Breasts are often desired and attractive on the ladies but not so much when there are signs of them on the fellas. I have never known a woman to get weak in the knees over a man she could trade bras with. This modern day epidemic appears to be coming about more so than ever before in the last 20-30 years. Although by no means “all”, but much of this is strongly correlated with rising obesity rates and our exposure and consumption of man-made foods that have found their way into our diets as the foundational pieces of what we expose ourselves to on a regular basis.
The goal of this blog article is to acknowledge this growing and feminizing concern amongst men and for those affected, help them understand what contributes to it, how to address it and offer solutions to reduce, if not abolish it, to look and feel their best.
So, Are “Man Boobs” The Same as Gynecomastia?
Man boobs and gynecomastia, aka “gyno”, are not exactly the same thing. Gynecomastia is the term doctors use to describe a specific type of growth in your breasts. Man boobs on the other hand, can mean a few other things.
Gynecomastia is when you can feel firm tissue growth more than 2 cm wide beneath your nipples. This is what doctors would classify as true gynecomastia and will often give the appearance of “puffy nipples”. This can occur while the chest itself looks completely normal. In other cases, it can be in combination with excessive adipose fat tissue on and around the chest. Either way you look at it, it can and often is, a psychologically damaging and embarrassing thing for a guy to have and deal with.
“Pseudo-gynecomastia” is when you have excess fat on and around your chest, either without any of this gland enlargement, or with just a small amount of it. Man boobs can refer to either one of these and either one of these cannot only effect a man as previously mentioned, but is also often associated with health concerns. This is the main focus of this blog article.
So, What Causes Man Boobs?
The causes of man boobs can be very complex and there are many different reasons and, hormones involved. By far the most important hormones involved are the male sex hormone testosterone and the female sex hormone estrogen. More specifically it is the conversion, via the enzyme aromatase, of testosterone into estrogen. Testosterone is the main hormone that should be at the top of your list to have optimized as it is a critical driver for muscle mass (therefore metabolic rate and lower fat%), sex drive, ambition and focus. All of which makes a man, well, a man!
Anything that changes the levels or balance of and in between these two hormones, changes their production and can change the way the body uses or responds to these two hormones. An imbalance of these hormones in our endocrine system along with a few other related factors can cause some fellas to grow some man boobs.
Two of the biggest factors that increase the chances of you getting man boobs are being overweight and having excessive environmental exposure to estrogen and estrogen-like compounds called xenoestrogens. These are strongly correlated and often go hand in hand. There is an ever growing intake of manufactured foods loaded with large and excessive amounts of sugar and these xenoestrogens (externally consumed or applied). These-estrogen like compounds can be either synthetic or natural chemical compounds.
Xenoestrogens are clinically significant because they can mimic the effects of internally and naturally made, endogenous estrogen. In essence, this often leads to estrogen dominant issues and the wrecking of havoc on our endocrine systems leading to disruption of, and contributing largely to, low testosterone levels and obesity in men.
Excessive carbohydrate consumption, especially in the form of sugar is the second contributor to obesity and therefor indirectly contributing to man boobs. There are at least 50 different names for sugar listed on food labels. These include common names, such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, fruit juice, molasses, glucose and many others. Americans consume an extra 65 pounds of this stuff annually. Read that again… All these extra and empty calories along with the added xenoestrogens in them, lack of exercise, low testosterone and more are big contributors to the way we look and feel.
So, What Can Be Done to Get Rid of Man Boobs?
The most direct and quickest way to eliminate man boobs is a male breast reduction. This is the most effective known treatment for gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts. This cosmetic surgery procedure removes excess fat and glandular tissue to restore a flatter, firmer and more masculine contour to the chest.
The two main approaches with surgery are liposuction or surgical excision. Liposuction is a surgical procedure recommended and done for those that are very overweight with true “man boobs” by sucking the fat out of the chest. Surgical excision is good when gyno is the primary problem and isn’t caused by fat, but by hormonal imbalances and problems with glands. The excision is actually the removal of the tissues that form the gyno. As with any surgery, there is often a large financial cost, prep and recovery time with a risk of scarring.
“But I Don’t Want to Do Surgery”
Man Boob surgery is usually the last option that men consider in order the solve their problem. Most guys typically prefer to get rid of their man boobs (or gyno if it applies as well) with lifestyle changes and the use of supplements. First and foremost, eliminating the previously mentioned unnatural food choices out of the diet should come first and foremost so as not to work against your intentions and goals here. Fat cells contain the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. This itself has a double-whammy effect, because man boobs are caused by either an increase in estrogen or a decrease in testosterone. Studies have found a direct link between elevated body fat and a decline in both free and total blood testosterone levels. These declines in testosterone levels have been associated with decreased sperm concentrations, sperm motility, and fertility rates also.
Second, and if possible, a pharmaceutical supplement approach to reducing estrogen is going to be the most effective and fastest way aside from surgery. Estrogen reducing compounds such as tamoxifen (aka Nolvadex), and anastrozole (aka Arimadex) are two of the most widely known and used products by men to help control estrogen and estrogen related problems such as what we are discussing here.
Most experts tend to agree that for many reasons, anastrozole is the best approach for most. The main advantage in using anastrozole over tamoxifen, is that anastrozole blocks the aromatase enzyme; thereby, it prevents the production of estrogen in the first place.
As a comparison, Tamoxifen will hinder the estrogen receptors from receiving the estrogen, rather than stopping production at the source. Therefore, you’ll still have estrogen floating around in your body when you use anastrozole. In other words, if used too heavily or incorrectly, tamoxifen can be too aggressive in inhibiting estrogen, as it is harsher than anastrozole. This can cause your estrogen to drop too low. As a result, you can expect erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of energy, depression and low libido – not good.
Using and incorporating proper estrogen control is also very critical for men with man boobs and low T starting a testosterone optimizing program looking to address and fix their concerning issues at hand. The last thing a man in this scenario would want is to start taking testosterone only to have too much of it aromatize, or convert, into more estrogen.
What Else is important?
Eating correctly on a regular basis should be emphasized first and foremost. The easiest thing here to remember is to “eat the rainbow” often with extra attention to cruciferous vegetables. For most, this will at least diminish the contributions to the topic of concern here and contribute to the previously mentioned approaches and solutions in a positive way. Here are a few to keep in mind that provide good nutritional support for overall health and our endocrine system:
- Cruciferous Vegetables; Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and also white button mushrooms and maca.
- Cocoa and Green Tea; These are both well-known and easily obtained foods that contain a good amount of catechins.
- The mineral zinc. 50mg intake a day from nuts and other foods should suffice for most.
What About Optimizing My Low Testosterone Levels?
Just like your cholesterol or blood pressure, there is a numerical range of testosterone levels that is considered normal. This range is a very broad one! 348-1197 is the range used by a very large and well known laboratory. A 21-year old man may often have “normal” levels of 900-1100 while a 65-year old man may have “normal” levels of 400. These type of numbers should be expected.
All too often when high body fat, man boobs and high estrogen are in the picture, there is typically low testosterone in it as well. These tend to all flow together with one another and again, often have the same denominators contributing to the cause. It is NOT normal for a 35-year old man to have a typical 65-year old man’s testosterone levels of 400 and a female’s level of estrogen. Although this is unfortunately becoming the new normal, this is not healthy.
If you are a man under 30 years of age reading this, first look to optimize your T levels naturally and with a few key over the counter supplements as they may be enough to help give you a healthy bump.
If you are a man over the age of 30, trying over the counter testosterone boosters may only give you slight mediocre results at best simply due to the aging process of glands and the body. This of course, will vary from man to man and also on age (the older in age, the less chance they work).
In many cases for men over 30 and especially when obesity and man boobs are on the table, hormone replacement and optimization therapy is the best way to go. When done correctly and responsibly, men can look their best and feel the way they deserve to while having healthy, optimized testosterone and, controlled and healthy estrogen levels.
You are here visiting us today for a reason. You are likely a bit ahead of most in regards to addressing and wanting to take care of your health and well-being. Looking for and finding the right answers can be quite a task but we are here to assist you with finding the right solution to look and feel your best. Fill out our health history form today and let one of our heavily experienced consultants know a good time to discuss the process and more. Shortly, you can be well on your way to a new you!
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