Androgen hormones are vital to the development and management of male characteristics in the human body. The principal hormone in this group is testosterone, an anabolic steroid hormone. Anabolic steroid hormones promote the retention of protein in the body, contribute to muscle mass, bone strength, bone density and more.
Testosterone plays a key role in the growth and development of young men, as well as contributes to energy, muscle strength, maintenance of lean body mass, sex drive, and much more in both genders. Obviously, testosterone production is higher in men than women, so characteristics like muscle mass and strength are generally more pronounced in men. And unfortunately for many men, testosterone levels begin to decline around the mid to late twenties and continue to diminish as a man ages.
Low testosterone can affect a man's health, body and mind, making activities of daily living frustrating. The good news is that men suffering from low levels of testosterone do not have to live with the distress. There are ways to boost low testosterone levels, including testosterone replacement therapy, dietary changes, routine exercise and nutritional supplements.
Why do Men Need Testosterone?
Testosterone is mainly produced in the testicles. Following production, the hormone moves through the bloodstream to carry out various functions. Testosterone levels are controlled by the brain and pituitary gland.
Testosterone is the key hormone in the development of the male sexual characteristics, deepening of the voice during puberty, stimulation of the growth of facial and body hair, increasing sex drive and production of sperm. Testosterone also plays a role in liver function, helps build muscle mass, promotes strength and contributes to sexual stamina and the ability to produce erections.
Without adequate levels of testosterone, men may begin to experience distressing symptoms, such as weight gain, gynecomastia ("man boobs"), low energy, poor sleep, irritability, depression, erectile dysfunction, a decreased interest in sex, hair loss and diminished muscle strength. Some of the symptoms have to do with the imbalance with other hormones as testosterone declines. For example, the raito of testosterone to estradiol decreases as men get older contributing to common symptoms of "grumpy old man syndrome."
It is important to note that "adequate" testosterone levels vary from man to man. Most men who begin to experience low testosterone are looking to restore the vivacity they felt in their late teens and early twenties. When you begin a program to boost your testosterone, "perfect" balance may be restored more quickly if you have established a personal baseline. If possible, men may want to have their testosterone levels tested before they begin to experience symptoms. This will allow your physician to have a clearer definition of adequate testosterone levels as they pertain to you. Of course, even without preliminary testing your physician can work with you to develop the ideal treatment plan to increase your testosterone and restore optimal balance.
Testosterone and Aging in Men
The symptoms of testosterone imbalance are often dismissed as normal signs of aging, but even men in their thirties can have low testosterone and will notice weight gain, depression, sexual dysfunction, irregular sleep patterns and fatigue.
On average in men, testosterone production decreases by approximately 2 percent per year leading to peak declines around middle age. Research shows that by the time a man reaches his seventies, he about one-third of the testosterone he had in his twenties. In fact, it has been reported that the levels of testosterone in a 60-year-old man would yield a diagnosis of hypogonadism in a younger man. Low testosterone is a serious issue for aging men.
Low testosterone may also be paired with other hormonal imbalances. For example, levels of sex binding hormone globulin (SHBG) may further diminish testosterone levels. Higher levels of SHBG can bind free testosterone, inhibiting the effectiveness of total testosterone and limiting the performance of all the functions that are dependent on the hormone. Hair loss is one condition that is affected by high SHBG levels. Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is derived from testosterone. When DHT is bound by SHBG, thinning hair or hair loss may occur.
Because low testosterone symptoms are so similar to signs of a work stress, financial stress and generally stressors of daily living, it can be difficult to know you have low testosterone levels. Advanced lab testing can pinpoint the issue and should be pursued if you are experiencing multiple symptoms of low testosterone, especially around middle age. Testosterone replacement can restore balance—and the sooner you take action to increase testosterone levels, the sooner you will feel better.
Bioidentical Testosterone Therapy for Men
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be an effective low testosterone treatment. Men have reported vast benefits from bio-identical testosterone with few side effects. There are a number of bioidentical testosterone therapy treatment options available to meet the medical needs, health goals and lifestyles of most men, including pills, patches, creams, injections and pellets. The choice of delivery method is largely dependent on the design of the treatment plan and each man's personal preferences. Regardless of the delivery method, men will enjoy a higher quality of life and enhanced health and wellbeing.
Testosterone promotes a healthy heart through supporting red blood cell production through bone marrow. With the help of testosterone, the heart can effectively pump blood throughout the body, providing muscles and organs with the oxygen needed for peak performance. Low testosterone levels have been linked to a variety of cardiovascular risks. A 2015 study1 of 83,000 men with low testosterone levels uncovered strong evidence that when testosterone levels were restored to normal levels through testosterone replacement therapy, the subjects were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 36 percent less likely to experience a stroke.
Adequate levels of testosterone are associated with increased muscle mass, strength, and the maintenance of lean body mass. Maintaining a leaner body mass increases energy levels and supports healthy weight control. Research2has shown that men with low testosterone who are treated with testosterone replacement therapy can reduce fat mass and increase muscle size and strength. When testosterone therapy is combined with routine physical activity and a healthy diet, benefits are maximized.
Healthy testosterone levels are vital to bone mineral density. As men age, bone density decreases along with testosterone levels. To combat weakening bones and the risk of osteoporosis, men should take action to restore hormonal balance, including testosterone therapy and weight-bearing exercises.
Research3 shows that when testosterone therapy was used to treat low testosterone levels in men with Alzheimer's disease, they experienced improvements on performance tests of spatial ability. Other evidence has also suggested a strong correlation between testosterone, verbal memory and faster processing speeds.
A natural rise in testosterone levels occurs in response to sexual arousal and activity. Higher levels of testosterone are associated with greater sexual activity. Erectile dysfunction can be the result of low testosterone, as well as other health conditions, such as poor vascular health or as a side effect of medications. Testosterone therapy has been shown to improve sexual function as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy can effectively return testosterone levels to normal and restore optimal function of testosterone-dependent systems. In general, testosterone therapy for men will improve overall health along with some of the following benefits:
- Reduced body fat
- Boosted sexual performance
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
- More energy
- Maintenance of lean body mass
- Increased muscular strength
Testosterone therapy using bioidentical hormones has been shown to be an effective and natural option for balancing and restoring testosterone levels in men. Conventional methods used to restore testosterone levels, such as synthetic hormones produced by pharmaceutical companies do not provide the customized treatment necessary to maintain optimal health.
In most cases, testosterone replacement therapy is safe when used properly and administered under the care of a trained physician. However, like any medication or therapy, testosterone therapy does come with the potential for undesirable side effects, including:
- Acne and/or oily skin
- Mild fluid retention
- Decreased testicular size
- Decreased sperm count
- Elevated red blood cell count
Men who have or have been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer should not pursue a supplemental testosterone booster without first consulting with their physician When choosing to pursue hormone therapy, it is vital to work with an experienced hormone specialist to ensure estrogen and testosterone levels are maintained in a careful balance to reduce side effects to the prostate gland.4
Men and Excess Levels of Testosterone
While uncommon, there are cases of men possessing an excess of testosterone, this is most clearly seen in steroid use among athletes. Symptoms of high testosterone include but are not limited to:
- Low Sperm Count
- Liver Disease
- Aggressive Behavior
- Shrinking Testicles
- Heart Muscle Damage
Effective Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men**
Testosterone replacement therapy using natural bioidentical hormones has been shown to be an effective and highly-beneficial treatment option for restoring low testosterone levels. Men struggling with low testosterone can restore balance with few to no side effects.
The expert physicians of the BodyLogicMD network achieve advanced training in hormone health and hormone therapy to ensure each and every patient receives a custom treatment planned designed to address their medical concerns, improve their health and enhance their quality of life. Testosterone treatment plans are an option for men with low testosterone.
It all begins with state of the art testing to determine your current hormone levels and get to the root cause of your symptoms. Your physician will meet with you during a one-on-one consultation to discuss your medical history, symptoms, and how life has changed for you personally before developing your tailored treatment plan.
Plans for improving low testosterone levels may include testosterone therapy, dietary changes, recommendations for physical activity, as well as nutritional supplements. Your doctor will partner with you to develop the plan that best suits your goals and lifestyle.
Getting older is inevitable, aging is not. Hair loss, low sex drive, erectile problems and loss of muscle mass may be avoidable with the help of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy with BodyLogicMD.
1 Normalization of Testosterone Level is Associated with Reduced Incidence of Myocardial Infarction And Mortality in Men
2 The Benefits And Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy: A Review
3 Effect of Testosterone Therapy in Men With Alzheimer's Disease and Low Testosterone
4 Effects of Transdermal Testosterone Gel or an Aromatase Inhibitor on Prostate Volume in Older Men