A decrease in the production of thyroid hormones and testosterone over time can cause hormonal imbalances in men. But rest assured guys…this does not mean you will be getting your period. Stress, poor diet, lack of vital nutrients, and excess exposure to estrogenic substances can cause changes in your hormone production. Unfortunately, this may result in you suffering from conditions like hyperthyroidism or experiencing unpleasant changes to your body and mood.
This shift in hormone levels really seems to kick in right around the late thirties and early forties. In my coaching practice, I have had both men and women express concerns regarding changes in mood, weight, and sex drive. It seems that we as women tend to accept these changes as a normal part of our reproductive cycle. Hot flashes, bouts of crying for no reason, water retention…just the perks of being of woman. But men are not use to having these symptoms that seem to come out of the blue for no apparent reason. And since most men require gentle persuasion or incessant reminders to see the doctor, it’s important to identify some of the causes and signs of a potential imbalance so that you can get started on restoring balance right away.
According to the New Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holdford, hormone imbalances are the result of one or more of the following:
- A diet lacking in iodine, zinc and selenium can reduce the production of the thyroid hormone – thyroxine. This typically results in a diagnosis of hypo or hyperthyroidism. You may experience weight gain, mental and physical exhaustion, and constipation. You can get tested to see if you have anti-thyroid antibodies, allergies that suppress the immune system (like allergy to gluten), or low levels of iodine, zinc, and selenium
- Prolonged stress can upset hormonal balance. When you are under stress for long periods at a time, your body uses up all the vital nutrients it has to combat the effects of stress. But your adrenal glands need these same nutrients to produce adrenaline and cortisol-these hormones give you the energy to adapt to stress. The key here is to reduce your stress, reduce the consumption of stimulants like coffee that put your adrenal glands into overdrive, and eat a nutrient rich diet in order to naturally balance hormones
- Beware of estrogen dominance. It is believed that the rise in prostate and testicular cancer is the strongly linked to an increase in estrogen levels and a decrease in testosterone levels in men. Men naturally produce a small amount of estrogen but it is the additional exposure to estrogen in food and the environment that is causing men to experience fatigue, depression, redistribution and gain in weight including growth of excessive breast tissue, decreased sexual performance, and cancer of the reproductive organs. Both men and women should try to avoid eating processed soy products, hormone-fed animal meat and dairy products, use of pesticides and soft plastics (especially when heating your food in the microwave)
If you present with any of these symptoms, consult with your healthcare practitioner to first determine your hormone levels, and then identify any anti-thyroid antibodies, allergies and/or deficiencies in your diet. Or you can always resort to some chocolate and a good cry.