Phytoestrogens are plant compounds found naturally in many plants. They have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to promote health and prevent disease. However, there is increasing evidence that they may have other beneficial effects such as:
Promoting healthy skin cells
Reducing risk of cancer and heart disease
Increasing energy levels and mood swings in men and women.
The most common form of phytoestrogen is called genistein or soy isoflavones. Genistein is present in soybeans, but it’s also found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. Other forms include daidzein and glycitein.
These are all very small amounts compared to those found in meat products.
The mycoestrogens are a class of phytoestrogens that are non-plant based. They occur naturally in many types of fungi and are typically only available from a few types of mushroom, which is why some people believe eating more mushroom can help boost their low testosterone levels.
What Are the Roles of Estrogen in Men?
Estrogen is a type of hormone that is primarily known for its role in female sexual characteristics and reproduction. However, both men and women produce estrogen in their bodies. In men, estrogen is primarily produced in the gonads, or testicles.
In women, it is produced by the ovaries.
Estrogen helps regulate the function of many systems in the body and affects things such as:
It also helps regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. While estrogen levels naturally decrease as you age, a condition called estrogen dominance is a problem faced by many men and women as they age.
In men, this occurs when the male hormone testosterone begins to decline but the production of estrogen stays about the same. This lack of testosterone leads to a weaker body, more body fat, irritability, loss of muscle mass, and many other symptoms of low testosterone.
Does Testosterone Decline as You Age?
Testosterone is a type of hormone that is primarily produced in the testicles. It is sometimes called the “male hormone” because it is chiefly responsible for the physical changes that take place during puberty, such as the growth of body hair and the deepening of the voice.
Low testosterone is a condition that typically affects older men. In fact, most doctors consider a decline in testosterone levels to be natural as men age, typically occurring around the age of 30. Most men can expect their testosterone levels to decline by 1% to 2% each year.
Low testosterone can also affect younger men as well, and it’s much more common than you might think. Normally, low testosterone is diagnosed when a patient’s total testosterone level is less than 300 ng / dL (10 nmol / L). However, some men may experience symptoms of low testosterone at much higher levels.
Many factors can cause low testosterone. These include:
Cancers that produce hormones or affect hormone production
Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels in Men
A decline in sexual desire or libido, which typically is not due to psychological causes such as relationship problems.
Erectile dysfunction, which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection suitable for sexual activity.
Reduced energy and fatigue.
Loss of height. This typically does not occur until after menopause in women. The decline in estrogen associated with menopause causes bones to loss density, making them more susceptible to fracture.
This loss of bone density in men is known as osteopenia. If the condition becomes more severe, then it’s termed osteoporosis.
Wasting of muscle mass. This typically occurs most significantly in the chest, shoulders, and stomach. It often is noticeable as a “relaxed” or “sagged” appearance to the skin over these areas.
Weakened bones (osteoporosis).
Decreased skin thickness and quality.
Changes in your hair architecture, such as a loss of hair or changes in the color or texture of your hair. Changes in your beard or underarm hair may also occur. The hair loss often occurs in a circular or patches and is permanent, unlike the temporary hair loss that can occur with chemotherapy.
Thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) as well as bowing of the legs.
Reduced muscle mass and strength.
An increase in body fat and a decrease in muscle mass. Obesity is common in men with low testosterone.
Loss of your wisdom teeth (which usually occurs in adolescents).
Low blood sugar levels, which causes you to feel weak or tired, especially after eating. You also may experience headaches, dizziness, fainting, and sweating.
Depression or a loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed.
Decreased “verbal fluency.” In other words, it takes you longer to find the right words when you’re talking.
How Is Low Testosterone Diagnosed?
Your doctor or another medical professional will perform a physical exam, which may reveal a number of the symptoms of low testosterone. However, your doctor will likely order a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other health conditions that may cause similar symptoms. These may include:
Blood tests. A number of blood tests may be performed to check the function of your:
Red blood cells.
Your platelet count will also be measured, as testosterone can affect this measurement. Other tests will measure the size and function of your heart, including the measurement of electrolytes, which are minerals that your muscles need to contract.
Imaging tests. These may include an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound of your:
Prostate. This will determine the presence of any abnormalities.
Testicles. This will allow your doctor to examine the size and shape of your testicles to determine if there is a difference between one testicle and the other.
Semen. This will allow your doctor to examine your genetic material for any abnormalities.
Hormone level tests. This involves collecting a urine sample and testing it for the presence of hormones.
Pelvic exam. During this examination, your doctor will feel your prostate for any swelling or hard lumps.
Sources & references used in this article:
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