Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced by the testes in men, and in smaller quantities by the ovaries in women. It is also produced in the adrenal glands of the body.
Testosterone is very important in the development of male reproductive tissues in the testes and prostate. It also leads to the development of male sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass, and the growth of body hair. Testosterone is essential for general health and well-being and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Levels of testosterone are on average 7 to 8 times higher in men than in women and because men metabolize it in greater quantities production of the hormone is up to 20 times greater in men. Females are also more sensitive to the hormone. Testosterone is found in most vertebrates and counterparts are found in fish and even insects. This suggest that testosterone has an ancient evolutionary history.
Testosterone is a vitally important component to ensuring healthy libido and healthy sexual function. Its’ effects can be divided into anabolic and androgenic effects. The anabolic effects include growth of muscle mass and strength, increased bone density and strength, and stimulation of linear growth and bone maturation. Androgenic effects include maturation of the sex organs and, during puberty, a deepening of the voice, growth of the beard and axillary hair. These are all typically associated with masculinity and a shortage of testosterone can cause feminization – loss of hair and weight gain especially around the belly and breast area.
Below is a summary of the main benefits to maintaining correct levels of testosterone in the body.
It is natural for the production of testosterone to drop as men age. This is often exacerbated when older males are also suffering from obesity especially around the belly area. Another major cause of a reduction in testosterone levels is oxidative stress.
According to nutritional expert, Dr. Ray. D. Strand
“All the pollutants in our air, food, and water dramatically increase the number of free radicals we produce. Enormous stress, excessive exercise, cigarette smoke, sunlight, radiation, and every drug prescribed greatly increase the number of free radicals produced in the body. In fact, there has never been a generation on this planet subjected to more oxidative stress than this present one. We are literally under attack from our polluted environment, stressful lifestyles, and over-medicated society.”
Another large contributor to a lowering of testosterone is the presence of Xenoestrogens in the environment. These are molecules that mimic the female sex hormone estrogen and lead to a depletion in testosterone and accompanying feminization of the male body.
Synthetic xenoestrogens are widely used in industrial compounds, such as PCBs, BPA and phthalates, and have estrogenic effects on living organisms.
Apart from oxidative stress and the presence of xenoestrogenic toxins in the environment it has also been found that several lifestyle issues can also dramatically impinge testosterone production. These include drinking too much alcohol, smoking, lack of exercise and also stress. Lack of sleep has also been found to reduce the body’s ability to produce testosterone.
If you are suffering from one or more of the above symptoms then the only way to determine if low testosterone is the cause is to visit a doctor and get a blood test. If your Doctor determines that your levels are too low then there are various treatments available. The usual treatment is a series of testosterone injections. There are also gels and patches available that can be applied on a daily basis.
There are many herbs and vitamin supplements that will aid in the production and maintenance of correct testosterone levels. The most common and effective ones are listed below.
The best way to determine if you have low testosterone is to get tested. Visit your Doctor and he will arrange the necessary tests. If you do have low testosterone levels then you may need hormone treatment which your doctor will also advise you on. If your levels are not very low then there are many herbal and natural supplements available in pharmacies that will assist you.