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Testosterone levels naturally begin a slow decline around age 30, but several factors can alter this rate. Obesity, for instance, can increase the risk of low testosterone, which can make it more difficult to lose weight. Exercise is thought to improve and maintain healthier testosterone production with age. As levels of testosterone decline, various symptoms may arise. Men may experience fatigue, weight gain, loss of libido (interest in sex), decreased mental sharpness, loss of motivation, mood swings or irritability and declining muscle mass.
Research has linked declining testosterone values to several chronic diseases and risk factors, including heart disease and vascular disease. Lower testosterone also correlates with worsening blood sugar levels in diabetics and decreased heart strength (contractility) . Other studies have shown worse heart function in men with lower free testosterone levels. Finally, there is an overall increased mortality rate among men with lower testosterone values. One study has even shown that certain men with lower testosterone levels may be at risk for more aggressive prostate cancer than those with higher testosterone levels. Returning hormone levels to a normal range can have profound positive effects.
Many men will notice improved strength and endurance, as well as a return of libido and improved sexual function. Benefits also include improvements in symptoms associated with heart failure and improved stability and balance (essential to those with weak bones). With impressive supportive data, supplementation warrants attention from all men. Testosterone levels can be checked through blood, urine or saliva, with blood tests being the most common medium. Evaluations of testosterone levels include a free and a total testosterone reading. Much of the hormone in the bloodstream is bound to a protein, rendering it inactive. The active portion, called “free testosterone,” can give a more accurate picture of how much testosterone is available to the body.
Signs and Symptoms can include:
- Changes in sexual function
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Physical changes
- Emotional changes
Testosterone Therapy for Men
Testosterone is a hormone, a molecular messenger that travels through your bloodstream to act on many organs and tissues in your body, including your brain, muscles, fat, bones and sexual organs.
Brain… Your thinking abilities and a general sense of well-being, including your mood, energy level and sense of vitality, and sexual drive or libido are all affected by testosterone.
Muscle… Testosterone creates muscle cells and causes them to grow in size and strength.
Fat… Testosterone has been shown to reduce body fat, particularly in the midsection and chest. The result is an improvement in lean body mass.
Bones… Testosterone helps prevent the normal bone destruction of aging and actually improves bone density. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Heart… Testosterone inﬂuences cardiovascular risk factors indirectly through its effect on the amount of fat in your body, and there is evidence it beneﬁts the heart directly. It may help open the coronary arteries, and possibly improve cardiac function in people with heart disease and heart failure.
Sexual organs… Testosterone is important for proper erectile function, and it can improve the quality of erections. These physiological aspects are separate from the effects testosterone has on the brain and your libido, but are related and are important for the normal enjoyment of life.
The influence of testosterone:
- Increasing and maintaining muscle mass and strength
- Stimulating and maintaining sexual function
- Bone strength and density
- Adequate levels of red blood cells
- A healthy sense of well being
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