When most of us hear the word testosterone we think of puberty and men in their twenties sowing their oats. We also tend to think of bulky body builders pumped up and maxed out. However testosterone plays many more roles in the health of both men and women than many of us realize.
Lack of Testosterone
And low levels of testosterone in both sexes may cause serious negative health consequences.
What’s more is it seems that testosterone levels in both men and women are getting lower at earlier ages. In fact, it’s estimated that twenty-five percent of men over the age of forty-five have low levels of testosterone, or hypogonadism as it’s called. That’s about 15 million American men, according to an article in the New York Daily Times.
What exactly is testosterone, you may wonder? Testosterone is the main hormone in the male. It’s what we attribute to making men ‘manly’ and propelling their sex drive. Technically speaking, it is an androgen, a hormone found more in males but also in females. Produced by the testes in men and the ovaries and adrenal glands in women, this anabolic steroid is often used to bulk up muscles and retain protein in the muscles enabling growth.
Testosterone levels in both sexes naturally decline with age; in men the decline begins around age forty and in women this slow decrease begins in the twenties and continues into the forties and menopause.
But testosterone’s role in both men and women’s bodies goes beyond the sex drive and muscles. In fact, low levels of testosterone are now being associated with a number of serious health issues in both sexes.
Low testosterone is associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes, osteoporosis, infertility, and more.
When it comes to testosterone levels, symptoms, and health issues there’s some controversy as to which causes which.
For example, in men who are obese it’s found they have lower levels of testosterone. But it’s well known that obesity in men changes the male hormones into female ones. So is it the obesity causing the lower testosterone levels or the lower testosterone levels contributing to the obesity problem? A classic chicken or the egg question.
Medical professionals speculate that low testosterone could be anindicator of a general health decline that should not be ignored.
Common Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
These are some common symptoms of low testosterone in me:
- Decreased sex drive
- Inability to focus
- Decreased muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weak bones
- Decreased physical strength
- Lower endurance
As I mentioned, women are also likely to suffer from the impact of low testosterone, particularly during menopause. This risk is increased if women take estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) which further depletes testosterone levels.
Common Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Women
In women, these are some common symptoms of low testosterone:
- Decreased libido
- Weak orgasms
- Low energy, fatigue
- Depression, mood swings
- Decrease in strength
- Less endurance
- Weakened bones
- Loss of focus
If you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms and suspect a low level of testosterone is to blame, you can take simple blood tests to confirm. It’s vital in this process to consult your health care practitioner not just for testing but also for treatment. Both pharmaceutical treatments and all natural treatments to increase testosterone levels should be closely monitored by a professional experienced in this area.
How to Safely Treat Low Levels of Testosterone
With this increasing understanding and knowledge of the negative health effects of low testosterone levels there has come along a wave of pharmaceuticals to treat this growing problem. But I urge you to investigate before you jump on the pharmaceutical bandwagon with this.
Today we have testosterone replacement therapy or TRT being pushed by many health care practitioners. However, there are a number of serious side effects from this approach you should consider carefully first.
The first concern is that since this is a new drug there is no long term data on the health impact of using any of these TRT drugs. This means you really don’t know what will happen to your body when you opt for TRT.
Another concern is that the dosages to be used from patient to patient are still unclear. This is another potentially dangerous problem from the simple lack of understanding of these drugs and this low testosterone issue.
Side Effects from Testosterone Replacement Therapy Drugs
However, with the use of these pills, gels, patches, and testosterone injections there have been reported a number of side effects. These include the following:
- Facial Hair (in women)
- Oily skin
- Mood swings
- Deepening voice
- Lower HDL levels (good cholesterol)
- Liver damage
(The last two are linked to use of TRT pills.)
It’s also important to understand that studies are showing that too much testosterone through these drugs can lead to irreversible problems with sexual dysfunction leaving the user forced to take testosterone for life. A dangerous gamble.
All Natural Methods for Increasing Testosterone
Low testosterone levels are based much upon the individual’s own unique body. Many times there’s an underlying problem causing the low levels of hormones. Pinpointing your specific cause is key in proper treatment to safely increase your testosterone levels.
One of the keys to keeping healthy testosterone levels or bringing them back is to focus on overall good health. This includes eating healthy and exercise. Often obesity and low testosterone go hand in hand. Many people who lose weight through diet and exercise see their testosterone levels increase with just these two lifestyle changes. (Changes, by the way, that positively impact all aspects of the body, mind, and soul.)
If you want to treat low testosterone levels without the risk of dangerous side effects from drugs consider the following plan:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet full of real foods
- Focus on adding healthy fats into your diet like coconut oil, avocados, and almonds
- Remove processed foods from your diet
- Avoid estrogen producing products such as: certain plastics, some household cleaners, certain ingredients in personal hygiene products, and certain foods (licorice, grapefruit, soy)
- Supplement with L-Glutamine to boost HGH (human growth hormone) levels
- Use the following herbal testosterone boosters with the supervision of a knowledgeable health care practitioner: catuaba bark, macuna pruriens, tribulus terrestris, rhodiola rosea, horny goat weed, tongkat ali extract.
It’s essential that if you suspect you have low testosterone levels to confirm this and then work closely with your health care practitioner using the most natural methods to increase as needed. There can be side effects from herbal treatments too so it’s vital to work with a professional with extensive knowledge in this area.
Low levels of testosterone in both men and women decrease the quality of life for the sufferers. Determine if you have low testosterone, pinpoint the cause, and seek the proper treatment.