Testosterone, low libido, and impotence are a common problem in men as they age, due to related cellular changes in the body. However, these health concerns are also becoming evident in much younger populations, so the tide is shifting to an extent. Most men just relate these issues to a reduced testosterone level, which may be true, but these clinical signs could indicate much deeper and serious health ailments that could lead to bigger problems. Herbs, diet, and exercise can all impact testosterone, libido, and impotence on some level, however, there is another tool in the shed called Shilajit, which might pack a real punch to overall health and testosterone in men.
Impotence and erectile dysfunction in men is a very common health condition, especially with aging, but can prove to be a sign of more serious underlying health events. This specific condition was discussed in another article on Impotence and Erectile Dysfunction. It is highly recommended to review this article in depth to gain a better understanding as often there are more than one culprits involved in the development of that condition.
One main contributor to men’s health as we age is reduced testosterone production. It is estimated that upwards of 40% of all men over the age of 45 experience low testosterone and related clinical signs. Testosterone is mainly produced in the male body via the testicles but can come from other sources as well on low levels. While it is true that testosterone is needed for sex drive and for body building, it is also involved in many other facets of health in men and women.
Testosterone is involved in:
- Sexual health
- Muscle development and strength (maintenance and building)
- Bone health and mass
- Fat distribution and accumulation
- Red blood cell production
- Estradiol production (a form of estrogen)
Keep in mind this last point, which is estradiol production. Yes, men do produce low levels of estradiol or forms of estrogen. In fact, in many cases of impotence and erectile dysfunction, the cause can be related to BOTH a deficiency in testosterone and estradiol!
There are many reasons for a declining or reduced production of testosterone in men. Testosterone naturally is thought to decrease in production starting at the age of 30 and reducing by about 1% per year. (1) These list of causes for testosterone deficiency is extensive but includes:
- Normal age related decline in production
- Trauma to testicles or brain
- Inflammatory events
- Poor diet
- Stress and implications
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Obesity or metabolic conditions
- Vascular disease
What are the symptoms of a low testosterone level in men?
- Reduced libido or sex drive
- General fatigue or lack of well-being
- Memory and mood problems
- Reduced muscular strength
- Fat accumulation
- Hair loss
Enhancing Testosterone Production in Men
Testosterone levels reduce naturally in men and women as we age. That is a fact and often the result of age related cellular changes due to oxidative damage or stress. Of course, there are other causes for reduction in the levels of this important hormone, and it is wise and recommended to investigate fully with your physician before taking any action.
For many years, in cases of pure testosterone deficiency, medications in the form of testosterone or testosterone derivatives have been used. In some men, these medications can prove useful, but they often come with a list of side effects, which can be severe. The exact reasons for these side effects are unknown, but I would fathom a guess that the side effects are indicative of a deeper underlying problem which is not being addressed. One cannot just supplement something the body is not producing without trying to determine WHY it is not producing it. In some cases, I would guess, the body just does not have the reserves to put into the hormone production for various reasons, essentially shutting down the factory to an extent to preserve vital energy and resources. If one just supplements testosterone, it could create a physical ‘jam’ in the system, creating more harm than good.
Are there natural alternative for testosterone production in men? Absolutely, but not every one is ideal or effective for every man. There are likely hundreds of herbs and even food sources which can impact testosterone production in men either directly or indirectly. In many instances, the herbs or foods act against the inflammatory process and oxidative damage, helping to restore the cells back to a state of balance, which then encourages normal hormone production. This is noted with many herbs, including curcumin, ginger, and Cordyceps sinensis. While these herbs can be helpful, they are not for every man due to different effects that the herbs can have on the body.
One interesting alternative is an herbal extract, which is really a mineral complex, called Shilajit.
Shilajit, Health and Impact on Testosterone in Men
Shilajit is an ancient Ayuvedic formula referred to as a rasayana, which translates to ‘path of essence’ and are herbal formulas with intentions of enhancing longevity. It is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps to support balance and health in the body, counteracting the effects of stress. Shilajit in its crude form is a brownish-black substance that oozes out of rock formations worldwide, but often taken from the Himalayas. In the crude form, it is not very acceptable due to taste and also contamination with heavy metals and other toxic compounds. However, it its purified form, it can pack quite a punch for testosterone, rejuvenation, and overall health for men and women, with no noted side effects when using labeled doses .
Shilajit has been used for centuries as a general health tonic, helping to revitalize and restore the body in many ways, including sexuality, bones, and joints. There are many organic and inorganic elements found within Shilajit including fulvic acids, humic acids, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, nickel, calcium, potassium, manganese, silicon, stronium, sodium, sulfur, iodine, phosphorus, carotenoids, terpenoids, vitamins B, C, E, polyphenols, phenolic acids, oxalic acids, and tannic acids. One of the main ‘active’ ingredients based on research is the fulvic acids, which is concentrated into a 50% extract in the patented Primavie® Shilajit. Fulvic acids, when combined with the natural mineral base of the Shilajit, have been used and researched to promote health bone and joint function, not to mention support testosterone production in men.
In a double-blind research study, using 250 mg of the Shilajit 50% Extract for 90 days in a group of men, it was noted that there was a significant increase in total testosterone, free testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosteroone (DHEAS) compared with the placebo. (2) That is a pretty significant finding and with no side effects noted.
Considering the vast benefits of Shilajit on overall health, from inflammation to testosterone balance, it is a supplement that should be added to every man’s regimen. In discovering how Shijait works, being through pathways naturally present, side effects are greatly reduced. Shilajit extract is certainly one that I take every day, twice a day, and reap the benefits.
Author: Tom Schell, D.V.M., CVCH, CHN