Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles that primarily contributes to the development of male sexual organs and characteristics. In addition, it plays a crucial role in maintaining muscle mass, red blood cells, memory, bone development, overall well-being, and sexual function. It also boosts a man’s libido.
What is Testosterone Deficiency?
Testosterone production typically decreases with age. Abnormal testosterone deficiency can cause various problems in men, such as a low sex drive, lethargy, irritability, and difficulty with maintaining an erection.
To determine testosterone levels, a blood test called a serum testosterone test is performed. Testosterone is considered low when it falls below 300 ng/dL. Although it cannot always be prevented, a healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition can reduce the risk of testosterone deficiency.
Depending on the age of a person, insufficient testosterone production can lead to abnormalities in muscle and bone development, as well as underdeveloped genitals. Low testosterone levels also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, testosterone deficiency can negatively impact a man’s quality of life.
What happens if low testosterone goes untreated?
The normal range of testosterone is 300-1000 ng/dL.
What symptoms does low testosterone cause?
Testosterone deficiency symptoms encompass sexual health, physical health, and mental health:
- Mood swings or depression
- Difficulty concentrating
- Quick exhaustion
- Decreased body hair
- Reduced beard growth
- Low semen volume
- Enlarged breasts
- Hot flashes and excessive sweating
- Muscle damage and loss of strength
- Weight gain
- Slow recovery after exercise
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection (weak erection or no morning erection)
- Difficulty achieving orgasm
- Decreased desire for sex.
What is the main cause of low testosterone?
As a man ages, the amount of testosterone in his body naturally decreases. This decrease begins after the age of 30 to 35 and continues throughout life.
Some of the reasons for this decline include:
- Disease of the pituitary gland (a gland in the brain that produces many important hormones)
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
- Genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter syndrome (an extra X chromosome)
- Medications used to treat prostate cancer, especially hormone and corticosteroid medications
- Excessive iron in the body
- Infection, injury, or damage to the testicle
- Inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis (a condition that causes inflammation of the lungs)
Factors that increase the risk of testosterone deficiency include:
- Kidney failure
- Alcohol addiction
- Chronic and serious illness
How to avoid testosterone deficiency?
- Reduce stress
- Exercise and maintain a healthy weight
- Consume a diet low in saturated and trans fats
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain good overall health.
How is testosterone deficiency tested?
Testosterone deficiency is usually tested when men experience symptoms related to low libido or erectile dysfunction. There are two main types of tests for testosterone deficiency:
- Blood Test: The most accurate way to diagnose testosterone deficiency is by measuring the amount of testosterone in the blood. Since testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, multiple tests are needed to confirm a deficiency. Doctors usually test in the morning, when testosterone levels are highest.
- Medical History: Your doctor will take a complete medical history, including details of fertility and other issues, as well as symptoms of testosterone deficiency.
Additional tests may be necessary to rule out any underlying problems that could be causing the testosterone deficiency. These may include:
- Semen test to check fertility in men with testosterone deficiency
- Brain MRI scan to check the pituitary gland
- Blood test to check iron levels
- Genetic testing
How do you fix testosterone deficiency?
The treatment for testosterone deficiency is testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone can be administered in the form of a capsule or tablet, lotion, cream, or injection.
Men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy will have regular reviews. Prostate testing will be performed based on the man’s age and other risk factors for prostate cancer. Older men may need to be tested for prostate cancer before starting testosterone replacement therapy, as elevated testosterone levels can lead to undiagnosed prostate cancer. However, testosterone replacement therapy is not a factor in prostate cancer.
If the cause of testosterone deficiency is located in the pituitary gland, and the man wishes to have children, gonadotropin injections, which stimulate the body to produce testosterone, may be administered for several months to increase testosterone and sperm production.
Testosterone Deficiency Risks & Complications
Long-term testosterone deficiency can result in the following problems:
- Sexual problems: Erectile dysfunction in men and infertility in women
- Muscle and bone-related problems: Muscle damage or weakness, osteoporosis
- Other problems: Development of male breasts, sex hormone-related baldness in men.
How can I raise my testosterone level?
If you have testosterone deficiency, you may want to try incorporating the following foods into your diet, as some research suggests that they can be beneficial.
To prevent testosterone deficiency, you should consume the following nutrients:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These help reduce levels of LDL and triglycerides and improve blood circulation, which is important for maintaining healthy cells. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids also repair heart tissue damaged by aging and correct hormone imbalances.
- Zinc: Zinc deficiency can lead to poor blood circulation, which can cause erectile dysfunction. Zinc also helps maintain healthy prostate glands and increases the production of prostate fluids, which in turn boosts testosterone levels and stimulates sexual desire.
- Iron: Like zinc, iron deficiency can also result in circulatory problems that can cause erectile dysfunction. Therefore, it is important to eat iron-rich foods.
- Vitamins and Minerals: These are equally important for our bodies, as they help maintain sexual activity and vitality. It is best to consume them as pure foods as part of a balanced diet.
- Green Fruit and Vegetable Juice: Instead of drinking carbonated beverages, opt for green fruit and vegetable juice, which is absorbed more slowly and doesn’t inhibit testosterone production. Green fruit and vegetable juices contain a large amount of antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and other beneficial nutrients that help repair damaged cells.
- Cabbage: This vegetable contains fiber, which is helpful for weight loss. It is also a good source of calcium, vitamin C, iron, and potassium, which are all beneficial for testosterone deficiency.
- Garlic: Garlic helps regulate blood pressure and increases the level of oxygen in the bloodstream. It also boosts the production of sex hormones by the pituitary gland, which increases libido in men.
- Eggs: Eggs contain testosterone, as well as zinc, protein, vitamin A, and antioxidants. They are also rich in Vitamin B5 and B6, which help balance hormone levels in our bodies and fight stress.
- Seafood: Seafood is rich in testosterone and helps improve blood circulation in the penile vessels. “