Learn about Testosterone & Health
Learn how your free testosterone level can diminish as you age, and how exercise can improve your health and help you to avoid health risks associated with decreased testosterone in men.
Why hire a Personal Trainer?
Testosterone and testosterone replacement or hormone replacement therapy has gained a great deal of attention, and access, within the last several years. Why do men want to increase their testosterone levels? Perhaps more importantly, Should men artificially, by means of synthetic chemical compounds of the naturally occurring hormone testosterone, increase their testosterone level? This is a complicated subject. For our purpose, we will outline guidelines, available studies, and data, that draw conclusion based on very specific criteria and medical opinions. We will also explore the relationship, if any, between exercise and testosterone in adult men.
Do I need a testosterone replacement therapy?
That is an excellent question for your doctor, and it is a question we often hear from our clients. To begin an intelligent exploration of testosterone and testosterone replacement therapy, let’s begin by discussing what testosterone is. What is testosterone? As defined by dictionary, testosterone is, from a biochemistry perspective, defined as the sex hormone, C19H28O2 (molecular formula), or by its Systematic name, (17β)-17-Hydroxyandrost-4-en-3-one. Testosterone is secreted by the testes, that stimulates the development of male sex organs, secondary sexual traits, and sperm. From a pharmacology perspective, testosterone is defined as a commercially prepared form of this hormone originally isolated from bull’s testes and also produced synthetically, used in medicine chiefly for treatment of testosterone deficiency and for certain gynecological conditions.
How do I know if I have low testosterone?
One of the first questions to explore when considering hormone replacement therapy or testosterone injections is to determine, with your medical doctor, if your testosterone level is low — and any associated risks, complications, and contraindication of testosterone supplementation or injection. So, Is my testosterone too low? Well, let’s look at how the medical community describes low testosterone in men. According to researchers at the Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, low testosterone, hypogonadism, or low T is expressed by tests most commonly returning a result of 300 ng/dL or less. That said, everyone is different. Subjects reported symptoms of hypogonadism within measured serum testosterone ranges between 320ng/dL and 375ng/dL. The objective of the study mentioned was to determine the association between hypogonadal symptoms and total serum testosterone levels in middle-aged and elderly men over the age of 40. And, secondly, the study was conducted to evaluate whether a clear level of measured total testosterone could be defined as a result of increased hypogonadal symptoms.
Clearly, the researchers were attempting to find a point at which total testosterone drops to a predicted level, and simultaneously, symptoms of hypogonadism or lowered testosterone were produced. This is an interesting study because it evaluated 360 men who claimed low testosterone was affecting their quality of life. These men were tested for actual testosterone serum levels of total testosterone and given questionnaires to complete. After considering side effects reported by these men, related to decreased libido, decreased energy, decreased strength and vigor, the conclusion isn’t what we would like to hear. Apparently, symptoms of hypogonadism existed at various measured testosterone levels. The identification of an established threshold was inconclusive.
Since in this instance (study) the cross-section of men studied did not help researchers define a measurement or baseline serum testosterone level to use for diagnosis of low testosterone, doctors evaluate men based on a case by case factors, current health status, and essentially — experimentation. Set aside, for now, contraindications for supplemental or testosterone therapy side-effects, let’s concentrate on what we do know about natural, normal, production of testosterone in men and how lifestyle, exercise, diet, and other factors and influences affect testosterone levels, perhaps more importantly — how healthy you are and how you might feel. Which leads us to ask, Why does testosterone production decrease as I age? And, How can I raise my testosterone level naturally?
Why does testosterone production decrease as I age?
Researchers and doctors point to many causes of low testosterone. It is important to consider your health, in general, when speaking with your doctor about whether you have low testosterone or not. Decreased testosterone production can be attributed to conditions, disorders, and diseases like testicular cancer, liver or kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, among others. Also, injury to the testes, hormonal imbalances (including cortisol, a stress hormone), infection, and diseases related to loss in cellular immunity. As mentioned, your testosterone level can decrease for many reasons. Your testosterone level may lower naturally as you age, and many diseases, disorders, and illnesses as mentioned in the paragraph above suggest that if you have type 2 diabetes, if you are obese, if your body produces excess cortisol, or if your immune system is compromised — many of these conditions can contribute to lower health, lower quality of life, and, yes, lower, testosterone levels.
How can I raise my testosterone level naturally?
Does exercise help you increase your testosterone level? Numerous studies suggest that exercise alone may not raise your testosterone level. However, that does;t mean that exercise doesn’t serve as a tool to help you to become healthier. So, how can exercise help? When you exercise you can lower your chances of developing heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, being overweight or obese, the list is nearly endless. Given that many of these illnesses contribute to lowered health, thereby giving you a greater chance that your testosterone level could be affected, it really makes sense to stay physically active and exercise to prevent diseases — especially preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity. In fact, among prevention methods used to influence good health, like not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, and eating well; the number one thing you can do to improve your health is to maintain your ideal weight. While exercise has been shown to temporarily increase testosterone levels after a workout, it is an unarguable fact that exercise can help you maintain an ideal level of fitness that does directly influence your health, and to some degree, all-natural processes of hormone regulation, while naturally declining, including testosterone.
Essentially, the best way to look at whether your testosterone is low or not is to simply communicate with your doctor, have appropriate tests ordered and completed, and speak with your doctor about the results. It is entirely likely that if your testosterone is low, there may be other circumstances that influence your testosterone level. Talk with your doctor about any other health concerns you have and if exercise could help you to reduce any illness, disorders, or conditions that threaten your health. Testosterone level is important. However, it isn’t the sole determinant of ideal health or quality of life. Exercise, eat well. take any medications that your doctor prescribes for you, and look forward to being more proactive about all influential factors that can affect your overall health. If you take this approach, you may find that low testosterone alone will not keep you from living a healthy, normal, high-quality life.
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