There are natural supplements that support male and female hormone production and prevent the negative effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)
Most men and some women don’t feel comfortable talking about their health and find it even harder to talk about sexual concerns. In men, prostate dysfunction can begin as early as 25 years, with increased risks in men over 50. When the prostate function starts to change, it can lead to problems such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), reduced sex drive, lack of sexual satisfaction, and erectile dysfunction (ED).
There are several causes for male hormone problems, including smoking, aging, anxiety, depression, diet, vascular problems, diabetes, medications, and obesity. However, one of the biggest stressors we face in our world is the ever-increasing load of toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. The male and female reproductive systems are very susceptible to the harmful effects of environmental toxins.
Many of these toxic chemicals are commonly referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) because they interfere with hormone balance by mimicking hormonal activity. EDCs cause increased estrogen and lower testosterone or progesterone – referred to as “estrogen dominance.” Symptoms in men include man boobs, balding, weight gain, especially around the middle, fatigue, brain fog, ED, low libido, and BPH.
Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men that also contributes to a variety of functions in both sexes, including physical strength, brain function, bone density, and cardiovascular health. In the last 50 years, research has identified a trend of declining testosterone in men and a rise in related health conditions.
Studies show phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), common EDCs we are exposed to daily, are negatively associated with testosterone levels in several key populations, including boys ages 6–12, and men and women ages 40–60. These toxic chemicals negatively impact reproductive development and impair sexual function, libido, energy, sperm quality and quantity, cognitive function, and bone health.
Low libido can lead to a vicious cycle of physical and emotional side effects. For example, low self-esteem may cause anxiety about sexual performance, which can lead to issues with ED and reduced sexual desire.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions that negatively affects quality of life in men and their partners. It is estimated that ED will affect over 300 million men globally by 2025, including an exceptionally high prevalence in younger men. Significantly, a higher estrogen-to-testosterone ratio is found in men with ED.
BHP has also been found to be associated with higher estrogen levels in men and can cause disruptive bladder problems.
THE GOOD NEWS
There are natural supplements that support male and female hormone production and prevent the negative effects of EDCs.
Maca is used to improve the body’s resistance to mental and physical stress. Historically, maca has been used to address low energy, vitality, fertility, and libido. Both men and women can use maca to support sexual health. In a 12-week, placebo-controlled trial, men ages 21–56 were supplemented with either 1.5 g or 3 g of maca per day. After eight weeks, sexual desire was found to improve significantly and independently of their hormone levels.
Herbs, such as tongkat ali, Epimedium grandiflorum, and damiana, have been shown to increase testosterone levels and libido. Tongkat ali, also known as Malaysian ginseng, is well-documented for helping to increase testosterone levels. In a clinical study, physically active male and female seniors were supplemented with 400 mg of tongkat ali extract per day for five weeks. Supplementation benefitted both men and women, with significant increases in total and free testosterone levels as well as muscle strength.
Epimedium grandiflorum is used as an aphrodisiac, and in preliminary studies, it was shown to help with ED by increasing blood flow and relaxing smooth muscle tissue. Damiana has been used historically as a natural aphrodisiac and has a pro-sexual effect, which can benefit individuals with ED.
KSM-66 Ashwagandha has the highest concentration of ashwagandha root. Ashwagandha has demonstrated benefits for stress and enhancement of energy, endurance, and sexual function in men. In an eight-week, randomized study, men who received 300 mg of KSM-66 twice daily had significantly greater increases in testosterone levels and muscle size and strength, compared to the placebo group.
WomenSense® EstroSense® contains ingredients that balance hormones and help prevent estrogen dominance in both men and women.
Surveys show that the most prevalent sexual concern for women is low desire, and for men is erectile difficulties. Although these concerns are vastly different, men and women can help support their libido by using herbal aphrodisiacs and nutrients essential for sexual health.