Testosterone

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone that is also responsible for gaining muscle and bone mass.

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The testosterone levels define how “masculine” a guy looks. After all, testosterone is mainly produced in men by the testicles.

This may sound cliche, but to look more “masculine” men refer to the gym as the haven of fitness. A place where they can develop visible cuts and buns without even flexing. It is the go-to place when they want to look more athletic.

Sometimes it would take weeks and months to get into the shape they want. Or at least barely get into the shape they want.

Are you one of these men?

Do you know that your body is producing what could help you gain strength and muscles?

Testosterone, that is.

It is referred to as the king of hormones.

What is Testosterone and How Is It Produced?

Testosterone is naturally produced in both men and women’s bodies. Men produce more of it mainly by the testicles and adrenal glands while women produce a little of it by the ovaries.

It is primarily the hormone that affects a man’s appearance and the development of male reproductive tissues.

Men who have high testosterone production have more developed muscle mass than those with lower testosterone levels. Aside from greater muscle mass, they also have more strength, and better fat distribution.

Testosterone is also referred to as a sex hormone. It increases libido or sex drive while experiencing the stamina of younger men.

The body converts cholesterol to testosterone before it is converted in the liver to inactive metabolites. It activates the androgen receptor and becomes more pronounced in males than in females.

As men age, they experience testosterone deficiency. Hence, injection shots for men who are older became available to boost testosterone production.

How Does Testosterone Work?

Testosterone has anabolic and androgenic effects.

The anabolic effect is evident with muscle growth, strength, and bone maturity. Androgenic effects include the development of sex organs, deepening of the voice, and facial and body hair.

Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males. It regulates libido, muscle mass, production of red blood cells, and sperm. Females also produce this but only in little amounts.

This hormone activates the androgen receptor and converts it to estradiol, then activates the estrogen receptors. The free testosterone travels into the target tissue cells where it binds to the androgen receptor or reduces to DHT.

The DHT binds to the androgen receptor stronger than testosterone creating 5x more of androgenic potency. Either of the DHT receptor or testosterone receptor goes through a structural change before binding to specific nucleotide sequences affecting certain genes and producing the androgen effects.

Testosterone affects the different parts of the body like the brain, bones, muscles, skin, kidneys, male sex organs, and the central nervous system.

What Does Testosterone Do in Bodybuilding?

While many of the advantages of your body’s testosterone are due to its conversion to androgen and estrogen, it works differently with the muscles.

Bodybuilders use testosterone supplements to boost their muscle and weight gain. The hormone specifically works to develop the muscles, which is why it is called anabolic steroid.

Better testosterone levels can make the muscles bigger and stronger. It increases the satellite cells which are the primary muscle fiber precursor cells. This action can either form new muscle fibers or make existing muscles bigger.

During training, the sensitivity of androgen receptors increases, and essential amino acids are consumed. This is the reason why performance is amplified while maximizing the effect on muscles, strength, endurance, and athletic performance.

Effects and Benefits

Healthy testosterone levels can benefit one’s overall health. Here is the list of its benefits.

  • Cardiovascular Health: The heart pumps blood to the organs and muscles. In this process, the testosterone hormone aids in red blood cell production necessary for blood circulation.
  • Lean Muscle: Testosterone helps in reducing body fat and increasing muscles. Fat is used for energy thereby controlling weight while getting enough muscle strength.
  • Strong Bones: Older men experience low bone density. The culprit? Testosterone deficiency. With enough of this hormone, there is a lower risk of getting bone diseases or bone weakness as you age.
  • Mental Sharpness: Thinking abilities are also affected by testosterone levels. There is evidence that men who received testosterone therapy are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Better Sex Drive: As men age, testosterone production is decreased. Men with low testosterone levels suffer from erectile dysfunction and this affects their sex drive.
  • Improved Mood: Some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency are depression, irritability, and fatigue. Men who have normal testosterone levels show a more positive outlook in life.

Natural Testosterone Levels

According to studies, the normal testosterone levels vary depending on factors such as thyroid function, protein, and others.

In a recent guideline, the normal testosterone level for men is 270-2070 ng/dl. Those falling below that should be diagnosed with low testosterone.

By age 30 onwards, men lose about 1% of testosterone per year. By this time, it is necessary to take a blood test to know if there is a need for supplements.

Women’s normal testosterone level is only at 8-60 ng/dl.

Signs of Low Testosterone in Men

The symptoms of low testosterone levels are often regarded as a normal occurrence as you age. Unfortunately, if not treated properly, lower testosterone levels might lead to serious health problems.

A blood test must be taken to measure the level of the hormone in the bloodstream.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is better to consult your doctor.

  • Low sex drive
  • Impotence
  • Erectile problem
  • Infertility
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unfocused
  • Lack of motivation
  • Bone weakness
  • Large breasts in men
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Reduced muscle bulk and strength

The best diagnosis or treatment should be considered with the doctor’s prescription.

How to Increase Testosterone?

The testosterone levels problem in adult men starts when they are around 30. The good thing is, you can do something about it.

Once you feel like you are experiencing the symptoms early on, you can try any of the following after consultation with your doctor.

Diet & Lifestyle

There is a natural testosterone booster you can try if you are hesitant to try out supplements.

  • Limit alcohol intake. If you cannot avoid it, then at least minimize your drinking.
  • Do not over-exercise. Chronic stress brought about by overtraining or other strenuous workouts may cause low testosterone levels.
  • Healthy diet. Do not fall into the fad of a little to no-calorie diet, starving, or extreme fasting, at least not for too long.
  • Gulp on whey protein. You can do this after a workout. It will help in the recovery and muscle tissue repair.
  • Go moderate on endurance training. Endurance training exercises may cause low testosterone levels.
  • Maintain a lean body mass. Avoid too much fat as it lowers the total bioavailable testosterone and DHT.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy is administered to men with low levels of testosterone. But not everyone is fit for this diagnosis or treatment.

Testosterone therapy is often given to those who have osteoporosis and with high fracture risk.

The therapy can also reduce the risk of hypogonadism. There are also reports that men who went under this treatment felt more vigorous and energetic. But it is not yet proven if this has the same effect with healthy older men.

Side effects may vary among patients. If there is any uncomfortable reaction while undergoing this treatment, you have to inform your doctor.

Testosterone Supplements

Taking a testosterone supplement may alter low testosterone levels and reduce body fat. Although there are studies on specific supplements that provide real effects, the users reported otherwise.

There is a wide variety of supplements available in pills that treat low levels of testosterone but according to studies, it cannot replace as much testosterone as testosterone replacement does. If you experience any side effects, seek medical advice.

FAQ

Given the details and facts about low testosterone and what to do about it, here are some points that you also need to consider.

Does Working Out Increase Testosterone?

Yes. But take into mind that testosterone may be decreased with too much stress brought about by overexertion especially during training. If you feel any symptoms of low testosterone, see your doctor first.

Is TRT Safe?

With reports of high testosterone after undergoing therapy, it cannot be denied that it may be effective but it is best to do a series of tests first before trying this. Men, who are under this treatment are said to have increased their low levels but also have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Just to be on the safe side, seek medical advice.

Are Testosterone Supplements Safe?

Testosterone supplements have been used for several years and the low levels of testosterone may be increased through this significantly.

Conclusion

Testosterone is more than what we know it to be. Men and women should have the right levels for normal body development. While checking testosterone is easy with a blood test, interpreting and treating it is difficult.

What works for one may not work with the other. A low count does not necessarily imply poor health. But if you aim to grow and be in the shape that you want, taking it could be a worthy option.

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