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Ever wondered what makes a man, “manly”? Testosterone.
This makes sense—after all, it’s known as the male hormone.
For one thing, it is responsible for the development of certain male attributes during puberty. It’s the chemical that gives teens their deep voice.
As it turns out, that’s not the only thing that testosterone does. The truth is, it participates in several other processes in the body.
Want to know more about testosterone levels in men? We’ve put together some interesting facts about the male hormone on this page.
Keep reading to learn more!
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the sex hormone that is responsible for the development of secondary characteristics in males.
What are hormones? They are chemical messengers that trigger changes in the body.
In males, testosterone is produced in the testicles. More specifically, they are present in the Leydig cells. It’s worth noting that females also produce testosterone in the ovaries—just in smaller amounts.
Not only does testosterone regulate sperm production in men, but it also plays a role in fat distribution and red blood cell production.
Testosterone Levels in Men: 8 Things to Know About the Hormone
Here are some facts about testosterone that you might not have known about!
1. Testosterone Levels Decline with Age
Testosterone levels decrease with age. By their 30’s, most men will experience a gradual decline in the male hormone.
This often leads to a decrease in sex drive. Unfortunately, this causes many men to believe that they’ve lost interest in sex simply due to the fact that they’re aging.
Other symptoms that are linked to low testosterone levels include erectile dysfunction, reduced bone mass, unexplained loss of hair, and hot flashes.
Treatment is generally not necessary as this is a naturally-occurring phenomenon.
2. Too Much Testosterone Can Be an Issue
Too much testosterone can also be a problem; it can result in a variety of symptoms.
For instance, it can result in precocious puberty—that is, when puberty begins before the age of 9 in boys. It can also cause infertility in adults.
Depression, aggression, impulsivity, and anger are also linked to high levels of testosterone.
According to one study, men with higher than average hormone levels are more likely to partake in risk-taking behaviors such as those that involve criminal activity.
3. Testosterone Levels Can Be Low For Many Reasons
Low levels of testosterone can be due to a variety of reasons.
For instance, it can result from testicular damage or infection of the testicles. Chronic diseases such as obesity, HIV/AIDS, and kidney disease can also lead to lower testosterone levels.
Certain genetic conditions are associated with low testosterone levels as well; some examples include Kallman syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome.
Some medications such as antidepressants and chemotherapy drugs can also lower testosterone levels.
4. Testosterone Replacement Therapy is an Option
In some cases, low testosterone levels may require hormone treatment.
Doctors can prescribe patches, injections, gels, or creams, all of which contain testosterone. These medications, however, are not suitable for everyone.
For instance, they are not recommended for those who are suspected of having prostate cancer. Why? Testosterone stimulates the growth of prostate cancer cells.
These treatments are also not a good option for those who have liver, kidney, or heart conditions, as the hormone can exacerbate these issues.
5. Testosterone Can Improve Sleep
Testosterone levels naturally rise during sleep. Considering this, it’s not surprising to know that the hormone can also improve sleep.
In fact, research has shown that low testosterone levels are associated with lower sleep efficiency.
In other words, there’s a greater chance of nocturnal awakenings. Not only that, but less time would be spent in slow-wave sleep.
What’s interesting, though, is that sleep loss can also lower testosterone levels in men. In one study, the effects became apparent after one week of sleep deprivation.
6. There Are Ways to Boost Testosterone Levels Naturally
You can increase testosterone levels in several ways—naturally.
One of the best methods is by exercising. Resistance training such as weightlifting is particularly effective for boosting testosterone.
Certain supplements such as Vitamin D can also act as a natural testosterone booster. This is especially true in the elderly, and those who have low levels of Vitamin D.
7. Your Diet Can Affect Your Testosterone Levels
What you eat can impact your testosterone levels. Take tuna, for instance—it boosts testosterone production.
Foods that are rich in zinc such as oysters and lentils have also been shown to boost testosterone. In fact, low levels are often associated with a zinc deficiency.
Berries are also great. They contain a significant amount of antioxidants, which helps to fight against free radicals in the body.
What does this have to do with testosterone? Free radicals, including those in the gonads, can damage cells, which can deplete testosterone levels.
Avoid overeating or dieting as these behaviors can disrupt your hormone levels.
8. Testosterone Levels Vary Throughout the Day
It’s normal for testosterone levels to rise and fall throughout the day in younger men. More specifically, in those under the age of 45.
Generally speaking, readings will be highest in the morning and lowest at night. For this reason, doctors usually recommend taking testosterone tests between 8 am and 11 am.
The Importance of Testosterone
As you can see, a variety of things can alter testosterone levels in men—from food to exercise. The hormone is also involved with a number of important processes in the body.
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