Physical, mental, and sexual health are important to all men, from Dallas, Texas, to Miami, Florida, and everywhere in between. We all know that testosterone is the main sex hormone in the male body. It triggers puberty as boys turn into men, and it’s vital to keep your sexual life active and strong.
But testosterone does so much more — and there’s a good chance that you might not know all there is to know about testosterone and its vital role in men’s bodies. Read on to learn some important facts that might cause you to raise your eyebrows along with your awareness of the vital role that this hormone plays in your overall wellness.
1. Testosterone Starts With Your Brain
Your testes produce testosterone, but that’s not where this male hormone’s journey starts. It’s actually your brain that gets the testosterone ball rolling, so to speak. Your hypothalamus, the tiny part of your brain that controls hormone production and keeps your whole body stable, sends a signal to your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, in turn, sends out a hormonal signal that more testosterone is needed. When the testes get that message, they do indeed ramp up testosterone production. But they can’t do anything until your brain starts the process.
2. Testosterone Plays a Role in Your Mental Health
Since testosterone begins in the brain, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s an important factor in your mental health — but lots of men don’t realize this. If your testosterone levels are low, you’re more likely to suffer depression and other issues. Many men find themselves becoming increasingly irritated over nothing when testosterone levels drop. In addition, testosterone levels feed into other mental health-related complaints such as fatigue, brain fog, loss of concentration, memory problems and lack of motivation.
Studies are still looking into the link between testosterone and mood issues. It appears that testosterone levels may correlate with levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that directly impacts mood. Men with low testosterone levels who undergo testosterone replacement therapy typically see significant improvement in mood and mental health issues.
3. Stress Affects Testosterone (and Vice Versa)
Dallas, Texas, is a beautiful city, but no one is immune to the stress of everyday life. Stress is abundant at work and home, and unfortunately, stress and testosterone appear to be closely linked. When your testosterone levels are healthy, you enjoy a built-in barrier to anxiety.
However, when you’re under added stress, your body turns instead to the production of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” Cortisol has all sorts of negative effects on your body, increasing inflammation and blood pressure, decreasing immune system health, and revving up your fight-or-flight reaction. Scientific studies appear to show that testosterone and cortisol may have an inverse effect: when one is high, the other is low. Cortisol certainly decreases testosterone production, stress reduces testosterone, and testosterone reduces stress.
4. Testosterone Isn’t Linked to Aggression
Have you ever heard casual comments that a particularly aggressive man has “too much testosterone”? That turns out to not be true. In fact, there’s some evidence that low testosterone levels may be more likely to promote aggressive behavior. (Think about the fact that low testosterone can result in irritability, and you’ll see the wisdom in that.) If your testosterone levels are appropriate strong, you’re not going to automatically engage in aggressive behavior.
5. Testosterone Protects Your Bones
When you hear the word “osteoporosis,” you probably think of a disease that often plagues older women. And it’s true that osteoporosis, a disease that results in fragile bones and fractures, is far more common in women than in men. But did you know that testosterone is one of the key factors there?
Bone density decreases in both men and women with age. But men have a secret weapon when it comes to pushing back against osteoporosis: testosterone. Your testosterone levels help maintain your bone mass. If your testosterone levels get unhealthily low, however, you’re likely to see your bone mass decrease, possibly leading to osteoporosis and the fractures that come with it. The scary news is that you won’t know this is happening until you experience a fracture.
6. Testosterone Is Linked to Belly Fat
We’ve all seen older men with a “spare tire” around their waists — and maybe you’re increasingly disturbed by belly fat that’s creeping on and doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much you hit the gym in Dallas, Texas. You might be surprised to learn that your testosterone levels could be a factor here as well. When testosterone levels are low, you gain weight, especially around the midsection. If you bring your testosterone levels back to normal, you’re likely to see that extra weight around the middle start to disappear.
As with stress, testosterone appears to have a reciprocal relationship with weight and fat as well. Obesity can lower testosterone levels, and in turn, those lower testosterone levels can cause you to put on weight. On the flip side, healthy testosterone levels and healthy weight also go hand in hand.
7. It’s Also Linked to Sleep
What in the world does this vital male hormone have to do with sleep? As it turns out, poor sleep quality and sleep disturbances are closely linked to low testosterone levels. Men with low testosterone sleep fewer hours than men with normal levels, and their sleep is poor. In addition, low levels of testosterone have been linked to sleep apnea.
Again, we see a reciprocal relationship here. If your testosterone levels are low, you’re more likely to suffer from poor sleep. But if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re likely to see testosterone levels drop significantly. In fact, young men could show the same (lower) testosterone levels as men who are up to 15 years older, according to research studies. Without proper sleep, it turns out, your endocrine system, which produces your body’s hormones, can’t function correctly.
8. Testosterone Levels Change Throughout the Day
The testosterone you have in your body isn’t the same in the morning as it is in the evening. Testosterone levels are higher in the morning, reaching their peak around 8 a.m. — and yes, that’s why you experience morning erections. (If you don’t, you may be seeing a sign of erectile dysfunction.) That’s also why, when you get your testosterone levels checked, your doctor is likely to ask you to come in for blood tests in the early morning.
Your testosterone levels fluctuate during the day, reaching their lowest levels around 8 p.m. Planning your strength training around this circadian shift can help boost your testosterone levels slightly.
9. There’s More Than One Kind of Testosterone
You’ve heard of free testosterone, most likely. But you actually have multiple types of testosterone in your body. Most testosterone attaches to albumin, which is a blood protein that helps transport hormones through your body, or it attaches to SHBG, a protein molecule designed to bind with sex hormones. Free testosterone is the other type, the type that roams through your body without attaching to anything. It helps your muscles work properly, including your heart.
10. Women Produce Testosterone, Too
Yes, testosterone is the male sex hormone. But did you know that women also produce testosterone? They certainly make it in far smaller quantities, and, since they don’t have testes, the process is different (women produce testosterone via their ovaries and their adrenal glands). Testosterone, even in the ultra-low levels that women experience, is still a vital hormone. It works with women’s estrogen hormones to keep their reproductive system healthy, and, as with men, it plays an important role in maintaining bone density.
Here’s a real surprise: women have their highest levels of testosterone when they’re pregnant (and no, the levels aren’t higher if the fetus is male). Women also see their testosterone levels spike when they fall in love — but those levels tend to drop within a few months regardless of how the relationship is going.
11. Anabolic Steroids Don’t Duplicate Testosterone
Testosterone helps you build muscle, and anabolic steroids help you build muscle, so they’re the same, right?
Nope. Wrong. Anabolic steroids are essentially a synthetic imitation of testosterone that can build muscle, true. But the tradeoff can cause real health problems throughout your body. They wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system, leading often to heart attacks or strokes, and they can also damage your liver and kidneys. Many people also report severe mental health problems as a result of using anabolic steroids.
If you’re dealing with low testosterone levels, the answer is testosterone replacement therapy, not anabolic steroids. Testosterone treatment will have positive effects throughout your body. Your doctor can explain more about the differences.
12. Your Testosterone Isn’t What It Used to Be
Testosterone levels peak in a man’s 20s, and they begin a long, slow decline much earlier than you might expect. By your 30s, your testosterone levels are already starting to drop, though you’re not likely to notice any effects for a while, since they decline at a rate of about 1% per year. By the age of 45, though, as many as 40% of men have clinically low levels of testosterone. By the age of 65, that percentage has climbed significantly.
Many men assume that testosterone deficiency will manifest in their sex lives — and for many men, that’s the case. However, as we’ve seen above, sleep problems, irritability, depression and belly fat can also be unexpected signs of low testosterone levels. You might also experience an inability to focus, weight gain, loss of muscle mass and low energy levels, as well as a loss of your sex drive.
Yes, your testosterone may not be what it used to be — but you could experience youthful levels of this vital male hormone again. That’s because testosterone replacement therapy is incredibly effective.
As a man in Dallas, Texas, you want to live your life with vigor and vitality. At Texas Men’s Health Group, we want that for you as well. We are deeply invested in optimizing your hormones to fight off all the effects of aging — including lowered testosterone levels — and we’re ready to help you turn your health and well-being around. Contact us today to see how you can increase your vitality and physical power to get a new lease on life.
Aging is just a number when you have the right tools
Say No to Added Stress
The holidays can heap stress on you from all directions. You might feel tension over visits with relatives, or the financial burden of travel and gifting might rob you of some of the joy of the season. It’s important to know that you have the right to say no. If you don’t want to attend one more party, you don’t have to. If your kids are demanding presents that you can’t give them this year, that’s okay. Don’t want to attend that “mandatory” family gathering at your cousin’s house? You get to make your own decision.
You can even disengage from events you’ve already committed to. If that political argument is getting out of hand at a family dinner, you have permission to leave the room, go for a walk, or even head home. Or maybe your co-workers’ behavior is getting out of hand at the work party. There’s no reason you have to stick around.
Giving yourself the freedom to say no is more than a matter of protecting your own mental health. Stress takes a toll on your body as well, with the capacity to harm your cardiovascular health, your gut health and your overall well-being. When you start the holiday season by deciding who and what you’ll decline, you’re striking a positive blow for your own health.
See Your Doctor If Needed
It’s so easy to ignore your own body during the holidays. Many men in Dallas look at their loaded calendars and tell themselves they don’t have time to be sick. Don’t fall into that trap. If you find yourself feeling unwell physically or otherwise, you don’t have to wait for the new year or try to push through it. Get yourself to your doctor and get the help you need.
Say Yes to Gratitude
The holidays are a great time to reflect on all the good things in your life. Thanksgiving gets you started in that direction, so go with it throughout the season. Think about writing down everything you’re grateful for each day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You might want to reach out to the people you love and share your appreciation with them. Some men like to prep themselves for the fresh start of the new year by focusing on moving consciously toward their values each day. Whatever you choose, saying yes to gratitude during the holidays can help make this an especially meaningful time of year.
We’re Here for You Year Round
At Texas Testosterone, we have your overall health and wellness in mind every month of the year. When you’re ready to fight back against the effects of aging, we’re ready to help. If you’re dealing with the signs of low testosterone, we can put you on the right path. When you’re trying to figure out why your brain is fuzzy, you’re not sleeping or you’re gaining weight, we have solutions.
We want men in Dallas to enjoy a full, vital life, and we’ve got the experience to help you get there. Treat yourself to the fun of the holiday season, find pleasure in the little moments of life and call us when it’s time to get your body aligned with your desires and your priorities.