growth hormone also affects bodily composition and helps produce testosterone. Just like any other hormone, the body needs a balanced amount of growth hormone. Too little growth hormone means lack of physical growth; too much can lead to side effects such as high blood pressure and blood sugar.
Cortisol is a hormone that’s produced similarly in men and women. It is essentially a stress hormone. When the body is undergoing stress, the brain produces cortisol which causes us to experience pressure. This is a very important bodily function. Stress drives us to complete hard tasks and also helps us survive in fight-or-flight situations. We have entire blogs dedicated to talking about stress which you can check out here. Cortisol is kind of the inverse of testosterone in that men need a little bit of it at a time to drive us through challenging or physically exerting actions, but too much of it takes a big toll. High levels of cortisol can lead to sleeplessness, high blood pressure, a weakened immune response and a number of health issues.
So how can we keep our hormone levels in balance? One key thing that many men neglect is nutrition. A lot of people don’t realize that, among other things, nutrition has a massive effect on hormone health. Studies have shown that diet significantly impacts testosterone levels. An unhealthy imbalanced diet prohibits a man’s body from producing the testosterone levels it needs because without a healthy diet it simply doesn’t have enough nutrients to do so. For foods that help with healthy hormone production, click here.
Keeping our stress levels under control is also another key to hormone health. When we are constantly stressed we experience an imbalance in neurotransmitter production. These important chemicals affect hormone production. We need to be able to resolve stressful episodes in order to keep the hormones balanced. As mentioned previously, cortisol, is a stress hormone; overproduction of any hormone is unhealthy. Hormone health requires a balanced production of each one. In the case of cortisol, the more stressed we are, the more of it is produced, leading to less growth hormone and diminished testosterone levels. It’s best to reconcile stressful episodes that come our way. Often times this is done through forgiving others, including ourselves, and asking for forgiveness if our actions have harmed someone else.
Another major ingredient needed to promote hormone health is sleep. Deep, REM sleep in particular is crucial. We detoxify when we sleep, which filters toxins out of our bodies. This is important because toxins can affect hormone production if they’re allowed to roam freely. Sleep also energizes us, providing a natural refresher that we need every night. The less you sleep, the more cortisol is produced in the brain, increasing stress. Your body also produces less testosterone when sleep is neglected. An adult should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and go to bed at an early time. The importance of sleep is something that nobody should neglect. Men need to be just as aware of hormone health as women are of theirs. Having a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and properly managing stress are 3 critical aspects of maintaining hormonal health. In case you’re wondering whether or not you’re experiencing a problem in healthy hormone levels, a good measure of testosterone is to take notice of the energy we have throughout an entire day. If we experience decreases in energy during the day or late afternoon, that is a very common sign that hormone and neurotransmitter levels are not balanced or where they need to be. Phytotherapi has solutions that can help bring back balance to hormone health – in both men and women. For more information, visit our Hormone Problems page on our website.