What should you know about testosterone?
What is testosterone and how does it work?
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for normal growth and development. It also affects lean body mass, energy and mood. It is the primary hormone responsible for male characteristics and muscle building. Normal levels will vary with age and individual health factors.
What are some symptoms of Low Testosterone?
- Reduced Mental Focus
- Reduced Strength
- Less Lean Muscle
- Lower Energy
- Increasing Abdominal Fat
- Changes in Body Composition
As shown in Figure 1, as men age, they commonly experience a steady decline in Testosterone – about 1% a year after middle age.
This decline is due to many factors that get in the way of retaining a healthy testosterone blood level. These factors include inflammatory states caused by being overweight, poor diet, medications, and alcohol. Furthermore, stress, lack of adequate sleep, and problems with how the body uses carbohydrates for energy (due to impaired function of the blood sugar controlling hormone insulin) also affect testosterone blood levels. Some experts also think that our own bodies are slowly turning down their engines to get ready for a slower pace and eventual death. However, many physicians in the aging field have now begun to believe that we can grow older while keeping our strength, sexual function, lean tissue, and cognitive function, so that we have more “disability-free” years.
What are considered normal levels of testosterone?
As illustrated in Figure 2, the normal levels of total testosterone in men can range anywhere from 300 to 1,100 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). Levels will vary with age and individual factors. It is useful to also measure the level of free testosterone. Proper monitoring by an experienced physician is extremely important to ensure optimal levels of testosterone, to maximize benefits and to minimize side effects.