When it comes to men’s hormones, we can keep it relatively simple. It’s all about more testosterone and less estrogen.
In other articles, we’ll be going into more detail about other hormones like cortisol, insulin, and the thyroid hormones, which interact mostly the same among men and women. But for simplicity, it’s the androgens that make men men, and estrogens that make women women.
This is important because male hormone testosterone goes down as we age. And that’s not all. There is a species-wide decrease in all men over the last several decades because of modern living! Men need to strive to keep their testosterone levels high.
A simple way to think about the difference between men and women is yin and yang. The moon and the sun. Men follow the masculine sun which has a daily cycle. Women follow the feminine moon which has a 28-day cycle. And the hormones tend to do likewise. Women’s hormones tend to be much more complex because of this longer cycle. More details about that in our Women’s Hormone Health article here.
5 Markers for Male Hormone Health
For an overall picture of men’s hormone health, we’ll talk about five different molecules of interest here.
Increase it. For the vast majority of men, this is exactly what they’ll want to do. It’s not just older men either. As a species our testosterone levels have fallen, so younger guys, like myself, need support too.
- Proper weight training
- The right attitude
- Sufficient fat and cholesterol in the diet
- Sufficient protein and carbs in the diet
- Plain and simple acting like a man!
- An ample supply of Zinc, Vitamin D and other critical nutrients (A, Iodine, Boron specifically but basically all vitamins and minerals!)
- Not too much stress, as cortisol inhibits testosterone
Decrease it. While guys need a small level of estrogen, anything more than that is problematic. The issue is our environment is heavily estrogenic. From human-made xeno-estrogens to those found in nature (phytoestrogens) plus the estrogenic effects of heavy metals and mycotoxins, we’re just plain overloaded.
The biggest culprits today are plastics and chemically contaminated food (pesticides and so on). Cutting down on these (since it’s nearly impossible to avoid them altogether) is critical.
For more on this subject read this article Estrogens vs. Androgens.
Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Since we’re already overloaded with estrogen from the environment more of this enzyme does not help. Once again, some is necessary, but most men will need to decrease it.
The number one factor of this is body fat. Your adipose tissue acts as a manufacturing plant for this enzyme! So if you want to be manly, you’ve got to lose fat to a healthy level.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a protein that binds to androgens rendering them inert. It is primarily responsible for the difference between total testosterone and free testosterone. The sad fact is all the T in the world won’t do you any good if it’s bound up by SHBG…or at least that is what we use to believe. More recent research shows that SHBG bound hormones may still exert influence as there are SHBG receptor sites in cells. Still, for many men, their goal will be to lower SHBG levels that are too high.
Various nutrients, including your ratios of fats and carbohydrates, can affect this globulin. Hard physical training can be another factor in elevated levels.
Dihydrotestosterone is an interesting one. It is somewhere between 10-50 times as potent (depending on who you ask) of an androgen as testosterone itself. So, many of the effects we attribute to testosterone are actually from DHT.
That being stated, there is some implication of DHT in prostate issues (though most of the evidence these days points to that actually being a problem with excess estrogen, not DHT) and in male pattern baldness.
So depending on you and your goals you might want to increase or decrease DHT. This one is tricky because there’s not nearly the research as there is on testosterone itself. All the stuff I mentioned in the testosterone section should help support healthy DHT levels too.
Herbs for Male Hormones
Now, let’s talk about herbs and what they can do for these different areas.
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Phoenix Rejuvenation Formula
Pine Pollen Tincture (2 fl oz)
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Tongkat Ali 100:1 Extract
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Organic Mucuna Extract (30 grams)
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My favorite herb for everything here is Pine Pollen. It actually has testosterone and other androgens in it, along with a whole lot of other nutrients that can help support testosterone and the other hormones. Not only does it seem to help restore T levels but it appears to help remove excess estrogens as well.
I like to think of the pine pollen powder as balancing the hormones in the body, male or female. However, the tincture form is more powerful androgenically. It’s more directly boosting to testosterone. For this reason, it’s generally only recommended for men 30 and older, but as we’ve found, some women get great results with it. Based on those results I think we may revise our female recommendations soon.
The best bet for many men will be to take the powder and the tincture together. You get the increased androgenic support along with all the nutrition and co-factors found in the powder.
Another favorite is Tongkat Ali. This seems excellent at helping your body to create more of its testosterone and keep it freely available. It triggers your body to produce more testosterone and then it cuts down on aromatization and SHBG. That’s a three-fold boost to your male hormones. I rank this right up there with pine pollen and if you take the two together…watch out! Read more about this here.
Mucuna is interesting in that is supplies L-dopa which is a precursor to dopamine. What does this have to do with testosterone? Besides inhibiting another hormone, prolactin, it’s not exactly clear, but research has shown this Ayurvedic herb can definitely help increase testosterone in men.
Another old standby of Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha basically does it all. This adaptogenic root has been shown to increase testosterone, at least in deficient men, while doing a whole lot else too.
Want to help clear the body of those excess estrogens? Eat your fill of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, collard greens, cabbage, bok choy and more. These have sulfurous compounds and molecules DIM and I3C which help in estrogen detox and much more.
For fighting aromatase with chrysin, as well as supporting good sleep (and some crazy dreams too) passionflower is one of my favorites. Besides, just look at it…
Though there isn’t a whole lot of research available on this one, one rat study stood out to me as it showed raises in both testosterone and DHT. Makes sense as this is one of the premier sexual tonics of Chinese medicine.
The nettle plant by itself has so many different uses, depending on which part is utilized. The root is used specifically for prostate health and is well researched on that topic. Nettle appears to lower aromatase, SHBG, and DHT. With that last one, some people choose to avoid it, though in the case of any prostate problems it would be the first herb to turn to.
Other herbs and foods that can be useful for one or more of these mechanisms include:
- Button Mushrooms
- Deer Antler
- Royal Jelly
- Maral Root
- Bulbine Natalensis
- Suma Root
- Horny Goat Weed
And the list goes on.
Just taking one or a few of these herbs together, with the right lifestyle changes, can help many men’s hormone health, which includes testosterone and its many related parts. While the lifestyle changes are most important, taking the right herbs can certainly quick start the whole program and bring fast benefits.
If you want a whole lot more information, check out Upgrade Your Testosterone.
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I just came across your website while looking for alternative herb supplier. What a great job ! Clear, concise and well organized.
Have you heard anything on Cyperus Rotundus as an aromatase inhibitor?
Interested in the Tonkat Ali but the heavy metals concern me do you have any protocols for detoxification.
Thor’s Hammer sounds like a great product but I would like to use it long term due to estradiol dominance – a tablespoon seems like alot – can the dosage be modified for long term use?
Hi just purchased Tongkat Ali from your company for two reasons first, I am56 still perfotmvweight lifting weekly but want to maintain muscle as I age plus I meet a younger women 38 and is definitely still needing it regularly. Lucky me. So Ivwant the stick to stay hard and ready to play. I take 1600mg Ashwagandha as well as 200 mg of DHEA. I would like to get T level performed to check base line. ANy recommendations with these goals in mind. D
Logan Christopher says
Tongkat is a good place to start, along with the other things you’re taking. Any recommendations I mentioned here would be aligned with what is written up above in the article.
Love the publication some much. Many thanks for the helpful informationstaff.
I started using ACV, Lemon and Natural Honey early on empty stomach, morning and evening due to the nature of my job and I can testify that it’s working. I just bought Macca Root Powder too.
I want to fine out if it’s good to add Macca Root Powder to the ACV mixture and drink. Caliving, Ghana
Get rid of that reference to Saw Palmetto being beneficial please. It can ruin a mans hormone balance. I know this from personal experience and 2 years later I’m still not back to full health. Its dangerous stuff.
Zane Christopher says
Leen, we agree. So many men have had problems with this. Though it is a potent medicine, it is often used incorrectly or overused to the point of toxicity. I removed it simply because we basically never even recommend that one as it is. Good catch.
Agree – Saw Palmetto is garbage and like soy products, gets praise when in reality warnings should be issued. Saw Palmetto is found in many “male” supplements because it is a cheap herb that can be used as filler.
THIS SITE IS SIMPLY THE BEST !! FOOD IS MEDICINE – NATURE IS THE CURE ! TAKE THAT PHARMACEUTICAL COMPAGNIES ! LOVE from Canada <3
Zane Christopher says
Thank you Flyer! Much appreciated! Stay strong, from the United States!
I just want to thank you and lostempireherbs for the excellent knowledge and passion in helping men with this battle to maintain their manhood at all age ranges.
Zane Christopher says
You’re welcome. Someone has to do it! ;)
The interesting correlation is between lower T levels among American men and the rising epidemic of obesity in this country. I am older now (65) and in tests at doc’s office found my T levels to be dropping significantly over the past two years. I decided to get back to hard workouts and fairly strict diet and have reduced my body fat percentage in the process. And, viola! T-level decline not only halted but the level has now started to climb. All totally natural, and I am now considering adding some of these herbs to speed the process up a bit. It’s taking way too long now vs. when I was in my 30’s!
Zane Christopher says
Definitely a good point!
Can you explain your thoughts on Saw palmetto? I’ve read research showing that it helps to block DHT and therefore help to stop male pattern baldness. However, I’ve also read that taking it can cause sexual side effects. I’m worried about keeping my hair, but I’m also concerned about my libido. Any explanation and help would be greatly appreciated.
Zane Christopher says
Hi Jake, I don’t know much about Saw Palmetto. I know we don’t plan on carrying it anytime in the future and it is used in a BUNCH of men’s products. I have no real experience with it so don’t usually even mention it to others as a option. As far as I know, there is no herb that prevents baldness. There are certainly stories of herbs providing people with thick heads of hair in old age like with He Shou Wu but they are few and far between and their is little science behind any herb saying they can reverse it. I am sorry I cannot be of more help with this, if we find anything that works really well then we will certainly look into at least offering it to VIPs.
HI Jake i researched a lot about Saw palmetto and DHT and stuff and also tried saw palmeto berry powder and it started causing pain in my testicle. I am suffering from hair fall problem and it has definitely stopped my hair fall but i have ordered nettle root extract to replace with saw palmetto. Also i read few articles about he shou wu so i am going to try that with nettle root and also use the laser helmet to reverse my hair loss.
Saw palmetto blocks the dht and nettle root blocks dht too, also you can use nettle root n saw palmetto shampoo for hair loss.
my email is [email protected] Hit me up and i will give you the update after few weeks.
i used saw palmetto and it affected my libido, just latest update guys. It has similar side effects as finasteride, you might not face it, but my body reacted negatively to saw palmetto.
stay far away from saw palmetto, this stuff is dangerous! Many men have never recovered from its side effects just like with finasteride.
I have an observation… it just hit me….
Sex… Pollen…. it is the BIRDS AND THE BEES….LOL….
I have been taking pine pollen for about six weeks along with ashwagandha and tongkat. My issue is horrible gard. I read that ashwagandha can cause some problems in the gastro area. So I stopped the ashwagandha and tongkat. I stayed on the pine pollen along with a Dr prescribed gard medicine. I’m very sorry to say I still have the gard. Ant suggestions? Has any one else ever complained of this before? I’m upset because this combo was working like a champ.
Zane Christopher says
Hi Chris, I hope you mean Gerd. I would recommend other stuff besides the herbs we sell. Doing some digestive cleanses would be ideal. Parasite cleanses, maybe a candida cleanse…it is springtime and a good time to clean out your digestive tract. Getting on really good probiotics and prebiotics could certainly help as well.
Bummer that that stuff is causing those problems, definitely stop taking them if its not going away. I have heard of headaches and other stuff but not really gastro stuff taking place from those particular products. We can certainly issue you a refund since clearly they are not entirely benefitting you.
Hey Chris, I experienced terrible heartburn and gerd from the Tongkat Ali extract powder. I was taking two doses, one in the morning and one in the evening and would get bad heartburn at night. I decided to just take the morning dose and it cleared up for me.