Opinion: Optimizing testosterone levels affects more than just a man’s sex drive

Opinion: Optimizing testosterone levels affects more than just a man’s sex drive
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Testosterone levels often are associated with a man’s sex drive, and only his sex drive.

Many men suffer from low testosterone, particularly as they age, but few recognize that it impacts more than just libido and erectile function. Other side effects, according to the American Urological Association, include fatigue, memory loss, depression and mood swings, changes in body composition, difficulty sleeping and reduction in bone density. It even can lead to higher rates of mortality and diabetes.

Researchers have confirmed that testosterone levels are dropping across the board by up to 1 percent annually, clear evidence that there’s a problem.

With June being Men’s Health Month, it’s an ideal time for men of all ages in Southwest Florida to think about the one hormone that affects us in so many ways.

A simple blood test can confirm testosterone levels, and for those with low numbers, urologists often provide treatment through prescription drugs or injections. When prescribing medication, many urologists aren’t looking at the patient as a whole — their course of treatment is isolated to one specific condition or concern, oftentimes erectile dysfunction, and that’s what they treat.

For patients with low testosterone, I start with a thorough physical examination and complete a detailed health history analysis. Oftentimes, I suggest additional testing to measure biotoxin markers, glucose metabolism, nutritional deficiencies and more. My goal is to develop a scientifically and genetically complete profile of a patient, which often points to factors that interrupt or inhibit the development of testosterone.

Most patients I treat can experience immediate results in their testosterone numbers by making changes to their diet and lifestyle. Here are some natural solutions I often suggest:

Diet: Cut out sugar and junk food like french fries, cheeseburgers, potato chips, soda, candy bars and pastries. Increase your intake of lean protein and healthy fats from natural foods like fish, nuts and avocados.

Intermittent fasting: Eat healthy, well-balanced meals in a condensed period of time, ideally over eight to 10 hours, to allow your organs to rest and balance hormones.

Exercise: Intense or moderate training with weights and resistance machines is a natural remedy for hormone production and is good for your overall health.

Stress reduction: Overcome work-related stress by taking a brisk walk, making time for family activities and hobbies, and taking a minute or two for deep breathing.

Sleep: An ample amount of sleep each night — at least seven hours for most people — helps the body recharge naturally.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is readily available by stepping outside, and it’s also one of the most popular supplements on the market.

Zinc: Meats like beef, chicken and pork, as well as nuts and beans, help replenish zinc and boost testosterone production.

Patients who seemingly do it all right — eat healthy, exercise and generally take good care of their bodies — still can experience declines in their testosterone levels because we’re constantly being bombarded by environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors.

My goal is to help patients optimize their testosterone levels. It’s a powerful brain stimulant, but also is a powerful body regulator.

As always, consult with your physician prior to making dietary and lifestyle changes.

Dr. Eduardo Maristany is a board-certified internal medicine physician who specializes in functional and integrative medicine, genetics testing and men’s health at the Naples Center for Functional Medicine. For more information, call 239-649-7400 or visit NaplesCFM.com.

  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Location: Naples Center for Functional Medicine, 800 Goodlette-Frank Road, Suite 270, in Naples
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