Hemochromatosis and Testosterone Replacement Treatment; Does Hemochromatosis Affect Testosterone Levels?
Hemochromatosis is an excess iron syndrome that can cause liver and heart complications if not properly managed. Hemochromatosis affects the blood, joints, and skin as well. The condition causes a lack of body energy, unstable moods, and reduced libido. These effects suggest that hemochromatosis causes low testosterone levels.
According to a study by H K Kley, men with liver-disease suffer low plasma levels, and in extension low testosterone. It can also cause end-function dysfunction. Men with low testosterone levels can undergo testosterone replacement therapy to boost their testosterone levels.
Can someone with hemochromatosis undergo similar treatment? We’ll find out!
How does hemochromatosis cause low testosterone levels?
When your body stores to much iron in your blood, liver, and heart, they start malfunctioning. That’s likely to cause a cascade of health issues. Naturally, if any part of your body has challenges, the natural production of testosterone is affected.
Hemochromatosis interferes with the blood composition. It also affects blood flow, especially if you are having weight challenges. In worst-case scenarios, it causes diabetes. All these are conditions that will suppress the production of testosterone in a man.
How does your testosterone level affect iron absorption?
This is where it gets interesting!
High testosterone levels cause more iron absorption. That’s something you would want to avoid if you are dealing with hemochromatosis.
So, would testosterone replacement therapy make your condition worse?
When in such a situation, you do not want to end up on any extreme. You shouldn’t let your testosterone levels fall too low, and they shouldn’t be too high either. You have to find the balance point that will ensure you don’t fall on either side.
What are the effects of low testosterone?
Testosterone is the main male hormone. It is what makes you have male characteristics. Low testosterone levels will not only cause low libido, but they also make you feel drained and lethargic. If you are already dealing with hemochromatosis, it can be difficult to handle your day to day activities.
Testosterone levels can be boosted through exogenous testosterone administration. Exogenous testosterone administration involves taking a series of supplements that boost your testosterone levels. The therapy introduces artificial testosterone in your body since your body is unable to naturally produce testosterone.
Hemochromatosis is treated through a procedure known as phlebotomy. Phlebotomy involves removing some of the blood from the body so that fresh blood can be produced. The fresh blood dilutes the iron levels in the body.
Exogenous testosterone administration can reverse the gains made from the phlebotomy procedures.
So, how can you manage both your hemochromatosis and testosterone levels?
Keep in mind that hemochromatosis is a lot riskier than low testosterone. As such, your priority should be ensuring you do not develop any life-threatening condition. Also, if your hemochromatosis is kept in check, the effect on your testosterone levels will be reduced. As such, you will not need frequent testosterone replacement therapies.
One of the best ways of managing hemochromatosis is having an appropriate diet plan. If your hemochromatosis does not require phlebotomy yet, you can manage it using a diet plan. Your diet plan should include foods that can boost your natural production of testosterone.
Your diet plan should not include foods that have high iron content and vitamin C. Most plant-based foods have what is known as non-heme iron. Non-hem iron is a form of iron nutrient that is not readily available for absorption by the body. Such foods are ideal for you if you have hemochromatosis. Eggs and milk are perfect protein sources for anyone dealing with hemochromatosis and low testosterone.
Avoid red meat and seafood. They have high-content of readily available iron. Avoid any food with a high content of vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes the absorption of iron into the body. If you want to eat meat, go for chicken, turkey, or tuna. You still should take too much. They still have iron in them.
You should undergo exogenous testosterone administration only when it’s been proposed by your doctor. You doctor will know when you need phlebotomy and/or testosterone replacement therapy. He/she will know how to strike a balance between the two to ensure your hemochromatosis is kept in check.