According to results of researches, around 40% of men of the age of 45 and older suffer from an abnormally low level of testosterone (or hypogonadism), which means that the supply of this hormone in their blood is so decreased that it causes serious symptoms and influences the quality of their life. More to the point, in fact, every man faces a decrease in testosterone at some point in his life. So, even if you have not encountered this problem yet, learning about it beforehand is a good idea.
Basic Info about Testosterone Deficiency
Testosterone is a hormone that affects the work of a reproductive system and is produced by both male and female bodies. Also, it makes an impact on muscle and bone mass, physical strength and growth of body hair.
The supply of this hormone in men is significantly higher than in women. According to experts, a healthy young man (at the age of 19–39 years) has the level of testosterone that ranges from 264 to 916 ng/dL. After the age of 30, the concentration of this hormone in the blood usually starts to lower ― about 1% per year. It is a normal aging process.
When the level of this hormone gets abnormally decreased, a man faces serious health consequences.
The most frequent symptoms of this problem include:
- Decreased growth of hair on the body, the scalp and the face. Certainly, that can be related to aging as well.
- A reduction in the muscle mass. Since this hormone is involved in muscle building processes, its deficiency leads to a reduction in the muscle volume. But that does not always influence strength.
- A decrease in bone volume. That condition is rather dangerous, since it increases risks of bone fractures and other similar injuries.
- Low libido. No doubt, sex drive becomes weaker with aging, but, in case a man suffers from low testosterone, that drop is much more dramatic.
- Erectile problems. This sex hormone is involved in triggering erections, so its deficiency can result in inability to get and preserve a hard erection and, consequently, to have satisfactory intercourse.
- Decreased production of sperm. Men with testosterone deficiency frequently notice that their bodies produce less sperm.
- That condition manifests itself through enlarged breast tissues that resemble female breasts. The reason is an imbalance between two hormones ― estrogen and testosterone.
- If you get enough sleep, but still feel tired all the time or do not have enough energy to stay as active as usually, that can be a symptom of hypogonadism.
- Changes in the mood. According to researchers, men with low testosterone are more likely to feel irritated, experience problems with concentration and even suffer from depression.
- Hot flashes. They are also often called “night sweats”. In the case of such a condition, a man sweats so much at night, that his linen or pajamas get soaked. Sure, that affects the quality of sleep.
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned, it is highly advisable to have a consultation with a doctor. If the specialist suspects that you have problems with testosterone, you will need to undergo a special blood test (at least 2 times) and, in most cases, a range of other medical examinations. As a rule, the blood test is taken in the morning, since at this time of the day the level of the hormone mentioned is the highest. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter ones, as some of them may influence the concentration of testosterone in the blood.
As for women, they do not usually suffer from low testosterone, but, when the level of this hormone is too high, it can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms and even severe health consequences, including increased growth of hair on the face and body, changes in the voice, menstrual irregularities, absence of menstrual periods, infertility. Those symptoms require medical aid as well.
If it turns out that you have an abnormally decreased level of testosterone, you will be prescribed special treatment, in most cases ― testosterone replacement therapy. In such a case, you will receive an artificial form of testosterone that will influence your body identically to the natural hormone.
Such therapy is available in the form of injections, pills, gel patches, and, consequently, can be used both by mouth and externally. It is a quick and effective way to normalize the supply of the hormone, but it requires constant medical observation and frequent blood tests. When the level of testosterone is too high in men, that can also lead to adverse health consequences.
In addition to drug therapy, you can use varied herbal supplements that are intended at normalizing testosterone production. Such products are not as effective as medications, but they are much safer. Still, before using any of them, be sure to get approval and recommendations from your doctor.
Today, on the market, there is a huge selection of testosterone-boosting dietary supplements. Let us discuss the most frequently-used ones, so that it is easier for you to make a choice.
- D-Aspartic Acid. According to researchers, this natural amino acid helps to normalize testosterone production in men with the deficiency, to improve the quality of sperm, as well as to make muscles bigger and stronger.
- Vitamin D. Nowadays, most people have a low level of this vitamin, since they do not spend much time outside and avoid sunbathing, due to health risks. But getting enough vitamin D is essential for staying healthy. That is why using supplements containing it is common practice. According to researchers, such products can increase a testosterone level by about 20% in a year, especially if there is deficiency.
- Keeping track of the consumption of this mineral is essential to those who are concerned about their testosterone levels. Even healthy men can experience a testosterone drop, if they do not get enough zinc. The mineral is also considered to be a potent aphrodisiac.
- It is one of the most famous herbs. It has been widely applied in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Its most well-known health effect is relieving stress. But it is also a potent testosterone, strength and performance booster.
- Tribulus Terrestris. This herb was the first to be applied as a testosterone booster. Some researchers claim that it has the potential to increase testosterone in men with deficiency. Besides, it produces a positive impact on male health in general, for example, it significantly improves sex drive, while its decrease can be one of the symptoms of low testosterone.
- This is another popular herbal supplement. It is considered to reduce transformation of testosterone into estrogen. Researchers report growth of the levels of both free and total testosterone, as well as enhancements to sex drive and performance, energy levels and general well-being. The effect of dietary supplements containing this ingredient is noticeable in healthy men as well.
Extra Tips that Will Help You Prevent or Deal with a Testosterone Drop
It may surprise you, but there are also non-medical ways to boost testosterone. Even if your doctor says you cannot overcome the problem without meds, you can use the recommendations below as an auxiliary treatment option.
- Get rid of excessive body weight. According to statistics, the prevalence of testosterone deficiency in men with obesity is about 2.5 times higher than in men with normal weight. There are 2 main reasons for that. First of all, fat cells transform testosterone into estrogen. Also, obese men suffer from a decrease in the level of sex hormone binding globulin, which is responsible for transporting testosterone in the blood. Consequently, when a man gets rid of excessive weight, his level of testosterone increases.
- Specialists recommend paying special attention to resistance exercise, like lifting weights. After a workout, your testosterone level will lift for a period of 15–60 minutes. But it is noteworthy that this effect is more prominent in young men. To take the most out of a training session, schedule it for the afternoon or the evening. Also, exercising on a regular basis helps to fight obesity, which also contributes to the normalization of a testosterone level.
- Sleep enough. It may sound surprising, but sleep deprivation makes a disastrous impact on testosterone production. Researchers have found out that, when one sleeps for 5.5 hours or less for just 8 days, that leads to a 10–15% testosterone decrease. So, if you want to avoid symptoms related to this health problem, be sure to sleep at least 7 hours every day.
- Lead a normal sex life. Regular sex helps to normalize levels of sex hormones, including testosterone.
- Avoid alcohol. It can reduce your testosterone level, not to mention its negative influence on sexual life and health in general.
- Minimize stresses. Anxiety boosts a level of cortisol, which eventually results in a testosterone drop. Besides, many people fight stress with the help of tasty and filling foods, which can lead to obesity. And, as it has already been noted, gaining fat mass is likely to have a bad influence over testosterone concentration in the blood.
- Add testosterone-boosting foods to your diet. As it has already been highlighted, vitamin D and zinc are two key nutrients that help to preserve a normal level of testosterone, so, consuming products containing these substances is a great supplement to meds. Here are some of the foods that are frequently recommended for men with low testosterone:
- This fish is rich in vitamin D, which is involved in testosterone production. One serving is enough to get a daily norm of this vitamin. Certainly, there is no need to limit yourself to eating tuna only. You can opt for sardines or salmon as well, they also contain much vitamin D. You can eat both fresh and canned fish, there is no difference. But, to avoid mercury poisoning, do not eat more than 2–3 servings of fish per a week.
- Milk with vitamin D. Make sure this product is fortified with the vitamin mentioned. Such milk will both make your bones stronger and will increase your testosterone level. There are low-fat versions available on the market as well.
- If you are interested in vitamin D solely, you can consume yolks only. One egg per day is enough. But if you have a high cholesterol level, it is better to turn to your doctor for advice before starting to consume this product on a regular basis.
- Cereals fortified with vitamin D. That is a good choice for breakfast.
- They are a rich source of zinc, and you do not need to eat them in large amounts. If a man suffers from deficiency of this nutrient, increasing its level is likely to boost testosterone as well.
- That can be crabs or lobsters. Such products are another great source of zinc.
- As you have probably heard, doctors recommend minimizing the consumption of red meat, still, one serving per a week will not hurt. Beef liver is rich in vitamin D, and if you want to fulfill your supplies of zinc, choose some kind of a meal from chuck steak or ground meat.
- You can choose any kind of beans you like most of all. All of them will supply your body with zinc. Besides, they are rich in protein and fiber.
Sure, a diet cannot solve the problem of testosterone deficiency on its own, but it will make a significant contribution to general results of treatment. To sum up, testosterone is the hormone that plays a crucial role in male health. And, if you notice any of the signs of its deficiency, it is better to turn to a doctor without a delay, so that the situation does not get worse. But, even if you do not have any problems as of now, it is advisable to discuss this issue with a doctor and to start using a dietary supplement as a preventive means (if the specialist approves that).