The Male Hormone Panel
Traditionally, age-related male hormone changes were not considered problematic because fertility in men persists until an advanced age. In contrast, women undergo ovarian function failure and require multiple hormone replacements. More careful evaluation in males shows progressive age-related changes including:
• Decreased muscle mass & strength
• Decreased vigor, low energy
• Decreased libido
• Nervousness & Depression
• Hair loss
These changes usually begin in the fourth and ﬁfth decades and point towards hormone imbalances and deﬁciencies which may be considered the male equivalent of menopause, i.e. the Andropause.
What you can do about male hormone imbalance?
Optimal health is dependent on the balance of hormones, and not just a single hormone. Currently, men with low androgen hormones can beneﬁt from hormone replacement therapy. Also, men with imbalances in their androgen to estrogen and progesterone can also be hormone supplemented to achieve balance.
Supplemental hormones can be given by mouth, by injection, by skin patch, or by implant. Androgen supplementation, in states of deﬁcit, improves ﬁtness and produces a feeling of well being, with a reduction in abdominal fat and enhanced lean body mass.
Testosterone production in males is mainly a testicular function. Pituitary sex hormones (FSH & LH) stimulate and regulate this function. Speciﬁcally, LH (Luteinizing hormone) stimulates testosterone production in the testicles. This process is under negative
feedback, meaning that testosterone levels regulate LH secretion. FSH (Follicle
Stimulating Hormone) and testosterone stimulate sperm production.
Why measure male hormones?
Measurements of hormones can be used in two general ways.
1. To estimate the body’s own production–baseline test
2. To measure levels of hormones after supplementation–therapeutic monitoring
Baseline measurements will show normal and abnormal levels of six distinct hormones shown in boxes (See Diagram 1). If levels are too low, too high or hormone ratios are outside of expected limits, an objective treatment plan can be developed for the individual. Symptoms are not a substitute for measuring hormone levels because many symptoms may involve non-hormonal factors.
Using appropriate tests for monitoring hormone therapy is crucial in establishing the appropriate dosing regimen. This reduces the chance of undesirable side-effects and maximizes beneﬁcial effects. For example, excessive use of androgens (testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA and testosterone deri-vatives) can activate subclinical prostatic tumors which are androgen-dependent. Monitoring is especially important in older males. By the age of 70, at least 50% of men have subclinical prostate cancer. These are especially susceptible to growth stimulation by androgens.
The roles of the six hormones we test are highlighted below:
DHEA- Is the precursor for both male and female hormones. Also, it is an anti-stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Unmonitored intake can easily alter the delicate balance between male to female hormones.
Androstenedione- Is a weak male hormone (androgen) and a precursor of both male & female hormones. Unmonitored intake in men can cause excessive female hormone production with minimal male hormone production. In women, un-monitored intake usually causes excess male hormone production with body & facial hair stimulation.
Testosterone- Is the main testicular androgen and is a precursor to the highly potent dihydrotestosterone male hormone. Excessive amounts of testosterone promote hardening of the blood vessels, aggression, prostate problems and increase in total cholesterol.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)- Is made from testosterone in certain tissues. The rate of its production is controlled by the level of free active progesterone. Excess DHT causes prostate enlargement and thinning of scalp hair.
Progesterone- This hormone is important in both sexes. It is a natural calming agent to our nervous system. It also keeps in check excessive DHT production and counterbalances the effects of excessive estrone. Unmonitored intake can lead to breast enlargement, depression and weight gain.
Estrone- Is an estrogen that both sexes produce in the fat cells. The more fat, the more estrone which in turn itself promotes fat deposits It is produced from androstenedione and excess of estrone can cause breast enlargement and contributes to prostate enlargement. In males, a certain low level of estrone is mandatory to balance the androgens.
What we test & what it tells you
Using your saliva sample, the regular MHP panel measures six hormones: DHEA, Androstenedione, Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone, Estrone & Progesterone. The eMHP panel measures these six hormones plus FSH & LH. The hormone levels in saliva reﬂect the active tissue concentrations, while blood contains mostly protein bound hormones, whose active levels can only be estimates at best. Urine contains both the active hormones and numerous metabolites and can only be used to gain gross estimate of hormone production over time. Active fraction measurements from saliva are superior to blood and urine total hormone levels in diagnosis and treatment.
This test is for you if you are...
1. Middle aged and having:
• impaired libido
• erectile dysfunction
• baldness and/or extremity hair thinning
• fat accumulation around the waist
• urinary symptoms: pain and/or frequency; urgency; interrupted stream
• change in sleeping habits
• lack of enthusiasm for life
• increase in bad cholesterol, decrease in good cholesterol
• your Dr. tells you that you have osteoporosis
2. Young and having:
• impaired libido
• erectile dysfunction
• early baldness
• inability to lose weight
How do you benefit?
There are ﬁve distinct areas that you will beneﬁt from using the saliva tests:
1. They are affordable and less expensive than blood or urine tests. You save $250 - $300 on six hormones.
2. Collection procedure spares you the biohazards and pain of venipunctures.
3. Results are more clinically reﬂective of your hormone status and needs.
4. Results can lead to an individualized and customized treatment plan using natural hormones.
5. You will minimize overdosing and underdosing. This will ensure that you use only the proper hormones in the appropriate amounts. With salivary hormone testing, guesswork is minimized.