What is Testosterone and Why is it Important for Muscle Growth & Health?

Testosterone is the primary male hormone, a steroid found in humans and other mammals. While women also have testosterone, men have about seven to eight times as much as women. It’s a scientific fact that as men age, the levels of testosterone drop.  Testosterone levels start falling off rapidly at around age 40.

Testosterone Basics Explained:

Testosterone is a male hormone made naturally by the body. It’s important in the growth of male reproductive organs such as the testes and the prostate gland. It’s also responsible for lean, healthy muscle mass, the growth of body hair, bone density, mental alertness, and a powerful immune system. Testosterone is essential for the prevention of osteoporosis and plays a key role in heart health.

Testosterone falls into the class of hormones called androgens which is a steroid hormone. According to the National Institutes of Health, testosterone is the most important male hormone in the body. It’s where your sex drive comes from, and it is critical for sperm production. It plays a significant role in fat distribution, too, and in the production of red blood cells.

When the body has healthy levels of testosterone, you feel strong. When testosterone is low, you feel weak.

Why Is Testosterone Important?

As mentioned above, testosterone is regarded by doctors and health experts as being the most important androgen in the human body. Testosterone doesn’t simply “make a man a man.” It protects you from many of the diseases of aging, such as:

Testosterone declines as we age, dropping off to unhealthy levels as ages as young as 40. Maintaining proper levels of testosterone as you age is therefore one of the top considerations of healthy aging.

What are Signs of Low Testosterone?

You get that soft and dumpy look. Fat builds up in rolls, particularly around the abdomen. You’ll notice more body fat, and it will be harder to lose that fat, no matter how much you exercise.

When you have low testosterone, you have little to no muscle definition. Muscle strength drops dramatically. Activities that were once easy become difficult and exhausting. Exercise wears you out far beyond what it should.

Along with that, bone density drops, potentially leading to osteoporosis. This can make your bones brittle, increasing the risk of fractures and breaks.

You experience regular mental fatigue, as though the mind refuses to function properly. Concentration becomes difficult, and memory fades. There’s a loss of motivation, as though nothing matters. It’s likely that self-confidence will drop, too. Periods of moderate to severe depression increase. You may feel sad.

Hair loss is commonly associated with low levels of testosterone, too, and red blood cell production drops off.

You notice a change in your sex drive. Spontaneous erections don’t happen as often, you don’t feel the urge to have sex, and your sperm cell count drops.

That’s a long list, isn’t it?

Clearly, testosterone is critical to men’s health. You must have it for proper muscle mass and physical strength. It makes bones strong and fracture-resistant. It supports healthy function of the sex organs. Testosterone gives you the motivation and drive to live life to its fullest extent. And, for many man, having enough testosterone means having plenty of hair.

See Also: What is DOMS and how to get rid of it?

Testing and Treatment for Low Testosterone:

The only way to determine for sure whether you have low testosterone is to see your doctor and get a blood test. Once you know you have low testosterone, there are several options to treating the condition.

Man-made testosterone itself is often prescribed when a doctor determines that the body’s natural count is low and there are corresponding symptoms, such as depression or sexual dysfunction. But synthetic testosterone has its dangers and side effects. Synthetic testosterone can easily be abused, too, as we’ve seen in its use among professional athletes. Most sports consider using testosterone (a steroid) a form of doping, so its use has been banned in professional sports. Testosterone has also been classified by the US Congress as a controlled substance, and too much of it can cause other health problems, so it’s critical that you use it only under a doctor’s supervision.

There are many ways to increase testosterone naturally. Supplements such as DHEA and androstenedione have been shown to increase testosterone production in the body. A healthy diet that has plenty of good fats, low or no sugar, lean protein, and lots of vegetables increases testosterone production, too, as will a regular, intense exercise program three to five days a week.

Related: Testosterone boosters to supplement your diet

Now that you know what testosterone is and why it’s important for maintaining top health, learn more about the types of supplements, foods, and exercises that promote healthy testosterone levels. You’ll find that growing older and having natural levels of decreasing testosterone doesn’t have to be a losing proposition. See also the many health benefits of krill oil

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