What’s testosterone and why is it important?

Testosterone is vital to the health of both men and women’s development. Testosterone assists in creating muscle mass and strong bones that help support internal organs. And, most notably, is necessary for sperm development in men and controls sexual drive and sexual performance of both men and women, which is directly related to your testosterone level.

What are the symptoms of low testosterone?

Symptoms of low testosterone include low energy, little to no sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, increase of body fat and breast tissue, slow metabolism, loss of muscle mass or inability to gain muscle, decrease in bone mass, decrease in height, low self esteem, depression, irritability and lack of focus. Low testosterone also puts one at risk for obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and thyroid dysfunction.

Causes of Low T?

Processed refined sugar– increases insulin levels which is a testosterone inhibitor.

Soy – Contains Phytoestrogens that throw off natural hormone production and conversion, according to the National Center of Biotechnology information (NCBI), researchers have found that 95% of men who consumed as little as 120 mg of soy a day had a decrease in testosterone. Soy is common in many food products including ones that are not labeled ‘soy.’

Stress– Harvard Researchers have found a link between mental, emotional and physical stress depleting the body of water soluble nutrients including amino acids which are hormone building blocks.  Stress can slow down digestion which affects nutrient absorption which can affect the adrenal and reproductive systems and in turn directly affect sex drive and performance.

Xeno-estrogens – Another study done by the National Center of Biotechnology (NCBI) concludes that estrogen mimicking compounds similar to soy, throw off natural testicular hormone production. This includes safflower oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, commercially raised animal meat and dairy products (preservatives and injected hormones), non-organic coffee (commonly sprayed with pesticides), unfiltered water/tap water, commercial laundry detergents and fabric softeners, shampoos, conditioner, soaps and lotions containing parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, BPA (plastic) and several different types of insecticides and weed killer.

How to increase testosterone?

According to physicians, it’s wise to have a blood or saliva test to rule out dangerously low testosterone levels. For those looking to simply boost testosterone levels, there are many ways to prompt the body to do that naturally, beginning with plenty of exercise and adequate sleep, according to medical researchers. Consider adding a DIM (diindolylmethane) Complex supplement. This chemical is found in broccoli and cabbage and can help eliminate harmful phyto-xeno estrogens from the body. Other supplements include vitamin D, Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s), zinc (40mg max per day), magnesium and healthy fats such as avocados and almonds, professional nutritionists advise.

If “clinically” low testosterone levels are present, a medical practitioner can prescribe injections, which may be the safer and more expeditious way to go. Hormone patches and creams can expose women and children to excess testosterone if contact with the hormones is made, so caution with use is strongly advised.

The American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, states, researchers at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida analyzed 3,703 older men taking testosterone, comparing differences in how methods of administration affected the men’s health. The study found that men who received testosterone injections achieved a “moderate” increase in muscle strength compared to only a “modest” benefit achieved from creams, gels, and patches. Men have a major concern about increasing frailty and testosterone can protect this by increasing muscle strength and bone density, the study found that [testosterone] injection works best for this issue. Additionally the study showed that Creams, Gels and Patches elevate the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) at far greater levels than injections even though testosterone injection delivers more testosterone thus making injections a safer delivery method as it is believed that significantly elevated levels of DHT may have negative health consequences.

If you are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, get your levels checked.

 

Testosterone AND Women

Women produce testosterone as well.  Testosterone is very good for the female body.  Sure, women will need it if they are trying to tone their bodies. But, research has revealed much more about this so-called male hormone.
Testosterone production is substantially lower in women than it is in men. After puberty, a woman begins to produce an adult level of testosterone. The production is split between the ovaries and the adrenal glands. In men, the testes produce testosterone. Women produce just a fraction of the amount of testosterone each day that men do.

Which women should have their testosterone levels checked? After menopause, testosterone production drops significantly. But, not as sharply as estrogen levels. For women who have had their ovaries removed, testosterone production drops by roughly 50 percent, sometimes resulting in less than normal testosterone blood levels. – Generally, the women who have lower levels of testosterone are those who go to their doctor with concerns such as, “ever since I had my ovaries removed, I do not feel like the same person. I am not as strong, I do not have as much energy and I do not have the same sex drive.” Should we measure testosterone in all women who have had their ovaries removed? I do not know. However, if a woman says her sex life has diminished since her hysterectomy, her doctor may check her testosterone level. If her levels are low, she can consider taking testosterone replacement. Why You’re Lacking Energy For Work & Play

Another group of women at risk of low testosterone are those who have lost pituitary gland function. The pituitary sends hormone messages to the adrenal glands and ovaries. Without the pituitary signal, hormones are not manufactured. These women require estrogen and cortisone replacement, and are also testosterone deficient.

How important is it for women with low testosterone levels to consider replacement therapy?  Low testosterone levels is not an immediate health risk. Yet, think about an older woman with osteoporosis who has fallen and fractured her hip. If her testosterone is low, would replacement have prevented her hip fracture? It is possible. Testosterone has the potential to strengthen bones. Additionally, she might have been able to prevent the fall if her muscle mass had been better. – If a postmenopausal woman is on hormone replacement therapy, does that affect her need for testosterone? Yes. Estrogen therapy — with or without progesterone — can further suppress residual testosterone production by the ovaries. This is due to hormone signals from the pituitary gland, taking estrogen partially reduces the pituitary hormone signal to the ovaries and potentially reduces testosterone production. The pituitary senses there is enough estrogen, so it does not send the signal for more estrogen and testosterone.

What are the side effects of testosterone replacement?  When given in appropriate doses, there are no negative side effects. Today we can measure blood levels, so it is easier to monitor the dosage. Excessive testosterone can cause acne, body hair growth and scalp hair loss in women. Excessive testosterone supplementation, such as with anabolic steroids used by athletes, also tends to drop high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (HDL).  That is the “good” cholesterol. Lower HDL levels increase the risk of heart disease.

Testosterone conveys powerful anti-aging effects.  It turns fat into muscle, keeps skin supple, increases bone mineral density, puts women in a positive mood and boosts the ability to handle stress. Testosterone also supports cognitive functioning and keeps the liver and blood vessels clean. – Low testosterone levels have been associated with heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and depression. If you are freezing cold all the time and your thyroid levels are adequate, you are probably low on testosterone. For women, a little bit of testosterone can go a long way in improving looks, figure, energy level, outlook on life, sex appeal and sexual fulfillment. Love Your Body: 35 Ways To Improve Your Health. –  Women produce increased amounts of testosterone during puberty. Levels of testosterone peak for women in their early 20’s. The decrease in sex drive, due to age, is often exacerbated by oral contraceptives which suppress all sex hormone production. By the time a woman has reached natural menopause, she may have only half of the level of testosterone she once had.

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