Tiredness After Eating & Low Testosterone

Tiredness after eating testosterone

Tiredness After Eating & Low Testosterone

We have all experienced tiredness after eating a large meal. Getting into an occasional “food coma” is considered normal, especially when consuming meals high in carbohydrates and specific proteins. These macronutrients change our hormone and blood sugar levels, impacting our energy levels.

However, consistent and overwhelming tiredness after eating may indicate late-onset hypogonadism caused by an age-related decline in blood testosterone. This article looks at the relationship between food-related tiredness and testosterone, helping you identify whether you’d benefit from testosterone replacement therapy to help combat your after-dinner fatigue.

Why Do People Feel Tired After Eating?

Most people have experienced tiredness after eating, a phenomenon scientifically known as postprandial somnolence. The reason for this slump in energy levels remains unknown. However, scientific hypotheses suggest the after-dinner dip results from a combination of various factors, including what you’re eating, the size of your meals, and when you’re eating:

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Eating Foods High in Carbohydrates & Tryptophan

Meals high in carbohydrates help the body absorb an amino acid called tryptophan – the precursor from which the body synthesises serotonin – while some proteins contain high levels of tryptophan. Therefore, high-protein and high-carbohydrate foods may boost serotonin levels in the brain.

Many people consider serotonin the “happy hormone” that regulates mood, but serotonin also plays a crucial role in regulating sleep. It is converted to melatonin, a hormone responsible for triggering feelings of sleepiness. It is thus theorised that the increased serotonin levels from eating meals high in tryptophan and carbohydrates can induce feelings of tiredness after eating.

Eating Large Meals

Research on fruit flies and studies on sleepiness in truck drivers have shown that the size of your meals may contribute to feelings of tiredness after eating. Larger meals take longer to digest and cause a more significant spike in blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia, known for causing fatigue.

Blood glucose levels subsequently drop as the body produces and secretes insulin rapidly to counteract the surge. This causes blood glucose to sharply decrease, causing an energy crash or hypoglycemia. With lower blood sugar levels and less glucose readily available for the cells to utilise as energy, you start to feel sleepy and fatigued.

Eating During the Middle of the Day

The timing of your meals may contribute to your energy levels after eating. In particular, having a large meal at lunchtime is thought to contribute to a mid-afternoon slump. Our circadian rhythm means our energy levels naturally dip between 2 and 5 pm daily. When a large lunch coincides with this energy drop, it can make us feel even more tired than usual.

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What is Low Testosterone?

Testosterone is the major male sex hormone, primarily responsible for regulating and maintaining sexual function. The hormone also modulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, improving your metabolism and ensuring peak physical performance.

When your testosterone levels are below the normal healthy range, it is known as low testosterone or male hypogonadism. Some medical conditions cause low testosterone, including pituitary disease, testicular injury, and genetic disorders. However, an age-related decline in blood testosterone can also lead to abnormally low levels and the onset of clinical symptoms, including:

  • Reduced libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of facial and pubic hair
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Reduces muscle mass
  • Increased body fat
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Reduced cognitive function

Low testosterone can affect men of all ages, but it is a growing issue among the ageing population. According to research, around 25% of men over 30 have hypogonadism. This figure only increases with age, with total blood testosterone levels dropping at an average of 1.6% per year. Low testosterone among middle-aged men is known as andropause, late-onset hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency syndrome.

What is the Link Between Low Testosterone & Tiredness After Eating?

While occasional tiredness after eating is normal, excessive and overwhelming drowsiness may be caused by an underlying medical condition. For example, medical conditions such as food intolerances, anaemia, and diabetes can contribute to post-meal fatigue.

Low testosterone is another plausible cause. According to research, around 77% of andropausal men experience postprandial somnolence. This is one of the less discussed and researched symptoms of testosterone deficiency, but constantly feeling tired after every meal could indicate that your testosterone levels are below their healthy range.

As it stands, the link between tiredness after eating and low testosterone levels remains unclear. Here are some potential theories that could explain the connection:

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Low Overall Energy Levels

Low energy is one of the more well-documented clinical signs of low testosterone. In fact, it is one of the most prominent symptoms, affecting 89% of hypogonadal men. Men with low testosterone report feeling constantly fatigued, even after a full night’s sleep. This can result in a lack of motivation and a decline in sports performance.

Feelings of tiredness after eating are therefore likely a combination of the food coma-causing factors discussed above and your already diminished energy levels. When you have consistently low energy levels initially, eating food might tip you over the edge and heighten your symptoms.

Dysregulated Eating

Recent studies have found that low testosterone is associated with dysregulated eating in young men. As discussed, consuming large meals may contribute to tiredness after eating. Therefore, postprandial somnolence could be linked with testosterone-related binge eating. The body struggles to digest large quantities of food at once, and changes in blood sugar levels result in sleepiness.

Insulin Resistance

Testosterone promotes the uptake of blood glucose in response to the hormone insulin. Men with low testosterone often have insulin resistance and cannot regulate blood sugar levels effectively. Therefore, blood sugar levels increase after eating a meal and stay higher for longer, especially when eating foods high in carbohydrates.

Although a lot of sugar is circulating in the body after eating a meal, the cells cannot efficiently absorb the glucose. As glucose is the cells’ primary source of energy, it results in feelings of fatigue. This is most prominent after eating when blood sugar levels are at their highest.

Weight Gain & Obesity

There is an established link between testosterone and obesity. Testosterone keeps men motivated to work out, improves metabolism, and stimulates muscle growth. Men with low testosterone therefore often accumulate more fat. The relationship works both ways; being obese also increases your risk for low testosterone, with obese men having 30% less testosterone compared to men of healthy weight.

Research has found that obesity can contribute to sleepiness during the daytime despite having a quality sleep at night. Therefore, there is a possibility that weight gain – either resulting from or contributing to low testosterone – could be linked with tiredness after eating.

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How to Stop Feeling Tired After Eating

We all agree that life is better when we have the energy to enjoy it! Whether dealing with consistently low energy levels or frequent tiredness after eating, you’ll want to combat these sleepy feelings and live life to the fullest. Here are some solutions that can help you fight post-meal fatigue:

Dietary & Lifestyle Changes

It is always recommended to make various dietary and lifestyle changes to try and help counteract drowsiness after eating. Below are some recommendations you can implement:

  • Get Plenty of Sleep: Low testosterone can cause insomnia, so getting quality sleep at night might be challenging. Improve your chances by limiting caffeine, practising good sleep hygiene, and having a good nighttime routine. If you get enough sleep at night, you’re less likely to experience tiredness during the day.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet that helps optimise digestion can combat postprandial somnolence. Avoid eating too much sugar, opting for high-fibre carbohydrates instead. You should also incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
  • Eat Little & Often: As the size of your meals can contribute to feelings of post-dinner tiredness, aim to eat several smaller meals spaced throughout the day. This helps to reduce spikes and dips in blood sugar and eases digestion. If your energy levels start to dip, try eating a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can effectively treat drowsiness after eating. TRT works by providing exogenous testosterone through injections, pellets, gels, or patches to optimise testosterone levels in the body. With a healthy hormone balance, your energy levels are restored!

Of course, TRT will only provide an effective solution if hypogonadism is causing or contributing to your postprandial somnolence. You can gauge whether you’re dealing with male hypogonadism by completing our ADAM questionnaire. The test has an 88% diagnosis accuracy and is a brilliant tool for weighing up all your current symptoms to see if a testosterone deficiency is likely.

If you think you have low testosterone, this can then be confirmed through a testosterone blood test. You can get these tests on the NHS, but it can be long-winded and frustrating. A better option is to go via a private men’s health clinic, such as Optimale. Based on the outcome of your test, you can begin a personalised TRT treatment plan.

Restore Your Energy Levels with Optimale

Optimale are the experts at diagnosing and managing low energy in men. If you’re falling asleep after eating or dealing with more general drowsiness, our low energy blood test can help. We test for eleven biomarkers to identify why you’re suffering from low energy, including total testosterone, low testosterone, and other essential proteins, hormones, and modulators.

Our entire range of blood tests are sent discreetly in the post and completed in the comfort of your home. Once your results are in, our medical team will call to discuss your options, providing lifestyle changes and personalised treatment plans to give you back your zest!

Book a call with our in-house medical team today and start your journey towards a more energised you! For other questions, check out our FAQ section or contact the team.

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