Low testosterone – a problem that each and every man would like to prevent at any cost. But the truth is low testosterone is affecting men more and morel
Testosterone deficiency is like a silent epidemic, so how do you know if you have low testosterone?
Every single day thousands of men of different ages encounter a decrease in testosterone. It can occur for a variety of reasons and has a lot of different triggers.
The testosterone deficiency can be a result of your poor diet or another disease, every case is unique. But the most important thing every man should realize that low T is not a reason to push a panic button. It is treatable and not necessarily with testosterone replacement therapy.
In this article, I will cover the common indications of testosterone imbalance, the most reliable tests to check your testosterone levels and effective methods to boost and maintain healthy testosterone levels.
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone produced in testicles. Women also produce testosterone in ovaries and adrenal glands but in significantly smaller amounts.
For this reason, testosterone is more known as a male hormone and as a rule associated with “manhood’ and “masculinity”.
Also, most people know testosterone as a hormone responsible for sexual desire and the development of masculine characteristics during puberty.
Little do people know that testosterone impacts a number of other factors, including your brain function and mood. Like gasoline for the car, it fuels up a man with strength, stamina, and energy.
According to the American Urological Association and the Endocrine Society, the cutoff point recommended for diagnosing hypogonadism (low testosterone) is 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
If your T levels go above 1000 ng/dL, it is also an alarming sign and proof of hyperandrogenism (excess of testosterone).
A growing body of research shows that testosterone has a great impact on our cognitive function. It can improve mathematical reasoning, verbal and spatial memory.
Also, scientists found out an interesting fact that men with higher ratios of total testosterone are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
This proves just one more time, that testosterone is more than about sexual desire.
Another super-power of testosterone is a positive impact on mood. By increasing your testosterone levels, you can boost your emotional health, get rid of mood swings, unexplained fatigues, and depression.
Here is just an example for you. 30 aging Japanese men with late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) were given testosterone treatments for 6 months.
What was the result of the conducted research? More than 60% of men got healed from depression and improved their quality of life.
Another more recent research also has indicated the “antidepressant” effect of testosterone. Nevertheless, further research is needed to shed light on the hidden benefits of testosterone on our mood and behavior.
The fat burning is one benefit of testosterone. Not only it increases muscle mass but effectively fights against obesity and excess weight.
It positively impacts metabolic function, ramps up your insulin sensitivity, and inhibit the production of new fat cells.
And if you combine testosterone therapy with a healthy diet and regular exercise, you will notice positive changes in your body much faster and will manage to keep healthy as you get older.
Testosterone isn’t the only thing that affects man’s sex drive. There are many other conditions and medications that can cause a problem with erection and sexual desire.
However, as experience has shown, a drop in testosterone appears to be one of the main reasons behind the problems with a man’s sex life.
Indeed, those men who have healthy levels of testosterone feel more energetic, mentally sharp, and sexually functional. Maintaining hormonal balance can prevent a number of health challenges you could face in middle age and beyond.
But there is always a ‘but’.
If testosterone levels become too high ( above 1000 ng/dL), it usually results in excess of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen hormone and sex steroid. Both testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in excessive amounts can lead to a number of health issues.
Note: High testosterone is a rare occasion, it can happen if you take testosterone therapy without monitoring your hormone levels. If you don’t abuse testosterone, the chance of having abnormally high testosterone levels and its side effects is very low.
Baldness usually occurs as a result of unhealthy levels of dihydrotestosterone. However, it happens not just because of increased levels of DHT but because receptors on your hair follicles are genetically sensitive to DHT.
If your DHT levels go beyond the normal range, your hair can become thinner and more brittle. It will also start falling out faster and it will take longer for your follicles to grow new hairs.
In such cases, doctors usually prescribe DHT-blockers and it’s recommended to add biotin-rich foods to your diet ( egg yolks, nuts, whole grains, etc).
Acne is traditionally associated with teenage years. But in reality, you can gain skin problems at absolutely any age. Adults may suffer from acne due to the hormonal imbalance caused by elevated levels of DHT.
High DHT stimulates over-production of sebum and decreases the production of elastin. This is how your skin can get transformed from tight and youthful to inflamed, blemish and blotchy skin.
To sooth and fully heal your skin, balancing your DHT levels is a must using a natural DHT Blocker.
Increased breast size is a tricky symptom and a solid reason why you shouldn’t resort to self-medication.
Not only low T can cause gynecomastia or more well-known as “man boobs”. Too much testosterone can also have the same effect.
The excess testosterone is converted to estrogen, the main female sex hormone which plays the main role in the enlargement of breasts.
High levels of testosterone in men can also raise the risk of sleep apnea. Apnea is a serious disorder that could be described as constantly interrupted breathing during sleep.
Because of such ‘pauses’ in breathing, your body won’t get enough oxygen which can result in fatal consequences.
Another life-threatening cocktail is mixing testosterone therapy with your history of prostate cancer. Testosterone can stimulate the growth of the prostate tumor.
Therefore, if you currently have cancer cells, it can just make them grow faster, this is mainly an issue if you are using testosterone replacement therapy or have high 5a-DHT levels.
A lot of men have this faulty logic “the more testosterone the better”. But in fact, it does not work this way. There is a huge difference between optimal and elevated testosterone levels.
If you want to improve your libido and fertility, it doesn’t mean your testosterone should be super high, it should be normal. You shouldn’t resort to testosterone replacement therapy or buy some supplements without consultation with your doctor.
If you start taking testosterone without monitoring your hormone levels, your testosterone may skyrocket but won’t increase your chances of becoming a father.
What happens to your body when testosterone goes beyond normal levels?
The excess testosterone sends your brain a message informing that there is more than enough testosterone in the body and shuts down the natural production of testosterone. As a result, your testes shrink and sperm counts can fall even to zero.
Before trying to increase your testosterone levels artificially, make sure to do professional testing and discuss possible risks and benefits of taking any medication with your doctor.
Note: According to the updated recommendations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), testosterone should be given only for people who have low testosterone levels because of certain medication conditions. The imbalance of testosterone should be confirmed by tests.
When not enough testosterone is produced due to the abnormality of your testicles or brain, you face hypogonadism or popularly known as low T.
Symptoms vary depending on your age and medical history.
The most specific and common symptoms of low T are the following:
If you have the combination of at least a few symptoms above it could be a sign of low T. Physical examination and consultation with a doctor and of course, professional testing are recommended.
Ignoring signs of your body can just aggravate the health issues you are currently experiencing.
There are two basic types of hypogonadism (low T): primary and secondary hypogonadism. Accordingly, doctors identify primary and secondary causes of low testosterone.
Primary hypogonadism occurs when your testicles do not produce healthy amounts of testosterone. It can be a result of testicles’ injury, illness or it can be inherited.
Cryptorchidism (Undescended Testicles). This is a condition in which one or both testicles fail to naturally descend into the scrotum.
Klinefelter’s Syndrome. The sex disorder when a man is born with two or more X chromosomes.
Hemochromatosis. The disorder when your body absorbs too much iron that intoxicates body and can cause the failure of testicles or damage your pituitary gland which in turn can lead to low T.
Testicular Trauma. Your testosterone levels can be affected if your testes got crushed or constricted.
Mumps Orchitis. Mumps infection can cause inflammation of your testicles, a decrease of testosterone production and sexual dysfunction.
Cancer Treatment. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy can temporarily lower your sperm count or even cause infertility. Before undergoing cancer treatment, it is recommended to cryopreserve sperm if you plan to have children in the future.
Secondary hypogonadism develops when testicles function improperly due to a problem with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. This type of hypogonadism can be both acquired and inherited.
Pituitary Disorders. A pituitary tumor and other brain tumors are some of the most common reasons for a testosterone deficiency and the decreased production of other hormones.
Kallmann Syndrome. This is a rare genetic condition connected to abnormal hypothalamus function. People with this syndrome usually experience problems with sexual maturation during the puberty, testosterone deficiency and difficulties with reproductivity.
Severe And Deadly Diseases. Tuberculosis, histiocytosis, sarcoidosis, and HIV/AIDS can impact your pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and testicles causing hormonal imbalance.
Normal Aging. After age 30, most men experience a slow and continuous decline in testosterone. Testosterone levels may drop about 1 percent per year.
Unhealthy Diet.Standard American diet (SAD) impacts your gut flora reducing friendly bacteria and causing obesity and hormonal imbalance. If you gain excess weight, your testosterone levels will automatically drop. Unless you restore your gut microbiome and learn to manage your weight, testosterone won’t climb up.
Nutritional Deficiency. This is a condition when your body does not absorb from food all the necessary vitamins and minerals. The deficiency in magnesium, zinc and vitamin D3 can decline your T levels. But if you optimize those three, you can boost your testosterone.
Pharmaceutical Medications. Antidepressants, antihistamines, ketoconazole, statins, and illicit drugs like opioids and anabolic steroids can significantly lower your testosterone reproduction. Before taking those drugs, make sure to discuss with the doctor their possible side effects.
Sleep Deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause serious consequences. Not only it can cause testosterone deficiency but poor concentration, fatigue, low energy, decreased strength and endurance. To maintain healthy levels of testosterone and keep fit, it is a must to have a proper night’s sleep.
Stress. It is not a secret that stress can lead to a number of grave health problems. Increased levels of cortisol, best known as a stress hormone, can cause cognitive and thyroid dysfunction, hyperglycemia, and even low testosterone.
Severe emotional stress from disease or surgery can also impact your reproductive system. If you want to optimize your testosterone production, it is important to learn to manage your stress and balance your cortisol levels.
There are three proven tests to check your testosterone levels:
A blood test is the first thing doctors ask to do when there is a risk of low T. This test can give information on both free and total levels of testosterone.
Also, a blood test enables you to measure luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), hemoglobin (Hgb) and prolactin levels. In simple words, blood test helps to identify the causes of low T, problems with the pituitary gland function and production of red blood cells.
If you are scared of blood and needles, saliva testing should be a better option for you. It can be done from the comfort of your home without visiting lab and venipuncture. You just have to do samples thought out the day and then send them to the lab.
As for the downsides of the saliva test, it cannot measure both free and total testosterone levels and metabolites of sex hormones. Though this is not the main disadvantage.
Doctors cannot and should not rely only on the saliva samples due to one reason. Saliva contains a very low concentration of sex hormones which does not allow the doctor to provide you with accurate results.
Additionally, bleeding gums can also impact your saliva testing and make the testosterone levels seem high.
Finally, if you experience the lack of saliva due to the intake of some drugs, autoimmune disease or atrophy of salivary glands, you simply won’t be able to collect proper samples for examination of your testosterone levels.
A urine test is a tried-and-true way to detect abnormal testosterone levels. It gives the most detailed information on cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, estrogen and their metabolites.
The downside of the urine test is that you won’t be able to assess LH and FSH levels. Nevertheless, it remains an absolutely necessary test for examining your T levels.
You do not need to do a 24-hour urine test but simply collect 4 to 5 urine samples over the day which will measure your sex hormones and adrenal hormones. A modern and advanced alternative to the standard test is DUTCH hormone test.
It is much more convenient as far as you are not limited to 24 hours, do not need to spit into tubes and stress yourself out with needle and labs.
Just like the saliva test, you can do it at home and send your samples directly to the Precision Analytical Laboratory (PAL) for further examination. I will help to interpret the results and provide answers to all your questions regarding your hormone health.
Well, there is no perfect test. If you want to see the full picture of your hormone health and get the right diagnosis, it is better to do several tests.
Saliva testing is less accurate in some cases and results can vary from lab to lab.
BUT the combination of blood and urine tests is what can give all the needed information and pinpoint the solution to the health issues you are facing.
Moreover, these simple tests can reveal deadly diseases hidden by obesity, depression and many other symptoms linked to the hormonal imbalance.
If you’re diagnosed with low T, most likely you will be prescribed testosterone hormone replacements such as:
On the one hand, these medications can provide a wide range of benefits. On the other hand, testosterone replacement therapy can cause severe side effects.
I might sound repetitive, but it is important to discuss all the possible risks of taking testosterone therapy with your doctor beforehand.
Men under 40 or 50 should be especially careful and think twice before taking testosterone replacement therapy. It can shut down the natural production of testosterone and make them dependent on testosterone therapy forever.
Recovery of normal bodily testosterone production can take a year or even more. That is why it is better to focus on alternative methods to naturally boost testosterone levels and improve overall health.
Focus on changing your lifestyle, your diet, and your habits.
The key to your hormone health is a healthy gut. If you neglect your gut, it can cause not only digestive problems but a number of other health issues including testosterone deficiency.
To increase and maintain healthy levels of testosterone, you should add to your diet cruciferous vegetables and healthy fats, eat more food rich in zinc, magnesium, omega-3s, and raise vitamin D levels.
Also, you should stop consuming sugar and processed foods. This can be hard at the beginning but you will be rewarded with a lean healthy body and optimal hormone levels.
Are you sleeping enough? Under “enough” I mean 6-8 hours of sleep. This is an important component of a healthy lifestyle you should not underestimate.
Exercising and healthy diet without an adequate nightly sleep won’t work and won’t save you from testosterone deficiency.
If you stay watching TV late at night or surfing on the Internet, you destroy your sleep cycle which leads to the increase of cortisol and decrease of testosterone.
Try going to bed and waking up at the same time, avoid caffeine after noon and, of course, minimize screen time at night. This will help you to optimize your testosterone levels and wake up full of energy instead of exhausted, groggy and grumpy.
To keep normal testosterone levels, you have to make exercise a habit. Performing workout at least three times per week can absolutely transform your body and improve your hormone health.
Weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are the most effective methods to boost testosterone production burn fat and grow muscle mass.
Among the recommended exercises are squat, deadlift, burpee, row, pull-up, pushup, and overhead press. These exercises utilize the largest muscle groups and help build testosterone quite fast without resorting to testosterone replacement therapy.
A little bit of stress is good but long-term and chronic stress is quite dangerous. It can weaken the immune system, cause fatigue and depression.
It also negatively impacts your hormones. Cortisol levels are skyrocketing while testosterone levels are declining.
To prevent this, you have to learn to manage your stress, relax and stay calm even in the most difficult situation. Try to develop positive thinking or master art of yoga and deep breathing. Find a hobby that makes you happy and relaxed.
Avoiding stressful situations, conflicts and spending time on the activity you enjoy can positively influence your testosterone production and simply make your life brighter.
The supplements, combined with the training program and healthy diet, can optimize your testosterone levels much faster. Check out bellow three effective supplements that could help you normalize estrogen levels, boost testosterone and stop hair loss, which is usually caused by hormone imbalance.Before taking any supplements, make sure to consult your doctor on the recommended daily dosage of supplementation in order to avoid any possible side effects.
Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Testosterone Boos ter
Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster is a well-balanced formula of science-based natural ingredients. The main health benefits of this supplement are the following:
•Optimized testosterone levels
•Improved mental focus and clarity
•Reduction of body fat
•Enhanced muscle recovery
Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Estrogen Control
To normalize testosterone levels you have to reverse estrogen dominance. Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Estrogen Control supplement is a blend of effective ingredients that can help:
• Battle estrogen dominance
• Get rid of the bothersome symptoms of hormonal imbalance
Propidren by HairGenics
Hair loss is one of the symptoms of hormone imbalance and nutrient deficiency. Propidren DHT Blocker is one of the fastest ways to regrow your hair. The carefully dosed formula of Propidren can help:
• Stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth
• Regenerate failing hair follicles
• Thicken hair and strengthen weak hair
If you have doubts regarding your hormonal health and current testosterone levels, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with me. I’ll help you optimize your testosterone levels and improve your quality of life.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. He is a registered naturopath with the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) and works with clients from all over the world via video or phone consultations. He is a degree qualified naturopath from the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine in Australia with 18 years of experience. He uses advanced testing methods, nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, and lifestyle advice to help you stay healthy. He is a Kalish Method-trained practitioner that keeps updating his education with Chris Kresser. Michael completed Dr. Terry Wahls practitioner training program, a 12-month program with ongoing training that helps understand the underlying cause and treatment of MS and autoimmune conditions. He keeps up to date with the latest research into health and natural medicine through the Metabolic Fitness Pro course with Dr. Bryan Walsh.