WHICH OF YOUR HORMONES IS THE REAL ISSUE?
Ask the question in a male health clinic, and the majority of men present will swear blind that they have an issue with testosterone.
Some may even have been desperate enough (the symptoms of low T are awful in men) to turn to Testosterone Replacement Therapy treatments, Peptide clinics, or worse, steroids, in an attempt to solve the issue.
BUT WHAT IF TESTOSTERONE ISN’T THE ISSUE? AND WORSE, WHAT IF THROWING MORE TESTOSTERONE INTO THE BODY ONLY EXACERBATES THE CHARACTERISTICS YOU WISH TO CHANGE?
So what’s the scoop?
Most men in the developed world are overweight, due to diet and lifestyle choices, storing excess fat in the lower body and pecs – a clear signs of estrogen dominance.
Excess fat in the stomach is very problematic, due to the link with high levels of aromatase - an enzyme that rapidly converts testosterone into estrogen – a vicious cycle. Fat stored around the stomach leads to more estrogen, leads to more aromatase, leads to more fat storage in the stomach. Killer!!! And diabetes a big possibility to boot.
What a bummer – and this is the rub … no matter how high you increase your T levels, unless you have the receptors open, and the conversion pathways under control, i.e. aromatase levels not too high, all you will achieve is even higher estrogen in the blood, and the exact opposite of what you are looking to achieve.
As you will notice as you walk around the world, estrogen dominance is at an all-time high. Symptoms of estrogen dominance in men and women include: poor mood, lack of focus, non-existent s** drive, poor s** function, water retention, difficulty losing fat and building muscle.
In addition, too much estrogen contributes to prostate issues in men and too much estrogen contributes to a higher incidence of breast cancer in women. Two of the largest cancers in the world at the moment.
Worse still, estrogen dominance rises when men fail to produce enough testosterone to keep estrogen levels in check.
As mentioned above, men can also have high estrogen levels due to rapid conversion of testosterone into estrogen via aromatase enzymes. That belly fat certainly isn’t your friend.
Stress is also a major issue – cortisol is the biggest enemy of testosterone, so when we get stressed out, this rises and shuts off the T production and utilisation.
But possibly the worst cause of what we men face today is the hidden danger to our maleness – high exposure to xeno-estrogens in plastic water, personal care products, food and toiletries. Coupled with stress, poor diet, digestion issues, smoking, and alcohol (especially beer) both men and women are likely to have excess estrogen levels at this point time.
SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
It’s a multi hormonal problem, but we have to begin somewhere.
1. GET THE EXCESS ESTROGEN OUT OF THE BODY
Some awesome cruciferate veggies (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale) contain macronutrients that help detox the body of its excess estrogen. Estrogen rises at night, so make sure you have some of these foods with your evening meal.
2. LOSE BELLY FAT ASAP
If this fat contains the aromotase, then best be gone. Long term fasting (72 hours), intermittent fasting (16 – 8), supportive organic diet and exercise are all great places to start with the body fat battle.
3. CONTROL THE DIET TO MINIMISE ESTROGEN IN FOODS
Drop the soy, as that’s very rich in estrogen compounds, lose the beer, as hops are total estrogen generators (brewers droop is not fake news, it’s true!), limit dairy as chances are it’s full of hormone disruptors from the animals it comes from, and minimise oils high in poly unsaturated fatty acids (as these are estrogen forming).
4. GET THE GUT HEALTH UNDER CONTROL
A wise man once said all illness begins in the gut. That’s true for estrogen, because unless we have positive gut health, one of the pathways estrogen travels out of the body is via the gut, and without optimum gut health, this gets re-absorbed back into the body, in an even worse form. Make your own sauerkraut, effectively clean your gut out with detox herbs and binders, and maximise your gut health easily.
5. LIVER HEALTH IS KEY
The liver detoxifies, so if it’s working optimally, it will remove the excess estrogen, as its designed to. If it’s overworking from fatty foods, or too much alcohol, it won’t be as effective with the estrogen removal.
6. TAKE T BOOSTING FOOD WHENEVER POSSIBLE
If we need the T levels to be higher than the estrogen, then a clear way to achieve this is to up the T levels naturally. Exogenous T will not help, as it just shuts the body’s natural production down, and that’s not good. Eat whole foods to stimulate your natural T levels.
7. TRAIN HIT WHENEVER POSSIBLE
High Intensity Training, popular now, and pioneered by the legend – Dorian Yates, the greatest bodybuilder that has ever lived (and that’s from a die-hard Arnold fan). Dorian took a method of training, and improved it. Get in to it.
8. EAT GOOD FATS
Mono unsaturated or saturated fats are vital for T production, as they contain the macro nutrients to produce cholesterol, and then testosterone. PUFAs (poly unsaturated fats) do the opposite, producing estrogen, so ignore the lie on fat, and make sure a significant portion of your diet contains healthy fats, such as avocados, macadamia nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil.
9. AVOID BEER
Unless it’s a traditional receipt without hops. Hops are estrogen creators of magnitude, as well as messing up the receptor sites in the testes. The Friday night chug won’t kill you, but it certainly won’t help your T levels. Brewers droop is a proven illness from people picking hops / handling hops in the brewing industry, and no doubt the term “beer belly” comes from the excess fat accumulation, due to excess estrogen, around the waist line.
There are some amazing beers made using traditional (pre 1600s) recipes, so look out for gruit beer, as this you can drink without the fear of estrogen overload. My favourite at the moment is mead – if it was good enough for Jon Snow, it's good enough for me!
So there we have it – The world today is not geared to allow you to be the man you truly are, but fcuk that sh*t – take control and be the best you you can be.
And if you want to dig deeper in to the topic, here are a couple of fantastic must-read books: COUNTDOWN by Shanna H. Swann, PhD (who was on the Joe Rogan podcast recently) and ESTROGENERATION by Anthony G. Jay, PhD