Hormone Imbalances for Men and Women

By Jon Barron

Hormones are the body’s chemical messenger system. They tell the various cells of the body what to do — and when — by attaching to specific receptor sites on individual cells. Adrenaline, for example, is produced in the adrenal glands and, at times of stress, tells the heart to speed up and blood vessels to narrow. Testosterone and the various estrogens, on the other hand, promote specific sexual characteristics.

Problems occur when the various hormones get out of balance. In previous reports, I’ve talked extensively about the need for both men and women to supplement with natural progesterone to counter the effects of estrogen dominance triggered by chemical estrogens in the environment. In this report, we will discuss the need for men and women to reestablish the proper levels of testosterone and the adrenal hormones in their bodies. And in connection with these issues, we’re going to find that we also naturally end up correcting nitric oxide and 5-alpha-reductase imbalances in the body. Since many of these imbalances start kicking in at around the age of 30, we call this the 30,000 mile tune-up.

Testosterone Story

A growing body of evidence suggests that free testosterone levels drop as much as 40 percent in men between their early forties and early seventies. And for 10 to 15 percent of all men, those levels will dip below normal even as early as their thirties if they have to deal with stress, depression, personal life changes, or medications. This causes negative changes in body-mass composition and a decrease not only in sexual desire and performance but also in the competitive drive to succeed and accomplish something meaningful in life. In women, excessive estrogen in the body causes a reduction in testosterone levels, which leads to a similar decline in sexual desire and performance and a similar reduction in “life drive.” Both men and women need and produce testosterone in their bodies, although in differing amounts.

Unfortunately, once we reach our thirties, available testosterone levels for both men and women begin diminishing with age. However, it’s not actual testosterone production that decreases as we age but, rather, the amount of free circulating (bioavailable) testosterone, as more of it gets bound to both albumin and a natural substance called SHBG (sex-hormone-binding globulin). SHBG plays the biggest role in testosterone binding when testosterone levels are low, while albumin plays the dominant role at higher levels.1  The important point is that when testosterone becomes “bound” (particularly to SHBG when levels are already low), it becomes unavailable for use by the body. This means that although total testosterone levels may remain essentially unchanged as you age, only a steadily diminishing portion of that total is actually “available” to enter a cell and activate its receptor. And considering that as we age the amount of SHBG steadily increases, it’s easy to see that the level of bioavailable testosterone will only continue to decrease over time.

The Benefits of Correcting Hormonal Imbalances for Men

It is of great importance to have normally balanced free testosterone and estrogen levels for male health and wellness. Levels of these hormones that are too low or too high can have major negative effects on male health and fitness. SHBG does indeed play a role in maintaining this balance. On the one hand, excess estrogen levels in men, for example, are associated with cardiovascular disorders and insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity, strokes, prostate enlargement, male breast enlargement (gynecomastia), and even male breast cancer.4 Sex Hormone Binding Globulin plays a key role in maintaining balance by binding to excess estrogen and making it unavailable for use by the body–with one important exception that we’ll talk about later. On the other hand, low levels of estrogen in men are associated with osteoporosis and bone fractures, as well as lowered sex drive. When levels are already low, excess levels of SHBG can exacerbate the problem by binding to desperately needed hormones.

More News About Depression

By Jim Fain

Almost any time of the year can be emotionally tough for many people, so a column on depression is timely. While everyone feels blue or down every now and then, true depression is different. The symptoms are pretty broad with all patterns having a base of irritability, anxiety and reduced hope. Depression can have big cycles with very high highs and very low lows (bipolar), smaller cycles (cyclothymia), very low lows without cycles (major depression) or a chronic sort of having a wet-blanket-mostly-covering life (dysthymic depression). Seasonal changes due to the loss of sunlight can be a problem as well as not exercising enough. Depression has different sources.

There are physical and emotional causes of depression. Physical causes can be prescribed drugs, unintended drug combinations, recreational drugs, quitting coffee, quitting smoking, chronic aches and pains to list just a few. Emotional causes mostly have to do with turning the feeling of anger inward and beating yourself up by telling yourself you’re no good or that life is no good..

Sometimes, a gland may not be functioning properly such as your thyroid and when estrogens are out of range in both men and women depression and anxiety follow. Lab tests such as TSH (thyroid), estradiol, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone can be easily done to find out if there is a problem.

Some supplements like vitamin D and DL-Phenylalanine help prevent mood change, especially those connected to not enough sunlight. Several supplements are exceptional in lifting depression. The newest one I’ve found is Uridine which can lift mood and in many improves mood. The amino acid L-5HTP which when given in the proper amount is as effective for many as Prozac without the nasty side effects (just don’t use it along with Prozac or any of its prescribed cousins).

Studies have shown fish oil to be effective in reducing the degree of depression over time. L-theanine is found in wide use in Japan. Benefits include promoting relaxation without drowsiness, improved learning and concentration, reducing stress and anxiety that may set off depression. The newest data shows that supplementing with a quality probiotic daily helps, too.

There are many ways to deal with depression. No one needs to suffer endlessly, and life is too short not to feel a range of emotions including happiness.

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