Few things invite male body-shaming quite like gynecomastia — otherwise known “man boobs.” We tell you everything you need to know about getting rid of man boobs, a condition that is believed to affect 1 in 4 men.
Jump ahead to
What are man boobs?
The medical term for “man boobs” is gynecomastia. Gynecomastia is a condition whereby men develop larger breasts due to a hormonal imbalance of estrogen and testosterone levels.
The condition may affect both breasts equally, or there may be more tissue in one breast than another. This excess of benign breast tissue usually isn’t harmful or serious, but it can be a source of embarrassment or mental stress for many men.
What causes man boobs?
Man boobs can be present to a slight degree at birth, become apparent at puberty, or develop later in life.
Excess tissue in the breast area is invariably caused by a hormone imbalance. If a man’s testosterone levels are too low, or if there is an excess of estrogen (the hormone that causes breast development in women), larger breasts may develop.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a number of specific medications and health conditions, including but not limited to hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, and cirrhosis have also been linked to causing the condition.
What are the treatment options for man boobs?
Sometimes gynecomastia resolves itself naturally with time and without treatment. In the event that treatment is pursued, there are a few options for getting rid of man boobs:
There have been some successful cases of “off-label” use of drugs approved by the FDA to treat breast cancer, but not gynecomastia.
The most invasive option is to have a mastectomy whereby the breast gland tissue is surgically removed.
Treatment for low testosterone
This treatment can be carried out topically through patches, intravenously through injections, or naturally through a variety of lifestyle and nutrition hacks.
Is it possible to get rid of man boobs naturally?
The least invasive and most natural way to deal with the condition is to address the underlying hormonal imbalance of low testosterone.
How can you naturally increase testosterone levels?
Exercises to get rid of man boobs
Lifting heavy weights and bench pressing is an effective way to tone up loose skin and tighten chest muscles. Aim for 3 to 5 minutes of bench pressing if you’re already competent, and not less than 90 seconds if you’re a total beginner. One study showed the hormonal differences between a control group of similarly aged weightlifters and road cyclists. Those lifting heavy weights had much higher levels of testosterone after exercise.
To help you on your exercise journey, certain vitamins and supplements can help you lose fat.
Eat less gluten
Gluten may cause gut disorders and inflammation — and many experts now view gluten from wheat as inflammatory for humans. Food that contains gluten tends to be high-glycemic (like white bread and pasta), meaning that it can make your blood sugar spike and cause the pancreas to secrete insulin. This has the knock-on effect of interfering with the body’s production of hormones such as testosterone.
Eat more vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts reduce the inhibitory effect of estrogen on testosterone production. So start introducing these vegetables into your diet daily to elevate your testosterone levels.
Get more sleep
Getting enough sleep is key as sleep deprivation causes numerous health problems. Research has shown that interrupted sleep for just one week can lower testosterone levels by an astonishing 10-15%. Used in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that safely relieves anxiety and stress and promotes restful sleep.
Stock up on Omega 3
Cortisol, a hormone that is released when the body is under stress or inflammation, inhibits testosterone production. Taking more Omega 3 helps to keep stress (and therefore cortisol production) under control, for the benefit of testosterone. Natural sources of Omega 3 include blue fish such as sardines and anchovies, salmon, mackerel, and walnuts.
Try minerals like Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral which means that it is not synthesized by our body. However, it is necessary for the metabolic activity of 300 enzymes. Zinc also regulates the production of T cells or lymphocytes (immune system) and testosterone.
Get enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D has a protective effect on testosterone, as it limits its conversion to estrogen. Maintain healthy levels by staying in the open air, exposing yourself to the sun, and possibly taking a Vitamin D supplement.
Don’t follow a restrictive diet
Diets that are too low in carbohydrates can greatly slow down testosterone production. The same goes for low-fat diets, which are needed to produce hormones.
In addition, fat is a substance needed to transport and absorb the fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K, two of which (D and K) are essential for maintaining high testosterone levels.
The bottom line
In many cases, increasing testosterone levels produces good results against man boobs, and this can often be achieved with changes in lifestyle and diet. I
f you are interested in learning more about the changes you can make in your life, take our 5-minute consultation quiz and we’ll pair you with your very own Nutrition Expert for free!