The one thing which mankind has never been able to control and most probably never will is Time. Despite our best efforts, Father Time is less than kind to our bodies and eventually we wear out. Yet, despite Time’s cruelty, we still have treasures from Mother Nature to combat and keep the woes of aging at bay. Indeed, the focus of this editorial is age-related hypogonadism and what can we do to overcome it.
It has now been proven beyond any doubt, that as old age creeps in, certain irreversible changes occur in the body. One of the most significant one of them is the decrease of anabolic hormones in the body like testosterone and dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). These hormones are secreted by the testicles (male gonads) and are responsible for maintaining muscle mass, fertility, sexual drive and hair growth amongst others. In fact, research shows that there is a gradual decline in serum total testosterone levels from as early as 30 years of age. By the time men reach their 60s, at least 20 % of them will have testosterone levels low enough to become clinically significant. This is known as late-onset hypogonadism, the main cause of which is a slow but sure decline of androgen production by the testicles and other endocrine glands of the body. It so happens that during our lifetime, special parts of the brain release specific hormones which cause the testicles to synthesize testosterone from precursors like estrogen (the female hormone) and other steroids. With aging, this tightly regulated system undergoes an insidious attrition. Simply put, the testicles stop getting commands from the brain, do not secrete testosterone anymore and gradually decrease in size.
Male Hypogonadism- A syndrome
Androgens are far more important to the body than we think. Their effects are quite diffused throughout the body and include the development of muscles, secondary sexual characteristics like deepening of voice, hair growth and of course, fertility, sexual drive and growth of the sex organs. Consequently, male hypogonadism is a syndrome rather than a single disease entity. Hypogonadal aging men develop erectile and other sexual dysfunctions, loss of libido, a decrease in bone mass and weakness. Furthermore, they also lose muscle mass and strength as the amount of fat compared to muscle protein in the body increases. Androgens also have an effect on our behavior; consequently, hypogonadism causes depression, poor concentration along with a loss of vitality and somnolence. Another significant point to be noted is that the main sex hormones, that is, estrogen and testosterone in women and men respectively are derived from the same precursors; steroids. Depending on the gender, either hormone dominates in the body. In male hypogonadism, the enzyme aromatase becomes more active and converts an increasing amount of steroids to estrogen rather than testosterone. This further contributes to decreasing serum testosterone levels.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) has been advocated as a solution to the problem. However, the administration of exogenous (from a source outside the body) testosterone entails a new set of complications. Exogenous testosterone is associated with increased risk of heart disease, thickening of the blood, inflammation of joints and more importantly, increased chances of prostate cancer. Fortunately, safer and more natural remedies exist. In fact, these remedies have been there for centuries, but it is only recently that a renewed interest has been shown in them. Accordingly, if hypogonadism is to be prevented, then we cannot expect that a single treatment will work. In fact, a combination of different natural remedies to target different aspects of hypogonadism will be more effective.
AE-3 with Chrysin and Stinging Nettle Root Extract
AE-3 is a natural herbal supplement and quite unique among its kind. It contains extracts of Chrysin and Stinging Nettle root. Each of these helps alleviate a symptom of hypogonadism. Chrysin is a natural flavone found in many plants like Chamomile, Passion flowers, some mushrooms, and honeycomb as well. Chrysin is an intrinsic aromatase inhibitor. Hence, by inhibiting aromatase, Chrysin ensures that less testosterone is converted to estrogen and more is available in the serum. It is to be noted that Chrysin is notorious for having poor oral availability, that is, on oral intake, very few amount actually reaches the blood. To overcome this problem, in AE-3, Chrysin has been cleverly linked to another substance known as Bioperine. Bioperine acts as a carrier and ensures that Chrysin is properly absorbed from the intestines. This is a feature unique to AE-3. Chrysin also has anxiolytic effects and help fight depression and anxiety.
The second main component of AE-3 is Stinging Nettle Root extract which has two main beneficial properties against hypogonadism. In the serum, a percentage of circulating testosterone is bound to proteins and is hence unavailable. Stinging Root Nettle extract, also known as Urtica Dioica, binds to this protein and causes displacement of this blocked testosterone. This effectively causes a rise in serum testosterone levels. Secondly, it helps alleviate very irksome symptoms in men; that of an enlarged prostate. With the onset of hypogonadism, men also develop symptoms of an enlarged prostate like increased frequency of urination, multiple night trips to the washroom, and a sense of incomplete bladder emptying even after urination. Quite a few clinical trials have shown favorable results and proved that ingestion of Stinging Nettle Root extract improves many symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
GH-2, with Horny Goat Weed extract
GH-2 is another supplement which can alleviate important symptoms of hypogonadism. It contains the Horny Goat Weed extract, which is derived from the flowering plant Epimedium. This plant is endemic to China but is also easily found in Japan and Korea. The active component of Horny Goat Weed extract is the flavonoid Icariin. Studies have successfully demonstrated that Icariin is a weak inhibitor of the enzyme PDE-5. It is to be noted that the pharmaceutical drug, Sildenafil, used to treat erectile dysfunction in men, has the same mechanism of enzyme inhibition. The added benefit of Icariin is that being a weak inhibitor compared to Sildenafil, it would not have side effects.
Due to its erectogenic effects, GH-2 is, therefore, an excellent alternative for those who do not want to take Sildenafil. Erectile dysfunction is very common in men after 40 years of age and is one of the most worrisome symptoms of hypogonadism. It also has a very negative impact on mental health as well as physical ability. GH-2, by virtue of its ingredients, can not only alleviate this problem but also improve sexual performance and libido. One particular clinical trial even showed that Icariin has testosterone mimetic properties and on being administered over a certain period of time, it actually improved the function of sexual organs and raised the levels of testosterone in the serum. Horny Goat Weed Extract is also said to alleviate problems of joint pain and physical and mental fatigue. The dual alcohol and water based extraction ensure that there is at least 20% of Icariin in GH-2 making it very effective.
SD-200, the natural testosterone booster- Tongkat Ali
The above two mentioned supplements tackle different components of hypogonadism. However, SD-200 is a supplement which helps in eliminating the root cause of hypogonadism; decreasing level of testosterone. SD-200 contains extract of Tongkat Ali, a medicinal plant found in South East Asian countries. Tongkat Ali has been investigated in many clinical trials and many of them have yielded positive results. In fact, the plant has seen such a boost in popularity that soon it was over exploited and became an endangered species. In many South East Asian countries, it now has a legally protected status. Among its many benefits are its ability to act as an aphrodisiac and a natural testosterone booster. Tongkat Ali stimulates the gonads to secrete testosterone and can increase the serum level of the hormone to youthful levels. Since the increase in serum testosterone is natural and endogenous, no side effects occur. Apart from alleviating symptoms like erectile dysfunction, fertility, depression and fatigue, SD-200 influences muscle strength and growth. The muscle loss which occurs due to androgen deficiency can be overcome with SD-200. By influencing testosterone synthesis, it actually influences all the components of hypogonadism. Furthermore, SD-200 can also help prevent loss of bone mass and osteoporosis associated with aging.
The Solution- an integrated approach
Being a syndrome rather than a single disorder, hypogonadism is difficult to tackle with just a single method or treatment. It is foolish to expect a single “magical pill” to solve all the problems. Hence, it is better to look for solutions and treatment for different component rather than the whole syndrome. SD-200, AE-3 and GH-2 are all purely herbal, natural and toxicity free supplements advocated for all aspects of hypogonadism. Each of them not only alleviates particular symptoms of hypogonadism and Andropause but they also share some common traits. For example, both SD-200 and AE-3 are said to act as aphrodisiacs and GH-2 and SD-200 are both testosterone boosters. Added to that is the aromatase inhibition by AE-3 which further contributes to increasing serum testosterone levels. It can be seen that these supplements all act synergistically to increase each other’s effect. If all three are taken together then all the fearsome complications of hypogonadism can be easily overcome and one can lead a perfect and healthy life.
There was a time when loss of muscle strength and mass, weak bones , loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, fatigue and weakness were all considered a normal part of the aging process. All of this was accepted as being normal. But this is not the case. Andropause is a pathological process like any other disease. It should not be taken as normal and accepted as a part of daily life once we are old. If Time makes us older, then Nature has provided the remedies for it. It is up to us whether we choose to sit back and be wasted or fight back and enjoy life to the fullest.
Take Home Messages
- Age-related hypogonadism is a process whereby decreasing amount of testosterone are secreted in the body with increasing age
- This age- related hypogonadism is a syndrome with multiple clinical manifestations like erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass and strength, decreased sexual urge and depression
- The approach to treat hypogonadism is therefore with multiple natural supplements tackling different symptoms.
- SD-200, AE-3 and GH-2 are all herbal supplements containing extracts from medicinal plants with time-proven benefits.
- Each of these supplements act alone or synergistically to alleviate and overcome hypogonadism.
While there are many things which are not in mankind’s control, we do have the most developed gray matter among all species which gives us the privilege to not only innovate and invent but also turn the tides in our favor.