Muscular arm shadowing over a skinny arm to symbolize low testosterone

Testosterone is a male hormone that is produced mainly in the testicles. This hormone is what incites perceived “manliness”. Testosterone is a steroid hormone performing functions both anabolic and androgenic.

This sexual hormone peaks in adolescence fueling the changes that take place in puberty. Though testosterone levels begin to taper off as men get older (levels start to drop around 30 years of age) [1], it is crucial that the body maintain adequate levels of this hormone throughout life.

What Does Testosterone Do?

Optimal levels of testosterone can benefit general health and the maintenance of a healthy weight helping to prevent obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. [2] [3]

Adequate levels of testosterone can help prevent high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases. Low testosterone levels have been linked to a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an *increase in triglycerides. [4]

A body that has good levels of testosterone will generally have a good ratio of body composition. Generally, body fat *increases with age while lean muscle mass decreases. [5] When testosterone levels are in their favorable range, the composition of the body will be ideal.

Testosterone levels also have an effect of a man’s mood. Adequate levels of testosterone can *improve a man’s quality of life and prevent him from becoming depressed. [6]

Testosterone is also responsible for a man’s physical traits such as his muscle mass and hair growth. This sex hormone is also vital to a man’s sexual function, playing a part is his ability to become aroused and in his production of sperm. Other unseen functions of this hormone are its role in the production of red blood cells and in maintaining their bone density. [7]

When testosterone levels decline, men can experience problems with their memory or concentration, depression, a decreased interest in sex and even erectile dysfunction, not to mention the lack of muscle and strength.

Treatments for Low Testosterone

As you can see, testosterone is an important hormone in your body and is responsible for many indispensable functions. It is imperative then, that men do everything they can to keep their testosterone levels where they need to be.

If you think you may be suffering from the effects of low testosterone, you should speak with your doctor about getting a blood test done to test your levels. Your physician can recommend many treatment options for increasing your testosterone levels.

There are testosterone replacement injections, topical creams and gels, patches and oral tablets.

Many of these prescription treatments are effective but, as with all medications, they come with a long list of side effects. Testosterone replacement therapy can cause [8]:

  • An *increased risk of prostate cancer
  • Sleep apnea
  • *Increased risk of cardiovascular death
  • Symptoms in the *lower urinary tract
  •  *Increase in red blood cell production
  • *Increased risk of metabolic disease

It is almost always better to try to *improve our health without the use of medications and you can *boost your testosterone levels naturally without ever filling a prescription.

Natural Methods to Increase Low Testosterone

There are many natural methods to *increase low testosterone levels, and today we will be going over some of them.

  • Relax – If you are a person who is under a lot of stress, then your body is releasing a large quantity of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been shown to reduce the effects of testosterone in men. [8] Try to find different things that help you to relax, like meditation, or going for a long walk.
  • Exercise – Both cardio exercise as well as strength training exercises are good for *boosting testosterone levels in men. Men who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels and strength training is especially effective at increasing testosterone levels naturally. [9]
  • *Lose weight – In addition to exercising, losing weight is great for improving testosterone levels in men. Men who are overweight tend to have low levels of testosterone so losing weight can help your body *boost its production of this hormone. Studies have shown that when men lost weight, their higher levels of estrogen were reversed allowing their bodies to produce the needed testosterone instead. [10]
  • Get more sunshine – Failing this, supplement with Vitamin D. Around the world, deficiencies in this important vitamin are on the rise. Vitamin D is necessary for bone strength and prevention of many chronic illnesses. [11] Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to low levels of testosterone in men. Also try to get plenty of safe exposure to sunlight, as this is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.

You should also ensure you are getting enough sleep, avoid too much alcohol, quit smoking and avoid drug use. These goals are not only good for *boosting your testosterone levels, they can *improve your overall health in give you a better quality of life.

Conclusion

All men will experience a drop in testosterone as they age but all men can choose to live a healthy lifestyle and make choices that will help them to keep adequate levels of testosterone as they *grow older.

Testosterone is vital for a man’s overall health, so be sure to make good choices for your health!

References

[1] McBride JA, Carson III C, Coward RM (2016) Testosterone Deficiency in the Aging Male. Ther Adv Urol 8(1): 47-60

[2] Mederos MA, Bernie AM, Scovell JM, Ramasamy R (2015) Can Serum Testosterone be Used as a Marker for Overall Health? Rev Urol 17(4): 226-30

[3] Laaksonen DE, Niskanen L, Punnonen K, Nyyssonen K, Tuomainen TP, Valkonen VP, Salonen R, Salonen JT (2004) Testosterone and Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin Predict the Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes in Middle-Aged Men. Diabetes Care 27(5): 1036-41

[4] Zmuda JM, Cauley JA, Kriska A, Glynn NW, Gutai JP, Kuller LH (1997) Longitudinal Relation Between Endogenous Testosterone and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Middle-Aged men. A 13-Year Follow-Up of Former Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial Participants. Am J Epidemiol 146(8): 609-17

[5] Vermeulen A, Goemaere S, Kaufman JM (1999) Testosterone, Body Composition and Aging. J Endocrinol Invest 22(5Suppl): 110-6

[6] Zarrouf FA, Artz S, Griffith J, Sirbu C, Kommor M (2009) Testosterone and Depression: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Psychiatr Pract 15(4):289-305

[7] Kohn FM (2006) Testosterone and Body Functions. Aging Male 9(4): 183-8

[8] Grech A, Breck J, Heidelbaugh J (2014) Adverse Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy: An Update on the Evidence and Controversy. Ther Adv Druf Saf 5(5): 190-200

[9] Brownlee K, Moore AW, hackney A (2005) Relationship Between Circulating Cortisol and Testosterone: Influence of Physical Exercise. J Sports Sci Med 491): 76-83

[10] Timon AR, Maynar MM, Munoz MD, Olcina CG, Caballero MJ, Maynar MJ (2007) Variations in Urine Excretion of Steroid Hormones After an Acute Session and After a 4-week Programme of Strength training. Eur J Appl Physiol 99(1): 65-71

[11] Stanik S, Dornfeld LP, Maxwell MH, Viosca SP, Korenman SG (1981) The Effect of Weight Loss on Reproductive Hormones in Obese Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 53(4): 828-32

[12] Holick MF, Chen TC (2008) Vitamin D Deficiency: A Worldwide Problem with Health Consequences. Am J Clin Nutr 87(4): 1080S-6S

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