Testosterone is also known as male sex hormone; although it is not just present in males, females also produce testosterone (but in a much smaller quantity). Testicles are where your testosterone is produced and women produce it through their ovaries.
Testosterone is said to be a male hormone because it plays a key role in defining the difference between men’s bodies and women’s bodies.
Do you remember those early days of school when there used to be no significant difference between boys and girls? Boys used to had a sweet girly voice, no muscle, and even differences in physical strength between boys and girls were nominal.
Then what sudden changes in the body made boys muscular, powerful, and manly? Yes, puberty. Puberty is a period when your body enters a state of sexual maturity and you become capable of reproduction.
During puberty, a boy’s testosterone level reaches its peak; it rises up to 8-10 times higher than before. But that testosterone level doesn’t stay that high for a lifetime. Researchers had proved that after 30 years of age, testosterone percentage decreases by 1% per year.
And due to unhealthy lifestyles and other bad habits (smoking, boozing, etc), this depletion of testosterone levels could go down at a faster rate.
What is low testosterone?
Testosterone is known as a male sex hormone for a reason; it has an impact on everything that transforms a boy into a fully grown male, like muscle growth, body hair, sex drive, and strength.
Low testosterone is a condition when your body lacks the ability to produce and maintain optimum testosterone in the body. Low testosterone may lead to many medical conditions like lower libido, hair loss, and muscle loss.
Functional medicine testing through Wisdom Health can help you check your testosterone levels with a doctor.
Symptoms of low testosterone:
1# Sex drive
The primary effect of low testosterone can be seen in your sex drive. A Male’s sex drive is directly correlated with the level of testosterone in his body.
Many urologists found that males who were suspected to have low testosterone levels also had less desire to have sex; their rate of masturbation was also considerably low.
2# Erectile dysfunction
Although testosterone has no direct co-relation with erectile dysfunction but lack of appetite to have sex may cause a problem with erection.
Testosterone alone is not responsible for the erection in males, but it plays a vital role in triggering the brain receptors to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a molecule that initiates the chemical reaction for optimum erection.
3# Bone density
Research shows, Testosterone plays a vital role in maintaining the bone density of the human body, we all are aware of the fact that with growing age our bones tend to get weaker, testosterone is one of the reasons for that.
Human bone is like living tissue that is continuously breaking and rebuilding itself. But low testosterone depletes its capability to rebuild itself, which leads to weaker and fragile bones with growing age.
4# Muscle growth
For any bodybuilder testosterone level is a top priority, testosterone increases the body’s capability of protein synthesis which ultimately leads to better muscle development.
Ever wondered why female bodies never gain muscle as the male body does? Yes, you guessed it right; it’s because of the difference in testosterone level.
With the optimum level of testosterone level, your body puts itself in an anabolic state, anabolic state means your body’s capability to burn fat and develop more muscle. But with the drop in testosterone levels, your body drags itself into the catabolic state where you are not enough capable of building muscle and burning fat.
We all had a friend who naturally had a muscular body and low body fat, right? He had a high testosterone level genetically.
5# Sperm count
Many people confuse themselves by considering sperm production and testosterone as the same. For those who need clarification let me clarify you in a single like: sperms are male reproductive cells that help in reproduction, and testosterone is a hormone produced in the male body to inherit other manly features like gaining muscle, body hair, stronger bones, etc.
So testosterone is a hormone that stimulates brain cells for the production of quality sperm, and with the depletion of testosterone, your body also lacks the capability to produce quality sperm. This ultimately leads to a lower sperm count in the body.
6# Hair loss
As specified earlier, testosterone is a male hormone that is responsible for several body functions like building muscle, sex drive, bone strength, etc.
Hair growth is also a function of testosterone, studies have found that male with low testosterone level tends to lose body hair as well. Although baldness can be an inheritable component but low T level might also be one of the reasons.
Studies have found, that people with low testosterone levels reported fatigue even after long hours of sleep.
There is no direct correlation between body fatigue and testosterone level. But there is a direct relationship between stress and testosterone levels.
Higher stress and high testosterone level can’t go altogether, most participants with low testosterone levels were leading to stressful and hectic lifestyles, which ultimately lead to lower body testosterone levels and lower body fitness too.
8# Body fat %
You can regard fat as an enemy of testosterone, they both can’t survive happily. When you develop more fatty tissue that means you are killing your testosterone, and with the drop in testosterone level, you are again inviting more fatty tissue.
Another reason for the drop in testosterone level with the rise of fat % is: estrogen is secreted by fatty tissues, which makes it difficult for your testosterone to survive.
What is the estrogen hormone? Estrogen is primarily a female sex hormone, which is responsible for the development of the female body and secondary sexual characteristics like- Breasts and regulation of the menstrual cycle.
An Australian study also concluded: When a group of 26 men was given ADT (Androgen deprivation therapy) for the cure of their prostate cancer. ADT turned off the effects of testosterone, which resulted in gaining 14% body fat.
9# Mood swings
Testosterone levels actually define your mood, and it’s proven. A study found that 23% of young men diagnosed with low testosterone levels is found to have symptoms of depression too.
These mood swings initiate the vicious cycle by extinguishing your testicle’s ability to produce more testosterone which worsens the situation by further depression and a further drop in T-level.
What could be a solution to this?
Ever wondered why regular exercise is always linked with a better mood? It’s because it regulates the level of testosterone in the body which eventually helps in feeling positive, energetic, and stress-free life.
10# Quality sleep
Studies have proven to be deeper like between the T-level and the number of hours you slept, this study conducted on the effect of sleep on the testosterone level have proven that guys who had 4 hours of sleep had an average testosterone level of 200-300 ng/dl in comparison to the guys who had a sleep of 8 hours, these guys had a testosterone level of 600-700 ng/dl.
Another study of 531 healthy Chinese Asian males proved the same. Guys who had a sleep of 4 hours in comparison to the guys who had a sleep of complete 8 hours had 60% low testosterone level.
11# Man boobs
A study conducted by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism stated: Low testosterone level initiates the cycle of gaining fatty tissues which in turn boosts up the production of estrogen levels in the male body.
We have learned earlier that estrogen is the female sex hormone and helps them to develop female body characteristics, the higher estrogen level in the male body also leads to the development of men boobs and depletion of lean muscles.
If you have started to develop man boobs then it’s time to regulate your testosterone level and start a healthy lifestyle.
Causes of low testosterone
Obesity is a root cause of many diseases, low testosterone is one of its side effects too. If you want to take a countermeasure for your low testosterone level, then start the exercise from today itself. Join some gym or go for a jog or just go for a long walk, do whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s time to shred some fat.
We have already discussed this. Stress initiates a vicious cycle, which worsens the situation with time. The best ways to counter stress are some good sleep, eating healthily, and exercising daily.
Numerous studies have found that males having type-2 diabetes are twice as likely to have a risk of low testosterone. Testosterone therapy can be a good option for them.
Sometimes it’s hormone to blame, if you are going through a healthy lifestyle and stress-free life then hormone imbalance might be the reason for low testosterone levels. It’s better to visit a doctor for better consultation and reason for hormone imbalance.
Smoking – [Updated]
Smoking kills testosterone, every smoker knows that from day one of smoking. [Update] – Many asked if smoking a hookah is as dangerous to testosterone as a normal cigarette. To be honest, there are no studies available showing that hookah is better or worse than cigarettes on testosterone. However, if you decide to smoke hookahs, you need to make sure that you do not overdo it! Choosing one of the best hookahs is critical since you know that what you are putting in your mouth is not toxic.
Medical conditions (liver or kidney)
Study conducted to test the sexual function of patients with liver diseases proved that healthy liver and their sex life are co-related.
If you are going through long medication then it might be a reason for low testosterone, therapy like ADT (Androgen deprivation therapy) which is given to patients who have prostate cancer results in total depletion of testosterone.
Age is a primary factor in the depletion of testosterone. Our body tends to lose its testosterone level by 1% per year after we age 30. Those with an unhealthy lifestyle may see a faster decline in their T-Levels.