The Lowdown On Testosterone
When most people hear the word Testosterone they think of aggressive behavior, which is not completely correct, but it is connected. So what exactly is Testosterone? In scientific terms, Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is important to the development of sexual and reproductive organs. In cooler terms, Testosterone is your ticket to power, sex and dominance. Just kidding!
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone belongs to androgens, which is a class of male hormones. Androgens are also called steroids or anabolic steroids. Most of the testosterone in men is mainly produced in the testes and a small part of it is formed in the adrenal glands. Testosterone production is controlled by the brains hypothalamus and pituitary gland. How much testosterone is to be produced is decided by the hypothalamus gland and the message is passed on to the testes by the pituitary gland. Chemicals and hormones in the bloodstream control this communication.
What does Testosterone do?
Testosterone plays an important role in production of sperms, sex drive, distribution of fat, production of red cells, and also helps to maintain muscle strength and mass. It is mainly due to these reasons that testosterone is linked to the overall health and wellness of men.
More importantly, testosterone plays a main part in the development male sex organs before birth, as well as the development of secondary sex characteristics during puberty such as growth of facial hair and hear on the body, deepening of voice, increase in the size of the penis and testes and so on.
Testosterone and Mental Health
As if all the above reasons weren’t enough, testosterone also plays an imperative role in mental health. It also helps maintain your energy and a sense of well being.
People with low testosterone have been found to have low energy, depressed moods, and generally low well being. In fact, a study conducted by UCLA researchers indicated that the men treated with testosterone supplements showed a decrease in anger, nervousness, sadness, fatigue and many more along with increased energy and happiness.
Surprising facts about Testosterone
Even as a man there are a lot of things you may not know about this cool hormone. So here’s a small list of facts for your benefit:
1. Women in love have more:
Women in love have higher testosterone levels in the first few months of a relationship compared to single women or women in long term relationships. The opposite is true for men: single men or men in long term relationships have comparatively higher testosterone levels than men who are newly in love.
2. Lose that belly:
Men whose testosterone levels are below normal can lose their bellies when treated with testosterone.
3. Too much can wither testicles:
The intake of hormones like testosterone can cause withering of testicles and the growth of breasts. In women it can result in loss of hair on head, a deeper voice and excessive hair on face and body.
4. Testosterone can go low because of obesity:
Thinner men tend to have higher levels of testosterone than obese men.
Testosterone levels naturally decrease with age but the exact cause of this is still subject to discussion. Testosterone levels can also differ during the day, the highest being in the morning and the lowest in the evening. Low testosterone can cause the following symptoms:
· Reduction in sex drive:
Testosterone plays an important role in the sex drive of both men and women. Sex drives naturally decrease with an increase in age; however men with low testosterone often experience a drastic drop in their sex drive.
· Weaker bones:
Decrease in bone mass or osteoporosis is often thought of as a condition that women experience. However as testosterone plays a vital role in the strengthening and production of bones, men with low testosterone suffer loss of bone mass or weaker bones.
· Erectile dysfunction:
A man’s sex drive is mainly stimulated by testosterone. But that’s not all; testosterone actually plays an important role in actually achieving an erection. Testosterone triggers receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide which is a molecule that triggers an erection.
· Increase in breast size:
Men with low testosterone sometimes develop gynecomastia, a condition in which they develop breasts.
· Decrease in sperm count:
Testosterone play an important role in the production of semen, and men with low testosterone will notice a decrease in their sperm or semen production.
· Fatigue and low energy:
Men with low testosterone are often very tired and have noticed immense loss of energy as well. Testes appear soft and shrunken
· Loss of hair:
Hair loss is also a symptom of low testosterone. Hair loss is a natural part of aging in men; however men with low testosterone may experience immense loss of hair.
· Loss of muscle mass:
Testosterone plays a role in the building and maintaining of muscle mass and men with low testosterone may notice a loss in both muscles mass as well as strength.
· Mood swings:
Men with low testosterone levels experience almost the same symptoms as women that are going through menopause. Low testosterone can also influence mood and mental capacity.
Natural Testosterone Boosters
Some natural testosterone boosters are:
· Get a good night’s sleep
· Lose that excess weight
· Try to get enough zinc
· Decrease sugar intake
The Bottom Line
Low testosterone may sound scary and unsettling but it is definitely not a reflection of virility or manhood. You can always speak to your doctor for treatment options, but sometimes a few lifestyle changes are all that you need.