Healthy ageing in men
28th January 2020
Wouldn't it be great if there were a silver bullet that would stop the ageing process? Unfortunately, ageing isn't something that can be avoided. Like it or not, it will happen to us all. But that doesn't mean we can't age well.
Because hormones and hormone balance have everything to do with how we age, we can actually manage the ageing process by managing our hormones. This can mean avoiding the diseases and disability commonly associated with age. If your hormones are balanced, you can be healthier, feel better, and look good, too. There's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy your lifestyle, your activity level, your family, and your sex life well into your 80s.
Healthy ageing isn't just about balanced hormones, though. There are four important factors critical to healthy ageing:
- Balanced hormones
- A healthy diet
- Being active
- Avoiding stress
We're fortunate to live in a time when the many health complications associated with ageing can be managed. Read on to learn more about the factors that influence ageing.
Some facts about hormones and ageing
- One of the primary causes of chronic illness in men with andropause is declining hormones.
- The ageing process can be managed. A study by the MacArthur Foundation found that only 30% of how we age is embedded in our genetic makeup. The other 70% is in our control.
- For most people, managing the ageing process is about quality of life. Andropausal men want a life free of chronic illness, and they want to maintain their current mental and physical abilities. This is entirely possible with male hormone replacement therapy.
- All of the hormone and lifestyle choices covered on this website are important to managing the ageing process, but managing stress (and the stress hormone cortisol) must not be overlooked.
What happens to your hormones as you age?
Hormones typically begin to decline when a man is in his late 20s. The rate of this decline will determine how quickly or how slowly he will age. In other words, hormones don't decline because we age. Rather, we age because hormones decline. Replacing hormones to healthy levels is the biggest piece to the healthy ageing puzzle.
At what point in your life did you feel the healthiest and most energetic? Most men will say they felt their best when they were between the ages of 20 and 30. You likely awoke every day with renewed energy, and you could do more without feeling tired. It was easier to build muscle, and it was easier to keep weight off. Your skin looked great, and your sex drive was strong. The reason you felt so good in your 20s and 30s is that your hormones were in balance, and your body was doing what it was designed to do: be physically and sexually active.
You can't be 20 or 30 again, but you can feel good again. Imagine having the wisdom and freedom that come with this time in life, while at the same time feeling great. With properly managed male hormone replacement therapy, and good lifestyle choices (i.e. a healthy diet and adequate levels of physical activity), this is possible.
Incidently, if your sex drive is not as strong as it used to be and you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, consider using ed medication such as Viagra. It helps men obtain an erection long enough to have sex. Visit the previous link to buy Viagra from UK Meds, and if you don't have a prescription you may wish to try Viagra Connect, which contains 50mg of Viagra and does not require a prescription.
If you are finding it difficult to lose weight and keep it off, talk to your doctor about Orlistat. This medication prevents fat from being absorbed in the digestive tract. It helps people lose more weight than they would otherwise with diet and exercise alone.
Healthy hormones and healthy ageing
Most people are interested in living longer—but only if they can continue to be healthy and well. Staying healthy as you age depends on the following 4 important factors:
- What you eat matters. A balanced diet is a foundation for good health.
- Be creatively active. You know the cliché “if you don't move it, you lose it”? It's true.
- Avoid Stress. Stress dramatically accelerates the ageing process.
- Balance your hormones to healthy levels. Hormones do not decline because we age—we age because our hormones decline.
What you eat matters
Our bodies were designed for a diet based on simple, basic foods. But processing and bio-engineering of our food supply make our diets anything but simple these days. And leached soils and pollutants make our food anything but basic. Here are some simple guidelines for providing your body with the diet it was designed for:
- MAINTAIN A BALANCED DIET. You want your diet to be approximately 33% protein, 33% complex carbohydrate, and 33% fat. It's important to minimize refined carbohydrates (by becoming familiar with the glycemic index), and limit saturated fats.
- DON'T TRY TO MAKE MAJOR CHANGES ALL AT ONCE. Know where you are going, and do it in small steps.
- TAKE A GOOD MULTI-VITAMIN WITH IRON. Taking a good multi-vitamin will go a long way toward levelling out and balancing your body's needs as you get older, and will give your body what it isn't getting from food. While we often know what isn't good for our bodies, we seldom know exactly what the body is missing. Like a cafeteria, a multiple-vitamin provides the body with a variety of the things it might need.
- AUGMENT YOUR MULTI-VITAMIN WITH OTHER SUPPLEMENTS. The following are important nutrients that a multi-vitamin won't provide in sufficient quantities (or won't provide at all): Omega 3's, such as fish oil; Vitamin E; Vitamin C; CoQ10; Vitamin B-complex; mineral complex; and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 has become particularly important. Many studies are finding that adequate Vitamin D3 goes a long way toward preventing disease.
- EAT UNPROCESSED FOOD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Making food from scratch takes more effort, but it's much better for you than eating processed food. Most processed foods are laden with fat, sugar, salt, and preservatives. When you make your own food, you know exactly what's in it. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables when possible, and if the use of packaging is necessary, choose frozen over canned. While it isn't practical for most people in our fast-paced modern society to make their food completely from scratch, put some thought into it when you're at the store, and do the best you can.
Be creatively active
Notice we don't use the word “exercise”. We know that for many people, exercise is a four-letter word. Having said that, allow us to paint a picture for you.
Thousands of years ago, we had to walk 200 yards, or perhaps even two miles just to get a drink. Now we don't get out of our cars to raise the garage door. We aren't saying you have to live like your ancient ancestors to be healthy. We're just saying you need to take a creative step in that direction. If you are sedentary, sitting in an office chair all day, consider using a standing desk.
Creative means this: do what works for you. If you don't like going to the gym, then build activity into your day. You can always go for a walk. You can garden. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. And you'll always find an abundance of parking spaces far from the entrance to the grocery store. You get the idea.
And as you get moving, you may just find that you're becoming more ambitious. The gym may gain some appeal, or you might get into cycling, swimming, yoga, or some other more rigorous form of exercise.
Activity revs up the body. Everything functions more efficiently with a healthy amount of activity—your heart, your brain, your circulation, and even your skin. The revved-up body also manages stress better. And as we know, we must avoid stress.
Stress is defined as anything perceived as an emotional or physical threat, whether actual or imagined. When under stress, the brain tells the adrenal glands to produce a hormone called cortisol. Also known as the “fight or flight” hormone, cortisol triggers the release of adrenalin. This mechanism evolved thousands of years ago to help us manage threats more effectively. (Here's a big hairy animal. Do I fight it, or run?) Hundreds of thousands of years ago the “big hairy animal” presented itself infrequently. But today, its equivalent might present itself several times a day, or it may be constant.
The problem with cortisol is that it's destructive to your body's cells and tissues. In particular, it compromises the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to sickness and disease (including brain deterioration).
To complicate matters further, cortisol presents us with a double-edged sword. Pressure on the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisol can result in adrenal fatigue. In other words, the adrenals become tired. The body actually does need some cortisol; just not too much. But when the adrenals become fatigued, they can't produce those small amounts of cortisol the body requires to meet its daily needs. The result is feeling tired; like it's a struggle to get through the day.
Here are the specifics on what stress can do to your health:
Stress and your brain
While too much cortisol is destructive to your body's cells and tissues in general, it's particularly damaging to brain cells. Too much stress can release enough cortisol over time to contribute to brain deterioration, including Alzheimer's and dementia.
Stress and your immune system
Stress compromises the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to sickness and disease.
Stress and the ageing process
Stress can also cause the body to age prematurely. Remember our presidential friends? Look at pictures of Barack Obama when he was running for president, and look at pictures of him now. Significant ageing of this sort has one primary cause: stress and excess cortisol. And studies are showing that collagen in the skin is particularly susceptible to damage.
Stress and nutrition
When the body arms itself against stress, it marshals all of its resources, including the nutrients that fuel the body. As a result, nutrients are rapidly leached from the body and the immune system, and the body is left vulnerable to illness.
Stress and your hormones
Your body's chemistry is managed by the interrelationship of hundreds of hormones. As the body ages, there is a natural decline and subsequent imbalance in these hormones. Cortisol is a hormone that interacts in very significant ways with DHEA, and in only slightly less significant ways with testosterone, estrogen, and thyroid. What does this mean? It means that the decline of hormones makes the body particularly vulnerable to stress, and makes dealing with the physical effects of stress very difficult for men with andropause.
What can you do to relieve stress?
- Limit stress whenever possible. We know, easier said than done, but do your best.
- Learn basic stress coping techniques. Deep breathing, meditation, working out, listening to relaxing music…whatever works for you.
- Be active. Everyone knows that being active is an effective way to combat stress. Take the stairs, take a walk, park your car far away from the store. Use your imagination. And then, if you're feeling more ambitious, move on to more structured forms of physical activity.
- Replace DHEA to healthy levels. DHEA is another adrenal hormone, and its levels start to decline around the age of 26 or 28. One of DHEA's many benefits is that it helps the body to balance excess levels of cortisol.
Testosterone helps men maintain muscle mass, bone density and sex drive. Testosterone deficiency, also called hypogonadism, is a condition where a man's body does not produce enough testosterone. Symptoms of hypogonadism are low sex drive, lower muscle mass and having less energy.
If you have been diagnosed with hypogonadism, your doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. By using products such as testosterone gel, a man can help replenish lost energy, increase sex drive and better maintain their muscle mass.
Balance your hormones
The bodies of both men and women have evolved for eons around the reproductive cycle. We reach the peak of that cycle around 26 to 28 years of age. Then hormones begin to decline. Mother Nature maintains hormones at relatively healthy levels until about age 40. Historically, that gave us time to raise our children to independence, and then most of us died.
Thanks to healthier lifestyles, better food, and modern-day medical science, we now live much longer. If we extrapolate Mother Nature's intentions forward, it's safe to say she intended for us to have healthy hormones for as long as we live. This means replacing hormones to healthy levels and keeping them balanced.