Testosterone is the sex hormone responsible for the development of male physical characteristics and overall masculinity. When boys reach puberty, their bodies produce testosterone resulting in deepening of the voice, bone and muscle growth, increased sexual drive, strength, and sperm production.
Testosterone production starts in the brain, where the hypothalamus triggers the pituitary gland to produce the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and the Luteinizing Hormone (LH). The FSH is responsible for sperm production, while the LH is responsible for testosterone production. The LH then activates the Leydig cells in the testes to start converting cholesterol into testosterone. The Leydig cells produce about 95% of testosterone in the male body, while the other 5% is made in the adrenal glands.
This process peaks at puberty around the age of 17 and stays high until the late 30s. Statistics show that men lose 1% of their testosterone yearly starting from the age of 30. While some men will enjoy relatively high testosterone levels throughout their adult lives, others will experience declines that come with a different set of problems. According to research a third of men over 45 years will likely have below average testosterone levels.
Testosterone deficiency in men results in low libido, weak erections, loss of muscle mass, and body fat accumulation, particularly in the belly area. A man will also experience mood swings, lack of concentration, irritability, low self-esteem, and a general lack of energy.
Men who struggle with low testosterone levels can consider testosterone replacement therapy. This is a form of treatment that is used to replenish t-levels in the body. It could either be in the form of injections, patches, gels, creams, or oral medication.
Testosterone Laboratory Testing
Testosterone levels typically vary with men depending on age, protein levels, nutrition, and other factors. As such, it is difficult to have one ‘normal’ testosterone level across the board. The American Urological Association considers anything below 300 ng/dL a testosterone deficiency.
If you are struggling with low testosterone and would like to try testosterone replacement therapy, the first step is to undergo laboratory testing to determine your testosterone levels. When you arrive at the lab, a blood sample will be drawn from your vein. This bloodwork is then analyzed for specific markers, which are then interpreted. The results help your physician understand what is going on in your body and the best course of action.
Reasons for low testosterone
As mentioned, men will start to lose testosterone naturally from the age of 30-40. There are other reasons why a man can experience low t-levels. These include:
- Injury or trauma to the testes
- Certain medications, e.g., chemotherapy
- Drug abuse
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Brain surgery
- Metabolic disorders
- Type 2 Diabetes
Ways to improve testosterone naturally
Testosterone replacement therapy is one way of replenishing low testosterone levels. Similarly, there are several things that men can do to improve their testosterone levels naturally. Some of them are:
Nutrition– We all know that we should eat a balanced diet, but did you know that it is essential for testosterone production? The body requires the right balance of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to maintain a hormonal balance. Minerals like zinc and magnesium help in testosterone production. Eating the wrong types of foods can lead to obesity which exacerbates inflammation and reduces testosterone levels.
Exercise– Studies show that strength training and weight lifting play an essential role in boosting testosterone production in the body. Weight lifting builds muscle and decreases body fat, which boosts the production of t.
Quality sleep– The body produces testosterone during sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation drastically reduces testosterone levels in men. In one study, men who had only five hours of sleep lost 10-15% of their testosterone.
Stress management– When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, the fight or flight hormone that helps us cope with the stress. While this is a natural process that is helpful, too much cortisol, occasioned by too much stress, is detrimental. According to the Journal of Sports and Medicine, too much cortisol in the blood results in reduced testosterone levels.
Treatment strategy with testosterone replacement therapy
There is no set age when one can commence testosterone replacement therapy as this would be determined case to case. Men can suffer testosterone deficiency for a variety of reasons, and this would also vary in degree. To determine whether you are eligible for hormone replacement therapy, you should consult with your physician to carry out the necessary lab tests.
After analyzing the blood test results, your naturopathic physician will dig deeper into your health and lifestyle to understand possible causes for the deficiency. This will also help him/her to identify the best method of treatment. Based on the final analysis and your preferences, the doctor may recommend injections, topical creams, patches, or a gel.
Do I have to be on testosterone forever, and is it SAFE?
Testosterone therapy is a life-long treatment. Once you start taking it, you must continue doing so if you wish to maintain high testosterone levels. Because testosterone replacement therapy does not treat the deficiency’s actual cause, your previous symptoms will return when you stop the treatment.
Given that testosterone replacement therapy is an indefinite treatment, you may be worried about side effects. Disclosing your health history during the consultation is vital, as there are some conditions that TRT could worsen. Examples are heart problems or sleep apnea.
While testosterone replacement therapy is generally safe, you may experience some side effects, which include:
- Reduced testicle size
- Swelling of the breasts
- Oily skin
- Fluid retention
- Increased anxiety
At LIVV Natural Health, testosterone replacement therapy is one of our specialties. Our experienced team of naturopaths will take you through a detailed consultation to establish your levels. Only after conducting thorough bloodwork will they recommend a course for action in line with your preferences.
Our male hormone replacement therapy treatment has helped turn hundreds of lives around, and it could do the same for you.
Check out what some of our happy clients have to say about us!