What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that is produced primarily in the testicles for men and the ovaries and adrenal glands for women. This hormone is essential to the development of male growth and masculine characteristics. For women, testosterone comes in much smaller amounts. Testosterone production increases about 30 times more during adolescence and early adulthood. After early adulthood, it’s natural for levels to drop slightly each year. Your body may see a one percent decline after you’re 30 years old.
Testosterone plays a key role in your:
- muscle mass and bones
- facial and pubic hair
- body’s development of deeper voices
- sex drive
- mood and quality of life
- verbal memory and thinking ability
See your doctor if you’re concerned about low testosterone. Because it’s natural to have low testosterone as you age, some symptoms such as decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, or erectile dysfunction may be a sign of other conditions.
You may be interested in boosting your testosterone levels if your doctor says you have low levels, or hypogonadism, or need testosterone replacement therapy for other conditions. If you have normal testosterone levels, increasing your testosterone levels may not give any additional benefits. The increased benefits mentioned below have only been researched in people with low testosterone levels.
1. Healthy heart and blood
A healthy heart pumps blood to the rest of the body, providing muscles and organs with the oxygen needed for peak performance. Testosterone helps red blood cell production through the bone marrow. Low testosterone levels are linked to a variety of cardiovascular risks.
But can testosterone replacement therapy help with heart disease? Study results are mixed. Small studies in the early 2000s found that men with heart disease who underwent testosterone therapy saw only slight improvements. Some were able to increase their walking distance by 33 percent. Another study found that hormone therapy only widened healthy arteries but had no effect on angina pain.
A more recent, larger study of 83,000 men found that men whose testosterone levels returned to normal were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 36 percent less likely to experience a stroke.
2. Less fat, more muscle
Testosterone is responsible for increased muscle mass. Leaner body mass helps control weight and increases energy. For men with low testosterone, studies show that treatment can decrease fat mass and increase muscle size and strength. Some men reported a change in lean body mass but no increase in strength. It’s likely you’ll see the most benefits when you combine testosterone therapy with strength training and exercise.
3. Stronger bones
Testosterone plays a huge role in bone mineral density. Bone density decreases as men age and testosterone levels drop. This raises the risk of weak bones and osteoporosis. Strong bones help support your muscles and internal organs, which can boost athletic performance.
Research shows that bone density increases with testosterone treatment as long as the dose is high enough. Clinical trials on the effect of testosterone on bone density found increases in spinal and hip bone density. Another study of females transitioning into males found that testosterone increased bone mineral density. But it’s unknown if testosterone can help with reducing fracture risk.
4. Better verbal memory, spatial abilities, or mathematical reasoning
Research shows that men with higher ratios of total testosterone have a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. There’s also evidence for a strong correlation between testosterone and thinking abilities such as verbal memory and faster processing speed. Testosterone treatment for men 34 to 70 years old has shown an improvement in spatial memory.
5. Better libido
Testosterone levels naturally rise in response to sexual arousal and activity. Men with higher levels of testosterone usually have greater sexual activity. Older men need more testosterone for libido and erectile function. But it’s important to note that erectile dysfunction is often due to other conditions or medications rather than low testosterone levels.
Studies show that testosterone therapy can benefit your sexual health and performance. It also shows that there is a maximum level of testosterone before there’s no increased response. For men who don’t have hypogonadism, increasing your testosterone may not benefit your libido.
6. Improved mood
Lower testosterone levels are associated with poorer quality of life. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone levels include depression, fatigue, and irritability. But some research shows that this may only be for men with hypogonadism. Men whose bodies follow the normal decrease of testosterone over time didn’t show an increase for depression.
The effects of testosterone replacement therapy on mood can vary. Men with hypogonadism reported improved mood and well-being, and reduced fatigue and irritability. Research suggests that this treatment may also be an effective anti-depressant treatment.
Considering testosterone replacement therapy?
Treatment is not necessary if your levels fall within the normal range. Testosterone replacement therapy is primarily beneficial for men with low testosterone levels. Don’t purchase testosterone without a prescription. See your doctor if you think you might have low levels of testosterone. A blood test can determine your testosterone levels and help diagnose underlying conditions.
Doctors and researchers have varying opinions regarding the effectiveness of testosterone replacement therapy. Most agree that study results are mixed for most conditions.
A healthy diet and regular exercise are necessary for good health and to ensure the maximum effectiveness of testosterone treatment. Follow-up care and monitoring is recommended.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that is produced in a man’s testes. When a male baby is developing, this hormone helps the sex organs form. During puberty, testosterone plays a key role in the physical development of boys into men. It makes hair grow on the face, builds muscles, and causes the voice to deepen. Later in life, testosterone also plays an important role in a man’s sexual function.
Decreasing levels of testosterone are a natural part of the aging process. The older a man gets, the lower his testosterone levels may drop. Several causes other than aging can also lead to low testosterone. These include injuries to the testicles as well as chemotherapy or radiation for treating cancer in the genital area. Other causes include diseases of the pituitary gland, and medicines that affect this gland, such as steroids.
Low testosterone can have real and important health effects, especially on a man’s sex life. Men with low testosterone may have trouble getting and keeping an erection. The erections they do have may come less often and not as strongly as before. A man’s desire to have sex (libido) also decreases as testosterone drops. All of these factors can lead to less frequent sex. This can have a real effect on partner relationships.
Other effects of low testosterone
Having low testosterone doesn’t only affect your sex drive and your ability to have sex. It can cause other symptoms as well. If you have low T, you may notice some of the following symptoms:
- weight increase
- having less energy than you used to
- increased body fat and reduced muscle mass
- feeling depressed
- trouble concentrating
A lack of testosterone can sometimes have long-term, serious effects on the body. In men with very low levels, the bones can become weak, potentially causing a condition called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis makes people considerably more prone to injury.
One study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism also linked low testosterone to a higher risk of death from heart disease and other causes.
If you have symptoms such as reduced sex drive or erection problems, you should see a doctor. The doctor can do a blood test to help determine whether you have low testosterone. Because testosterone levels can rise and fall during the day, you may need to have more than one test. Your doctor may take the blood test in the morning, which is when testosterone levels are highest.
The Effects of Testosterone on the Body
Testosterone is a vital male hormone that is responsible for the development and maintenance of male attributes. Women also have testosterone, but in much smaller amounts.
Testosterone is an important male hormone. A male begins to produce testosterone as early as seven weeks after conception. Testosterone levels rise during puberty, peak during the late teen years, and then level off. After age 30 or so, it’s normal for a man’s testosterone levels to decrease slightly every year.
Most men have more than enough testosterone. But, it’s possible for the body to produce too little testosterone. This leads to a condition called hypogonadism. This can be treated with hormonal therapy, which requires a doctor’s prescription and careful monitoring. Men with normal testosterone levels should not consider testosterone therapy.
Testosterone levels affect everything in men from the reproductive system and sexuality to muscle mass and bone density. It also plays a role in certain behaviors.
Low Testosterone can contribute to DE and low testosterone supplements could help fix your DE issue.
The body’s endocrine system consists of glands that manufacture hormones. The hypothalamus, located in the brain, tells the pituitary gland how much testosterone the body needs. The pituitary gland then sends the message to the testicles. Most testosterone is produced in the testicles, but small amounts come from the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys. In women, the adrenal glands and ovaries produce small amounts of testosterone.
Before a boy is even born, testosterone is working to form male genitals. During puberty, testosterone is responsible for the development of male attributes like a deeper voice, beard, and body hair. It also promotes muscle mass and sex drive. Testosterone production surges during adolescence and peaks in the late teens or early 20s. After age 30, it’s natural for testosterone levels to drop by about one percent each year.
About seven weeks after conception, testosterone begins helping form male genitals. At puberty, as testosterone production surges, the testicles and penis grow. The testicles produce a steady stream of testosterone and make a fresh supply of sperm every day.
Men who have low levels of testosterone may experience erectile dysfunction (ED). Long-term testosterone therapy can cause a decrease in sperm production. Testosterone therapy also may cause enlarged prostate, and smaller, softer testicles. Men who have prostate or breast cancer should not consider testosterone replacement therapy.
During puberty, rising levels of testosterone encourage the growth of the testicles, penis, and pubic hair. The voice begins to deepen, and muscles and body hair grow. Along with these changes comes growing sexual desire.
There’s a bit of truth to the “use it or lose it” theory. A man with low levels of testosterone may lose his desire for sex. Sexual stimulation and sexual activity cause testosterone levels to rise. Testosterone levels can drop during a long period of sexual inactivity. Low testosterone can also result in erectile dysfunction (ED).
The body has a system for controlling testosterone, sending messages through hormones and chemicals that are released into the bloodstream. In the brain, the hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland how much testosterone is needed, and the pituitary relays that information to the testicles.
Testosterone plays a role in certain behaviors, including aggression and dominance. It also helps to spark competitiveness and boost self-esteem. Just as sexual activity can affect testosterone levels, taking part in competitive activities can cause a man’s testosterone levels to rise or fall. Low testosterone may result in a loss of confidence and lack of motivation. It can also lower a man’s ability to concentrate or cause feelings of sadness. Low testosterone can cause sleep disturbances and lack of energy.
It’s important to note, however, that testosterone is only one factor that influences personality traits. Other biological and environmental factors are also involved.
As a man transitions from childhood to adulthood, testosterone spurs the growth of hair on the face, in the armpits, and around the genitals. Hair also may grow on the arms, legs, and chest.
A man with shrinking levels of testosterone actually may lose some body hair. Testosterone replacement therapy comes with a few potential side effects, including acne and breast enlargement. Testosterone patches may cause minor skin irritation. Topical gels may be easier to use, but great care must be taken to avoid transferring testosterone to someone else though skin-to-skin contact.
Testosterone is one of many factors involved in the development of muscle bulk and strength. Testosterone increases neurotransmitters, which encourage tissue growth. It also interacts with nuclear receptors in DNA, which causes protein synthesis. Testosterone increases levels of growth hormone. That makes exercise more likely to build muscle.
Testosterone increases bone density and tells the bone marrow to manufacture red blood cells. Men with very low levels of testosterone are more likely to suffer from bone fractures and breaks.
Testosterone also plays a role in fat metabolism, helping men to burn fat more efficiently. Dropping levels of testosterone can cause an increase in body fat.
Testosterone therapy can be administered by a doctor via intramuscular injections.
Testosterone travels around the body in the bloodstream. The only way to know your testosterone level for sure is to have it measured. This usually requires a blood test.
Testosterone spurs the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. And, studies suggest that testosterone may have a positive effect on the heart. But some studies investigating testosterone’s effect on cholesterol, blood pressure, and clot-busting ability have had mixed results.
When it comes to testosterone therapy and the heart, recent studies have conflicting results and are ongoing. Testosterone therapy delivered by intramuscular injection may cause blood cell counts to rise. Other side effects of testosterone replacement therapy include fluid retention, increased red cell count, and cholesterol changes.