Testosterone: And you thought it was just brawns and sex drive

Testosterone healthy

Last Updated June 13th, 2021

Why does the human body need testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone found in humans.  It is the key male sex hormone, which regulates fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production.  The testicles primarily produce testosterone in men. Testosterone is also produced in the ovaries but in smaller amounts.  It is a type of androgen produced primarily by the testicles in cells called the Leydig cells.  

The production of testosterone hormone generally increases during puberty and play an important role in various functions of the body.  Some of the important functions of testosterone include increasing energy levels, reduce depression, reduce heart diseases, as well as maintain body fat and muscle mass.

Low testosterone levels can cause early aging with a reduction in muscle mass and body fat leading to disfiguring or lipodystrophy.  Due to this, a person may look older than the actual age due to the appearance.  Testosterone can be supplemented in the form of dietary intakes such as oysters, tuna, egg yolk, and garlic.  There are several supplements available in the market to increase your testosterone levels such as vitamin D, Zinc, L-arginine, and DHEA.

testosterone replacementTestosterone production generally starts to increase significantly during puberty and begins to dip after age 30.  Testosterone is usually associated with sex drive and plays an important role in sperm production. Testosterone levels can also affect mood in a person.  Abnormal levels of testosterone in the body can lead to many health conditions including hypogonadism or infertility.

An excess amount of testosterone can also cause women to experience male pattern baldness and infertility.  Testosterone levels are controlled by the brain and pituitary gland. When the hormone is produced in the testes, it moves through the blood to carry out its various important functions.

Optimal testosterone can help curb…

Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.  Depression can be related to the low level of testosterone levels.  Studies have found that men suffering from depression usually have deficient testosterone levels.  Generally, people suffering from depression show improvement in mood after undergoing testosterone treatments. Since testosterone hormone is related to changes in mood and appetite, it can play a vital role in causing depression.  Studies have proved with a meta-analysis that people suffering from depression tend to show improvement when treated with high testosterone doses.

Body Fat

Body fat is divided into two categories namely essential body fat and storage body fat.  Essential body fat is necessary to maintain life and reproductive functions. Our body’s ability to regulate insulin, glucose and fat metabolism decreases with low testosterone levels, which results in the accumulation of adipose tissue (fat).  This adipose tissue accumulation may further contribute to the decrease of testosterone levels because it converts testosterone into estrogen. This is the reason why obese men usually have below than normal testosterone levels and higher estrogen levels.  Research has shown that people having 18% of body fat seeing a decrease to 12% of body fat with three-month testosterone supplementation.

Decreased Muscle Mass

Muscle strength is by far one of the accepted components of total fitness, which includes endurance, flexibility, power, and speed.  Testosterone hormone is known for its muscle protein synthesis. Muscle protein synthesis is the process of building muscle mass. Testosterone has the ability to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass in the body.  The benefit of this process is that people tend to feel stronger and have better stamina, which improves their daily life. Lower body fat and higher muscle mass help bodybuilders to get in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Heart Diseases

Blood provides the body with oxygen and nutrients, as well as assists in the removal of metabolic wastes.  Maintaining an optimal testosterone level is the key to a healthy heart.  An increase or decrease in testosterone level can lead to serious health conditions.  Testosterone hormone alone does not lead to any particular heart condition but in fact, a collection of health benefits related to optimal testosterone level can lead to a healthy heart.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones deteriorate or become brittle and fragile due to low bone mass and bone tissue loss.  Osteoporosis not only affects the woman but can also affect men with low testosterone levels.  Testosterone hormone plays an important role in bone health.  Testosterone increases bone density by stimulating bone mineralization, as well as decreases bone re-absorption.  Osteoporosis is generally faced by elderly men due to the sub-optimal testosterone levels. Testosterone tends to decrease with age and can lead to this condition. Steps need to be taken by supplementing testosterone to promote an increase in testosterone levels in the body.

Low libido and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is defined as persistent difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection sufficient to have sex.  Erectile dysfunction seems to be a common problem faced by many men due to several factors contributing to it.  Low testosterone level is one of the main causes of this dysfunction. Since testosterone is a sex hormone, it is not surprising that low libido and erectile dysfunction are directly related to low testosterone levels.  Signs and symptoms of low libido and erectile dysfunctions can easily be identified and appropriate testosterone treatment usually helps to cure this condition.

Alzheimer Disease

It is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder, which slowly destroys memory and thinking skills.  Meta-analysis using a random effect model showed that low plasma testosterone level was significantly associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly men.  Research has shown that increasing testosterone levels in mice with Alzheimer’s actually slows the progression of the disease, which leads to the conclusion that maintaining optimal testosterone levels in old age helps prevent Alzheimer’s.

Decreased cognitive ability

Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills, which we need to carry out on any task from the simplest to the most complex.  Cognition is related to the mechanisms of how we learn, remember, problem-solve, and pay attention, rather than with any actual knowledge.  As we know that there is a link between testosterone levels and Alzheimer’s, it is also very much related to the overall cognitive ability, particularly in older men.  Dutch researchers have found a direct linear relationship between testosterone levels and cognitive function.

Because of these correlations, many researchers claim that testosterone plays a role in preventing brain tissue decay in elderly men.  This can be explained when people suffer from memory loss, trouble concentrating, and fogginess due to low testosterone levels.

Testosterone and competitiveness: How are they related?

Testosterone healthyCompetition in the modern world in one thing which people cannot avoid in their life.  Competition among people starts as early as when they are toddlers. There seems to be a competition in each and every aspect of life. Men and women both are known to be competitive as it has been necessary and linked to success. Testosterone is linked to a person’s desire for power and status.  

The level ramps up before a fight or competition and producing effects on muscle mass and hemoglobin, quickening reactions, improving visual acuity, and increasing feelings of endurance and indomitability.  Research has shown that testosterone level can be linked to a person’s ability to compete. People who experience a severe drop in testosterone after a loss in the competition are likely not able to get back to the competitive spirit which they had experienced before the competition.  

Testosterone and laws of attraction

It is well known in the animal kingdom that higher testosterone levels have long been shown to be associated with a male’s dominance in the competition for mates.  Since testosterone improves cognition, improves the muscle mass, and helps maintain strong bones, it ultimately makes a man with all these abilities to be more desirable and competitive.  

Studies have shown similar competitiveness in humans when men were instructed to compete for the affection of an attractive female. The men’s assertiveness, ability to control the conversation, and ultimately, their chances of having the woman say yes were positively associated with their pre-competition testosterone levels.  

Low testosterone levels and your body

There are numerous side effects related to low testosterone levels namely decreased sex drive, less energy, weight gain, feelings of depression, moodiness, low self-esteem, less body hair, and thinner bones.  Testosterone levels naturally decrease when people get old.  Gradually lowering testosterone levels as men age is known as late-onset hypogonadism.  

After the age of 40, the concentration of circulating testosterone falls every year and by the age of 60, the low levels of testosterone would lead to a diagnosis of hypogonadism.  Low testosterone has been associated with increased mortality.

Following are the symptoms of late-onset hypogonadism

  • Diminished erectile quality
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood changes
  • Reduced cognitive function
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • A decrease in muscle mass and strength
  • Decreased body hair
  • Skin changes
  • Decreased bone mass and bone mineral density
  • Increase in abdominal fat mass

Here’s how you can pump up testosterone naturally

Low testosterone can be naturally balanced by consuming some foods, vitamins, and herbs, which can help boost testosterone levels.  These alternative and natural treatments can help increase testosterone levels, but not as effective as traditional testosterone therapy.  There are some cases that these may interact with any medications that we are taking and cause unintended side effects. It is always advised to have a medical professional manage these levels.

Herbs

  • Malaysian ginseng
  • Puncture vine
  • Ashwagandha
  • Pine bark extract
  • Yohimbe
  • Saw palmetto

Vitamins and Supplements

  • Vitamin D
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • L-arginine
  • Zinc

Foods

Testosterone Replacement Therapy: When should you go for it?

testosterone replacementReduced testosterone production leads to a condition known as hypogonadism.  A low testosterone test result should prompt a check of prostate health and red blood cell production.  Decreased testosterone levels can lead to some serious medical issues and should be diagnosed and treated if necessary.  One of the options is testosterone replacement therapy if low testosterone is interfering with health and quality of life.  Artificial testosterone can be administered orally, through injections, or with gels or patches on the skin.

Testosterone replacement therapy may produce desired results, such as greater muscle mass and a stronger sex drive.  However, testosterone replacement therapy also does have some side effects along with them. Oily skin and fluid retention are some common side effects. Other side effects include the shrinking of testicles and a reduction in sperm production.

There are cases that people try to abuse synthetic testosterone, which is also known as anabolic steroids and may experience episodes of aggressive or violent behavior, along with physical side effects. People trying to build mass quickly tend to abuse synthetic testosterone and eventually end up with greater health risks associated with them.  It is very important to take a testosterone supplement under medical supervision and monitoring

Testosterone: In a nutshell

Testosterone hormone is a very important hormone, which aids in many health benefits.  Levels of testosterone decrease with age and are considered a normal phenomenon and only needs to be addressed if the levels are very low and interfere with daily activity.  Unconfirmed diagnosis and replacement can lead to unwanted side effects, so it is crucial to balance the expected benefits of testosterone supplementation with the risks of the treatment.  A testosterone replacement is administered only when it is ultimately required is the bottom line and should only be prescribed by a medical professional.


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