What is the first which comes to mind when we say the word testosterone? Men, of course. In the opinion of many, this is what makes men a man, and differentiates it from the opposite sex. References with testosterone are very frequent in pop-culture, books, movies, TV shows and scientific debates. People usually connect it with aggression, violence, self-confidence and sex drive in men. When explaining socialism, the writer Gary North said that it is “Communism for people without the testosterone to man the barricades.” And this is how it is very often seen, as the main drive and the source of the primal instinct in men. Precisely because of such a representation, many philosophers argued throughout history that men in general are better politicians, military commanders and leaders than woman. They had something so powerful to drive their decisions and enhance their confidence to win and to persist. However, there is much misrepresentation in the media when it comes to the abilities of testosterone and the power it gives to men. On the other hand, when it comes to the biological and medical aspects testosterone is a very mighty substance for both-men and woman, that proper functioning of the organism would be unimaginable without it.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a human hormone, which is also found in animals. It is an anabolic steroid from the androstane class comprising of keto and hydroxyl groups. Testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol in our organism. However, increased cholesterol doesn’t increase the level of testosterone in your body. The pituitary gland controls the level of testosterone and, in normal circumstances, it doesn’t allow for this to happen. In male organism, it is produced by testicles, and in female by ovaries. Even though women have certain testosterone levels in their organism, it is considerably lower to the testosterone levels found in men. When the amount of testosterone in male and female organism is compared, researchers concluded that an adult men has 7 to 8 times higher testosterone levels than adult women. Also, the production of this hormone on a daily basis is 20 times greater in men than in women.
How Does It Work
The production of the normal amount of testosterone is based on a chain reaction between the brain, the pituitary gland and the testicles. The brain triggers the pituitary gland which controls the level of hormone in the blood stream. The gland then informs the testicles to start producing testosterone. If the level of testosterone in blood rises too much, the brain sends signals to the pituitary gland to decrease the production of hormone.
The production of this important hormone increases drastically during puberty. It starts dropping slowly after the age of 30. In the meantime, it has an important job to make a man out of a boy, and even a woman out of a girl. Testosterone has the key role in the development of men genitalia (penis and testicles), increasing the bone size and strength, increasing the muscle mass, production of sperm, deepening the voice, enhancing the pubic and facial hair growth. It also contributes to red blood cell production, fat distribution, and fertility. This hormone is important for women too, although not to the same extent. It contributes to the proper functioning of ovaries, bone strength, and sex drive. Testosterone is considered a male hormone, but it is one of the few male hormones present in a female organism. Some studies point out that the normal functioning of the brain also depends on the balance of male and female hormones.
It is also important to know that because of the effects it has on the body, testosterone supplements, most commonly in the form of anabolic steroids, became popular among people who don’t need to treat any condition. Professional athletes, bodybuilders and people in love with training turned to steroids in order to improve muscle and bone mass, strength, and enhance their training routine. Anabolic steroids are, indeed, prescribed to some adolescents suffering from delayed puberty, but they cannot be prescribed to athletes for the purpose of improving their strength. The effects the steroids of this type can have on the body are really significant, but so are the side-effects, especially if steroids are taken in large quantities.
Additionally, researchers confirmed that exercising temporarily increases the level of testosterone we naturally produce in our body. This natural testosterone booster lasts even after exercisng for 15 minutes to 1 hour. This is particularly beneficial for men whose testosterone level is just on the border between normal and low.
High and Low Testosterone Level
For heathy life, it is of key importance to have a normal testosterone level. However, sometimes it can be difficult to determine what is normal at a certain phase of life and age, as the levels vary throughout years and even times of day. An expected range is usually from 300 to 1,000 ng/dL. The level of hormone in your blood stream can be determined using a serum testosterone test.
Having high testosterone is common for athletes who take performance-enhancing drugs for the purpose of improving their physical abilities and looks. Higher level of this hormone can cause various side effects, such as: prostate enlargement, legs swelling, higher risk of heart failure and hear attack, blood clothes, aggressiveness, anxiety, sexual promiscuity, sleeplessness and stunted growth in teenagers.
Women can have high testosterone level too. Apart from taking the supplements, polycystic ovary syndrome is the usual suspect for higher levels in women. This condition can disrupt menstrual cycles, cause infertility, baldness and facial hair growth.
Even more frequent problem is testosterone deficiency or low-T. If we know that this is the hormone which defines men, we can understand what the fuss is all about. Many researches have focused on finding the cause and the optimal therapy for men suffering from low T-levels. Journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology have pointed out that testosterone prescriptions in the US have increased five-fold when compared to 2011. The study associated this phenomenon with the growing population of men over 65, and with understanding the increased risk of having a metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease as a result of testosterone deficiency. Also, modern, fast and stressful way of life has probably contributed to the fact that around third of men over the age of 45 can be diagnosed with low-T. Testosterone levels decrease with age, over time, because pituitary gland doesn’t send signals for production of the same levels of hormone, but it can be also caused by a disease such as alcoholism or a harsh treatment against a disease such as radiation.
Low-T can cause many issues, and some of the most common are: the loss of sex drive, baldness, loss of body hair, loss of muscle mass, bone thinning, weight gain, low sperm count, problems with erection, testicles decreasing in size, low blood count, loss of confidence and energy, insomnia and fatigue.
Women can suffer from testosterone deficiency too. As a consequence, they can experience mood swings, anxiety, bone thinning and low sex drive.
How to Improve Testosterone Levels
Since it is so important to maintain a normal testosterone level, in order to function properly and even prevent some diseases, it is important to know that there are many ways in which you can beat low-T.
Apart from exercising, there are other natural testosterone boosters which you can try. One of them is definitely Vitamin D. You can get it by spending a lot of time in the sun. The studies have shown that people who spent too much time inside had lower testosterone level. Exposure to the sun altogether with eating food rich in Vitamin D can increase your testosterone levels significantly.
Herbs such as Tribulus Terrestris and Fenugreek are also proven to enhance testosterone levels. The first one is useful to the people who already suffer from the deficiency and it doesn’t have any particular effect on the healthy young men. The latter can be used by people suffering from low-T, as well as athletes. The experiments proved that it can improve the levels of hormone, but to also enhances libido, sexual performance and overall well-being.
Ginger is the spice which everybody has in their kitchen. It is long known that eating fresh ginger or adding it as a spice has multiple beneficial effects on human organism. On top of that, it is another natural booster of testosterone, and in some cases it can also improve the sperm count.
There are also many medications which you can buy on the market, and use as a testosterone replacement therapy. Some of the most popular ones are Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Enanthate and Testosterone propionate.
Testosterone cypionate is in the form of injections and it is administered by injecting it directly into the muscle. It is used for treating hypogonadism or low level testosterone. The patients can give it to themselves if shown by doctors how to do it properly. This is a controlled, government-regulated medication.
Testosterone Enanthate also comes in the form of injections. It is used for treating testosterone deficiency and conditions such as delayed puberty. It also found its use in treating particular types of breast cancer in women. The dosage has to be strictly controlled by doctors. It is administered in the buttock muscle.
Another type of testosterone injections is Testosterone propionate. It has several brand names, one of the most common ones is Testoviron. While being efficient in increasing hormone levels, it is also commonly used for treating breast cancer.
Testosterone is a very important hormone in humans, and especially in men. The substance is so powerful that it has often been associated with the symbols of masculinity, power, sex drive and confidence. It is clear that the life as we know it would be inconceivable without this hormone. This is why high or low levels of testosterone can bring about many health and mental issues. The good thing is that there are many natural testosterone boosters, but also medical treatments for improving the hormone levels. If you lead a healthy life and follow the doctor’s advice, you will never face the issue of being a “lesser” man.