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Men-O-Pause

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One of the biggest pet peeves among women lies in the belief that men have it so easy when it comes to their metabolisms. For instance, when men and women go on the same diet, men tend to lose more weight without trying as hard, but why?

One of the biggest pet peeves among women lies in the belief that men have it so easy when it comes to their metabolisms. For instance, when men and women go on the same diet, men tend to lose more weight without trying as hard, but why?

The answer lies in the fact that, on average, men tend to carry around 40 pounds more muscle than women and 10 times the testosterone. Muscle is a key metabolic tissue that greatly enhances the amount of calories we burn over a 24-hour period, and testosterone happens to be the primary hormone that allows us to keep this metabolic furnace burning. That is, until we begin losing it!

Waning hormones

Men don't keep everything they had in their youth, especially when it comes to testosterone. This natural reduction of male hormone levels was first described as andropause in the medical literature in 1952. Andropause is also believed to be one of the primary reasons some men experience a great deal of muscle loss and fat gain primarily in the tummy region in later years, as well as the loss of bone density, libido, stamina, and cognition.

The male hormone, testosterone, is a fat-soluble steroid hormone that is synthesized from cholesterol, and transported around the bloodstream on albumin and a special carrier protein called a sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).

Unfortunately, once testosterone is bound to SHBG it is unable to elicit its physiological responses upon the body, and as SHBG levels increase with age and with the fat we accumulate, testosterone levels continue to decline about two to three percent per year after the age of 40.

The SHBG-age connection was confirmed by researchers from the University of Massachusetts. In their 1998 study they found there was, on average, a 13-percent increase in SHBG for every five years, making it more and more difficult for elderly men to maintain an optimal metabolism.

The Fat-Testosterone Connection

Low testosterone levels were discovered to be indirectly or directly related to the amount of fat the men were carrying around their midsections in a study of 284 middle-aged men published in the journal Obesity Research (1998). In another study, of 76 men at the Lipid Research Center in Quebec, researchers discovered that the higher the testosterone levels, the better their levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and the lower their levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).

Take Control

We may not be able to do anything about the natural progression of our biological clocks, but we can take control over our body mass. Because testosterone levels are known to decline in direct proportion to the degree of obesity, it is imperative to maintain a healthy weight, especially as we get older. Here's how:

  • Maintain muscle through regular resistance training.
  • Consume optimal protein, and try supplementing with one or two high-alpha whey isolate shakes per day (especially after exercise).
  • Supplement with stinging nettle root extract, as this has been shown to help free testosterone from SHBG.
  • Get sufficient sleep and reduce stress.
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