Male menopause is a real thing, and the medical term for it is andropause. According to the Mayo Clinic, the term “Male Menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testosterone levels related to aging. See this article from Mark back in 2018.
One of the symptoms of male menopause can be erectile dysfunction (ED). Although for younger men, you can have ED without male menopause. ED can destroy a man’s confidence not just in the bedroom but in the larger picture of his life by causing depression, stress, moodiness and anger all things that peak performers do not want to associate with. But for men aged 35-64 these things can sneak up on us, fast.
We are all so busy “performing.” Being a Dad, a good husband, business owner, a hard worker, friend, trying to get your workouts squeezed into an already hectic week. In many cases, this usually leads to a pattern of not not getting enough sleep because of late night emails for work after having put the kids to bed, up early the next day to get right back at your hard charging life, with too little exercise and not enough Primal Nutrition. Which leaves you with high stress. Stress leads to high cortisol (more about cortisol below).
Maybe you had a little too much wine at dinner … it happens. Your wife or lover wants to “play” and so do you, but no response. Once, certainly is nothing to worry about but the definition of ED is “is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance.” So, what to do?
First, let’s look closer at the leading causes.
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Possible Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
In order to eliminate the frustration of ED we must first understand what may be causing it.
Too Little Sleep
Research from Mathew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep” point to the necessity of 7 plus hours of sleep per night. Of all the healthy things we can do to at the very least preserve our hormones, sleep is number one! According to Walker in his book, “If you have hopes of reproductive success, fitness or prowess, you would do well to get a full night’s sleep every night.” In fact as far as Testosterone is concerned, Walker cites a study done at the University of Chicago where a group of lean healthy young males in their mid 20’s were limited to 5 hours of sleep for one week. After the sleep deprivation for a week, “sample hormone levels circulating in the blood of the participants showed a marked drop in testosterone.The size of the hormone blunting effect was so large that it effectively ages a man by ten to fifteen years in terms of testosterone virility.” WOW is all I can say!
Too Much Stress
It’s a vicious cycle. Lack of adequate sleep, stress from family and work, financial stress, all of this leads to worry. Worry leads to high cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as “the stress hormone” and chronically high levels can lead to irritability, moodiness and depression. The results of all that stress is hormones out of whack, especially testosterone, thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones. In other words, cortisol is part of the “fight or flight” mechanism that is built into all of us. When it is ON all the time, that will disrupt our hormonal levels which may lead to ED.
We need our inflammation response. When you slice your finger on a kitchen knife and you see a red ring around the cut, that’s acute inflammation.
Systemic chronic inflammation is the kind that causes problems. Caused by, you guessed it! Vegetable oils cooked under high heat, refined carbs, stress and not enough sleep. Chronic inflammation will not only hurt your sex life but long term, is a leading cause of dementia. These killer culprits lead to insulin sensitivity and inflammation and thus fat gain and yup, hormone distress again.
Not Enough Exercise
According to a report out of Harvard Medical School, “There is no specific exercise program for men looking to reduce the risk of ED. But a well-rounded exercise program that includes just half an hour of physical activity on all or most days of the week delivers solid health benefits.”
Although the above statement is true, call this less science more anecdotal but it’s my observation that men need to lift heavy objects every now and then. Lean muscle mass is healthy, fat mass is not. Obesity is a leading cause of low testosterone while pumping iron raises it. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or gym junkie but you do need to lift some weights, carry some heavy objects, climb a rope, do some body weight push-ups, pull ups, sit ups or simply join a CrossFit class for two times per week. The reason, blood flow.
Promising Approaches to Erectile Dysfunction
Ok, now that we know some of the leading causes of ED let’s dive into fixing it, the natural way without having to reach for the little blue pill.
Step 1: Improve your sleep.
Tips to improve your sleep:
- Keep you bedroom between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit
- Eye mask to sleep
- Room darkening shades
- Cover all lights in room with electrical tape (you know those little red and green lights that your laptop or LED TV have)
- Phone face down or on airplane mode or off
- CBD with Melatonin
- Ear plugs to block noise
- Blue light blocking glasses if looking at a device before bed
Step 2: Lower Stress
Tips to to Lower Stress:
Meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, stillness or yoga are all wonderful ways to relieve stress. The best part is you don’t have to take up large amounts of more time with traveling to a yoga class for an hour and a half class and then drive back to the office home thus taking up a total of two hours of your precious time. I recommend this site and thus you can do yoga right from home or even the office. The best part, you get to choose how much time you have. Often, i will select the 10 minute session, that’s all you need to lower that blood pressure and get blood circulating again.
One other tip, I highly recommend the book “Stillness is the Key” by Ryan Holiday.
Step 3: Eat more grass fed beef, wild caught fish, organic vegetables
It’s not as hard as you think. You are already here at Mark’s Daily Apple so you have already taken the first step!! Next, if you haven’t already is to dive into the Primal Blueprint Laws. Eating primally provides your body with the building blocks it needs to create and balance hormones.
Step 4: Eliminate Inflammatory foods
Eating in a way that minimizes inflammation will help get roadblocks out of the way. Take massive action and throw out any and all inflammatory foods from your cupboard. Going Primal and eliminating industrial seed oils (like corn, soy and sunflower) will help a lot! Replace them with avocado and olive oil.
Guard your health because well, your bedroom time and your life may depend on it. Eat more whole foods, and learn, study and live Primal. Have a sweet tooth? No problem, you can still have dessert! Just choose healthy ingredients. For example, here is my go-to almost daily after dinner dessert:
- One cup organic berries
- One Primal Dark Chocolate Almond Collagen Fuel Bar cut up
- Organic Cinnamon, ginger, or whatever spices you like to sprinkle on
- Organic vanilla unsweetened almond milk
- An occasional teaspoon of organic honey
Step 5: Lower Inflammation
How to support a healthy inflammation response
- Cold shower of ice plunge. Doesn’t sound like fun? Well, start out with just 10 seconds at the end of your shower and work your way up from there.
- Infrared sauna
- Daily moderate exercise
- Research supplements such as Curcumin and CBD
Step 6: Get Moving!
Although I advocate for pumping iron, at the end of the day just move! Take up whatever form of exercise you like whether it be swimming, biking, hiking or tennis but get moving, get that blood circulation in high gear and oh, get out in the sun a little! That Vitamin D is also good for raising your testosterone. https://blog.insidetracker.com/can-vitamin-d-restore-low-testosterone-levels
Lastly, as a bonus here are a few herbs and other “hacks” as they say in the biohacking community that may help with libido issues:
- Maca Root
- Ashwaganda (included in the Adaptogenic Calm formula)
- Tong Kat Ali
- Horny Goat Weed
- Foods high in nitric oxide, arginine and citrulline such as arugula, beets pistachios and watermelon
- Peptides, particularly PT-141. or if you want an erection while also getting a tan, Melanotan 2.
Always work with a qualified medical professional when choosing supplements and health regimens.
Tthanks for reading everyone. I hope this helps and at a minimum opens your eyes to addressing bedroom woes through healthy lifestyle choices and perhaps reducing your reliance on pharmaceuticals while still remaining in poor habits. You can do it! You are a Champ!
About Peter Montpelier, Health Coach/Longevity Expert at Team Appollon LLC
I am the co-founder and lead health coach of Team Appollon ( teamappollon.com) a peak performance and health company. I help people lose weight, build strength and create energy in their life to do the things that they love. Sign up for my free weekly health newsletter here.