(Guest Post By Dr. Richard Cohen)
Normal Testosterone Level – Are Your Numbers Where They Should Be?
Male estrogens (estradiol) are a testosterone by-product that are produced naturally in the body. In small amounts, they help regulate testosterone production and serve to create testosterone as well as promote bone, brain and sexual health.
But when elevated, male estrogens can suppress testosterone levels as well as directly reduce sex drive, promote fat gain and muscle loss, enlarge the prostate and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the set of problems that we are currently facing.
A combination of our lifestyle and dietary choices, stress, use of medications and alcohol coupled with the pervasive amounts of estrogenic pollutants found in plastics and our water supply are the reasons why estradiol levels are climbing in men.
In fact, we now see men with estrogen levels higher than that of many women.
As estrogen rises in men, normal testosterone levels drop and mammary gland tissue begins to grow (creating male breasts).
This problem is so common that male breast reduction is now the fastest growing surgery in America!
And it is this elevated estrogen level which will reduce the T/E ratio and reduce the critical anabolic to catabolic ratio. An ideal testosterone to estradiol level is 40 to 60:1. In assessing thousands of men via saliva testing, we find that less than 10% achieve these critical ratios and over 75% of them are less than 35 years old!
Saliva hormone testing is an excellent method to inexpensively test for testosterone levels as well as male estrogen. If testing shows that your male estrogen levels are high and/or you no longer have normal testosterone levels, don’t fret, there are some simple things that you can do.
(1) Lean out! Fat cells, especially in the abdominal region, produce the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen. Eliminate alcohol, wheat, commercial dairy, caffeine, soy and any sugars especially in sodas, juices and energy drinks and waters. Only use xyltiol or stevia to sweeten.
(2) Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption to enable your liver to better remove excess estrogens.
(3) Reduce exposure to plastics containing bisphenol A and phtlates found in soft plastics and non-organic skin, hair and other topical lotions. (4) Reduce or eliminate and medications that you are regularly taking that may interfere with your healthy liver function. Common medications include NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin), the “statin” class of cholesterol lowering drugs, some heart and blood pressure medications, and some anti-depressants.
(5) Increase the amount of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale these promote the liver to metabolize and excrete excess estrogen. Consider the use of an herbal anti-estrogen and a whole food concentrate formula.
(6) Optimize vitamin D and essential fatty acid levels. Take 4000 iu of vitamin D and enough fish oil to consumer 2000 mg of EPA/DHA. After 4 months of use, assess your vitamin D and essential fatty acid levels to insure you have achieved optimal levels.
(7) Optimize zinc levels. Zinc functions as an aromatase inhibitor for some men. Get 75 mg a day of zinc picolinate for 3 months. Afterwards switch to a wholefoods based zinc such as Innate Response 2 tablets daily. (8) If after six months, the above protocol does not result in normal testosterone and reduced male estrogen levels, consider a short-term use of the prescription medicine Arimidex (anastrozole), a potent aromatase-inhibiting drug.
Starting at the low dose of 0.5 mg, twice a week increasing to a maximum of 1.0 mg daily four times weekly until levels have returned to normal.
Note: Side effects from this medication is rare.
In conclusion: While testosterone is the ‘master’ male hormone if you have too little or too much estrogen, you will never be able to look and feel your best.