Do You Have Low Testosterone?
Low Testosterone is a growing epidemic affecting millions of men. Smart Medicine is spearheading the recovery to health with education. Today’s blog is dedicated to answering all the common questions surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
What causes Low Testosterone in men?
Some men never notice a decrease in their high testosterone or “T” levels. Those that do begin to see a decline after age 30 by about 1-2% each year.
Males suffering from low testosterone may see a more faster drop in levels, and there are many different factors that can cause this drop, including:
- Weight Gain/Obesity
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Stress
- Alcohol/illicit Drugs
For some men, bringing back testosterone levels to a “normal” range can be as simple as addressing these conditions. Let’s break down each factor.
Gaining extra fat, particularly visceral fat, does not bode well for Testosterone production. Excess Fat cells act as a metabolizing organ, converting testosterone into Estrogen, feminizing ones masculine features, causing a condition known as gynecomastia, or “man boobs”. Muscle mass is more difficult to maintain.
We spoke about this earlier. Men tend to lose 1-2% a year in the total testosterone levels after age 30. In the developed world, scientists are now seeing a more rapid drop. Sedentarism, toxic exposure to estrogen-like toxins (in plastics) and stress seem to be the likely culprits.
Meds that can lead to low testosterone in men include:
- Beta blockers (eg atenolol)
- Hypertension medications
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Non-prescribed medications
Type 2 Diabetes:
High blood sugar and resultant insulin resistance in men can lead to vascular issues, increased atherosclerosis/plaque in your arteries, choking the blood flow, to your testes, among other organs. It can also damage the nerve bundles that can and lead to impotence or ED.
Antidepressant medications particularly SSRI’s like Prozac, Zoloft, or Lexapro act to lower testosterone levels. Insomnia, very common in depressed mood, stifles the REM and delta wave in your sleep pattern where your neuroendocrine system utilizes to synthesize testosterone.
High stress leads to increased cortisol levels which steal the precursor to testosterone production called DHEA. Without enough DHEA, the substrate for testosterone production, your T levels will decline. These levels can be tested by your healthcare provider.
Alcohol acts in many ways to thwart T production. Sleep disturbances, insulin resistance, and hormone suppression produced by Alcohol consumption. Illicit drugs, cocaine, meth, MDMA and particularly opiates, like heroin or the now ever-present Fentanyl wreck havoc over your T production.
Role of healthy Testosterone levels in Men’s Health
Reproductive and Sexual Health:
As we all know, testosterone is vital is your Reproductive and Sexual health. Male Fertility, Erectile function and orgasm are directly linked to your endocrine system and its glands, particularly the male testes.
Testosterone is one of the many ingredients that play a role in muscle development and skeletal or bone growth. Circulating testosterone, builds and maintains the large muscle groups, like your pecs, glutes and quads.
It also helps maintain a man’s basal metabolism by burning fat. As a result, men with lower levels of T often have a larger percentage of body fat than those with normal levels. Lowered levels of testosterone can also make the male body increase its fat stores, causing conditions such as gynecomastia.
Testosterone also sends signals to the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. By creating more red blood cells, the body is sending a message to the system to increase bone density. Men with low testosterone are more prone to bone fractures or, in some cases, to lose inches from their height as they age. T also aids in recovery from workouts or wound healing. Men with low T often complain of increased soreness and slow recovery from exercise, and more frequently injuries, and/or a slow bounce back from activity.