Many people think of testosterone in relation to men’s hormones, and while it is a key player, growth hormone and cortisol levels also have a profound impact on men’s health. Here’s how you can help keep these three hormone levels in balance.
Testosterone is responsible for men’s confidence, drive, and desire for sex and levels naturally dip by about 1 percent every year after age 30. However, low testosterone is no longer just a sign of middle age. Today’s lifestyle and unhealthy habits are drastically affecting declining testosterone levels. For example, lack of sleep has been shown to reduce levels, whereby men who get less sleep for even just two weeks can see their testosterone levels decrease by 15 percent. Today’s modern — and often unhealthy — diet can also affect testosterone. Eating too many carbohydrates can cause spikes in insulin, which then has a negative impact on both testosterone and growth hormone levels. At the same time, not eating enough of the right kind of fat or not getting enough healthy cholesterol will also keep your testosterone lower than it could be.
When you have low testosterone, there can be a domino effect on your health. Your sex drive may fade. You may have a harder time getting in shape, even if you’re exercising. You may also feel less energetic. Low levels have also been linked to more serious health consequences, such as a higher risk for obesity, heart trouble, osteoporosis, obstructive sleep apnea, and other chronic diseases.
How Growth Hormone Affects Men’s Health
As you may guess by its name, growth hormone is responsible for physical growth — the more you have of this hormone prior to completing puberty, the taller you’ll be. Like testosterone, growth hormone drops with age and can affect body composition in a number of ways.
Growth hormone also acts as a supercharger for testosterone. Men who undergo treatment for low growth hormone levels will likely find that their testosterone increases. There are side effects associated with too much growth hormone, however, including increased blood pressure and spikes in blood sugar as well.
How Cortisol Affects Men’s Health
Lastly, your growth hormone level is inversely related to your level of cortisol, often thought of as the stress hormone — if you’re working long hours, worrying about personal issues, and not following healthy habits, you might have high cortisol levels. And, the higher your cortisol is, the lower your growth hormone levels will be. Reducing stress is a key part of balancing hormone levels, along with healthy sleeping habits including getting enough quality REM sleep. How much sleep you get can affect your cortisol and growth hormone levels as well as testosterone levels: The less sleep you get, the higher your cortisol will be; the more sleep you get, the lower your cortisol will be.
At Paddington Clinic, we can assist with natural ways to support stress levels, quality of sleep, healthy dietary programs, and specific supplementation with herbs and vitamins to support men’s hormones. Talk to one of our Practitioners about how we can help.