Although a number of hormones can affect your health, three of the most crucial ones for men are testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol.
Let’s start with testosterone, well known for it’s association with manliness. Testosterone can be creditied for men’s confidence, drive, and desire for sex. Testosterone levels in men begin to decline by about 1% every year after age 30.
However, men aren’t experiencing low T just because of aging anymore– Today’s ultrafast pace of life and unhealthy habits can aslo be the culprit of declining testosterone levels. For example, lack of sleep can lower your testosterone level. Studies have shown men who get less sleep for even just 2 weeks can see their testosterone level decrease by 15%.
Today’s modern and often unhealthy diet can also affect your 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.
Problems with low testosterone also affect men during exercise. You can have two guys who are incorporating the same foods into their diets along with the same exercise regimen, and the guy with the naturally higher testosterone level will gain more muscle and lose more fat.
Low T has 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, according to a 2014 report published in the Journal of Sex Medicine.
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. Athletes use growth hormone to help them recover from workouts.
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
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.
The higher your cortisol is, the lower your growth hormone levels will most likely be. High cortisol levels can make you gain weight in the wrong places. You’ll have guys not living their life in a healthy way, and they’ll have too much stress hormone, which results in abdominal fat; this is among the unhealthiest kinds of fat in the body because it is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
In addition to other lifestyle habits, how much sleep you get can affect your cortisol and growth hormone levels as well as testosterone levels. Men need to get adequate sleep to keep hormones in balance and get quality REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep — the kind of sleep when you dream), during which your body secretes more growth hormone.
For an appointment or consultation with Dr. Gary Bellman, please contact the office or call 818-912-1899