Are you noticing that your once muscular chest is now becoming sensitive and soft? Sounds like you may have something called gynecomastia (say it with me..."guy-nuh-koh-MAS-tee-uh"). It's a fun word to say but can be a source of self-consciousness if you're a man.
First things first: Why does gynecomastia happen?
In general, men get an increase in breast gland tissue when their testosterone decreases and estrogen increases. Not to worry, it's generally not a serious problem BUT we do want to address it since low testosterone can cause other ailments such as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depression, fatigue, and poor muscle building.
You can find out objectively if your testosterone levels are low by getting a simple blood check done. We suggest getting it checked in the morning around 8:00am when testosterone levels are the highest. Book your labs and lab interpretation here.
"Tell me how to get my testosterone up!" Ok. Ok. First, let's get the excess estrogen out of the picture. Here are 3 Things You Can Do to Decrease Estrogen Levels:
Lose Weight - Ooooof so much effort, right? But it's worth it! Your fatty tissue actually stores estrogen and will decrease with weight loss. Take advantage of our personal trainer and nutritionist on board for some extra motivation and accountability.
Eat all the Greens - Cruciferous veggies, which includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, arugula..., contain a compound called Diindolylmethane (DIM) that helps rid of excess estrogens.
Skip the Meat - As if you didn't like us already. But really, this one can be magical for dropping estrogen quickly. Just as you retain estrogen in your fat tissues, animals do as well! So if you're eating animal products that contain any fat, you're likely getting a daily dose of estrogen (thanks to our hormone-loaded animals these days). Why do companies pump their animals full of hormones anyways?! Great question - it fattens them up and increases their milk supply. What a gift, as these side-effects carry over to you as well. Hello breast tissue and weight gain.
In addition to decreasing estrogen, we want to increase testosterone. Hormone replacement is always an option but it's not our first natural go-to. Instead, here are 3 of Our Favorite Natural Methods to Increase Testosterone:
Slow the Alcohol - It is well known that drinking decreases testosterone levels. Limiting to 1 or 2 drinks a day can help balance your testosterone. Beer, specifically, is a testosterone killer. That's because it contains both alcohol AND hops. Hops are commonly used to alleviate menopausal symptoms - that's because they have estrogenic effects. Which, is great for menopause aaaaaand not so wonderful for my men trying to increase testosterone.
Panax ginseng - This warrior herb has been used for centuries to enhance male wellness. And honestly, as an herbalist, this is my personal favorite herb for men. Tons of cool studies have shown its effectiveness in decreasing blood sugars, increasing erections, and overall quality of life. But full disclosure: More studies need to be done on Panax ginseng and its affect on testosterone.
Stinging nettles - Another favorite herb. This stinging plant's leaves are rich in minerals...but what we're really going for here is the root. The root of stinging nettle has been shown to promote testosterone production in the hormone pathway. And as an added bonus, research shows promising effects in benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), cardiovascular disease, urinary tract infections, and arthritis. Hello beautiful side-effects.
And just so you know, you're not alone. Gynecomastia affects 1 in 4 men between the ages of 50-69. Though, this shouldn't be used as an excuse - rather, a motivator. Let's make you the 3 in 4 that don't struggle with gynecomastia and all the other ailments correlated with it. Keep up your libido, muscle strength, and prostate health naturally by talking with our team today!
Thanks for hanging out for Men's Wellness Month. That's all for this year! Stick around for Arthritis Awareness Month starting in July!
Dr. Chelsea Leander ND, RH (AHG)