At least 2.1% of the entire male population have low testosterone (T) levels. This means that over 80 million men all over the world have testosterone deficiency.
Age is the most common factor that contributes to decreased testosterone levels. Every year, total T levels drop by an average of 1.6%. It’s because of this that deficiency in this androgen is more prevalent in older men.
Low T levels can lead to a myriad of other conditions, such as reduced sex drive and performance. It can also result in erectile dysfunction, as well as weight gain.
The good news is that men don’t have to simply let their age take a toll on their sex life. There are several treatment options for decreased testosterone, including hormone therapy.
We’ll discuss more of these T facts in detail below, so be sure to read on!
What Is Testosterone?
Androgens are the hormones responsible for the development of male characteristics. In men, testosterone is the primary type of androgen that the male body produces. The testes are the glands that produce and secrete the majority of testosterone.
Females do also secrete testosterone in their ovaries. However, the female body produces only about 10% of what males do.
Testosterone’s Undeniable Importance
Testosterone plays many roles in both male and female sexual health. The most well-known function of the T hormone is triggering sexual desire and drive. In men, however, this androgen is also necessary for sperm production.
Testosterone is also an important factor in getting and maintaining penile erections. It has a stimulating effect on the brain, encouraging it to produce nitric oxide (NO). NO, on the other hand, is a molecule that helps make it possible for the penis to become erect.
Sexual function is only one part of the T hormone’s roles, though. Here are other ways that this androgen impacts your overall health.
Testosterone is vital for building and retaining muscle mass. It’s a potent anabolic hormone, which means that it helps the body build and repair muscle tissues. Also, T boosts the actual levels of the human growth hormone.
Testosterone is also essential for bone density. Studies are still on-going, but it appears that the T hormone also helps regulate bone mass. Studies in older men showed that testosterone therapy increased bone density and strength.
Production of Red Blood Cells
Testosterone is also vital in red blood cell production. For starters, it improves the incorporation of iron in erythrocytes. It also enhances hemoglobin synthesis, which is critical for oxygen transport.
Fat Distribution and Storage
Testosterone also has a role in the proper distribution and storage of body fat. One way that it does so is by influencing the proteins in the body involved in trapping fat. When you keep your T levels in adequate amounts, you have a lower risk of developing excess belly fat.
Why Do Testosterone Levels Drop?
Aging, indeed, is the primary reason for lower T levels. However, it can also result from health conditions common among men. There are even some types of food that may reduce testosterone levels.
As you might have guessed, many of these causes of low T levels are preventable. As such, knowing what they are is a crucial step to battling testosterone deficiency.
Hypogonadism is a medical condition that affects an estimated 4 million men in the US. It causes the body to produce insufficient amounts of testosterone, sperm, or both. Aside from decreased sexual drive, it also often leads to lower energy levels and fatigue.
Excess Body Fat
Obesity is prevalent in men who have low testosterone levels and vice versa. However, even being slightly above the ideal weight can already affect T levels. Still, the higher the body mass index (BMI) of a person is, the lower the T hormone levels could get.
Lack of Sleep
Skimping on sleep for even just one week can already reduce T levels by 10% to 15%. Note, though, that this is a finding of a study done on healthy men whose average age was 24 years old. This raises the possibility of a more severe T level decrease in sleep-deprived older men.
Testicular Diseases and Injuries
Although not that common, testicular diseases like hemochromatosis can cause low T levels. Testicular cancer, mumps, and orchitis can also lead to testosterone secretion failure.
Certain activities, such as riding a bike, may also raise one’s risk for testicular injury. While this may only lead to low-level injuries, they can still result in scrotum trauma.
Process foods are a powerhouse of sodium, sugar, and unhealthy doses of trans fat. In high amounts, these can interfere with testosterone creation.
Studies have shown that trans fat, in particular, has a decreasing effect on T levels. Men who consumed a lot of this fat also had reduced sperm count. Moreover, the sperm they produced were of lower quality.
Certain Types of Edible Oils
Soybean and canola oils are often the preferred choices when it comes to vegetable oils. In most cases, they are a good and healthy source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, excess consumption of these oils has shown to reduce testosterone levels.
How Low T Levels Can Impact the Overall Quality of Life
Because testosterone is vital to sexual drive, then a lack of it may lead to low libido. This may make you feel uninterested in engaging in sexual activities.
Yes, it’s normal if you don’t want to engage in sex every night, but it’s not okay if you have no desire for sex at all. This may already be due to your body lacking testosterone.
Deficiency in this androgen can do more than just decrease your desire for sex, though. Here are other ways that it can impact many aspects of your life.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Because of testosterone’s function in erections, a lack of it can contribute to ED. For instance, the brain may not feel “stimulated” enough to produce nitric oxide if one’s T levels are too low. This, in turn, can make it difficult to achieve or keep an erection.
Increased Risk for Osteoporosis
Testosterone deficiency brought about by age is the primary contributor to bone loss. Older adults who have low T levels are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. This is a condition that results in the bones becoming weak and brittle.
Higher Odds of Weight Gain
As mentioned above, testosterone has demonstrated an effect on fat distribution and storage. However, the link between T and obesity is a two-way relationship. Just as excess fat contributes to reduced T levels, low T levels can also make one more prone to weight gain.
Many studies have already established this bipartite relationship between the two. For instance, many men who have low T levels also have a higher body fat percentage compared to men with more T.
Effects on the Central Nervous System
You may have heard that testosterone, in excessive amounts, may cause aggressive behavior. Conversely, too low T levels may take a toll on your male virility and self-confidence. From here, you may begin to feel unmotivated or even sad.
In many cases, men who have testosterone deficiency may also have concentration problems. Low T levels can also trigger sleeping difficulties.
Three in four US men exhibit signs of thinning hair by the time they hit the age of 65. There are many potential causes of hair loss, one of which is a problem with the hormones. Men who have decreased T levels, for instance, may experience some degree of facial and body hair loss.
Tips On How To Keep Your T Levels and Sex Drive Up
If you experience any of the symptoms of low testosterone, know that you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are both all-natural methods and clinic services that can help boost your T levels. Combining guided lifestyle changes with testosterone therapy can help bring back your virility.
On that note, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to raise your testosterone levels.
Enjoy Your Beauty Sleep
Since lack of sleep leads to low T levels, it follows that adequate ZZZs can help prevent drops in your T supply. In fact, it’s during sleep that plasma testosterone levels peak. This is all the more reason to get at least seven hours of blissful rest at night.
Feast On Testosterone-Friendly Food
Build your meals with protein-rich food such as lean beef, chicken, and fatty fish (like salmon and tuna). These help the body make testosterone more available in your system. The vitamin D in fish also helps in maintaining optimal hormone production.
Zinc and testosterone also go hand in hand, in that a lack in the mineral can lead to low T levels. Fortunately, there are plenty of food products packed with zinc, including oysters. In fact, six of these mollusks can deliver almost three times the recommended daily value.
Plus, oysters are pretty low-cal, making them an ideal component of your diet. Make way for variation, though, and add beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy to your meals, too. Crabs and lobsters are also good sources of zinc.
Bring the Zing In
One study found that men who favor spicy food tend to have higher levels of testosterone. Researchers say that this may be due to capsaicin, which is what gives peppers their zing. Previous studies have linked this specific substance to increased T levels.
While you’re feeling spicy and fiery, you may also want to incorporate onions and garlic to your meals. These two botanicals may help boost testosterone levels and also sperm health.
Sweat Out, Workout
Exercise is one of the best natural treatments for low T levels and many other conditions. Working out helps the body stay nimble and flexible, which, in turn, can help reduce risks of injuries. Physical activity is also crucial for heart, lung, circulatory, and brain health.
There’s no denying the fact that exercise is hugely beneficial to your health. However, it’s even more important if you have testosterone deficiency.
What About Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
A healthier lifestyle is, no doubt, integral to maintaining healthy T levels. However, they may not be enough to sustain adequate T supply in people with hypogonadism. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy can help.
How Does It Work?
The administration of testosterone replacement therapy comes in various forms. These include oral, topical, and injectable methods.
Many people go with injections because these bypass the liver. Instead, the hormone gets delivered straight into the blood. As such, injectables only require testosterone and no other chemical additives.
What Science Has To Say
Numerous studies back up the benefits of testosterone hormone therapy. Aside from increased T levels, this treatment has also shown to help reduce joint and muscle pain. This finding further highlights how testosterone affects bones and muscles.
Other studies also support these previous findings on testosterone treatment. However, researchers have found that long-term T therapy can also improve urinary function. All in all, patients who had long-term TRT reported an overall better qualify of life.
Is It Right For You?
The first thing you need to do when considering T therapy is to see a qualified health professional. This is important as your physician will help determine if you’re a good candidate. Proper diagnosis, which includes confirming your T levels, is key to treatment success.
To determine if you’ll benefit from these injectables, you’d need to get some tests. These include blood exams that measure the levels of various hormones in your system.
From here, your physician will decide if T therapy is a viable treatment for your condition.
Don’t Let Low T Take Over Your Life
While you can’t stop time, you don’t have to let your age rob you of your virility and sex drive. Combatting low T levels, however, start with kicking bad health and lifestyle habits. If you’re still short on testosterone, then it may be time to go for hormone replacement therapy.
What’s important is to seek help if your low T levels are already affecting your life. The sooner you get clinical guidance, the sooner you can restore your testosterone.
Ready for the difference that hormone replacement therapy can make? Then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Rebuilding Life! We’ll be happy to answer all your questions about testosterone treatment.