But some men are waiting for more accurate treatment. Mendocino County, Calif., engraver and artist Michael Stewart says that the new and popular AndroGel, a clear and odorless topical testosterone gel by Unimed Pharmaceuticals, was too strong for him. While it gave him "a lot of good energy" sexually and otherwise, Stewart felt as though he was getting an unnatural amount of "testosterone juice." He is more cautious, he says. Meanwhile, Stewart is waiting for a product where the user can better regulate testosterone dosage, he says.
Reconsidering Grapefruit in the Male Diet
That grapefruit you've been eating to keep those pounds away may not be good for you after all if you're a man suffering declining testosterone levels. The body's aromatase enzyme turns testosterone into the female hormone estrogen when certain substances are ingested, says Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a cardiologist specializing in anti-aging medicine. Grapefruit is one of those catalysts.
Sinatra, author of "Heartbreak and Heart Disease", also advises his male clients suffering from the symptoms of andropause to cut out alcohol from their diet and increase exercise. The aromatase enzyme is also turned on by alcohol and fat, so men with declining levels of testosterone are particularly vulnerable.
To help increase testosterone production, Sinatra, who heads the New England Heart and Longevity Center in Manchester, Conn., suggests men take zinc and vitamins C and E. Sinatra also suggests herbs, such as muira puama, and L-arginine to increase a man's libido.
Sinatra does a blood screen for all his male patients older than age 50 to check their testosterone levels. While testosterone replacement therapy is the standard for treating men with declining levels of testosterone—which can set off symptoms ranging from depression and fatigue to sexual dysfunction—some experts advocate a more holistic approach to andropause, including diet and exercise.
Loss of libido, for example, can be treated with the vasodilator ginkgo biloba, suggests Jed Diamond, author of "Male Menopause." For men hitting midlife, Diamond recommends, eat soy products, lower fat foods, vegetables and tomato products, the last of which can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water is a key component for healthy living.
"Some of it's common sense," Diamond says. "Some of it is working to change patterns."