I love my job and have chosen to be a nutritional therapist as I love food too much! I follow a healthy diet without depriving myself of my favourite treats and not just eating steamed vegetables and salads on repeat! Many people who don’t know me well are surprised when they see me eating a…
Andropause – The Male Menopause
by Lucia Stansbie
Recently, there has been a lot of conversation around menopause, peri-menopause and how to navigate and support this transition with the help of nutrients and lifestyle habits. But what about men? Did you know that also men go through a similar transition?
It is called andropause and refers to the hormonal changes in men, consisting of a gradual decline in testosterone levels. In addition to physical symptoms such as fatigue, loss of muscle mass, potential prostate-related concerns and erectile dysfunction, andropause can also impact mental performance, leading to brain fog, reduced concentration, lack of libido, cognitive decline and low mood.
While hormone (testosterone) replacement therapy may be an option for some, understanding the relationship between nutrition and hormone regulation can provide valuable insights into managing andropause-related symptoms and thriving again.
The impact of andropause on mental performance
Declining testosterone levels during andropause can affect cognitive function as testosterone plays a vital role in brain health, including memory, focus, and mental clarity. As testosterone decreases, men may experience brain fog, difficulty concentrating, low mood and a decline in overall cognitive performance. Furthermore, the potential insulin resistance associated with andropause can further exacerbate these symptoms as insulin plays a crucial role in brain function and glucose metabolism (glucose being the favourite fuel source for brain cells).
Adopting a nutrient-rich diet that supports insulin regulation can positively influence mental performance during andropause. Here are some dietary considerations to enhance cognitive function and combat brain fog:
Emphasise antioxidant-rich foods
Include a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet (the ideal is to aim for 30 different veg/fruit/herbs per week!), as they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, which can contribute to cognitive decline. Berries, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables are particularly beneficial for brain health. Fibre in vegetables is also crucial to regulating fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Consume omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines), walnuts, and flaxseeds, have been linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline. Consider incorporating these foods into your diet to support brain health.
Manage blood sugar levels
Consuming a balanced diet with complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes. This can also help manage abdominal fat accumulation; Abdominal fat can be considered an endocrine (meaning hormone-producing) organ, which impacts testosterone production.
Herbs and nutrients that can help
Certain herbs and isolated nutrients can also support testosterone production and help with stress and hormonal balance. Below are some of the most researched ones:
Adequate vitamin D levels are essential for overall health and hormone regulation. Studies have suggested a link between vitamin D deficiency and low testosterone levels. Sun exposure, fatty fish, and supplementation in the winter months are ways to maintain optimal vitamin D levels.
Zinc is a mineral involved in testosterone synthesis and is crucial for maintaining reproductive health. Zinc supplementation has been found to increase testosterone levels and improve symptoms of andropause. Oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, and legumes are excellent dietary sources of zinc
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb known for its stress-reducing properties. It may help alleviate symptoms of andropause, such as anxiety, fatigue, and reduced libido.
Saw palmetto is a popular herbal remedy that can support prostate health and alleviate urinary symptoms associated with andropause. It may help reduce prostate enlargement and improve urinary flow.
Korean red ginseng
Korean red ginseng is a herb known for its potential benefits on sexual health and vitality. It may help improve erectile function, libido, and overall energy levels.
Managing andropause involves a comprehensive approach that includes personalised nutrition, lifestyle modifications, and potential supplementation. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or registered nutritional therapist for personalised advice and supplement recommendations based on your specific needs.
With a holistic approach, individuals can navigate andropause while maintaining optimal cognitive function and quality of life to keep on thriving.