Τestosterone. Consequences of its reduced levels.
Testosterone is a steroid sex hormone that plays a key role in the development of reproductive tissues in men such as the testicles and prostate, as well as secondary sex characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass and body hair growth.
Testosterone is produced by the testicles in men and by the ovaries in women and in much smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. Testosterone production increases significantly during adolescence and begins to decline after the age of 30.
While testosterone production normally decreases with age, certain factors can cause abnormal levels of testosterone. Testicular damage and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can negatively affect testosterone production. Chronic diseases such as AIDS, kidney disease, alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, and stress can also reduce testosterone production.
Testosterone plays a vital role in sperm production. It also affects bone and muscle mass, the way men store fat in the body, and the production of red blood cells. Testosterone levels can also affect a person's psychological mood. Normally, men produce about 40-50 times more testosterone than women, but women are more sensitive to the action of the hormone than men.
The effects of reduced testosterone level in men
Reduction of energy
Fatigue constitutes a common symptom of low testosterone. The patient feels as if he does not have the energy he had in the past or may constantly feel very tired. Of course, there are several other conditions that can be responsible for reducing energy, including normal aging and depression. Quality and adequate sleep (7-8 hours each night) can increase energy levels.
Changes in sex life
Decreased sexual desire, as well as erectile dysfunction, maybe due to low testosterone. Various other medical problems such as heart disease or diabetes can also lead to sexual dysfunction.
Low testosterone can have a detrimental effect on the focus of thought and memory. The patient may forget that he has planned and may have difficulty concentrating. This happens most often when testosterone levels are extremely low.
Low testosterone can lead to mood changes ranging from a bad mood to depression. Some men experience significant changes in their personalities. When testosterone levels return to normal, most people say they feel “like before”.
Changes in the muscular system
Given the fact that testosterone contributes to muscle building, when its values are low, pulls down both muscle mass and strength. When a patient with low testosterone is exercising the results are not the same as one would normally expect from exercise. Regular exercise can help boost testosterone levels. Large muscle groups should be exercised and weights should be done.
Increased body fat
Low testosterone can not only lead to a reduction in muscle mass but also to gaining more fat. When there is not an increase in muscle mass with calorie intake and physical activity, then the body converts calories into fat. Good nutrition and weight loss in overweight or obese individuals result in the production of more testosterone.
Loss of bone mass
Low testosterone has been linked to osteoporosis. There are, of course, other causes of osteoporosis. In order to keep your bones healthy, you need regular physical activity, including weight training, non-smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.
Body hair loss
Low testosterone can reduce the growth of hair on the face, pubic area, hands, and lower extremities. This reduction does not usually affect the hair.
When testosterone levels are low, there may be problems with insomnia and restless sleep.
Problems at work
Many of the consequences of low testosterone, such as concentration and mood problems, and low energy, can provoke problems and difficulties at work.
If there are significant negative changes at work or at home, a thorough medical examination can help find the cause. With the help of specific blood tests, we can identify low testosterone levels.
If there are low testosterone levels, some important lifestyle changes along with specific natural remedies can help.
Laboratory tests for testosterone
A simple blood test can determine the levels of testosterone in the body. The following tests can be used to assess testosterone levels:
- The measurement of Total Testosterone
- The measurement of Free Testosterone
- The measurement of Bioavailable Testosterone
- The Free Androgen Index
Very low testosterone levels may be the result of abnormal conditions in the pituitary gland that is responsible for stimulating testicular tissue to produce more testosterone. A young teen with low testosterone levels may be experiencing delayed puberty.
Moderately elevated testosterone levels in men tend to have few symptoms. Boys with higher testosterone levels may start puberty earlier. Women with elevated testosterone levels may develop male characteristics.
Unusually high testosterone levels can be the result of adrenal gland disorders or even testicular cancer. High testosterone levels can also occur in less severe conditions. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which can affect both men and women, is a rare cause of increased testosterone production.
How can endogenous Testosterone production be increased?
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid plastics for food storage (glass only). The presence of bisphenol A (BPA) and other chemicals has a dramatic effect on testosterone synthesis
- Avoid plastic packaging (bottles, tapers, etc.) and especially in microwaves (glass only)
- Reduce (or rather eliminate) the intake of sugar and fructose. The same applies to the artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame found in light products)
- Reduction of processed carbohydrates
- Reduction of processed foods
- Increase in protein consumption (beef, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts)
- Consumption of fat comes mainly from olive oil, avocado, and nuts
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Reduce (or rather eliminate) alcohol consumption
Aerobic exercise and moderate-intensity exercise DO NOT help increase testosterone. Very intense short-term exercise can be more helpful. Ideally, each workout should be 5-10 minutes of very intense exercise (very few repetitions, with heavyweights) and for large muscle groups (e.g., back, chest, buttocks, quadriceps) or exercises that involve many muscle groups (deep squats with weights, pull-ups with weights, push-ups with weights) or combinations.
Testosterone is mainly synthesized during sleep. Sleep duration at night less than 5 hours lowers testosterone levels. The maximum production is done with a duration of night sleep of 7-8 hours.
- Zinc from natural sources: garlic, onion, mussels, meat, fish, beans, yogurt, and dairy
- Magnesium from natural sources: spinach, cashews, peanuts, almonds
- Vitamin D from natural sources: salmon, tuna, other fish, sunbathing