Testosterone, the “male hormone” is produced in men by testes in response to LH secreted by the pituitary. This is converted into estrogen an even stronger hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT produces the male traits of moustache, beard, body hair, pubic and armpit hair, erections, deep voice, etc. Estradiol produces the characteristic female traits such as breast enlargement, higher voice, etc.
Role of Testosterone:
- Helps improve coronary artery flow and strength of the heart. Reduces cholesterol, decreases atherosclerosis, decreases blood pressure, aids in preventing blood clot formation, and improves the fluidity of blood
- Helps decrease obesity and diabetes, reduces fat mass, increases muscle, improves insulin action
- Maintains reproductive health, penis size and sexual potency, prostate health, testicular function
- Improves blood supply in brain/nerves and increases connections between neurons (brain cells)
- Sustains bone health, muscle mass and strength, skin health
- Improves mood and memory and decreases anxiety
- Low testosterone may predispose a man to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thrombosis, hemorrhages, infertility, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis and its consequences, and poor wound healing
Hormone replacement therapy will keep your testosterone levels balanced.
Factors affecting testosterone production:
- Chronic versus intense physical activity, such as long distance running, burns testosterone and can deplete stores
- Intense stress decreases LH, thereby decreasing testosterone production. Positive, euphoric emotions may temporarily increase amounts in younger men
- Foods high in protein or saturated fat increase production, while sweets and a very high fiber diet may decrease levels
- Levels decrease with age, by age 70 over a 50% decrease in production may occur
Onset of Testosterone Deficiency
Childhood: Few signs of virilization, young/boyish face, absent/sparse beard, high voice, poor muscular development, underdeveloped genitals, low sex drive, little body hair, and eunuch type body.
Adulthood: Regressing signs of virilization, hair recession at forehead and sides, aging face, regressing masculine body, atrophying muscles, decreased muscle mass and strength, joint pains, decrease in body hair, sex drive waning, abdominal obesity, headaches, ringing in ears, small wrinkles, fast heart rate or palpitations, easily sunburned, numbness and tingling, slow bowel movements, nervous, irritable, indecisive, hesitating, loss of self-confidence, submissiveness, depression, frequent complaints of sickness, fatigue, insomnia, hot flushes, prostate symptoms, decreased erections and ejaculation, poor concentration and memory, excessive emotions, excessive sensitivity to difficulties, tendency to worry, anxiety, fear, loss of initiative or interest in life, and socially withdrawn.
Contraindications to testosterone therapy:
Absence of testosterone deficiency, prostate cancer, acute active prostate infection, and enlarged prostate.
Progress with testosterone therapy effects work slowly. First improvements typically felt after 1-3 months. Sexual potency may take 3-6 months to see benefit. A diet high in animal protein, low in sweets and alcohol will result in faster results.