Current Affairs

All About Male Hormone Problems

I've been talking a lot about women's health issues lately, and my male clients are starting to ask: "What about men? Are male hormone problems prevalent? If so, what can be done to help?" Today's blog post addresses male hormone issues, and the signs to watch for that you might be affected Did you know low testosterone affects an astounding 1,000,000 American men? Yet in a recent survey, 68% of men cannot name a single symptom caused by low testosterone. Only 15% named low sex drive as a symptom of low testosterone; 6% named fatigue; 3% named a decrease in muscle mass; and less than 1% linked low testosterone to men’s osteoporosis. Clearly, many men are in the dark about how hormone imbalances affect their health.

Men’s hormone changes have been much less publicized and researched than women’s, but hormone disruption is as much a part of a man’s life as it is a woman’s. Some men are more attuned to their hormonal fluctuations than others. Some report clear monthly changes in their energy levels, mood, work and sports performance. Blood levels of testosterone fluctuate at different times in life- from 250 to 1,200 nanograms, and these changes affect a man’s performance, mood and sexuality.

While a man’s hormone fluctuations are less dramatic than a woman’s, testosterone levels start to decline around age 40, falling up to 10% each decade. This phenomenon called “andropause” is now recognized by almost eight in ten family physicians as a real condition that affects quality of life for men. Doctors are becoming increasingly interested in TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) for andropausal men, but I find most men benefit more from a lifestyle program emphasizing natural foods, bodywork therapies and supportive herbs and supplements designed to meet their changing needs.

If you're a man, here are a few signs your hormones may be out of balance:

• You have prostate pain and inflammation with poor urinary control. • A pouchy stomach with poor abdominal tone. • Reduced sex drive and/or impotence. •Low energy, unexplained fatigue or moodiness. •Premature balding or hair loss. •Loss of muscle mass or bone loss (osteoporosis).

What Causes Male Hormone Problems?

1) Synthetic steroid use. 2) Chronic stress, which leads to adrenal exhaustion (the adrenal glands produce most hormones). 3) Severe dieting, serious body building, surgery or long illness. 4) Poor diet with nutrient deficiencies (especially protein, calcium and iodine deficiency), low B Complex or EFAs. 5) Heavy alcohol use or prescription drug use. 6) Excess exposure to hormone disrupters in the environment. 7) Having a vasectomy can be involved in some men.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page

Is a Gluten-Free Lifestyle Right For You?

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Food allergies and gluten sensitivities are one of the fastest growing forms of allergic reactions in the U.S. today. Well over 35 million Americans suffer from food allergies. The numbers of people who suffer from sensitivities to wheat or gluten-containing products are even higher. Over time and left untreated, gluten allergies can lead to chronic problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.), Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease. Most ancient civilizations enjoyed whole grains as a regular part of their daily diet. Is the human body today that different? What’s really causing today’s gluten sensitivity problem? It often develops in aging populations today, people who often have low digestive enzymes and Hcl, and who eat a large amount of pre-prepared and refined foods, and are regularly taking an overload of prescription and over-the counter drugs that damage the digestive tract.

Do You Have Signs Of A Wheat Or Gluten Sensitivity? •    Itchy, watery eyes or blurred vision, hives •    Diarrhea, gas and constipation, nausea or mental fuzziness after eating •    Heart palpitations and sweating, muscle weakness or poor coordination, headaches •    Ringing in the ears, chronic ear infections and congestion •    Excessively swollen stomach, unexplained obesity •    Hypothyroidism and/or hypoglycemia •    Hyperactivity, irritability and flushing in children

What’s Causing The Grain Allergy Epidemic?

1.  Heavily Treated, Overly Refined Grains: Wheat is one of the primary grains consumed in America, but today’s wheat crops are heavily sprayed with pesticides, a major suspect in food allergies and reactions. In addition, the majority of whole grain products you purchase at the grocery store are made with “enriched” flour which has been refined and bleached, a process which strips it of 80% of its vitamins and minerals. Four nutrients (iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin) are added back, but are in synthetic forms that are less usable by the body. Then, a host of additives, preservatives, colorings and sugars are added, contributing to the chemical overload. Most commercial wheat products are difficult for even the strongest digestive system to process over a long period of time.

2.  Low Hcl (hydrochloric acid), Drug Side Effects and Enzyme Deficiency: Hcl is a stomach acid necessary for proper digestion. Hcl decreases with age; One study showed that 80% of people at 84 years old had low Hcl. Pepsin, an enzyme required to break down protein for digestion, is activated by Hcl. Further, antacids which neutralize stomach HCL (Hydrochloric acid), vital for digestion, also disrupt normal processes. The use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) is a common thread in digestive disorders because of their clear link to ulcers and bleeding in the GI tract. Low digestive enzymes from a lack of raw foods is common today and can lead to poor digestion, too. Over time, the effects of undigested or partially digested food in the gut can be devastating. The gut wall becomes more permeable and undigested proteins begin leaking out into the bloodstream. The immune system sees the protein particles as invaders, causing inflammation and the food allergy response. Gluten proteins (found in wheat) are especially difficult to process and are a main factor in the development of Celiac disease, a type of malabsorption that causes severe intestinal problems, and Candida yeast overgrowth. People often combine high gluten grains with heavy proteins in meat or high sugar in fruit. This combination further impairs healthy digestion. Just adding more enzymes from raw foods or supplements is a great way to get wheat sensitivities and poor digestion under control. A 1995 Italian study shows supplementing with pancreatic enzymes enhances the benefits of a gluten-free diet for Celiac patients. See my whole chapter on “Enzyme Rich Foods,” on pg. 102 of my new book Healthy Healing 14th Edition for more information.

What’s Left After You Eliminate Wheat From Your Diet? Eliminating wheat or gluten may seem like an impossible task, but there are many healthy options to ease the transition. Look for wheat-free and gluten-free choices at your health food store. Pasta (I like vegetable pastas made with quinoa or rice), cereal (hot and cold), whole grain flours, breads and snackfoods are all available.

Try these options: rice (red, brown, wild, risotto), amaranth, corn, millet, oats (not tolerated by all celiacs), and quinoa. Legumes like chickpea (hummus), lentils and split peas (dal) make hearty side dishes with none of the risk of wheat or gluten. Rice breads are a tasty option for a wheat free sandwich. They’re a little crumbly, but are often sweetened with fruit juice to enhance flavor, and usually well accepted by gluten intolerant people.

Note 1: Ancient grains like spelt and kamut can be enjoyed by 70% of people allergic to commercial wheat, but neither is good choice for a person with true celiac disease (gluten allergy).

Note 2: Soba noodles made from 100% buckwheat are another good choice. Still, many processed soba foods contain gluten and are not a good choice for people with true celiac disease (gluten allergy).

Note 3: While not as nutritious as the grains listed above, people with gluten sensitivity can sometimes tolerate tapioca and potato starch. Take a small amount to see - you’ll know right away if they’re OK for you.

To Life-long health,

Linda Page