What is Testosterone?
Hormones are chemical substances that control functioning of organs, directing many processes from growth to reproduction including sexual development in both sexes. How energy is stored & used in the body, fluid-level, salt & sugars in blood are also regulated by hormones. Although they are secreted in minute quantities, they play a large role in how a body functions.
Testosterone is the primary male hormone responsible for sexual development, building muscle & bone mass, body hair, deepening voice, while vital to the development of testes and prostrate - male reproductive organs. The amount of male hormone produced varies from in the womb to end of life and plays a crucial role in every stage of a man’s life.
Where it begins and where it ends
Master-minded by the hypothalamus in the brain, interpreted by the pituitary glands and executed by the testes which produces testosterone and sperm in males. The leydig cells are the primary synthesizers of testosterone, regulated by luteinizing hormone (LH) & follicle stimulating hormone. The luteinizing male hormone also controls how much testosterone is produced by the leydig cells.
Ovaries in females produces testosterone to a lesser extent. It is also an anabolic steroid.
Adrenal glands in both sexes secrete small quantities of testosterone but it plays a primary role in males being an androgen, as such stimulates male characteristics.
Why and when does it fluctuate?
Health & wellbeing, prevention of osteoporosis is an important aspect regulated and inadequate production of testosterone can result in fragility & bone loss.
Testosterone production fluctuates peaking in puberty, and starts to taper down from age 30 by one percent per year.
While normal aging reduces testosterone production, Hypergonadism or low levels of testosterone (low T) may lead to low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat, lose of muscle mass, fatigue, depression. A vicious cycle leading to low self esteem. Intervention in the form of TRT remedies symptoms and puts the wind back in the sails.
What is the fix for low testosterone?
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
- A simple blood test for diagnosis, and an initial consult with the doctor to establish suitability of therapy is all that is needed. Precautions for side effects like enlargement of prostate, heart health requires periodic monitoring usually once every 6 months. Cholesterol, fluid retention, increased red blood cells, could be other side effects.
Medication is available in the form of injections and creams.
What to eat and what not to
Diet – A balanced diet that promotes good hormonal balance is essential to promote overall hormonal balance since it is more of an orchestra than a solo performance of testosterone alone.
In consultation with the doctor, certain foods that enhances -t levels should be added. Zinc and Vitamin D are nutrients that help -T.
Tuna, Low fat milk fortified with vitamin D, fortified cereals, egg yolks, oysters, shell fish, beans & some cuts of beef boost -T.
Staying away from smoking, marijuana, drugs, heavy drinking is important to augment testosterones.
Effect of Exercise – staying active versus sedentary must. Moderate regular exercise not only helps testosterone but reduces stress & cortisol levels, keeping the body fit, ensuing good sleep which enhances testosterone as well.
Intense work outs and endurance type activities are a no no and actually lowers -t levels.