Hormone Imbalance in Men: The Basics for Restoring Men’s Health

Medically reviewed by — Written by Alex Eriksson

Hormone imbalance in men is one of the most common health problems ​faced by men today, yet it is often not diagnosed or is simply an undiagnosed side effect of some other health condition.

This article is a short pillar post that will introduce you to the basics of what it takes to stay healthy as a man in modern times and how to maintain hormonal balance. For more detailed information on different concepts and therapies, checkout our other articles using the main navigation bar at the top of this page.

While most men unfortunately end up on our website after they have already contracted some issues with their health such as hormonal imbalances and low testosterone, a lot of the guidelines in this article also serve as preventatives.

Follow the guide and keep track of your body and you are guaranteed to improve your health and hormones, it’s that simple.

We will touch lightly on many concepts in this post, but more in-depth information on them you can find in the rest of our article database.



Portrait of muscular shirtless man with beard.

The 5 Pillars of Health

So, how do we define ​being healthy? As you might already be aware, here at Anabolic Health we specialize in fixing hormonal imbalances. There are many ways guys can end up with these types of health problems but there is also a very easy roadmap to how you can AVOID these problems as well. We call them The 5 Pillars of Health:

  • ​Adequate Nutrition
  • ​Adequate Sleep
  • ​Adequate Sun / Light Exposure
  • heartbeat
    ​A Balanced Circadian Rhythm
  • heartbeat
    Minimizing Excess Mental, Physical & Environmental Stress

Quick Summary:
​Our Prescription for Hormonal Health

  • check
    ​Aim to get at least 100g protein from various food sources per day
  • check
    Consume plenty of healthy saturated fats in your diet (animal foods, coconut etc)
  • check
    Consume sugar and carbohydrates according to your energy needs (especially in the form of fruit and honey)
  • check
    Be careful about what plant foods you choose to eat (lectins, allergens, anti-nutrients etc can all contribute to inflammation)
  • check
    Make sure you get all the daily micro-nutrients you need (for example vitamin D, zinc, selenium, magnesium and more)
  • check
    Consume salt according to taste
  • check
    Try to get 8 hours of sleep per night (limit blue light and stimulants in evenings, a pre-bed snack can help)
  • check
    Get 1 hour of direct sunlight per day (or use a bright light device)
  • check
    Minimize excess mental, physical and environmental stress (supplements, avoid environmental toxins, meditation, sex, enjoy life!)

Recommended Tools:


​What About Exercise?!

You might be surprised to not find exercise on ​our list and that’s because if you live a normal active lifestyle, you should naturally be getting the minimum amount you need to remain in good health. It is a ​​complete ​overexaggeration that you would NEED exercise to stay healthy, this is not the case.

There are plenty of populations around the world that do not exercise at all for the sake of exercising and still remain healthy ​​with great longevity. Yes, it is true, that this won’t build you that amazing muscular physique and you won’t reap those extra benefits that can be had from resistance training, but it sure as hell won’t kill you either!

Live an active lifestyle, move around, do stuff and use your body, but you don’t need to spend your time on a treadmill wasting breath unless you really want to. Do any other creatures on this planet exercise? No, an active lifestyle is enough.

Now on the other hand, if you spend 9 hours a day sedentary, indoors, in front of a computer screen, then yes your list would be different from the above and DEFINITELY include that extra exercise.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.
Shirtless man drinking protein shake

What is even more damaging than a complete lack of physical activity is EXCESS physical activity, and we categorize this as Excess Stress which is one of the Pillars.

Some stress is good to keep the body strong, but excess stress without adequate means for recovery (such as sleep and nutrition) will deteriorate the body overtime and cause rapid aging. 

Aging is basically the chronic stressors of life subjected over time, adding up and deteriorating your body more and more. Whatever we can do to limit these stressors is the basis for promoting good health and longevity.

This is why chronic overtraining is so important to avoid. In fact, resistance training for only 10-20 minutes once a week is enough to get a hormonal effect, build muscle & strength and this has been scientifically verified in many studies. We usually recommend the Body by Science protocol for most guys, it’s enough.

Remember that a great physique or high performance as found in elite athletes are not necessarily markers of good health.

It is a well established fact that especially prolonged endurance type training causes chronic stress in the body, and many lifelong endurance athletes die from heart complications from this type of overtraining.

But honestly guys, do you see any other animal on this planet trying to run ultra marathons just for the sake of running? Let’s carry on...


Raw fresh meat Striploin steak and seasoning on dark wooden back

​Adequate Nutrition

While we have already written a pretty epic article on nutrition for men, let’s touch on some main points to think about in terms of diets, and for more specific information (such as foods etc) check out that article instead.

Nutrition is really not that complicated:

Make sure you get all the building blocks you need (i.e vitamin, minerals and other micronutrients) along with enough energy (calories) according to what your body needs and ​you're all covered.

There is however, a lot of talk about dietary macros in the world of nutrition. High Carb? Low Carb? High Fat? Low Fat? Too much protein?

My personal experiments here at Anabolic Health as involved everything from veganism to the ketogenic diet, zero carb / meat only diets and high sugar diets.

My conclusions from these experiments?

Macros matter, but for different people, and they can also be hacked according to different needs.

One interesting thing is that during most of my different macro's experiments testosterone levels did not change much. It seems to me that testosterone levels are more correlated to what specific things you are eating and not eating, rather than different macro ratios.

My testosterone levels remained the same on a balanced diet, the ketogenic diet as well as a meat only diet for example. What often changed though was the levels of other hormones such as estradiol as well as the obvious, cholesterol levels. 

The exception to this was a low fat vegan diet consisting of minimum sugar, plenty of vegetables, legumes and whole grains. This diet totally destroyed hormonal balance and lowered testosterone for me.

While some people might still do well on this type of diet (women do better than men), I am skeptical to it and hear from plenty of guys that most eventually get reproductive problems when going low fat vegan.

To sum it all up, here's our take on diets:

​Veganism & Vegetarian

​While vegetarian diets can work as long as they include dairy and/or eggs, veganism is a way too unnatural and nutritionally ​incomplete way of eating (try logging ​an easy nutritionary complete vegan diet in Cronometer I dare you).

Historically, there are no vegan populations on earth (for good reason) up until modern times. So there are no long term studies done on them and the health effects of a vegan diet.

There is however plenty of traditional populations who has lived only from animal ​foods (meat, dairy etc) without problems. 

Also, the problem concerning Vitamin B12 is a major one since the nutrient is not easily accessible in a vegan diet without supplementation. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for humans and this should be enough alone to suggest that veganism is not an optimal diet for humans. Here’s directly from the study mentioned:

"The main finding of this review is that vegetarians develop B12 depletion or deficiency regardless of demographic characteristics, place of residency, age, or type of vegetarian diet. Vegetarians should thus take preventive measures to ensure adequate intake of this vitamin, including regular consumption of supplements containing B12."

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.
vegan?

Not to mention that without modern agriculture (grains etc), vegan diets would be impossible without living in a tropical climate where fruit is available year around.

For example in northern Europe or Canada, only animal foods would be available half the year during winter time.

Thinking rationally about it this way makes it pretty easy to understand why veganism is not a natural diet for humans. Grains are also not recommended to be consumed as they come with many nutritional problems of their own

The same applies for many types of vegetables that can be problematic for some people, tomatoes being a possible allergen since it belongs to the nightshade family of plants. Another example is cruciferous vegetables that can possibly inhibit thyroid function too much if you're already ​hypothyroid.

Then there is also ​the case with lectins in almost all plant foods that can be inflammatory for ​some people. Sticking to foods such as dairy and fruit is easier since both of them has been created with the intention of being eaten in the first place

All in all, we NEVER recommend a vegan or vegetarian diet and be careful about what vegetables you choose to eat. Concerning plant foods the best is always to start small and reintroduce them one by one sicne you're then more accurately able to judge how they make you feel.

​​Low Carb Diets

​Low carb diets can be effective for some people to lose weight because they tend to lower cravings and help balance blood sugar ups and downs. The inherit problem with them though is that they tend to decrease metabolism in the long run as well as possibly impair thyroid function. All in all, ​optimal carbohydrate intake is very individual.

​The Ketogenic Diet

​The Ketogenic Diet (aka keto) is similar to low carb diets but just more restrictive in carbohydrate intake (below 50g per day in order to produce ketones).

​The diet can help boost performance because the nature of ketones as a fuel, the problem is they are extremely restrictive and difficult to adhere to in the long run.

​​Going keto is possibly good for fixing some medical issues especially related to sugar metabolism and has been shown to increase testosterone and improve body composition​.

However, keep in mind that going in and out of ketosis is a stressful process for the body which will skyrocket levels of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol for period of time.

Not to mention that balancing fluid and mineral levels such as sodium/potassium/magnesium is very difficult during keto. All in all, we only recommend Ketogenic diets as a short term therapy for specific problems, not the end all be all as some people like to make it.

hand holding soda can pouring a crazy amount of sugar in metapho

​Sugar & High Carb Diets

The most loved and hated nutrient of all, sugar, is currently being falsely demonized, probably more than it deserves.

Carbohydrates are a very good source of energy for performance and here at Anabolic Health we are very much pro sugar, especially fructose found in fruit and honey.

​What sugar has that other macronutrients lack is an ability to counteract the stress response, lower cortisol and act as an highly effective fuel that boosts metabolism.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

​Both fruit and honey also contain a ton of micronutrients that are necessary for our health so they are both good main sources of carbohydrate.

Starch however, can be very fattening though it’s the optimal carb source for building muscle because it's stronger effect on insulin. ​A stronger insulin response helps shuttle more nutrients into muscle, but keep in mind it also helps shuttle more into fat storage as well.

We suggest limiting starch to only post workouts (when glycogen stores are already low to minimize fat storage) and only in the form of white rice and potatoes since most cereal grains come with anti-nutrients you do not want to consume regularly.

All in all, if you’re obese it might be easy to overeat on carbohydrates, but there is nothing interstitially evil about them as the low carb community would suggest.

​High Protein Diets

​While protein in excess ​won't hurt you, some people might struggle with digesting it when consumed in the form of large amounts of muscle meat.

There is also the ​case that only consuming muscle meat will give you a very unbalanced amino acid profile that can possibly be inflammatory (lack of glycine).

The solution?

Consume a varied assortment of animal foods that includes gelatin, dairy, eggs and fish in addition to muscle meat. Ideally also consume the whole animal as done traditionally (​organs such as liver is an amazing superfood for men).

​At least 100g protein per day is a good number for most people to shoot for and 1g per pound of body weight is probably around the upper limit where more protein does not really increase muscle growth or improve body composition any further (but it does not hurt it either).

​High Fat Diets

​Maybe the second most demonized nutrient after sugar; fat and cholesterol is getting a lot of hate in media in the last decades.

​However, times are changing and it has now been proven that there is nothing unhealthy or wrong about consuming lots of fat in your diet, it’s actually the building block of most of our hormones after all, and crucial for testosterone production.

What you want to stay away from however, is polyunsaturated fats such as derived from vegetable oils which easily go rancid and are inflammatory in the body.

After all, it makes sense that these are not intended to be eaten by humans, how would you possibly go about it without mass industry?

Closeup mid section of a chef putting salt in the kitchen

​Salt

​Many people have heard that too much salt is harmful, but did you know too little is even more harmful?

In fact there is little to point towards that excess salt consumption would be damaging in any way. Salt is important for stress reduction by reducing adrenaline and maintaining a strong stress response. The effect can easily be seen in a state of dehydration where salt levels run low and adrenaline run high.

Salt loading in such huge amounts as up to 30g per day is common among elite endurance athlete running marathons and that's for a good reason, it maintains healthy cardiac function during chronic stress. However, this is far more than what is needed by normal people on a daily basis.

While going into all the details and research concerning salt would require an article of its own, we highly recommend you research yourself on the misconceptions about salt consumption and make up your own mind.

​Our take is that salt is therapeutic and if you find yourself craving salt then its likely for good reason and should be consumed until satisfied.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

Tracking Progress and Avoiding Excess

Remember adequate nutrition does not mean excess nutrition. If you are fat or obese, then you’re either eating the wrong things, or too much of everything.

While we are not proponents of cutting calories too much for weight loss (because it essentially lowers metabolism and thyroid function which is the opposite of what you want), you might want to run a smaller deficit and focus on better food choices to lose that excess weight over a period of time.

obese

If you’re lazy but still want to see results, we highly recommend Avatar Nutrition which is basically a personal nutrition coaching app. It uses AI and the data you enter to figure out your metabolic rate and how much or how little you need to eat to easily gain muscle and lose weight with the least amount of work possible. This is what is also known as Flexible dieting.

Together with Avatar, we recommend using Cronometer and logging everything you eat for a week or two to figure out exactly how much calories you’re getting and what nutrients you’re lacking. This can really be a learning experience that can change the way you look at your diet for the rest of your life.

It is possible to be obese but malnourished, such as for example if you ​would consume 75% of your daily calories from white rice (madness by the way).

Always aim for consuming the most nutritious foods that you also enjoy. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are very important and it’s ​critical you get everything your body needs from the foods you consume or problems will eventually manifest.

​The Simple Recipe for ​Nutritional Success

So what can we conclude from ​previously discussed?

  • check
    ​Aim for at least 100g protein from various animal sources per day
  • check
    ​Consume plenty of healthy saturated fats in your diet (animal foods, coconut etc)
  • check
    ​Consume sugar & carbohydrates according to your energy needs (especially in the form of fruit and honey)
  • check
    ​Be careful about what plant foods you choose to eat (lectins, allergens, anti-nutrients etc)
  • check
    Make sure you get all the micronutrients you need (for example vitamin D, zinc, selenium, magnesium and more)
  • check
    Consume salt according to taste

get enought sleep

​Adequate Sleep

That sleep is important is common sense, but still it tends to come in pretty far down on peoples priority lists.

Mostly because in this day and age for example, people are always so busy with work and pursuing careers that little time is left for enjoyment and relaxation, let alone sleep.

The endocrine system is particularly active during the nighttime sleep cycles since this is the time when for example much of a man’s testosterone is produced (another reason why morning erections and sex drive are particularly strong in the morning hours compared to the rest of the day).

Just getting 8 hours of sleep in comparison to 4 hours can make a huge 60% difference in testosterone levels, so every extra hour of rest is important and should be prioritized

Another reason for the lack of sleep in the modern age is that there are now so many possible disruptors of sleep that we are all victims of them to some degree.

What I am mainly talking about here is blue light emitted from electronics such as TVs and computer/cellphone screens. Ironically these devices tend to be a favorite evening pastime for the majority of people even though they are particularly ill-suited at such a time.

Blue light is actually stressful for the body and inhibits the circadian rhythm, basically dysregulating your body instead of properly preparing it for rest.

You can use electronics before bedtime but only if you invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses which essentially filters ​out much of the blue light. We highly recommend them since they are much easier to adhere to than the zero electronics before bedtime rule.

This also applies to stuff such office fluorescence lighting which is basically all blue light. Spending 9 hours a day in such an environment is a recipe for disaster, but more on that later.

Overall, here are some general pointers for a good nights sleep:

  • check
    ​Make sure you limit blue light in the evenings (use blue light blockers or no electronics 2 hours before bedtime is very effective for improving sleep)
  • check
    ​Make sure your bedroom is dark and well ventilated (a cooler room temperature in your bedroom helps improve sleep quality, think hibernation)
  • check
    ​Limit caffeine or other stimulants at least 6 hours before bedtime
  • check
    ​A sugary snack before bed can also help lower stress hormones, induce relaxation and prevents hypoglycemia during sleep by replenishing liver glycogen (we recommend 1-2 tbsp of honey)

sunlight

​Adequate Sun / Light Exposure

Guess what the most undiagnosed health condition of the 21st century is? 

LIGHT DEFICIENCY. Yes, that’s right, but sunlight is free and available everywhere right so should be easy to fix? Still for the majority of people its not.

Real broad spectrum light as emitted from the sun is ​essential for health, especially for your stress response and metabolism.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

When we talk about metabolism together with stress the workings are simple, in order for the body to withstand the stressful situations that it is subjected to, a high degree of energy production (metabolism) is ​crucial.

The thyroid is the primary driver of energy production, as well as also the stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that can temporary deliver emergency energy (a stress response) with the trade-off of causing damage if prolonged/chronic.

​Obviously, the ideal is to have high thyroid energy production (high metabolism) and limit the stress response.

During chronic stress, metabolism and body temperature output is reduced, signaling an emergency energy conserving state which most often involves just powering on further with the help of stress hormones.

Hence, anything that increases metabolism and thyroid function can be seen as beneficial and anything that decreases metabolism can be seen as similar to a chronic stress response (since it makes you less adaptable).

Light deprivation causes a progesterone deficiency, which goes on to influence overall hormonal balance and eventually will lead you towards a state of estrogen dominance (the worst possible state for a man).

This involves high levels of stress hormones as well as high levels of estrogen and prolactin, a sure recipe for everything from sexual dysfunction to chronic fatigue and persistent weight gain.

This issue is mainly caused by dysregulated melatonin production​. Melatonin is commonly know as the sleep hormone.

Contrary to popular opinion, melatonin is not a beneficial hormone outside it’s context of a normal sleep cycle. It inhibits progesterone and thyroid function, which essentially lowers metabolism as well as body temperature, the same as a chronic stressor would also do. 

All in all, you want to make sure you get at least 1 hour of direct sunlight per day (as long as it doesn't burn you)​.

If this is a problem then make sure you invest in a bright light device which can serve as a decent replacement occasionally when sun light is not available (such as during the winter if you’re not in a tropical climate).

Also whatever you do, do not supplement with melatonin unless its just temporary to fix a jet lag, it might cause more harm to your metabolism than it is improving your sleep!


Tired entrepreneur enjoying sleep in hotel room

​A Balanced Circadian Rhythm

Like we just mentioned, a balance between light and dark, stress and rest, is essential for health and hormonal balance.

Hormones work in a pulsating fashion in the body, increasing and decreasing during different times of the day as well as according to needs. 

Working late evenings, long into the night can for example keep levels of cortisol running high at times when the rest of the endocrine system would except ​time for recovery. It will offset and mess up the entire 24 hour balance.

It’s easy to understand these things from a rational perspective too. Humans are creatures evolved from the delicate ecosystem that is planet earth. It is only in the last couple of centuries that technology has come to rise and be able to disrupt much of the natural ​balance. 

Our bodies have not evolved to require any less light or dark than we did 10 000 years ago, yet we get much less then we used to.

If let’s say electricity was never invented, then people’s circadian rhythms would be much different than they are today as the darkness of night is self limiting.

Nobody would stay up when it’s pitch black outside and the limited mobility of fire just makes it a major pain in the ass (imagine clubbing indoors with a giant barn fire in the middle just to keep the party going…)

Some people like to say that they are night owls, while others are more effective in the morning hours. But if you feel like a night owl we got new’s for you, your circadian rhythm is essentially fucked...

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

​Levels of cortisol should be the highest in the early morning (to get you out of bed) and level off the further you get into the day. Towards bedtime cortisol levels should be at their lowest levels. This is the natural pattern of a healthy circadian rhythm.

What happens in the case of night owl’s is that the pattern is disregulated since the body is experiencing great difficulty separating night from day (often from excess blue light and not enough sun light for example).

This most often has the effect of making you excessive lazy and tired in the early mornings only to have most of your energy and productivity return to you towards the late afternoon and evening.

At it’s worst the night owl phenomenon will cause you problems with insomnia and testosterone secretion. It’s also easy to tell how well adjusted your rhythm is by the quality of your morning wood.

While there are supplements such as cortisol lowering herbs that can be beneficial in helping to nudge the body's hormonal secretion pattern in the right direction, it is just a band-aid and does not fix the root cause of the ​problem.

You basically need to address this ​issue at the core by sticking to a better sleeping schedule and limit disruptive elements.


Meditation

​Minimizing Excess Mental, Physical & Environmental Stress

It is estimated that 60-80% of all doctors visits are stress related which goes to show what a massive component this is in terms of it’s effects on our health.

Nobody are untouched by stress, it is a natural part of life. But what amount is really normal?

Most people need some element of stress to keep them going, there are both good stressors as well as bad ones.

Many would agree that the more though challenges you put yourself through, the stronger you become. This applies both mentally as well as physically.

For example, the heavier the weights you lift the stronger you will eventually grow. The more public speaking you do the less nervous about it you become. These can all be seen as good stressors since they are often not chronic and ​fuel your personal development.

On a biological level, physical stress and mental stress has similar effects even though ​through our eyes they can ​appear very different.

They both affect the fight or flight stress response (nervous system​; parasympathetic and sympathetic) in similar ways, increasing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. 

We already mentioned that chronic overtraining is damaging and defeats the purpose of exercise in the first place. ​But the ​situation is the same with mental stressors that can ​trigger chronic stress, such as a breakup, divorce, death of a loved one, or getting fired.

Being repeatedly injured on a daily basis or stuck in a life situation that you hate is also a chronic stressor that will eventually induce a state of learned helplessness​. ​​It is also at this stage when depression usually starts to set in. 

It is not by accident that caffeine and nicotine are some of the most consumed drugs on this planet. Not only are they stimulants but they are also agents that can help reverse learned helplessness and ​promote stress adaption. Yes, stimulants that also ​help stress, crazy right? Let me explain​...

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

Many people have experienced something similar to a stress response or overstimulation from caffeine or nicotine use. It's usually only experienced when your body is not conditioned to their effects (tolerance). Both caffeine and nicotine can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.

Since the body is an amazingly effective system that's always striving for balance, it adapts to the effects from caffeine and nicotine and over time causes down regulation and faster recovery from them.

Basically, they make you more adaptable and resistant to the stress response, as well as cause you to recover faster and essentially reverses learned helplessness.

This is ​the reason why many find smoking helps for stress reduction and clearly it goes much deeper than just feeding an addiction. Of course as most are aware, both caffeine and nicotine when ​consumed in excess can still turn into problems of their own.

So, what can be done about stress?

It is common to hear about elite athletes who drive themselves to the brink of destruction in the name of some sport, just to die of an heart attack.

It is not news either about the guy who worked himself to death doing crazy hours of overtime for years on end. All stress builds up overtime and there is no other way to get away from it then by changing your lifestyle and environment.

We already mentioned caffeine and nicotine as maybe somewhat controversial (but still effective) agents for stress ​adaptation.

There are also a ton of other stuff that can be done such as ​consume adaptogens (examples: ginseng, rhodiola, maral root​), meditate, tai chi, reading etc to help reduce stress.

Also, do not forget to limit physical environmental stressors, they can come in many ​shapes and forms such as toxic ​​chemicals in our drinking water, phytoestrogens (testosterone reducing) foods such as soy, blue light and more. These are often easier to control than mental stressors​ though.

Our core principle for effective stress reduction that lasts is LIVE AN ENJOYABLE LIFE.

If you currently aren’t getting what you want from life​ then man up and do something about it. Life owes you nothing and will give you nothing unless you get off that lazy ass and go after what you want.

Does your girlfriend make your life miserable? Dump her.

Hate your job? Quit.

Financial issues? Stop wasting money and figure out how you can earn and save more instead.

While everything might not be possible to address straight away, you should strive to live a proactive life working towards the goals you have set for yourself. Eventually you will ​reach ​those goals and ​likely surpass your own expectations of them.

Always aim to be the best you can be and don’t settle for anything less. After all, is this not what is to be a man?

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

fix hormones

Balancing Hormones

While our 5 Pillars of Health in this post ​teaches you the basics for how to live a healthy lifestyle, balancing hormones when you already have a problem is an entirely different ballgame.

If you follow the basics it is likely that with time, you will reverse and balance your hormones naturally just by correcting your general lifestyle.

​But sometimes it can be good to give the body an extra helping hand, especially if you’re already ​experiencing hormonal issues such as low testosterone.

Also, if you want to increase performance beyond baseline, then monitoring and tweaking hormones is crucial. ​This is what we focus on here at Anabolic Health.

Remember that we always strive for hormonal balance and not hormonal excess. "The more testosterone the better” is not a working paradigm!

​Testosterone for example, aromatize into estrogen and too much testosterone (such as from anabolic steroid use) will cause excess estrogen levels and this is how problems such as gyno (man boobs) develop.

We want as high normal levels of testosterone as possible without upsetting the overall balance, this is key.

​Next up ​are some short pointers on what to test for when getting hormone labs done:

Structural formulas of male sex hormones with marked variable fr

What Hormones Should You Test for?

Test for the following according to needs:

  • Total Testosterone
  • SHBG (Sex hormone-binding globulin, will be used together with total testosterone to calculate bioactive free testosterone)
  • Estrogen (most often E2 (estradiol) is ​what is tested but there is reason to rather test for estrone (E1) if possible, since it seems to be an overall more accurate marker of systemic levels of estrogen. Ideally test for both.)
  • search
    Prolactin (key for gyno and sexual problems, prolactin also helps paint a picture of how much of a estrogenic state your body is in)
  • search
    Progesterone (a much forgotten hormone for men which is crucial for balancing estrogen and the stress response, probably one of the most important hormones in the body)
  • search
    Pregnenolone (the master building block of all hormones and preferably the one men want to supplement with, not commonly tested for but if possible it is good to test this one​)
  • search
    DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone, the building block of testosterone and estrogen, if deficient then a DHEA supplement can help bring up levels of testosterone. Don’t consume in excess (ideally 5mg per ​dose only) because of potential estrogen aromatization)
  • search
    DHT (Dihydrotestosterone, the most potent male androgen responsible for sexual function and mood, if you have ED issues or low libido this one is especially important)
  • search
    FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone, important for fertility)
  • search
    LH (Luteinizing hormone, stimulates the production of testosterone in the testicles, good marker for testicular function)
  • search
    Cortisol (stress hormone, if excess stress is a problem then testing this as a saliva test morning, midday and evening can be helpful, good marker for circadian rhythm)
  • search
    IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1, a growth hormone, something you want enough of but not too much. Important for injury ​​recovery and muscle growth but excess is bad for longevity)

In addition to the above, it is also important to get a thyroid hormone panel since the thyroid is responsible for metabolism and affects all other hormones as well. In fact increasing thyroid function often increases testosterone.

Test for the following:

andropause

General Guidelines for ​Solving Hormonal Imbalances in Men

​The following are our general guidelines if you are suffering from low testosterone, sexual ​dysfunction, chronic fatigue and overall feel less manly than you should:

  1. Test free testosterone (​calculate with Total T & SHBG) and DHT, they are the most important markers​, aim to get these into normal ranges.

  2. Testicular function can be assessed by testing LH and FSH, especially together with a HCG injection before running labs​. Unless these come back very low to non existent after HCG, then you only have secondary hypogonadism and are not a suitable candidate for TRT (look into natural means, there's still hope for your balls!).

  3. Aim for high metabolism and thyroid function, this can be best assessed by checking morning temperature and pulse, the ideal is close to 98.6f, 75-85bpm. Anything below is sluggish metabolism which will affect your overall hormonal balance.

  4. Check for estrogen dominance, too much estrogen and/or prolactin (if present, correcting this can often solve low testosterone problems)

  5. Low progesterone can often be a problem as well if you’re estrogen dominant or under chronic stress (consider supplementing with pregnenolone or progesterone)

  6. Low levels of SHBG can often indicate some other health condition such as diabetes, consider investigating further if this is the case.

  7. If DHEA is low, supplement in small amounts (5mg per dose) until within normal range for your age and/or symptoms resolve. Low dosage will make sure it converts mostly into DHT and not estrogen. Can also be combined with a small dose of progesterone/pregnenolone to further prevent estrogen conversion.

  8. If you suffer from hair loss, gyno or prostate problems, it is likely excess estrogen related and not DHT contrary to what the mainstream might say (i.e. anti-DHT propaganda).

  9. For frequent insomnia sufferers and other sleep problems, make sure to test cortisol to get an accurate view of your circadian rhythm. You want a curve that goes up in the morning and gets lower and lower towards bedtime.

  10. Periodically checking IGF-1 levels can be good for anti-aging purposes.


While the above​ pointers serve as general principles to follow, the subject of hormones are often more complicated than that.

These guidelines should be used to help suggest a direction of treatment for you, but make sure you research your issues more in detail as well as also consult with your doctor.

We have many more articles on these subjects here on our blog, use the navigation bar at the top of the page to explore all our different topics.


summary results

Summary

  • check
    ​Aim to get at least 100g protein from various food sources per day
  • check
    Consume plenty of healthy saturated fats in your diet (animal foods, coconut etc)
  • check
    Consume sugar and carbohydrates according to your energy needs (especially in the form of fruit and honey)
  • check
    Be careful about what plant foods you choose to eat (lectins, allergens, anti-nutrients etc can all contribute to inflammation)
  • check
    Make sure you get all the daily micro-nutrients you need (for example vitamin D, zinc, selenium, magnesium and more)
  • check
    Consume salt according to taste
  • check
    Try to get 8 hours of sleep per night (limit blue light and stimulants in evenings, pre-bed snack can help)
  • check
    Get 1 hour of direct sunlight per day (or use a bright light device)
  • check
    Minimize excess mental, physical and environmental stress (supplements, avoid environmental toxins, meditation, sex, enjoy life!)

​Recommended Tools


author
Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

author
Mihai Voinea (Research Analysis)

Mihai is a medical doctor and entrepreneur with a burning obsession for performance and health. Mihai is also an IronMan, ultramarathon runner, and co-founder of Marsilian, which owns two e-learning platforms for future medical students and doctors.





Leave a Comment