Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a diverse role in the maintenance of a man’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Both men and women produce testosterone, but men require much larger quantities than women. Hence, testosterone is typically referred to as a biologically male-specific hormone.
In men, testosterone is produced in the testicles and is probably best known for its role in the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics such as sex organs, facial and body hair, and deepening of the voice. But testosterone does a lot more than that. In fact, it is also responsible for a man’s sex drive, sperm health, bone health, muscle mass, red blood cell production, and mood stability1.
There are a variety of factors that can reduce your ability to produce testosterone, but the most common is age1.
Testosterone, or T, production peaks in early adulthood and naturally begins to decline by about 1-2% per year by the time a man reaches age 402. By age 50, many men report experiencing a variety of negative symptoms associated with reduced T levels and roughly 20% of men over the age of 60 have demonstrably low T2.
Here are 6 examples of the most common signs and symptoms of low testosterone:
Low libido — or low sex drive — is one of the most common symptoms of reduced T. Testosterone is a driving force behind the desire to have sex and when its availability is limited dramatic reductions in sex drive may occur3.
Reduced Muscle Mass
Testosterone interacts directly with your DNA and assists with the production of neurotransmitters which stimulate protein synthesis and muscle tissue growth3. The presence of testosterone also increases the production of growth hormone — a hormone known for its role in muscle mass preservation.
When testosterone levels are low, muscle mass gradually begins to decline along with it. Diminished musculature can put you at greater risk for developing insulin resistance, illness, injury, and impaired mobility3.
Low testosterone levels are associated with an increased risk of developing anemia due to impaired red blood cell production4. Red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygen and vital nutrients to tissues throughout the body, thus, maintaining adequate levels is imperative for supporting good health.
Symptoms of anemia may include low energy levels despite getting adequate sleep, pale skin, dizziness, shortness of breath, and increased heart rate4.
Testosterone is responsible for male body hair production during puberty and throughout adulthood. When T levels decline, many men may experience generalized loss of hair on multiple parts of their bodies including head, chest, and face. Of note, there is a strong genetic component to hair loss on your head and balding is not necessarily indicative of low T — but it could be a contributing factor5.
Fatigue & Mood Changes
Testosterone has a strong influence on the production of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and energy levels1. Reduced T can negatively impact energy levels which may leave you feeling exhausted and unmotivated, regardless of how much sleep you’re getting.
Men with low testosterone are also more likely to battle feelings of depression, lack of focus, and irritability1.
Testosterone stimulates the production of nitric oxide, a compound which dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the penis in order to cause an erection. Low T means reduced nitric oxide availability which can make it considerably more difficult to initiate and maintain an erection6. Men with low T may also experience reduced semen production and diminished sperm quality.
Lifestyle Factors That May Help Boost T
Aging is an unavoidable part of life, but there are a variety of lifestyle factors that can support healthy testosterone levels and help you manage symptoms associated with low T — regardless of your age.
It’s no secret that exercise can lead to many positive health outcomes, but what you may not realize is that hormone production is one of them. Incorporating a combination of cardiovascular and strength training into your health and wellness routine is a great way to stimulate production of testosterone.
If exercise is new for you, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise plan.
When you’re under a lot of stress, your body will begin to cut back on using resources for processes that are “non-essential” in an effort to preserve vital bodily functions. Sex hormone production is not a physiological priority during periods of high stress, but implementing effective stress management techniques may help your body adapt and recover more efficiently.
Getting plenty of sleep, minimizing alcohol intake, quitting smoking, cultivating strong interpersonal relationships, spending time outdoors, breathing exercises, and making time for leisure activities you enjoy are all great strategies for managing acute and chronic stress.
The types and amount of foods you eat can have a dramatic impact on your body’s ability to produce an adequate supply of sex hormones.
Working toward consuming a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat from a variety of whole, minimally processed foods is an excellent place to start. Chronic undereating, rapid weight loss, and extreme diets can all be interpreted by your body as stress, which may contribute to a drop in T production.
Specific nutrients that support T production include vitamin D and zinc7,8. If you’re having a hard time getting enough of these nutrients from your diet, you may consider adding a supplement to your routine such as our Testo Booster which is specifically formulated to support improved T production.