The testosterone hormone is considered to be primarily a sex drive hormone. It is a hormone that most people consider vital to the masculinity of a man. That is why men who are attractive, conﬁdent, physically ﬁt, aggressive, competitive, and with high libido are likely to have a high testosterone level. Those men who don’t display these kinds of characteristics tend to have less of this hormone.
The simple fact is that having good levels of testosterone or the T-hormone, as it is sometimes known, will help you stay healthy, become more productive at work, keep you calm, and improve your chances of success.
In this article, we are going to define what testosterone really is and how it is produced. We will then cover the symptoms of low testosterone and some of the causes of this anomaly.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible for giving men their masculine characteristics. It is what makes men grow hair all over their bodies, helps them gain muscle mass and most importantly, it gives them their high libido. It goes without saying that testosterone is the most crucial hormone in the male body. Testosterone is also present in the bodies of women, though this is in signiﬁcantly low quantities.
This explains why every man should always try to maintain a high testosterone level. Historically, men with a high testosterone level are the ones who tend to become leaders in their group. They are also the ones who get the most females to mate with and produce more children.
The testosterone hormone exists in the male body since birth, but it really starts performing its functions when you hit puberty. In order to understand what happens at this stage, we need to look into the production of testosterone.
Since this process can be very complex, let’s stick to a simpliﬁed version that we can all understand.
– The ﬁrst step takes place in your brain. Your hypothalamus produces a hormone known as GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone).
– This GrRH goes into the pituitary gland, located at the base of your brain, and triggers the production of LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone).
– When LH and FSH are produced, they are sent to the testicles. – Within the testicles, LH and FSH go into the testicular Leydig cells.
– LH is responsible for stimulating enzymes that reshape cholesterol molecules into testosterone. FSH is responsible for facilitating the production of sperms.
What you need to note is that at every stage of this complicated hormonal process, there must be sufficient quantities of nutrients. The majority of these nutrients are derived from the foods you consume, so any kind of deﬁcit interferes with the whole process.
Testosterone Eﬁects in Stages
As a boy reaches puberty, they start producing greater amounts of testosterone. This results in the growth of the sex organs, including the scrotum and penis. Another effect is the production of sperms, signifying the ability of a man to reproduce offspring.
As a teenager, you begin to develop a cracking voice as your vocal chords become stronger. Hair also starts growing in different parts of your body. One important change is your ability to control your metabolism. Your body starts to lose the baby fat as the testosterone helps control fat distribution. As a young male, you develop that lean and trim look that starts to attract girls.
As you hit your late teens and early twenties, your testosterone levels and sex drive peak. This is the stage that guys experience a surge in libido and feel great. However, this stage doesn’t last forever. When a man turns forty, they begin to experience a drop in testosterone, and this continues gradually as they get older.
In fact, research has shown that men who are 40 years old and above produce less and less testosterone. Apart from lifestyle and nutritional reasons, there are also chemicals, preservatives, and additives that make this situation gradually worse. On the other hand, there is absolutely no reason to give up the ﬁght and accept your fate as a man. There are natural ways of increasing your testosterone and keep enjoying its numerous beneﬁts for more years.
Most men have believed the lie that there is nothing you can do to regain your sex drive as you age apart from popping libido enhancing pills. Many have resigned to getting fat around the midsection and even an increased risk of prostate cancer. Yet all this is simply because you are suffering from low testosterone.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
There are many signs and symptoms of a decreased testosterone. Most of the symptoms that you will read about here are synonymous with aging, which is why most people don’t do anything about them. That is why it is important to recognize the signs so that you can take the necessary action.
These are some of the symptoms of low testosterone in males: – A reduction in sex drive
~ Smaller or weaker erections
– Increase in breast size
– Reduction in sperm count
– Hair loss — This eventually leads to balding.
~ Reduction in bone mass — This results in brittle bones.
– Low energy/fatigue — You begin to feel lazy and sluggish, and even sleepy more than usual.
– Reduction in muscle mass – Problems concentrating – Mood swings
It is important at this point to reveal that an excessive level of testosterone can also have negative effects on your body. You may begin to grow excessive facial hair, develop oily skin, and suffer an increase in acne. Therefore, having low testosterone is not a great thing at all, but there are problems that develop when you have excess levels of the hormone as well.
Causes of Low Testosterone
It is sad to say that many men in the prime of their lives are suffering from decreased testosterone levels. This is a huge problem in today‘s society, and as always people will quickly rush to seek a quick ﬁx. However, these shortcuts don’t resolve the underlying issues. They simply temporarily mask the symptoms and, in some cases, even cause further long-term damage. The best way to tackle this issue is to understand what is causing the drop in the first place.
So what are some of the major causes of low testosterone?
Stress is one of those things that seem unavoidable in today’s modern lifestyle, and yet it is causing so much damage to every part of our body. Stress is one of the biggest factors of poor health, and it causes you testosterone levels to be affected as well. So how exactly does stress lead to low testosterone?
Every time your body undergoes stress, it produces a hormone known as cortisol. This hormone causes the body to engage in the ﬁght-or—ﬂight response, thus limiting the amount of testosterone produced. Some scientists, however, point out that the link between the increase in stress and low testosterone is merely an association and not an actual cause. On the other hand, there is widespread consensus that acute and chronic stress causes negative physiological effects that are synonymous with low testosterone, such as depression, low energy, and low sex drive.
At the end of the day, whether the scientists agree or not shouldn‘t matter. We all agree that stress is bad for your health, so the more you learn how to control it, the better. Whenever you feel somewhat stressed, you need to train yourself to identify the stressor and prevent the emotion from taking over.
You need to learn how to work without causing unnecessary stress to yourself. There are some herbs that can help reduce stress, for example, Ashwagandha. Learn to relax and meditate or listen to soothing music. Your testosterone levels are at risk here, so make the effort to keep stress at bay.
Most people associate getting drunk with an elevated tendency to become more social with the opposite sex. This is because alcohol is known to lower your inhibitions, making you more conﬁdent in taking sexual risks. However, this risky behavior has no actual relation to your production of testosterone.
The biggest reason people partake of alcoholic substances is to relax from the stresses of life and simply unwind. What most people don’t realize is that this relaxation only lasts for a brief period of time. As you continue to down more glasses of beer or wine, your body starts to experience greater levels of stress. In other words, your body has produced a high level of the hormone cortisol, which we have learned correlates to a decrease in testosterone levels.
Another problem with alcohol is that it prevents nerve impulses from getting to your brain. As long as the brain is not receiving these nerve impulses, testosterone cannot be produced. In fact, people who tend to drink regularly or hinge on alcohol also suffer from decreased activity of an enzyme referred to as P45. This ultimately leads to the poor production of testosterone.
One of the worst aspects for men who drink excessive quantities of alcohol is that it leads to the buildup of estrogen in the body. The alcohol you drink is supposed to be metabolized by your liver. However, the liver is also responsible for the metabolism of estrogen. Since it can’t perform both functions at the same time, your liver will prioritize the ﬁltering out of the alcohol, causing an accumulation of estrogen. A rise in estrogen will then cause your body to stop the production of testosterone.
It is important to clarify that alcohol causes a temporary drop in testosterone. It does not have a major impact on your long-term testosterone levels. For those who drink moderately and on those rare occasions, then you have nothing much to worry about. For those who constantly hinge on alcohol, then you may be putting yourself in a perpetual state of low testosterone.
The first aspect of being overweight is that your body is forced to work much harder than normal just to produce the required results. The chemical reactions that take place naturally are also affected by the severe weight gain.
Have you ever wondered why men who are overweight somehow begin to take on some feminine characteristics? For example, an overweight male will start experiencing enlarged breasts and bigger/ rounder hips. These devastating changes can all be traced back to the excess body fat.
VVhen you are overweight, you tend to gain increased fatty tissue. This fatty tissue contains an enzyme known as aromatase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen. Now, we all know that estrogen is the primary hormone in females. So when a man starts generating more estrogen than his body normally has, it creates a devastating problem.
In fact, this is a cyclic problem because too much fat leads to lower testosterone, and low testosterone makes it that much more difﬁcult to lose the fat. So this cycle must be broken, and the first step is to get rid of the excess fat as quickly as possible.
Another danger with obesity is that it deprives the body of the main resource required to produce testosterone. When you are overweight, you are essentially inactive most of the time, which means that all the food you eat is stored as fat. We have already discussed how Luteinizing hormone stimulates cholesterol molecules to be converted into testosterone. If your body is turning the cholesterol derived from food into fat, there will be very little left for producing testosterone!
What you need to do is first visit your doctor to ﬁnd out how your body is creating testosterone. This is possible through the use of a saliva kit. Once you get this important information, then you can begin to take the necessary action to reduce your weight safely.
4. Lack of adequate rest
The average human requires at least 6-8 hours of sleep to enable the body to rest adequately. Failure to get enough rest causes the body to tire, and this can quickly result in poor health. The ultimate result is the decreased production of testosterone.
Sleep is a critical element for testosterone production because the body requires time to recharge from all the activities that have taken place during the day. If you ﬁnd yourself not getting enough sleep at night, then you need to schedule some short naps during the day just to give your body a rest.
There are some causes of low testosterone that are speciﬁcally linked to men who are under 50 years of age. These include:
– Diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney or liver disease, lung disease, and pituitary gland problems.
– Genetic disorders such as Myotonic dystrophy, Kallman syndrome, hemochromatosis, and etc.
– Trauma to the sexual organs.
– Overuse of steroids.
– HIV infection.
– Chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer.
This chapter has covered some of the major symptoms and causes of low testosterone. In case you feel that you could be suffering from low testosterone, then visit your primary care physician so that they can perform a blood test to diagnose the problem. A low testosterone test result is usually defined as having less than
300ng/dL. The doctor will then know how to handle your case from there.