Testosterone is one of the key hormones in your body. But more often than not, the topic continues to draw interest, causing conundrum and at times fear amongst us as we age.
The internet is constantly filled with misinformation and information overload, some of which deliberately causing premature fear — that may have led some of us to prescribe a hormone treatment or purchasing a product.
This article will break down this conundrum and predicament by answering common questions such as:
- How does testosterone impact my body and health
- Does testosterone reduce as I get older?
- Are there any signs if I am low on testosterone?
- How can I boost or restore my testosterone levels?
This article will detail out the answers to the above questions in order to equip you with science-based facts on testosterone. If you are married, you will find this article particularly relevant.
But before that, here are some basics on testosterone – which serves as a 101 lesson to those who are new on this subject.
What most people do not realize is that a significant part of healthy aging is feeling great, fit, strong, energetic (mentally and physically) and enjoying what our natural libido has to offer. So much of this is tied to various hormones, notably testosterone.
Testosterone controls many vital functions in our body such as:
- sex drive
- bone mass
- fat distribution
- muscle size and strength
- red blood cell production
Here are quick facts (which you may already know):
- Testosterone exists in both men and women, albeit higher in men.
- For men — Testosterone hormone is produced in the testicles and adrenal gland
- For women — Testosterone hormone is produced in various locations – ovary, adrenal gland, peripheral tissues
The total testosterone in our body consists of 3 main composition:
- 2%-3% Free (unbound or unattached) Testosterone (FT)
- 45% testosterone bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)
- 50% testosterone bound to other proteins (mainly albumin)
In short, the most usable testosterone is the free (unattached) testosterone which effectively drives the efficiency of your libido functions, muscle growth, hair growth, strength and many others. Your body uses free testosterone molecules since they are at liberty to enter the body’s cells – unimpeded by SHBG or albumin
Still confused with the difference between free vs total testosterone and how it works? You can refer to a detailed explanation here.
Testosterone drops as you get older
Although most men and women have more than enough testosterone to perform the required functions, numerous scientific studies have proven that testosterone level in human body declines with age. Here are the findings:
- Total testosterone falls on average by 6% per year
- Free testosterone falls on average by 2-3% per year
If you are between 40 to 80 years, the average testosterone in your body will be between 50% to 70% of what is used to compared in your 20s.
You can read the scientific evidence here.
The amount of testosterone drop varies greatly depending on your lifestyle, diet, health conditions and how active you are. Some will experience more testosterone lost than others.
Here is a video on why testosterone decreases and truth about testosterone by Thomas Delaur
How do I know if I am low on testosterone?
Whilst the testosterone in our body will inevitably reduce over time, there is a possibility for the body to produce too little testosterone regardless of age.
Late-onset hypogonadism has become a widely recognized medical condition by doctors, although many of the symptoms are associated with normal aging.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone (Hypogonadism)
Here are clear symptoms of late-onset hypogonadism (which can be a guide for early warning signs) such as:
- diminished erectile quality, particularly at night
- decreased libido
- mood changes – depression, anger irritability or lack of focus at work
- reduced cognitive function
- fatigue, depression, and anger
- a decrease in muscle mass and strength
- decreased body hair (i.e hair loss)
- skin changes
- decreased bone mass and bone mineral density
- increase in abdominal fat mass
Free Testosterone Check
If you experience any of the above symptoms, the best is to consult your nearest doctor further validation. Alternatively, you can use these sets of online “testosterone tests” – simply by answering few questions!
Here are reliable testosterone tests from Bayer which you can participate for free:
How to treat low testosterone or increase your testosterone level?
Option #1: Medical Therapy for Low Testosterone
If you are willing to spend some money, there are specialized testosterone therapy such as:
- Skin patch.
- Oral therapy.
You may refer to each of the therapies above in greater details from Harvard Medical School here.
And with medical treatments, there are the usual pros and cons. The list of pros and cons for each testosterone therapy treatment is listed here by Bayer.
Option #2: Boost Your Testosterone Naturally
Save that all that money as there are cheaper and more effective alternatives to boost your testosterone naturally.
We believe these methods, once applied holistically and religiously can bring the desired improvement in your testosterone. It works for most people, so give it a try!
We list down well known and scientific-backed studies to increase your testosterone level naturally.
- Lose Weight & Stay Active
- Take Vitamins & Supplements
- Manage your stress
- Sleep Well
- Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
1. Lose Weight & Stay Active
We cannot stress how important this is.
Research studies have shown that a person who is overweight, obese or have more weight than average, chances are that person has lower levels of testosterone.
A study published at Clinical Endocrinology showed that obese males recorded up to 50 percent less testosterone than those who are not overweight. This study was conducted based on human test subjects between the ages of 14 and 20.
So start an active lifestyle and hit your nearest gym soon.
Try these six exercises (from short sprints to heavy lifting) that can boost your testosterone naturally!
2. Take Natural Supplements
Complement your regular exercises with the right diet plan and natural supplements!
Herbal supplements are gaining popularity in recent years – from pre-workout drinks or as a dietary plan. Few herbs are proven by scientists to restore or increase that free testosterone – from maca, panax ginseng, tongkat ali and others.
Scientific studies on Tongkat Ali herbal root (known as Malaysian Ginseng) had shown to increase testosterone by up to 122% in men and women. You may see it sold on Amazon, eBay by a different name such as Long Jack.
Read 12 other potential health benefits of Tongkat Ali backed by science here.
3. Manage Your Stress better
Testosterone hormone is related to another hormone called cortisol, a hormone that is primarily responsible to control how emotion – which includes stress, anger, anxiety and overall mood.
Studies have shown that stress elevates the hormone cortisol – thus, in turn, causing a rapid drop in testosterone levels.
If you struggle to manage stress because of your natural personality attributes, there are natural supplements that are scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety.
4. Sleep Well
Lack of sleep can affect the levels of hormones and chemicals that the body needs to function correctly, including testosterone. It is highly recommended by doctors and health experts to sleep between 6 to 8 hours a day.
A study from the University of Chicago performed on 10 healthy men found that testosterone levels dropped by up to 15 percent in 7 days when they were exposed to only 5 hours of sleep.
15% drop of testosterone in 7 days is significantly higher than the average testosterone drops per year of 1 to 2% in average male
5. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Heavy consumption of drugs and alcohol (i.e five or more drinks in a two-hour period) have been linked to lower testosterone.
Alcohol have been found by researchers to cause low testosterone levels due to the effects it has on the body – by damaging Leydig cells in the testes which produce and secrete testosterone.
In addition, alcohol can cause increase in stress hormone (cortisol) too!
Last Words on Testosterone
Aging is a beautiful journey and there is no need to panic if you find yourself having low testosterone. There are however, notable benefits of maintaining or restoring youthful testosterone levels as you age – providing an upward spiral of health and general well-being.
It translates to more energy, more lean mass / strength, healthier insulin / blood sugar levels, improved mood and mental focus, increased libido and sexual health for men. The improvement is noticeable and it is no surprise that many of us today continue to subscribe to various treatments or remedies.
Managing your testosterone can be done effectively through natural ways without having to incur unnecessary spending on expensive hormonal treatment to restore your testosterone level.
We hope that this article encapsulates key information you need about testosterone.
Note : If you have more time to spare, this hour-long video by Dr. John Ludlow (from Holland Hospital in West Michigan) goes deep into the medical details of testosterone hormone and how it impacts our health.
Naressa Khan contributes regularly on AKARALI. As a writer and journalist, Naressa is all about creating, deconstructing, and reassembling meanings through words. With this approach always in mind, she eagerly explores the nuances in life via the aspects of lifestyle, culture, travel, health, and wellness.