By Jessie Day
There’s so much online dedicated to female hormones, fertility and tests, nutrition and tweaks to improve endocrine balance. But what about hormonal imbalance in men? It’s crucial to fertility, so let’s dive in, with our go-to experts at Zita West.
Before we get into it, make sure you’ve nabbed your exclusive 10% off all Zita West products (UK & US) with code TRB10*. We love their Male Foundation Fertility Support Pack to get baseline micronutrient requirements ticked off in one go.
Male hormonal imbalance – is it all about testosterone?
The simple answer, in a not-so-simple topic, is no. Male infertility is thought to impact up to 50 per cent of infertile couples. Of these, a significant set of cases are connected to male hormonal imbalance. Testosterone plays its part, but this is all about an intricate system of hormones – the male endocrine system, in fact.
Hormonal imbalance in men can show up in many different ways, from sexual dysfunction (including erectile dysfunction, and issues with ejaculation) to problems with sperm production.
It’s a big part of the male fertility picture, but the positive headline here is that – in the majority of cases – hormonal imbalance in men is treatable. The key is identifying a problem, and getting it sorted out. Plus, understanding what you can do in terms of lifestyle, to support optimal hormonal balance.
FSH and LH in males
It all starts in the brain – and the hypothalamus, to be exact. This small but crucial structure messages the pituitary gland to produce our hormones, at the right levels. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) are both star players here, both produced by the pituitary gland and both essential for male hormonal balance (and, of course, female).
FSH in males is a key concern because, working alongside testosterone, it regulates sperm production. Going back a step, LH helps enable testosterone production in the testes. Steering the system is the all-important hypothalamus, which assesses hormone levels and sends out signals to the pituitary, demanding it to ramp up (or down) production.
Imbalance occurs when this (amazing) system is interrupted. And, as we’ll see, this can happen for a number of reasons.
What causes hormonal imbalance in men?
In today’s world, a myriad of factors can chip away at male hormonal balance. This is at the root of the Zita West team mission and product line, to provide education – they’ve built up a fantastic learning hub, which is a regular go-to for the team here at TRB – around the potential causes of imbalance, and help you support your fertility with easy-to-take, targeted formulations.
The most common causes of hormonal imbalance in men include:
- blood sugar concerns (hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia)
- hormone therapy or medication
- steroid use
- thyroid concerns
- solitary thyroid nodules and cysts
- endocrine gland injury
- cancer, treatment for cancer and tumour growth/activity
- Cushing’s Syndrome, Addison’s Disease and cortisol concerns
- hereditary pancreatitis
- chronic stress
- poor diet and nutrition
- being overweight or underweight
- iodine deficiency
Depending on the cause of hormonal imbalance, lifestyle changes can have a dynamic impact on restoring correct levels, and supporting male fertility.
Before we cover lifestyle – and our superstar supplements of choice – let’s look at hormonal imbalance in men, and the test options available.
Testing & treatment – what’s involved?
Step one, in most cases, is to speak to your doctor. Whether that’s your GP, if you’re concerned about fertility and just starting out on the journey, or your specialist, if you’re further down the line and working with a fertility doctor, or being treated for a specific condition.
A male hormone imbalance test will usually involve a blood test to check that key male fertility hormones – including FSH, LH, testosterone and prolactin (which has an important overall impact) – are falling within the right range.
FertilityIQ set out a super-clear table for this – do check it out – but as a starting point, you’re looking for:
- FSH at 1.6-8.0 mIU/mL
- LH at 1.5-9.3 mIU/mL
- testosterone 270-1,070 ng/dL
- prolactin 2.0-18.0 ng/mL
If things look a little low – or elevated – your doctor may suggest various treatment options, depending on the cause of your imbalance, amongst other factors. You may look into testosterone medication, for example, or other therapies and drug options.
What about lifestyle?
Hormonal imbalance in men can fall across a wide spectrum of causes and severity. Just like female hormonal health, some conditions and causes will require expert medical support. But there is so much we can do in our daily lives and at home, to optimise this crucial part of our whole-body wellbeing, and fertility.
From losing weight – it gets old, but it’s effective! – to working on stress levels, using targeted supplementation and tweaking diet, habits and routines in general, our hormones will only thank us for giving them the care and attention necessary for optimised fertility.
Here are the micronutrient superstars – and the tips and tricks to try – for dynamic, natural hormonal balance improvement, at home.
Note, we’re focusing specifically on male hormonal imbalance here. For an entire hub of help and support around hormonal balance for fertility (male and female) head to Zita West and toggle to your specific topic. From testosterone concerns to general lifestyle tweaks, it’s an amazing free resource, geared to support anyone on a fertility journey.
One of the most well-known micronutrients for male fertility, zinc really is its own powerhouse of benefits. In terms of hormones, zinc deficiency often shows up in connection with low testosterone levels. It’s also key for maintaining sperm health. Get your zinc from red meat (lamb is fantastic), seafood (think oysters) and nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin), plus chickpeas, lentils and dark chocolate, or cacao.
For a targeted zinc boost that backs your fertility, Zita West have developed Vitamen – a baseline combination of 12 essential vitamins and minerals – plus Vitamen Boost 2, a unique blend of zinc, selenium, carnitine, arginine and lycopene to hit hard on sperm count, motility and morphology.
If zinc needs a boost, these are our go-tos.
This key player – more of a hormone in itself, than a vitamin – has been linked to lower testosterone levels in men. Supplementing is necessary for many of us – getting enough from diet or lifestyle alone is tricky – so we love an easy-to-use spray, to ensure we get enough in.
Aside from supplementing, team Zita West recommend lots of (safe) sun exposure, plus good quality oily fish (you may want to factor in an Omega 3 supplement, to boost things right up – we’ll cover this below), eggs and mushrooms (focus on morels, shiitake and oyster mushrooms).
Omega 3 is vital for optimised male fertility, because the fatty acids it contains are the building blocks of our hormones. Again, Omega 3 is often supplemented, because the typical diet doesn’t pack enough of a punch in terms of requirements (unless you’re eating a decent amount of oily fish, every week).
The Vital DHA supplement packs in around 2,000 mg EPA, 1,000mg DHA, 200mg DPA and, if possible, 300mg of other Omega 3s, for a really meaningful boost to your hormonal health.
Zita West are across every requirement, when it comes to targeted male fertility supplements. Check out their range, use code TRB10* for an exclusive 10% off your order (US & UK), and support your body in its fundamental job of hormonal balance, for optimised fertility, libido and overall health.
*TRB10 is valid once per customer only. Excludes subscription purchase. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Zita West terms of the site apply.