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Male Menopause Pt.2 with Ask Ed

Tackling the ‘Male Menopause’

As Mike stated previously in pt.1 – the Andropause is a decline in testosterone as men get older. This is indeed very much exacerbated by our lifestyles and a combination of regular exercise and some sensible, healthy supplementation can combat any slight decline effectively. Certain types of exercise boost hormones such as testosterone and HGH (Human Growth Hormone).

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Natural Supplementation

The supplement industry is certainly one that is booming but, as a consumer, you’re swamped with suggestions of things to take that will transform your health, life and fitness levels. Much of this is pumped up marketing (pardon the pun!) and many “wonder supps” are far from the must-haves they seem to be and some are even potentially harmful. Men and women do share common needs for the same vitamins and minerals but, due to the differences in hormone levels and physiology, there are some differences worth taking into consideration. Hormonal balance can affect mood and energy levels and even impact your body composition. I have compiled a short list of two key supplements that can assist male health and hormone balance.

 

Zinc – Zinc helps to support normal testosterone levels. Low testosterone can cause all kinds of unpleasant effects such as low libido, fatigue, loss of muscle mass and even erectile dysfunction. There are several reasons why your testosterone levels might drop but, as Mike noted in his blog, there is generally a natural decline in males from the age of 30 onwards.

Getting enough zinc in your system could slow this dip in testosterone and, if it’s caused by another reason, increasing your zinc intake could still help! Normalising your testosterone levels can then help to correct some of the problems I mentioned previously which are hallmarks of the andropause.

Zinc promotes a healthy prostate. Prostate issues are more common in older men but it’s never too early to start looking after your prostate! Problems such as BPH (an enlarged prostate) and Prostatitis (an inflamed and swollen prostate) can cause undesirable symptoms and negatively impact on day to day living. Side effects such as frequent urination, weak urine stream, difficulty urinating and sudden urges to urinate, which can really get in the way of daily life and interrupt sleep.

Zinc is one of the most important nutrients for prostate health! Zinc can help to reduce the risk of developing an enlarged prostate and also help to reduce the size of the prostate in people with BPH due to its anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s a good one to take whether you’ve got BPH or are just looking to reduce your risk.

Zinc has many other benefits such as maintaining strong and healthy hair (by aiding keratin production, the building blocks of strong follicles) and increasing how efficiently the body processes protein.

The amount you should take is up for debate and dependant on your own lifestyle and diet. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 11mg for men but I would suggest that anything up to 30mg is more than fine. You can purchase zinc supplements from most chemists and health food shops relatively cheaply. As there are different types of zinc available to supplement, it is worth mentioning that the most efficiently absorbed is Zinc Citrate or Zinc Gluconate. However, there is minimal difference between quality sources of zinc in your supplements, though I would personally suggest avoiding Zinc Sulfate which is the cheapest source but can often cause an upset stomach as it isn’t absorbed and digested effectively.

 

Vitamin D improves mood and cognitive function. Vitamin D receptors are widespread in the brain, and it is thought that this nutrient may be a key player in our overall mental wellbeing.

You may have noticed that I mentioned Vitamin D ‘3’ at the beginning of this section. This is because, as before with zinc, there are different varieties we can take but primarily two options. Vitamin D2 is plant based (so suitable for vegetarians and vegans) whereas Vitamin D3 is derived from animal sources (including sometimes the fat of lambs wool which blew my mind 😳😃) and has been proven to be more efficiently absorbed.

The RDA of Vitamin D is 600iu – however I would suggest that 1000-2000iu is more effective at achieving the hormonal and mental balance that this brilliant supplement provides. Again, this is relatively inexpensive and comes in many forms such as sprays, capsules and even effervescent tablets. New science suggests a large proportion of adults have deficiencies for Vitamin D3, so it’s really important to consider this for both males and females.

Many of the larger pharmaceutical firms such as Neilsen (who produce Wellman) have specific vitamin blends for both Men and Women and also differing ages as our demands for certain vitamins changes with age.

These are by no means the only ones worth your consideration so feel free to contact me at asked@uk-sas.co.uk if you have any specific questions on supplementation.

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Exercise

Being active reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a disorder that afflicts many men. Though its immediate effects are obvious, the longer-term effects it has on wellbeing (both mentally and physically) are not. Blood flow is key!! Have you ever felt cold, tight and stiff before exercising and then after a few minutes everything literally warms up and you feel more supple? This is due to your blood flow increasing which is obviously a key factor in maintaining an erection. Exercise directly assists and increases blood flow which is always a good thing for the man downstairs!!

Being active increases confidence and self esteem

When you exercise, you feel good!! Not only does exercise help you to look good by gaining an improved body composition, which in turn increases your self-esteem, but it can directly fight depression. Depression is often related to low levels of certain chemicals in the brain like serotonin. Exercise, however, tends to decrease the concentration of these by-products and stimulate the release of endorphins. That feeling of achievement and wellbeing after you’ve been active is down to those endorphins. So, exercise is important for both body and mind!!

Weight training

Research has shown that lifting heavier weights is the best form of exercise to boost testosterone and especially in men after they hit 30 and their testosterone (very slowly) decreases as part of the andropause. As muscle mass increases, it will trigger the body to produce more testosterone. This is on top of the other many benefits that resistance training gives such as improved bone density, metabolic function, posture and balance.

I would recommend 2-3 short but effective full-body workouts (20-30 minutes) to begin with using compound (multi joint) exercises, such as squats, bench presses and deadlifts as these are proven to create a larger effect on testosterone levels.

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As with my supplement recommendations earlier, contact me at asked@uk-sas.co.uk if you have any specific questions on building a Workout Plan.

You can also check in with our progress with SAS Gym – use the handle @sasgymuk on Instagram or search ‘SAS Gym’ on the app store.