This article is specifically for the man in your life who can go through a midlife crisis due to damage from free radicals in the body (Free radicals are toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism that can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues in a process called “oxidative stress.” The vitamins and minerals the body uses to counteract oxidative stress are called antioxidants). It was not so long ago that symptoms caused by falling hormone levels at midlife were thought of as exclusively a woman’s concern and commonly known as menopause. Now we know that men are subject to reductions in hormone levels too resulting in symptoms which are normally dismissed by many practitioners as aging problems. This problem is entirely treatable and millions of men do not have to suffer.
Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis
The following is a list of symptoms that illustrate how defining a midlife crisis is truly relative to the person experiencing the changes.
- When you start panicking about health issues.
- When you start to have more questions than answers; especially hard ones: ‘Is this all there is?’… ‘Why am I doing this?’… ‘What about what I need?’… ‘Who am I anymore?’… ‘What is the real point of me?’… ‘Why put my life off any longer?’
- When you start comparing yourself more and more to your more successful friends and younger co-workers and you start feeling increasingly regretful and self-conscious.
- The Need to Move On. When a man is faced with the need to leave his family or job, he may avoid the confrontation, thinking that the situation somehow will get better. Following through with such major life changes often is avoided because of insecurity, complacency, fear of hurting others, lack of courage or fear of being alone.
- A crisis seems to come from exhaustion and a sudden acknowledgement of the passage of time. All assumptions come under review — all of them.
- A sudden urge to lose weight and get in shape, go clubbing and reconnect with high school and college friends following marriage trouble and divorce.
- Acting and talking like you’re 30 instead of late 40s. This includes much insensitivity and not a lot of understanding, no pillow talk, and a heightened sense of your own worth at the expense of a partnership.
- The urge to feel better, lose weight, look younger and be more energized by cultivating healthier habits.
While oestrogen levels tend to drop steeply in women, men generally experience a more gradual loss of testosterone as they age, a phenomenon called andropause. In some cases this can lead to problems such as depression, fatigue, weakness and lower sexual drive. In some cases the drop of testosterone may be quite a lot.
Normal cellular activity produces unstable molecules called free radicals. Their instability makes them chemically prone to reacting with virtually all types of substances within the cell, causing oxidative stress as a result. Free radical reactions have also been found to promote low level inflammation, which has been linked to a number of chronic diseases.
Excessive free radicals threaten the testes to make testosterone in necessary adequate amounts. While the body does produce free radical fighters called antioxidants, the toxic world we live in – including exposure to noxious chemicals, tobacco smoke and certain medications, among others can lead to free radicals being created in amounts that overwhelm the body’s resources resulting in low testosterone levels and decrease in libido.
Remedial Actions and Support Therapies
There are two ways to handle this low testosterone problem with its symptoms:
- Giving testosterone by injections, lozenges, patches and gels.
- Support therapy using natural substances to increase the body’s ability to produce testosterone.
The testes produce not only testosterone hormone but also sperm. Testosterone plays a role in sperm production, in addition it helps in building sex drive and in strengthening muscle and bone. It also supports positive mood, sharp mental focus and overall energy levels. Testosterone also helps in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.
If testosterone injections are given make sure bio-identical hormone is used.
There are several support therapies which can be done at home which improves the body’s ability to create testosterone. One way is to use compounds found in apples and grapes to protect hormone producing cells in the testes from destructive oxidation.
Apples and grapes have been praised for a very long time as wellsprings of health, modern researchers have found these fruits to contain antioxidants polyphenols. In laboratory studies, these substances have shown the potential to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. They have also been found to boost endurance and decrease both blood pressure and arterial plaque formation.
Dietary supplements are available that combine apple and grape polyphenols. This formation is designed to fight a specific free radical, Peroxynitrate that has been found to reduce testosterone levels. In a study in France such a supplement was able to reduce fatigue and increase performance among athletes.
This kind of supplement works best in conjunction with testosterone-supporting herbs. The spice Fenugreek (Methi) contains compounds that have shown an ability to raise testosterone levels. Methi is used widely in our part of the world in cooking.
Another is Tribulus terrestris also known as puncture vine which has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for physical and sexual strength by building all the tissues especially reproductive tissues. Another herb is Rhodiolo rose which helps the body deal with stress, reduce fatigue, improve mental and physical stamina and revive a sagging libido.
Our contaminated world can be tough on testosterone. Fortunately, apple and grapes polyphenols and herbs and spices mentioned above can help a man’s body fight back and enjoy life beyond middle age.