Essential oils to the rescue for men
- 26 July 2020
- Joanna Rusling
Essential oils to the rescue for men
Looking at the differing range of hormone levels that occur throughout life we can see that men experience changes from childhood, through puberty and into adulthood at similar major milestones as women.
The naturally occurring increases and declines can have an exponential impact on the body. For this reason it’s important to know and understand the external contributors that can make all the difference in the overall health of men as they experience these transitions.
Once young men have passed through the chapter of puberty and enter their early twenties, their testosterone levels remain fairly balanced right through into their sixties when they’ll experience a naturally occurring decline. This change could be passed over with minimal apparent change and simply acknowledged and considered. For others it could be a sudden and impactful decline, having a notable effect on his quality of life.
A man’s overall health will determine how his body produces, maintains, and stores hormones as he ages making it imperative to make conscious choices for our health and wellness as we age.
Just as women need estrogen, men need testosterone. It is the male sex hormone and determines growth and development as a man. In truth, men and women need both estrogen and testosterone (of differing levels) and the balancing act of producing the correct amounts needed for a man or a woman can contribute to our overall well being - physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For a man, testosterone is needed for the development and ongoing health of their reproductive organs, Adam's Apple, to stimulate the growth of muscle and hair, to produce red blood cells, maintain bone density, a healthy heart, and to provide a healthy sex drive and sperm quality.
Although hormone changes are a natural part of aging whether you’re male or female, healthy women will experience a dramatic hormone decline around 45-50 years known as ‘menopause’. A healthy man will experience sex hormone changes over a longer period of time and usually later in life, around the age of 60 years.
Some men will experience a significant drop in testosterone (below the normal range) before the age of 60 and will notice side-effects similar to ‘menopause’ experienced by women. These can include loss of libido, muscle strength, bone mass, and even hot flushes. For this reason it’s often referred to as ‘male-menopause’ but is formally known as a clinical syndrome (not a disease) called ‘andropause’.
Historically, ageing has not been something that occurs as a sudden drop in ability and function and therefore we must consider the modern contributing factors leading to and causing conditions such as ‘andropause’ in order to support our bodies and avoid sudden decline.
In some men testosterone replacement has been used successfully although it is my firm belief that you really want to be discovering the underlying root causes. I don’t want you to be rushing into hormone replacement therapy and the associated side effects without necessity. That’s not saying there isn’t a place for this type of treatment in some cases, however, why not take a look at natural alternatives first, to avoid and recover from testosterone-related symptoms.
Plant power, in the form of essential oils, really excels in supporting the mind, body, and soul when we need them the most, especially during transitional phases. Essential oils assist our bodies to bounce back, to re-establish balance and achieve homeostasis. One of the ways they assist us is by combating toxins and aiding the body to breakdown chemicals so they can be eliminated and no longer interfere with hormones and metabolism.
As the old saying goes “we are what we eat” so let’s begin by looking at food and the dietary connection with hormones.
Diet is foundational to our wellness so we really want to keep refined carbs and sugars to an absolute minimum. Much of what we can buy in a modern supermarket isn’t real food, it is highly processed, full of fake fats, colourings, flavourings and preservatives. Anything in a box no longer has any vitality or chi, it is “dead” food. Our body requires real nutrients to be able to tolerate this and will rely on breaking down existing tissues to help buffer pH and other antinutrients, prioritising heart and brain function over other body functions.
If you are a man (or have a man in your life) who has lost interest in sexual activity or is feeling low or depressed, perhaps a visit to the GP to review your/his testosterone levels is a good place to start in investigating the cause. A high carb and refined foods diet is the #1 leading cause of chronic ill health in our modern society.
What you eat and absorb has a flow-on effect throughout the body. Essentially, refined carbohydrates and sugars cause inflammation and interfere with the body producing testosterone and are a major cause of unhealthy weight gain around the mid-section of your body. Excess sugar is turned into fat and shunted into the tissues surrounding the liver causing a classic “beer” belly.
A helpful blend to support metabolism and dietary hormones is dōTERRA’s Smart & Sassy®. It is a blend of Grapefruit, Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger, and Cinnamon essential oils. It can be added to water for a refreshing beverage, diffused in your home or workplace or added to a carrier oil and applied topically to the abdomen. It can be a big help within the first 21 days of shifting from refined foods to wholefoods such as fruits and vegetables. It's also great with helping to recover after a big night out!
Both men and women don't do well with fake fats so it’s time to ditch the margarine and enjoy the real butter on your toast! Our hormones are made from fat so if our dietary “real” fats are inadequate your body will struggle to have the building blocks it needs to work properly.
Our bodies become confused by synthetic fats and need high-quality good fats (such as avocado, olive oil, coconut, ghee, butter) to produce and maintain hormone levels.
We know that processed foods have a knock-on effect on our overall health and hormone production. From weight gain through to sperm count, young men can experience a serious effect on their fertility as a result of their diet. The Sperm Development Cycle, spermatogenesis takes about 74 Days, so look at making healthy changes at least 3 months prior to attempting conception to aid healthy sperm production.
Soy is an estrogen dominant legume and brilliant for menopausal women who have declining estrogen levels, but not so for men.
Phytoestrogens are known as dietary estrogens. When phytoestrogens enter the body, the body’s estrogen receptors treat them as if they were estrogen. This makes phytoestrogens endocrine disruptors because they are chemicals that disrupt normal hormonal function.
However, phytoestrogens do not bind to estrogen receptors as firmly as estrogen produced by the body, so their effects may be weaker.
There is a difference between the Phytoestrogens found in soy products, and those found in dōTERRA products. The dōTERRA Phytoestrogen Essential Complex (*see bottom of page for how to purchase) assists our bodies to get rid of excess estrogens made from fat stores and man-made estrogens that shouldn't be there. It’s exciting! Men can use this product where testosterone levels are being turned into estradiol. It helps the body to regulate hormonal production, especially where man-made estrogens are present and interfere with our body's natural receptors.
Where do we absorb these man-made estrogens from?
From processed foods, degrading plastics, and even the contraceptive pill!
Alcohol is a substance that has a direct connection to the production and balance of testosterone in the body. Ethanol which is a component of alcohol can reduce testosterone function, sperm count, fertility, and can even cause cell damage to the testes.
When alcohol is consumed and absorbed through the stomach and directly into the bloodstream, it is shunted straight to the liver where it binds to a protein called albumin. This leads to a decline in testosterone, and the ability to have metabolites freely available for making the hormone as your body needs it.
Do hormones affect sleep?
Cortisol which is produced by our adrenal glands is counterweighted with melatonin. The production of these hormones is directly connected to - and is vital for - sleep.
Without adequate sleep we have a reduced threshold for stress and although we need a little bit of stress to build resilience, focus, and to challenge ourselves - sleep is imperative to function on a daily basis and is seriously impacted by stress levels.
Sleep is essential for the hormones connected to balancing our appetites. The levels of a hormone called Prolactin can become out of balance with inadequate sleep and we end up with a weakened immune system, difficulty concentrating, and our bodies begin craving carbohydrates throughout the day. Remembering we are what we eat, it’s important to provide our bodies with wholesome foods when it’s hungry or craving. This in turn, is connected to good quality sleep.
Essential oils are known to have a direct effect on your brain, your emotions, and your coping mechanisms. So whether you sniff them, apply them topically, or diffuse them, essential oils can support and assist your mind and body to relax and recoup.
Petitgrain (men's lavender) is a good one to try, along with Cedarwood and/or Vetiver are known to help relax the body, enhance concentration, reduce stress, ease tension, clear the mind, and encourage the onset of quality sleep.
Hormonal impacts on the brain and body are real, and without good sleep and nutrition, the production of hormones will be directly affected. This is relevant throughout all stages of life. The frontal lobe in our brain which we require for concentration, planning, and problem solving is most vulnerable to lack of sleep and stress. The brain reverts to “cave” man survival mode when under chronic stress leading to more aggression and difficulty in communicating and often will impact relationships with those we love the most.
Try the dōTERRA Serenity® Restful Complex (*see bottom of page for how to purchase) which is designed to assist with stress and bring things back into balance to help you achieve good quality restful sleep.
To support growth and activity through puberty, which is an immense period of change, I use ‘Balance’ for my teenage sons. It is helpful for anyone to ground and center themselves for the day, apply to the wrists and soles of the feet in the morning. This amazing blend has a manly scent and supports focus and clarity. I also use InTune® applied to the temples and back of the neck, great for supporting the brain and “getting your thinking cap on” and can be used during times of stress, helps with focus and coping. Fabulous for exam stress and study.
The Peace® Blend is also an amazing backup to have on hand with three growing lads in our home. It comes neat in a 5mL bottle which can be used in a diffuser or made into a roller bottle recipe, “Peaceful Boys” or purchased in a roller bottle touch version diluted with a carrier of fractionated coconut oil. I once helped a non-verbal child at the Gold Coast airport who was extremely distressed having to move under and through the scanner archway. Peace® Touch® to the rescue. He held it to his nose and the physical change in his body was visible to everyone. It was also wonderful seeing the relief from his mother and she wasn’t sniffing the essential oils! He didn’t want to let it go so I didn’t ask for the roller bottle back. I hope he continued to use it and receive comfort when life got too much to handle.
Exercise and moving is imperative for brain and hormone health.
Physical activity is also directly connected to our overall health and wellbeing and should be included in your wellness plan. Walking three times a week for 40 minutes can reverse brain shrinkage! Quite the incentive to get moving.
If you’re not certain about the benefits of essential oils, or a man in your life isn’t “into it” I recommend starting slowly with subtle inclusions like lemongrass in Asian recipes, or some Tea tree essential oil into the water when mopping the floor. You could also try a few drops of your favourite essential oil on the inside of the toilet roll to keep your bathroom smelling clean and fresh. Ice Blue rub is a healthful alternative to deep heat and other ointments for sore and tired muscles and sporting injuries. Important to wash hands thoroughly after application, the essential oils in this cream are intense if transferred to sensitive areas!
I’ve incorporated the use of essential oils in my home by replacing toxic cleaning products, a few drops in our bins, and in our laundry to allow my husband and boys to become used to the scents. Lemon essential oil is fantastic for cleaning, I use dōTERRA Purify® blend to dissipate odours and combat germs in the bins, and Tea Tree (Melaleuca) is a great one to include in the wash for smelly socks and sports uniforms.
With 3 boys, a husband, and a male pet dog in our home, the touch oils kit is the go-to for all occurrences in our household.
Be it stress, sickness, tantrums, or just support, here’s how the essential oils Touch® rollers are used in our family:
On Guard® Touch® and Oregano Touch® - for the first signs of a cold of itchy throat roll Oregano Touch® first, then On Guard® Touch® onto the neck, either side of the windpipe. It supports all the lymph nodes in that area. Apply 3 times a day until a few days after feeling 100%.
Easy Air® Touch® - With a minty, fresh aroma, dōTERRA Easy Air® has been specially formulated to support the airways. Great for when you have a sniffling nose or affected by the change of seasons. Any time you feel stuffy and have a clogged nose. Fantastic for supporting clarity of mind also.
Peppermint Touch® - great pick me up when you feel sleepy and have to stay awake. I have applied to aid people with seasickness, nausea, motion sickness on bus rides. Apply to the spine every 3 hours or so to support my children when they are unwell and feeling very hot. We also diffuse Easy Air® and On Guard® blends in their rooms when unwell.
Frankincense - back of the neck, supports the brain stem for promoting feelings of groundedness, centered, focused, yet calm and relaxed.
DigestZen® - for any tummy issues, including “nerves”. Children can’t communicate their emotions well and will present with a sore tummy for emotional reasons, not just physical causes. Stress can present as a sore tummy also. Nothing has made me love essential oils quite as much as being a Mum and being able to help my children with a tummy ache!
My personal “hormone” experience
Lifelong Vitality is a program of supplements that has been instrumental in assisting myself and my husband to change the trajectory of ageing.
It’s classed as food and it’s TGA approved in Australia - which is amazing!
It is helping us to be consistent in achieving the basics that are otherwise impossible with today's busy lifestyle. With so much toxicity around us, we all need additional support to ensure our bodies are able to maintain the hormone, vitamin, and mineral needs to assist our body’s to function at their best.
In addition the Turmeric Dual Chamber Capsules from the USA market has been profoundly helpful for my husband and I to regulate healthy inflammatory response. dōTERRA is the first to combine CPTG Certified Pure Tested Grade® Turmeric essential oil and Turmeric extract in a dual-chamber capsule, creating a uniquely powerful synergy of turmerones and curcuminoids, which maximizes the effectiveness and benefits of both compounds. If the body and brain are “on fire” it cannot repair, restore or rejuvenate.
We have personally discovered the advantages of ageing into good health, as we learn and rely on essential oils in our life and I’m keen to share these steps so you can achieve your best version of you too!
If you’re interested and keen to know more, you can watch my brōTERRA (aka dōTERRA for Men) webinar HERE. [link to be updated shortly, housekeeping going on]
If you’d like to discover how dōTERRA can assist with your hormone health, I’d love to speak with you and share my knowledge and experience.
* The dōTERRA Serenity® Restful Complex and the Phytoestrogen Essential Complex are available for purchase in the New Zealand and Australian markets when purchasing from the USA using your own dōTERRA wholesale account. I'm happy to help with this if you need assistance.