Testosterone is an androgenic steroid hormone also known as the principal male sex hormone. In males, it is primarily made in the testes and is 6-8 times in higher concentration than in females. It is the hormone responsible for puberty in boys and in adult males it essential for health and feeling of well-being. In the adult male it regulates muscle mass, fat concentration, bone density, sexual desire and erectile function.
Initial symptoms of low testosterone are fatigue, general malaise, trouble concentrating and decreased libido. A simple blood test, usually done before 10 am can give doctors an initial testosterone reading. If levels are low, then blood work is repeated with more intensive tests done to rule out other disorders such as pituitary disease. Once a diagnosis of low testosterone is established, treatment can be decided. For most patients it’s essential to treat testosterone deficiency as the low levels can lead to accelerated aging.
As we age, there is natural physiological decline in testosterone levels. In fact, we loose on average one percent in testosterone level per year after the age of twenty-five. This natural decline is further exacerbated by chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, sleep apnea and certain medications. This multi-factorial decline in testosterone levels can lead to further obesity, muscle loss, increase risk of diabetes, sleep apnea, dementia and low sexual desire.
Natural ways to increase testosterone levels include controlling cortisol and sugars levels (stress management and proper diabetic treatment), adequate sleep, weight loss, weight training (increase muscle mass), proper nutrition and reassessment of all current medications and supplements that may be interfering with testosterone synthesis. There are several alternative medicine literature that suggest that consumption of large amounts of meat that has been enhanced with growth hormones can lead to increased estrogen levels and that further leads to lower testosterone levels in men. It is suggested that kids consume organic meat until they reach their peak in physical growth.
Please consult with a medical specialist if you feel you have signs or symptoms of low testosterone.
If natural methods fail to increase testosterone levels, then medical supplementation may be an option. Supplementation may range from testosterone injections to patches and gels. Dosages and route of administration will depend on you and your physician’s decision. Once on supplementation, it is a must to follow up with routine labs work at one, three and six months to access the testosterone level, hematocrit (thickness of blood), lipid and prostate levels.