What To Know About The Male Menopause
What To Know About The Male Menopause

What To Know About The Male Menopause


It can get treated lightly, but the male menopause is a real thing – even if it’s not actually anything like the female menopause, and we’d all be better off calling it the ‘andropause’. Here’s what else you should know…

What is the andropause?

The andropause has many names including male menopause, hypogonadism and androgen deficiency. All of them refer to the gradual decline in serum testosterone that comes with ageing, and is often associated with other emotional and physical symptoms. 

Why is testosterone so important?

Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, responsible for male characteristics developing during puberty. However, it also plays a role in metabolism, blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular function, concentration, emotions and sex drive. Healthy men produce 4-10mg of testosterone per day, of which 95% is made in the testicles and 5% in the adrenal glands.

While low testosterone is most likely to occur during the late 40s and early 50s, testosterone declines by 1% each year from the 30s. It is estimated that 25% of men will experience low testosterone in their lifetime, but as the decrease occurs slowly, this can often be missed or put down to general ageing. 

What are the symptoms of low testosterone?

Low energy and muscle weakness can make exercise feel tougher, or you might notice it is taking longer to recover from a gym session. This is because muscle cells contain receptors for testosterone, and men with low testosterone lose more muscle as they get older. 

Men with low testosterone are four times more likely to be diagnosed with depression. Increased irritability, anxiety and mood swings are other signs of low testosterone. Memory problems, concentration and brain fog are also connected with decreased testosterone levels. 

Testosterone is important for bone health. If levels are low, the repairs to bone structure are slower and there is an increased risk of fractures. Increased belly fat is another symptom. Declining testosterone increases fat deposits around the waist. This ‘visceral fat’ is associated with increased inflammation and risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

A part of the brain called the amygdala is concerned with sexual desire, and it's full of testosterone receptors. Testosterone stimulates these receptors to produce a substance called nitric oxide, triggering chemical reactions needed for you to have an erection. Low testosterone can mean a low libido, as well as problems maintaining an erection. Finally, hot flushes are not just for women. Men with low testosterone can also suffer from them and night sweats. 

How can you fight low testosterone?

Reduce stress

More than two-thirds of UK men report feeling so stressed that they can’t cope. It is therefore important to look at ways to better manage and cope with stress. Whilst a good diet, adequate sleep and taking regular physical activity go hand in hand with reducing stress, so too can meditation and breathing techniques such as box breathing. 

Swap out caffeine

While organic coffee is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants (which are beneficial to health), too much coffee raises the stress hormones that play havoc with testosterone. Caffeine can also upset blood sugar levels and interfere with sleep. Aim to drink caffeine before midday, then swap to herbal teas. 

Improve sleep

Try to get 7-9 hours per night and have a consistent sleep pattern. Testosterone is mainly produced overnight, so a lack of sleep will automatically reduce testosterone output. A good night’s sleep is key to help your body recover and regenerate, whilst a lack of sleep is associated with an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin, poor blood sugar control and compromised immune function.

Increase movement

Being physically inactive can lower your testosterone production and increase deposition of belly fat. The more visceral fat around the stomach, the more likely it is that the body will convert testosterone to oestrogen, which is linked to the development of ‘man boobs’. Moving your body daily will not only impact testosterone levels but aid with losing weight, reducing stress and balancing blood sugar. Optimising muscle function through body weight or resistance work will also improve energy and metabolism. 

What are the specific nutrients to target?

Essential Fatty Acids

The body doesn’t produce these, so they need to be found from food or in supplement forms. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Plant forms include walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds, however this form of fatty acids is poorly converted to the useable EPA and DHA. A good daily supplement is Bare Biology Life and Soul Pure Omega-3.

Vitamin D

Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for overall health, hormone regulation and testosterone synthesis. Whilst most vitamin D comes from sunlight absorbed from the sun, in the Northern Hemisphere it is essential to supplement over the winter months with 400iu per day. A great option is Better You Vitamin D and Vitamin K2. 


Zinc has many functions in the body, including supporting normal testosterone levels and overall male fertility. Low zinc or zinc deficiency reduces testosterone. Food sources include oysters and other shellfish, beef, pumpkin seeds and legumes. 


Magnesium is great for the management of both physical and emotional stress. Chronic stimulation of the stress hormone cortisol is associated with an imbalance in sex hormones. Supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone levels. If you're in a stressful situation, your body won't prioritise making testosterone. Food-rich sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables (spinach, cavolo nero, Swiss chard), almonds and cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, oats and dark chocolate. A good supplement is Designs for Health Magnesium Glycinate Complex.

If you think you might have low testosterone, have a look online at the ADAM questionnaire symptom checker or talk to your doctor about your signs and symptoms, testing, and possible treatment options. 

For further information on male health, or to book corporate or one-2-one sessions with Jo Rowe, visit JR-nutrition.co.uk.


Disclaimer: None of the information provided is intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent disease. Always seek medical advice from a healthcare provider regarding any medical condition and before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

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