As men reach their mid 40’s, up to 40% will start noticing physical and mental changes due to decreased testosterone production (1).
Even with regular exercise, once hard muscle will be gradually replaced by increased body fat, especially around the middle. And a full, thick head of hair will gray and become thinner. Once frequent sex will decline as both the desire and the ability to perform decrease.
Hypogonadism, or simply low testosterone, which happens when the testes stop producing the male sex hormone, testosterone.
Previously only thought to affect older men, low testosterone is becoming an issue for younger and younger patients, but your functional medicine doctor has solutions to restore the vitality and energy you’re missing.
Can Functional Medicine Fix Low Testosterone?
Many doctors believe these symptoms in men are a “normal” part of aging, and that low energy, decrease in sex drive, and change in body composition are inevitable, but functional medicine and your integrative doctor take a different approach.
Decreasing testosterone is common in middle to older aged men, but integrative medicine believes that just because something is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal. There are many factors that can also disrupt men’s testosterone much earlier than as a result of aging, and we’ll talk about the main causes of low testosterone, and how your functional doctor can help you fix them–no matter if you’re in your 20s or 80s!
Low testosterone is fixable with a comprehensive approach through integrative medicine by combining diet and lifestyle modifications with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), if necessary.
Talk to an Integrative Men’s Health provider. Get started today.
Low T Symptoms
Symptoms of low testosterone usually develop gradually, and affect many different systems (not just physical) so if you’re experiencing any of the following, it’s worth it to talk to your functional doctor about testosterone, and what you can do to optimize your levels.
Symptoms of Low T include:
- Low sex drive
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased feelings of well-being
- Brain fog
- Loss of muscle mass or strength
- Irritability, moodiness
- Less body hair
There are also a collection of less visible symptoms with which your functional provider will be able to diagnose low testosterone:
- Bone thinning or osteoporosis
- Higher body fat percentage
Ready to get your sex drive back? Speak with a men’s health provider now.
Main Causes of Low Testosterone
It’s estimated that nearly 25 million american men between 40 and 55 suffer from symptoms relating to low testosterone, and data shows that our exposure to environmental factors as a result of modern lifestyle have the same, if not greater, impact on fertility and hormone function than genetics do (2)(3).
Which means that our endocrine system, including testosterone and all other sex hormones, can be disrupted by our diet, lifestyle, and environmental exposures.
When functional medicine evaluates testosterone function, there are five main components that play a role in testosterone (and hormone health as a whole):
Chronic stress, which is stress experienced over a long period of time, can impact testosterone production, resulting in a decrease in sex drive and even erectile dysfunction (4). Want to tank your testosterone? Pile on the stress and don’t sleep. It’s hard to fix testosterone without these two factors on board.
Yes, men have a small amount of estrogen too, and it performs crucial functions in the body. The problem lies in accumulating too much estrogen, either because your body is unable to get rid of excess, or because you’re exposed to estrogen-mimicking compounds in the environment. Endocrine disruptors are a problem for everyone because they interfere with proper hormone function throughout the body.
- Common endocrine (hormone & testosterone) disruptors include: pesticides, parabens or phthalates in body care products, BPAs in plastics, and heavy metals/lead in drinking water or food, to name a few.
3.Blood sugar, insulin, and body fat
Blood sugar imbalance disrupts proper endocrine (hormone) function, including testosterone. What’s more, men with low testosterone are three times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which includes diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol (5).
Poor digestion not only hinders good testosterone production, but it can cause a slow cascade of life-affecting problems like joint pain, fatigue, autoimmunity, leaky gut, and a lot more. A happy and humming gut is the root of good hormone function in the body.
Adequate amounts of key vitamins and minerals are a necessity for protecting the testicles and for testosterone production. Magnesium, B vitamins, selenium and zinc at minimum–and we can test for deficiencies in the clinic.
For example, proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers can decrease the absorption of minerals and B12, both of which are imperative for testosterone production (6). If you’re relying on acid-lowering drugs to support digestion, it’s imperative you speak with a provider to heal your gut and break your dependence on acid-lowering drugs that can hinder hormone production.
Is Low Testosterone Curable Naturally
At CentreSpringMD we believe that optimal testosterone production is the result of a properly functioning gut, a balanced immune system, and a healthy diet & lifestyle.
Conversely, if the body is malnourished or stressed, sex hormone production will take a back seat to other more essential functions
Ways to increase testosterone naturally:
- Eat the right types of fat. Omega 3 fats provide fuel for healthy hormone production.
- Prioritize nutrients. Nutrient-dense greens, quality meats, fats, nuts, and seeds ensure your body has the vitamins and comprehensive minerals it needs to fuel hormone function.
- Limit alcohol intake. Binge drinking is directly correlated with poor testosterone production.
- Decrease toxin exposure to endocrine disruptors. Filter your water, choose organic produce when possible, and speak with a CentreSpringMD provider about how to lower your individual toxin load.
- Strength train. Lean muscle supports optimal testosterone production and function.
- Get adequate sleep.
Fixing Low T with Integrative Medicine
Your integrative men’s health provider will bring together comprehensive solutions that will support not only testosterone, but gut and immune health as well. What do these systems have to do with hormone health?
A significant portion of your immune system is located in your gut, the lining of which separates your digestive system from the rest of your body–allowing water and nutrients in, but keeping pathogens and unwanted particles out.
However, if this lining becomes too permeable, in response to inflammatory foods, stress, or an otherwise poor diet, the immune system can become overactivated, and in some cases, even mistakenly target Leydig cells, which are the cells responsible for making testosterone (7).
So with a hyperpermeable–or “leaky”–gut, your immune system can impact testosterone production at the source.
In addition to supporting digestion and immune health, your integrative men’s health doctor will help you decide if testosterone replacement therapy is the right choice for you.
What is TRT?
When you and your functional medicine provider at CentreSpringMD determine that testosterone replacement therapy is right for you, treatment is usually delivered in one of several ways:
- Intramuscular injections (into the muscle)
- Gels or creams applied to specific areas of the body (with care taken to ensure any hormone isn’t transferred to a family member or partner).
- Patches that transfer testosterone transdermally
- Pellets implanted beneath the skin
Our doctors at CentreSpringMD often choose bioidentical hormone replacement as part of a functional and integrative approach due to their more natural interaction with the body, and fewer side effects.
Read more about the difference bioidentical hormones make within the body here.
Benefits of TRT
Healthy testosterone function provides several major benefits, including:
- Improved cognition and focus
- Higher sex drive and improved sexual function
- Muscle strength and physical stamina
- Improved bone density
- Loss of excess body fat/easier weight loss
If you’ve been putting off addressing your low energy, lack of sex drive, or widening of your waistline–it’s time to set up an appointment with a functional men’s health provider at CentreSpringMD.