Nutrition in adulthood should focus on maintaining health and preventing diseases, by following a varied, healthy, and balanced diet that is appropriate in terms of age, gender, and particular physical activity.
Andropause is a term that has received a variety of names, such as male climacteric, viropause, male menopause, late-onset hypogonadism, or androgen deficiency in the aging male. Unlike women, where menopause marks the end of the fertile period, fertility persists in men despite their aging. Knowing which foods to eat during andropause may play a key role in regulating it and the associated hormonal changes.
Tania Mesa – Director of Neolife Nutrition and Nursing Unit
Starting at 50, significant decreases in testosterone levels are detected in the blood.
Andropause is the term we use to describe the hormonal changes middle-aged men undergo in relation to the aging process (1). As men age, there is a decrease in testicular function and free testosterone levels (2). Among the clinical manifestations of andropause, the following are worth noting (1,2,3):
- Reduced libido and dysfunctional erections.
- Mood swings (depression, anxiety, and irritability). and concomitant decrease in intellectual activity.
- Decreased muscle mass and strength.
- Decreased mineral density with osteopenia and consequent osteoporosis.
- Increased body fat, and in particular visceral fat.
- Perceived deterioration of the general condition.
- Sleep disorders (insomnia, poor quality of sleep, drowsiness).
- Decrease in body hair and skin changes.
While some authors refer to age as the main factor in hormonal changes, there is also evidence that lifestyle, diet, and anthropometric measures (weight, height, skin condition) also play a role in these changes (3). With the hormonal fluctuations, many men begin to gain weight and increase their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but also put on weight in the abdominal area.
Scientific evidence shows that avoiding stress, improving eating habits with healthy food, increasingphysical activity, getting an adequate amount of rest, and reducing toxic substances, such as tobacco and alcohol. are factors that may decrease the symptoms associated with andropause, improve quality of life and, ultimately, overall health (1,3,4).
A good diet can help improve testosterone production. According to a recent study published by the Journal of Clinical Medicine, a healthy, varied, and balanced diet will ensure better weight management, disease prevention. and a better quality of life (5). The particularity of andropause lies in increasing the consumption of certain foods and keeping in mind the adequate nutritional recommendations to achieve an optimal nutritional status to help combat its consequences (Figure 1).
Therefore, the dietary approach is based on providing the necessary amount of energy to maintain a healthy weight and a supply of proteins in sufficient amount to allow muscle protein synthesis, thus reducing the risk of loss of muscle mass, something that is very common in this group of patients. Changes in body composition linked to andropause are also related to sarcopenia, a condition suffered by many people after the age of 50 and which involves the acute and accelerated loss of muscle mass (6,7,8). Nutrition in andropause, where muscle and bone deterioration, and cardiovascular problems are present must provide the following nutrients, within a healthy daily eating habit (5,7,9):
Testosterone is involved in male bone metabolism. If there is a decrease, there is a higher risk of osteoporosis and therefore fractures. Regular consumption of calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy and its derivatives (milk, yogurt, cheese), legumes, nuts, and green leafy vegetables is important to prevent bone loss.
One of the basic functions of zinc is the proper functioning of the reproductive organ and the balance of certain hormones, like testosterone. A zinc deficiency is also associated with a weak immune system and bad mood. The inclusion of meats, oysters, seafood, legumes, chicken liver, tubers, nuts, and dark chocolate in our diet is important to remedy this deficiency.
These fatty acids help regulate and maintain heart function, so they must be included in the diet to prevent the cardiovascular risk associated with andropause. Interesting sources of this nutrient are blue fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, liver, and fish oils, as well as plant-based foods such as nuts and seeds.
Vitamin D has been shown to increase testosterone production. This vitamin is directly involved in the regulation of male androgenic metabolism. Fatty fish, meats, mushrooms, fish liver oils, milk, eggs, and butter are rich in this vitamin.
It’s important to consume a greater quantity of foods that are rich in antioxidants, as they contain substances that prevent or decrease cellular damage from oxidative stress, as well as the inflammation generated by cortisol, the stress hormone. A wider consumption of fruits and vegetables is beneficial, and in particular red berries, grapes, carrots, peppers, tomato, tea, and pure cocoa, all great sources of antioxidants.
Healthy fats and vitamin E
Extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and nuts in general, are rich in vitamin E and contain unsaturated fats that are beneficial for testosterone production. Regular consumption increases testosterone levels.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale are rich in fiber. antioxidants, and zinc, which can help reduce excess estrogen, thus increasing the effectiveness of testosterone.
All of us at Neolife wish to stress the role that a balanced diet has at every stage of the life cycle, and especially during this very important stage of a man’s life. A healthy diet can help improve testosterone production, influencing not only sexual activity, but also sperm quality and fertility, and leading to increased muscle mass. At Neolife, our focus is on healthy dieting, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), physical exercise, preventing stress, promoting rest, and nutritional supplements, to ensure success in promoting human health.
(1) Silvia Herrera, J.M. (2006). “Andropausia. Estado actual y conceptos básicos” [Andropause.current state and basic concepts]. Universitas Médica, vol. 47, num 1, pp. 17-23. Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.
(2) Nawata, H. et al. (2004). “Adrenopause”. Horm Res. Vol. 62 (3): 110-114.
(3) Becerra F., A. & Enríquez A., L. (2008). “Documento básico de consenso sobre el síndrome de hipogonadismo de inicio tardío” [Basic consensus paper on late-onset hypogonadism syndrome]. Endocrinología y Nutrición. Vol. 55(1): 5-28.
(4) Mayo Clinic. (2017). “Male menopause: myth or reality?”. Healthy lifestyle. Men’s Health. Mayo Clinic: patient care & health info.
(5) Skoracka, K. et al. (2020). “Diet and Nutritional Factors in Male (In)Fertility-Underestimated Factors”. J Clin Med. Vol. 9(5), 1400.
(6) Liliana P. Rodota & María Eugenia Castro. “Nutrición clínica y dietoterapia” [Clinical nutrition and diet therapy]. Editorial Médica Panamericana, 1ª Edición, 2012.
(7) De Luis Román, D.A. Bellido Guerrero, D. García Luna, P.P. Olivera Fuster, G. (2017). “Dietoterapia, nutrición clínica y metabolismo” [Diet therapy, clinical nutrition, and metabolism]. Third edition. Sociedad Española de Endocrinología y Nutrición. Grupo Aula Médica, S.L. Madrid, Spain.
(8) Redondo S., M.R. & González R., L.G. (2015). “Nutriguía: manual de nutrición clínica” [Nutrition Guide: Clinical Nutrition Manual]. 2nd Edition. Editorial Médica Panamericana.
(9) Jayne Leonard. (2020). “Best foods for increasing low testosterone”. Medical News Today.
(10) Conde, L. (2019). “Siete alimentos que aumentan la testosterona” [Seven foods that boost testosterone levels]. La Vanguardia.