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What Is Testosterone? Find Out Why It’s So Important

Testosterone is a super hormone, synonymous with weight lifting and a shredded physique.

Synthetic forms of testosterone are used to transform body builders into real life Hulk replicas sans the green skin color. But testosterone’s benefits and effects also branch outside of the gym world.

Regardless of your sex, testosterone’s effects are felt, and sub par levels affect a overall health.

Are you feeling fatigued or do you notice your sex drive is lower than it used to be? Low testosterone may be the reason why.

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How Is Testosterone Made?

In women, testosterone is produced in adrenal glands and ovaries as a result of the anterior pituitary secreting luteinizing hormone. [1]

In men, testosterone production starts with the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for producing hormones. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone that signals the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone. Luteinizing hormone then stimulates the testes to produce testosterone. [2]

What Does Testosterone Do?

Testosterone affects several physical parameters. Depending on whether you are producing healthy testosterone levels or subpar levels, its influence may be positive or negative: [3] [4]

• Sex drive
• Sperm production
• Energy levels
• Muscle mass
• Fat distribution

Testosterone plays a big role in male development during puberty because it triggers penis and testicle growth. Consequently, testosterone’s influence on sexual parameters may negatively affect them. Inflammation, cancer, radiation therapy, and damage to the testicles may all negatively affect testosterone production. [4]

Clinical research shows those with lower testosterone levels, like hypogonadal men, often complain of fatigue, irritability, and have impaired quality of life. [5]

Furthermore, scientific evidence shows testosterone influences muscle mass by amplifying muscle protein synthesis. [6] Diminished testosterone levels may lead to impaired muscle growth and mass due to subpar protein synthesis.

Researchers have shown “serum and free testosterone concentrations have been inversely correlated with intra-abdominal fat mass.” Higher testosterone levels and therapy in middle-aged men was shown to reduce visceral fat and increase insulin sensitivity. [7]

Testosterone replacement is used as a method to combat premature menopause. One clinical study reveals judicious parenteral testosterone replacement benefits premenopausal women with sexual dysfunction and lower androgen levels. [8]

Andropause

The male equivalent to menopause, andropause is a term used to classify the effects that occur to men in their later years as testosterone production drops significantly.

According to a clinical study abstract, when men age past 35-40 years, they experience a 1-3% decline in circulation testosterone per year. [9] By the time men reach 80 years, testosterone levels are about 20% what they used to be during their prime. [10]

However, according to David Handelsman, MD, PhD, testosterone decline isn’t necessarily an inevitable effect of aging. “It’s more likely that lowering of testosterone is a consequence of illnesses men acquire as they get older, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.” [11]

Testosterone Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy may be a viable solution for men that meet the criteria and are willing to spend substantial amount of money on testosterone therapy replacement.

Testosterone replacement therapy is often a solution looked for by those suffering from hypogonadism and its various side effects. Researchers indicate therapy “may produce a wide range of benefits for men with hypogonadism that include improvements in libido and sexual function, bone density, muscle mass, body composition, mood…” [5]

Testosterone replacement therapy comes with side effects, though they are rare. These adverse effects include psychotic symptoms, excessive libido, and aggression. [5] Also, the size of the testicles may decrease as a result of “the down-regulation of gonadotropins.” [5]

How to Boost Testosterone

Fortunately, there are several ways to boost testosterone levels naturally.

Getting sufficient sleep is an important and effective way of maintaining healthy hormone levels. Sleep deprivation has been shown to result in sleep disorders that negatively impact hormone regulation. [12]

Losing weight may help increase testosterone production. Obesity is said to be one of the most frequent causes of subpar free testosterone concentration in males. [13]

Ensuring you consume the daily recommended 8-11 mg zinc amounts [14] is a great way to positively affect testosterone. One clinical study demonstrates zinc’s importance by supplementing marginally zinc-deficiency elderly test subjects for 6 months which resulted in increased serum testosterone. [15]

Also, a great way to aid support healthy testosterone levels is by taking top ten testosterone boosting supplements seen here on eSupplements.com that contain clinically proven ingredients to influence testosterone levels.

Above all, find out what works for you, and be vigilant. Maximizing testosterone levels affects quality of life and keeps you in prime physical condition.

References

[1] Mohamed Yahya Abdel-Rahman, et al. “Androgen Excess.” Medscape.

[2] Mayo Clinic Staff. “Male Hypogonadism.” Mayo Clinic.

[3] Harrison Wein, Ph.D. “Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men.” National Institutes of Health.

[4] “Low Testosterone.” The Patient Education Institute, Inc.

[5] Nazem Bassil, Saad Alkaade, and John E Morley. “The benefits and risk of testosterone replacement therapy: a review.” Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2009; 5: 427-448.

[6] Griggs RC, et al. “Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis.” J Appl Physiol (1985). 1989 Jan;66(1):498-503.

[7] Shalender Bhasin. “Effects of Testosterone Administration on Fat Distribution, Insulin Sensitivity, and Atherosclerosis Progression.” Clin Infect Dis. (2003) 37(Supplement 2): S142-S149.doi: 10.1086/375878

[8] Susan Davis. “Androgen Replacement in Women: A Commentary.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & MetabolismJune 1, 1999 vol. 84 no. 6 1886-1891

[9] Vingren JL, et al. “Testosterone physiology in resistance exercise and training: the up-stream regulatory elements.” Sports Med. 2010 Dec 1;40(12):1037-53.

[10] Paul D. Navar, MD. “Optimizing Testosterone Levels in Aging Men. LE Magazine July 2008

[11] Kathleen Doheny. “Testosterone Decline: Not Inevitable With Age?” WebMD.

[12] Boethel CD. “Sleep and the endocrine system: new associations to old diseases.” Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2002 Nov;8(6):502-5.

[13] Dhindsa S et al. “Testosterone concentrations in diabetic and nondiabetic obese men.” Diabetes Care. 2010 Jun;33(6):1186-92. doi: 10.2337/dc09-1649. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

[14] “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Zinc.” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health.

[15] Prasad AS, et al. “Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults.” Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8.

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