Natural alternatives to Testosterone Replacement Therapies

Men's Health | May 9, 2014 | Author: The Super Pharmacist

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Natural alternatives to Testosterone Replacement Therapies

Testosterone plays a very important role in the growth and development of an average male. However, with advancing age and certain health issues, the function of testes may reduce, resulting in a decreased secretion of testosterone that may be symptomatic in some cases. Although, a lot of healthcare providers may advise testosterone replacement therapy (which may be a suitable option in some cases), you should also know that the serum testosterone concentration could also be maintained under normal levels with the help of diet, lifestyle modification and regular exercise. Testosterone replacement therapy is generally recommended for the management of male menopause, maintenance of normal hemoglobin concentration, prevention of anemia in males and other metabolic disorders in the setting of AIDs and other chronic diseases.

Natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy:

Exercise and physical training:Bicep curl

Exercises (especially those that involve sprinting or weight lifting) are known to boost testosterone levels immediately. According to a study conducted by Rahimi and associates (1) it was suggested that moderate resistance training exercises (such as bench presses or squatting) followed by short resting intervals of at least 90 - 120 seconds during the regimen is helpful in improving testosterone serum concentration by 65 to 76% as compared to baseline. Likewise, resting intervals of 60 seconds or less is associated with substantial increase in serum Growth Hormone concentration. Other exercises that are also associated with improvement in testosterone natural secretion are sprinting and jogging. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that over-training or over-exertion may negatively affect testosterone secretion.

Zinc supplementation

Normal intake of essential vitamins and minerals is important for adequate secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters. For example, research data (2) indicates that zinc deficiency can lead to a substantial decline in testosterone secretion. Study conducted by Prasad (2) provided the statistical evidence that zinc supplementation in deficient males can increase testosterone basal serum levels from 8.3 to 16.0 nmol/L within weeks. You can increase your dietary intake of zinc by consuming shell fish and other zinc rich foods. Although, zinc supplementation in the form of over the counter pills is effective in extreme zinc deficiency, yet several researches suggested that zinc intake in high doses does not improve testosterone secretion. Therefore make sure to speak to your healthcare professional before initiating any drug regimen for the management of hypogonadism or andropause.

Diet Modification:Avocado

Certain nutrients that interfere with the normal metabolic processes (such as excessive glucose intake) can also affect testosterone secretion. The pathophysiological basis involves digestion and assimilation of glucose via insulin secretion that negatively affect testosterone release. According to a latest research conducted in diabetic and pre-diabetic males, intake of only 75 grams of sugar can decrease the testosterone secretion by 25%. Likewise, since the basic building block of testosterone is cholesterol, it is highly recommended to maintain healthy daily intake of monosaturated fatty acids. According to a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology (3), author suggested that besides certain exercises and resting intervals; intake of high quality nutrients like monosaturated fatty acids, cholesterol, polyunsaturated fatty acids and other lipids also increase testosterone secretion, especially after activity. Another study by Wang (4) suggested that increasing the intake of high fiber diet or substantially lowering lipids in the diet also reduces testosterone secretion by 12%. Other helpful dietary modification tips are:

  • Reduce your intake of processed, inorganic and toxic foods
  • Maintain healthy intake of Vitamin D via dairy, direct sunlight or supplementation.

Foods that are strongly associated with boosting testosterone concentration are flaxseed oil, olive oil, fish, garlic, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beef, turnip, radish, oysters, avocadoes and peanuts.

 Avoid stress and maintain your cortisol levels under normal limits:

Testosterone is classified under anabolic hormones: substances that build muscle and synthesise proteins in the body to serve different functions. Likewise, cortisol is classified under catabolic hormones: substances that degrade proteins and oppose the secretion of anabolic hormones like growth hormone and testosterone. Other helpful remedies that may help in naturally boosting testosterone secretion are:

  • Maintaining normal body weight as obesity or high body mass index can lead to tissue degradation of testosterone (especially in fat cells)
  • Maintain healthy sleeping habits
  • If you are diabetic, your chances of developing hypogonadism (reduced testes size) are higher than a non-diabetic male. It is recommended to maintain your blood sugar levels under recommended limits via diet and lifestyle modification, and medications if necessary.
  • Increasing the intake of proteins (especially whey and eggs) boost testosterone secretion naturally due to abundant quantities of essential enzyme hydrolysates.

 Herbs to increase the testosterone secretion:

  • Epimedium (also known as Horny Goat Weed) are routinely used in holistic care practices for the management of sexual dysfunction in males by stimulating testosterone secretion. Research published in Urology (5) suggested that Epimedium supplementation in rats improved testosterone levels and also caused penile erection without central stimulation.
  • Intake of Bulbine Natalensis (6) in a dose of 30 mg/ kg of body weight potentially improves serum testosterone secretion.

Other herbs that are statistically proven to improve testosterone levels in males with hypogonadism are:

  • Tribulus Terrestris
  • Ginseng
  • Tongkat Ali
  • Mucuna Pruriens

It is highly recommended to seek the services of a registered healthcare professional before initiating any hormonal, herbal or medicinal remedy to improve testosterone levels. This is mainly because, some herbals agents may cross-react with certain diets, drugs or normal functioning of other systems.

References:

  1. Rahimi, R., Qaderi, M., Faraji, H., & Boroujerdi, S. S. (2010). Effects of very short rest periods on hormonal responses to resistance exercise in men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(7), 1851-1859.
  2. Prasad, A. S., Mantzoros, C. S., Beck, F. W., Hess, J. W., & Brewer, G. J. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12(5), 344-348.
  3. Volek, J. S., Kraemer, W. J., Bush, J. A., Incledon, T., & Boetes, M. (1997). Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 82(1), 49-54.
  4. Wang, C., Catlin, D. H., Starcevic, B., Heber, D., Ambler, C., Berman, N., ... & Swerdloff, R. S. (2005). Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 90(6), 3550-3559.
  5. Chen, K. K., & Chiu, J. H. (2006). Effect of< i> Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract on elicitation of penile erection in the rat. Urology, 67(3), 631-635.
  6. Yakubu, M. T., & Afolayan, A. J. (2009). Effect of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis (Baker) stem on the sexual behaviour of male rats. International journal of andrology, 32(6), 629-636.

 

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