Testosterone is the primary male reproductive hormone and low levels can affect the health and well-being of men at all ages. Symptoms of low testosterone can include changes in body composition, decreased libido and bone density, lower levels of energy, and even changes in mood and sleep. Thankfully, four lifestyle factors can greatly support hormone balance and overall well-being in men.
Many Americans fail to consume recommend amounts of essential nutrients. In the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020–2025), four nutrients were indicated to be at risk of underconsumption in the general population: calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamin D.1 In addition, this publication reports that elderly men often fail to consume recommend amounts of protein and may also be at risk of low levels of vitamin B12. A healthy diet inclusive of a wide variety of plant-based foods, adequate protein, fiber and healthy fats is crucial in meeting the nutritional requirements necessary to perform normal physiologic functions and produce healthy levels of hormones.2, 3 When nutritional requirements cannot be met by diet alone, a multivitamin like Pure Encapsulations’ Men’s Nutrients, can help fill nutritional gaps, while supplemental protein powders, like PureLean Whey, can boost protein intake when necessary.‡
Many hormones, including testosterone, are produced at night, while we sleep. Disruptions in normal sleep patterns can have significant consequences on hormone production. In several clinical research studies, reduced hours of sleep and fragmented sleep were associated with lower levels of serum testosterone in men.4, 5 Based on this research, it is clear that adequate sleep should be a priority for men looking to support healthy testosterone levels. There are many things that facilitate a good night’s rest: a consistent sleep schedule, a cool and dark room, and supplements like melatonin that support the onset of sleep and the body’s natural sleep cycle.‡
Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and is released in response to physiologic and psychologic stress. Like testosterone, cortisol is a steroid hormone made from pregnenolone. During periods of stress, pregnenolone is diverted to the adrenals to make cortisol and less is available for testosterone synthesis. As a result, stress may deplete testosterone due to its inverse relationship with the adrenal hormone cortisol. Managing day-to-day stress is easier said than done, but exercise, meditation, keeping a schedule, setting boundaries, and psychotherapy can all be helpful practices. Plant extracts—like those found in Cortisol Calm—can also be useful for promoting relaxation and can help maintain a healthy cortisol response during times of occasional stress.‡
Endocrine disruptors are exogenous molecules that mimic or interfere with hormones in both men and women. Unfortunately, these molecules have become ubiquitous in our air, water and food supply, and are also found in a wide array of common household goods such as cleaning supplies and personal care products. Endocrine disrupting molecules have the potential to alter the production and signaling of hormones within the body and may contribute to hormonally related conditions. This category of chemicals can be a concern for men due to hormone imbalances from decreased testosterone production and signaling, increased estrogen levels and their influence on prostate health. To minimize exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, choose organic, whole foods, avoid plastic bottles, filter water and air and opt for more natural versions of personal care and household products. Healthy detoxification processes can also be supported with plant-based extracts and certain supplements (see Nrf2 Detox).‡
SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMMON MEN’S HEALTH GOALS
A healthy diet and lifestyle are crucial for men’s health, and foundational supplements (multivitamin, probiotic and fish oil) can provide broad spectrum support for overall health and well-being. In addition, certain supplements offer more focused support and can help men reach specific health goals. Refer to the table below or to the Men’s Health Protocol for recommendations.
It is essential that clinicians educate and support men along their health journey, especially as they age. This process does not need to be complicated but should be guided and approachable. Simple changes to diet, lifestyle and specific supplementation tailored to the patient’s needs can help promote hormone balance, libido, prostate health and much more.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov.
- Whittaker J, Wu K. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2021 Jun;210:105878.
- Hämäläinen EK, Adlercreutz H, Puska P, Pietinen P. J Steroid Biochem. 1983 Mar;18(3):369-70.
- Leproult R, Van Cauter E. JAMA. 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2173-4.
- Liu PY, Reddy RT. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2022 Dec;23(6):1323-1339.