What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a natural androgenic hormone produced in the testicles of males and ovaries of females. It is that hormone which is primarily responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. Testosterone is quintessential for general health and well- being of an individual. The levels of testosterone in males are 7-8 times higher than that of females. Also, the metabolic consumption of testosterone in males is much higher than that in females. Although it is more effective in males (and is considered a male hormone), still women are more sensitive to the effects of this hormone.
What is the effect of age on the levels of Testosterone?
The levels of testosterone are highest in the body during puberty and gradually drop down with age. Thus, older men may have low testosterone levels on account of the aging process or because of hypogonadism.
What are the effects of this Hormone?
Testosterone has a wide range of benefits. Some of these are listed as follows:
- Bone density: This hormone is known for its ability to increase bone density in the body and helps to build strong muscles.
- Anaemia: This hormone increases the count of red blood cells in the body, and thus helps in preventing anaemia.
- Building muscle strength and mass: It helps in building muscle tissue and also boosts the repair ‘n’ recovery of muscle tissue in the body. It also helps in gaining lean body mass.
- Sperm production: It is highly required for sperm production by males.
- Puberty: It is required by the body in gaining secondary sex characteristics such as deepening of voice, growth of beard etc.
- Improves protein synthesis: Testosterone hormone has brilliant abilities to improve protein synthesis in the body and thus use amino acids to help in muscle growth.
What causes Testosterone levels to fall in the Body?
Testosterone levels generally fall down with age. But, other than this natural cause, there exist many other reasons for the decline in the levels of this hormone as well.
Following factors might be responsible for the decline in levels of testosterone:
- Infection or injury of testicles.
- Kidney failure
- Prolonged stress.
- Excessive and tedious use of alcohol.
- Dysfunctioning of pituitary gland
- Inflammation of lungs
- Chemotherapy (treatment used in cancer)
- Excessive iron present in the body
- Artificial hormone intake
- Genetic abnormality
- Earlier loss of virginity
- Multiple sex partners
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Chronic disease
How to know if Testosterone levels are declining due to factors other than Aging?
Following symptoms may occur if your testosterone levels are declining due to some reasons:
- Diminishing erectness
- Mood swings
- Hair fall
- Low bone density
- Low muscle strength
There are many ways to maintain the levels of testosterone in the body, the simplest and the most popular of which includes the use of artificial supplements. Many artificial analogs to testosterone have been developed, such as fluoxymesterone and methyltestosterone. These have improved bioavailability as well as longer half life. Sold commercially under the name of testosterone 101, these are immensely popular amongst masses.
But, as of every other supplement, these too have their own list of side- effects. Some of these are listed below:
- Cancer: Excessive levels of testosterone are very common if these drugs are taken in high amounts, which may pose a risk of Prostate cancer, cancer of testes or ovaries cancer.
- Loss of fertility: Synthetic testosterone may lead to loss of fertility and may affect sperm production in males.
- Effects in females: This synthetic supplement causes virilisation problems in females even when taken in small amounts. Hence, it must not be consumed by women at all. Deepening or hoarsening of the voice, clitoral enlargement, and irregular menstrual cycles are some of the other the side- effects that might occur in females consuming this drug.
- Edema: It can lead to Edema (swelling in the body tissues due to fluid).
- High blood sugars: It can increase the blood sugar levels in the body. Thus, if you are diabetic, do not take this supplement or else you blood sugar levels may shoot high.
- Hepatic problems: Many hepatic problems like peliosis hepatis (including mild liver dysfunction), hepatic neoplasm and hepatocellular carcinomas may occur in people on a dose of this artificial supplement.
- Genitourinary side- effects: Oligospermia and decreased ejaculatory volume are some of the few genitourinary troubles that this supplement may give you.
- Metabolic side- effects: Metabolic side- effects like osteolytic- induced hypocalcaemia and acute porphyries may also occur in people on a dose of this supplement.
- Effects on Cholesterol levels: It increases the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and decreases the levels of HDL (the good cholesterol). If you already have mismanaged cholesterol levels, try avoiding this drug supplement. So, in case you are on a dose of this supplement, keep a check on your cholesterol levels.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Many gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach irritation, etc. may trouble you if you are on a dose of this drug.
- It may also cause myalgia and joints pain.
- Effects on injection site: Inflammation or pain on injection site is a very common side- effect of this supplement.
- Sleep apnea: Rare cases of sleep apnea have also been witnessed as part of the side- effects of this artificial supplement.
- Hepatic problems: Many hepatic problems like peliosis hepatis (including mild liver dysfunction), hepatic neoplasm and hepatocellular carcinomas may occur in people on a dose of this drug.
Alternative methods to naturally boost the testosterone levels
If you do not want any side- effects while boosting the testosterone levels in your body, you can opt for natural ways as well. Some of these are listed below:
- Nutrients: Nutrients like zinc and vitamin D play a very essential role in boosting the production of testosterone in the body.
- Weight control: Researches have proved that levels of testosterone fall with overweight. Hence, try to manage to your weight for the purpose.