Article at a Glance
- Lowered testosterone, which leads to a host of symptoms, is a normal part of aging.
- Low testosterone can also be caused by lifestyle factors that disrupt other hormones in the body and cause testosterone levels to dip.
- Because testosterone levels are interdependent on other hormones, their optimization needs to be part of a comprehensive plan, which is best done by a qualified specialist.
If you are a male who has been noticing a dip in energy levels, libido, and alertness levels as you get older, it could be because of falling testosterone levels. And while that’s a normal process, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it. The effects of lowered testosterone can be reversed or at least reduced with male hormone optimization therapy. Many men are looking for the best hormone replacement doctors in their area. Let’s first explore more about testosterone and why its levels decline due to age and other factors.
Testosterone: What is it and Why it Goes Down with Age
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men that regulates processes such as hair growth, muscle mass development, bone mass development, red blood cell production, and fat distribution in the body. Women also have testosterone in their systems but in smaller quantities.
Testosterone levels are controlled by the brain and pituitary gland, and previous research has shown after the age of 40, total testosterone levels tend to go down at a rate of around 1.6% per year [R]. Newer research has produced somewhat contradicting results, stating that in general, total testosterone levels may start dropping in a man’s 20s at a steady pace until the age of 40, where levels tend to even out and don’t fall any further [R]. The study still found that some men continued to face a decline in testosterone even after age 40.
Regardless, let’s examine why testosterone levels fall over time. The first reason is decreased responsiveness of the Leydig cells in the testes. Over time, and after a man reaches his peak testosterone levels around the age of 19, they begin to decrease. Leydig cells are the cells responsible for synthesizing testosterone. With aging, they get less and less responsive to the precursor hormones that instruct them to produce testosterone.
The second reason is the decreased production or increased suppression of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone and luteinizing hormone in the brain. These are the precursor hormones that regulate the production of testosterone [R]. This decrease in precursor hormones happens naturally with aging. These two reasons form the basis of why men produce less testosterone as they grow older.
Other Factors that Cause Low Testosterone
Besides aging, there are other factors that can cause lowered testosterone in a man. These factors include but are not limited to:
- Obesity – An excess of body fat in men can trigger excess estrogen production which causes the suppression of testosterone. Excess body fat also lowers the production of testosterone in the testes.
- Poor diet – A high sugar diet increases insulin production excessively in the body, which lowers testosterone levels as a result.
- High or chronic stress levels – Stress results in the body releasing high amounts of the hormone cortisol and suppresses the production of testosterone, as these two hormones work against each other.
- Chronic illness – Diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease also affect the production of testosterone.
In addition, hormone levels in a man’s body need to be at the correct levels so that they do not antagonize the production of testosterone in any way. Any factor that causes other hormones to circulate in abnormal levels in the body will likely affect testosterone levels.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels
Having low testosterone levels can result in a variety of unpleasant symptoms, and can adversely affect a man’s quality of life. These symptoms include:
- Low libido
- Impotence and/or infertility
- Erectile dysfunction
- Body composition changes (less muscle mass, reduced strength, etc.)
- Lack of motivation
- Brain fog
- Gynecomastia (breast development in men)
- Changes to one’s sleep pattern
- Bone density reduction.
Things A Man Can Do to Boost Low Testosterone Levels
Since low testosterone is also partly caused by lifestyle factors, there are some non-medical ways to naturally boost testosterone. Cleaning up one’s diet, reducing sugar intake, exercising more regularly to optimize metabolism, and keeping stress levels at bay to maintain low cortisol levels can all help in boosting testosterone levels.
There are also medical options available for those who need more help, and doctors may prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for men diagnosed with low testosterone levels. HRT involves the administration of synthetic testosterone to a patient via injections, patches, gels, creams, and pellet implants, among others.
Male Hormone Replacement Doctors: Finding the Right Specialist
As discussed above, low testosterone is often due to the effects of fluctuating levels of other hormones in the body. Because of this, it is unwise to just go to a General Practitioner and request HRT. This will only treat the symptoms, not the imbalance that is causing your testosterone levels to be lower. The best way to optimize your hormones and thus restore your testosterone levels to optimal is by finding a suitable specialist in the field of hormone optimization.
A good practitioner of hormone optimization would be:
- Professionally certified in hormone replacement/optimization therapy, and have practiced it for a number of years.
- A good listener, and a master of accounting for patient history. The specialist should carefully listen to the symptoms you have been experiencing and run the necessary tests. They need to know objectively where you stand with your health. The specialist should not simply order lab tests without first getting to know you.
- A believer in customized treatment plans. There is no one-size-fits-all way to optimize a man’s hormone levels and treatments should be customized to each specific patient’s needs.
- A holistic practitioner who will also advise you on eating the right diet, exercising, and incorporating positive lifestyle changes, rather than simply giving you medical treatment.
When you first visit a specialist, use the list above as a general guideline to gauge if this doctor is a professional who will serve you well in your quest to optimize your hormones.
Decreases in testosterone are a normal part of aging, but they can also be exacerbated by poor lifestyle choices, chronic illnesses, and by other hormone imbalances in the body. Because of this, it is important to look for a proper practitioner who is adept in hormonally optimizing their patients in a complete manner, rather than merely replacing testosterone.
Ready to prime your body hormonally and get yourself feeling like the old you? Our directory allows you to view all of the clinics and doctors near you that offer hormone replacement and optimization therapy.
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