An international consensus document was recently published and provides guidance on the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) in men. The diagnosis of LOH requires biochemical and clinical components. Controversy in defining the clinical syndrome continues due to the high prevalence of hypogonadal symptoms in the aging male population and the non-specific nature of these symptoms. Further controversy surrounds setting a lower limit of normal testosterone, the limitations of the commonly available total testosterone result in assessing some patients and the unavailability of reliable measures of bioavailable or free testosterone for general clinical use. As with any clinical intervention testosterone treatment should be judged on a balance of risk versus benefit. The traditional benefits of testosterone on sexual function, mood, strength and quality of life remain the primary goals of treatment but possible beneficial effects on other parameters such as bone density, obesity, insulin resistance and angina are emerging and will be reviewed. Potential concerns regarding the effects of testosterone on prostate disease, aggression and polycythaemia will also be addressed. The options available for treatment have increased in recent years with the availability of a number of testosterone preparations which can reliably produce physiological serum concentrations.
Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone produced by the testicles (and in smaller amounts in women’s ovaries), and is often associated with “manhood.” Primarily, this hormone plays a great role in men’s sexual and reproductive function. It also contributes to their muscle mass, hair growth, maintaining bone density, red blood cell production, and emotional health.
Carbs play a big part in determining your Testosterone levels. Let's start with what to avoid. First, research shows that a large serving of sugar (75g of glucose), decreased Testosterone levels by as much as 25%! (25 & 26). I know this is a pretty extreme dosage, but you may want to avoid massive servings of sugar! Also, men who have Metabolic syndrome have lower Testosterone levels (27). Metabolic syndrome is often brought about by chronic high blood sugar which leads to insulin resistance.
There is a polymorphic CAG repeat sequence in the androgen receptor gene, which codes for a variable number of glutamine amino acids in the part of the receptor affecting gene transcription. A receptor with a short CAG sequence produces greater activity when androgens attach, and men with shorter CAG polymorphisms exhibit androgenic traits, such as preserved bone density (Zitzmann et al 2001) and prostate growth during testosterone treatment (Zitzmann et al 2003). Indirect evidence of the importance of androgens in the development of prostate cancer is provided by case control study findings of a shorter, more active CAG repeat sequence in the androgen receptor gene of patients with prostate cancer compared with controls (Hsing et al 2000, 2002).
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It's not enough just to increase the testosterone your body produces, because as we age, the testosterone we naturally produce is often bound by SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) thus becoming unavailable for use in the body. It’s imperative that your testosterone remains unbound or “free” if you want to enjoy all the wonderful benefits testosterone provides.
Get plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a very important nutrient when it comes to testosterone production. This makes sense when you realize that vitamin D acts more like a steroidal hormone than it does like any typical vitamin. A 2010 study looked at the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and testosterone levels in men and found that those with higher levels of the vitamin also had higher levels of testosterone in their blood. Vitamin D is made by human skin in response to intense summer sunshine, but a lack of going outdoors has triggered near epidemic levels of deficiency in American teenagers. Compounding this problem is that most northern states don't get enough sunshine to trigger vitamin D production for many months of the year.
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Present in much greater levels in men than women, testosterone initiates the development of the male internal and external reproductive organs during foetal development and is essential for the production of sperm in adult life. This hormone also signals the body to make new blood cells, ensures that muscles and bones stay strong during and after puberty and enhances libido both in men and women. Testosterone is linked to many of the changes seen in boys during puberty (including an increase in height, body and pubic hair growth, enlargement of the penis, testes and prostate gland, and changes in sexual and aggressive behaviour). It also regulates the secretion of luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. To effect these changes, testosterone is often converted into another androgen called dihydrotestosterone.
Binge drinking on the other hand does impact Testosterone levels – especially on a short term basis. Two studies (22 & 23) show that large acute quantities of alcohol consumption in a short period led to decreases in Testosterone levels by a whooping 20-23% after 24hours! Note however this is drinking to extreme excess! Likewise, chronic alcohol abuse is known to reduce testosterone more notably (as seen in alcoholics).
If in a 46 XY individual testosterone is either not produced in adequate concentrations as in gonadal dysgenesis (MacLaughlin and Donahue 2004), or in the absence of the enzyme 17 alpha-hydroxylase so that testosterone is not produced (Ergun-Longmire et al 2006), or testosterone androgen receptors are absent as in the androgen insensitivity syndrome (Hughes and Deeb 2006), phenotypic females will result.
Likewise, the amino acids in a protein-rich diet play a big role in both testosterone and muscle growth. As Chris Lockwood, Ph.D., explains, "When combined with training, which increases the sensitivity of androgen receptors, and the consumption of essential amino acids necessary to support protein synthesis, the effects of testosterone on muscle and performance is significantly amplified."[3,4]
There have been case reports of development of prostate cancer in patients during treatment with testosterone, including one case series of twenty patients (Gaylis et al 2005). It is not known whether this reflects an increase in incidence, as prostate cancer is very common and because the monitoring for cancer in patients treated with testosterone is greater. Randomized controlled trials of testosterone treatment have found a low incidence of prostate cancer and they do not provide evidence of a link between testosterone treatment and the development of prostate cancer (Rhoden and Morgentaler 2004). More large scale clinical trials of longer durations of testosterone replacement are required to confirm that testosterone treatment does not cause prostate cancer. Overall, it is not known whether testosterone treatment of aging males with hypogonadism increases the risk of prostate cancer, but monitoring for the condition is clearly vital. This should take the form of PSA blood test and rectal examination every three months for the first year of treatment and yearly thereafter (Nieschlag et al 2005). Age adjusted PSA reference ranges should be used to identify men who require further assessment. The concept of PSA velocity is also important and refers to the rate of increase in PSA per year. Patients with abnormal rectal examination suggestive of prostate cancer, PSA above the age specific reference range or a PSA velocity greater than 0.75 ng/ml/yr should be referred to a urologist for consideration of prostate biopsy.
The ingredients in testosterone supplements may be different. Some testosterone supplements contain zinc and magnesium. They increase testosterone levels in men who exercise. Some other testosterone supplements have hormones like DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and pregnenolone. They help with making new testosterone and may help improve the ability to have an erection. But it doesn't seem to be helpful if the problem with erections is caused by diabetes or nerve disorders. Some testosterone booster supplements contain natural ingredients like herbs and botanicals. They may increase testosterone by increasing a hormone produced by the brain, which signals the testicles to produce more testosterone. In addition, others work by releasing bound testosterone, so it is in a form the body can use. Studies do not provide strong evidence that women benefit from taking these supplements. You need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting a testosterone booster supplement. Discuss your medical history and current prescribed medications, over the counter medications, and any supplements that you are taking. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if a testosterone booster supplement is right for you. Once you know if a testosterone booster supplement is right for you, Walgreens has a variety of testosterone booster supplements to choose from and they come in different forms like tablets, capsules or gels.
Clinical trials of the effect of testosterone on glucose metabolism in men have occurred in diabetic and non-diabetic populations. Data specific to aging males is not available. A series of studies investigated the effects of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone given for 6 weeks or 3 months to middle aged, non-diabetic obese men (Marin, Holmang et al 1992; Marin, Krotkiewski et al 1992; Marin et al 1993). It was found that physiological treatment doses led to improved insulin resistance, as measured by the gold standard technique using a euglycemic clamp and/or serum glucose and insulin responses during glucose tolerance test. These improvements were associated with decreased central obesity, measured by computered tomography (CT) or waist-hip ratio, without reduced total fat mass. Insulin resistance improved more with testosterone than dihydrotestosterone treatment and beneficial effects were greater in men with lower baseline testosterone levels. Increasing testosterone levels into the supraphysiological range lead to decreased glucose tolerance.
Yeah, you could do expensive hormone replacement. Or you could take a synthetic test booster. But at the end of the day, neither of these compare to being able to boost testosterone naturally. Nature didn’t intend for you to inject yourself with hormones. Somewhere along the line something went wrong. At your natural level, you are designed to flourish. And the world has everything available for you and your testosterone levels to do so.
Cross-sectional studies conducted at the time of diagnosis of BPH have failed to show consistent differences in testosterone levels between patients and controls. A prospective study also failed to demonstrate a correlation between testosterone and the development of BPH (Gann et al 1995). Clinical trials have shown that testosterone treatment of hypogonadal men does cause growth of the prostate, but only to the size seen in normal men, and also causes a small increase in prostate specific antigen (PSA) within the normal range (Rhoden and Morgentaler 2005). Despite growth of the prostate a number of studies have failed to detect any adverse effects on symptoms of urinary obstruction or physiological measurements such as flow rates and residual volumes (Snyder et al 1999; Kenny et al 2000, 2001). Despite the lack of evidence linking symptoms of BPH to testosterone treatment, it remains important to monitor for any new or deteriorating problems when commencing patients on testosterone treatment, as the small growth of prostate tissue may adversely affect a certain subset of individuals.
Consume enough zinc. Zinc is a mineral needed for many body functions including healthy immune function, bone strength and the production of testosterone. In fact, low levels of zinc are correlated to low levels of testosterone in men and teenage boys. Mild zinc deficiency is now fairly common among Americans, so there's a good chance your teenage boy (particularly if he isn't a healthy eater) may be deficient. Ask your doctor for a blood test to get a better idea, but in the meantime, focus on serving and eating foods that are rich in zinc, such as meats, fish, low-fat milk, hard cheeses, beans and some nuts and seeds.
Pregnant or nursing women who are exposed to EDCs can transfer these chemicals to their child. Exposure to EDCs during pregnancy affects the development of male fetuses. Fewer boys have been born in the United States and Japan in the last three decades. The more women are exposed to these hormone-disrupting substances, the greater the chance that their sons will have smaller genitals and incomplete testicular descent, leading to poor reproductive health in the long term. EDCs are also a threat to male fertility, as they contribute to testicular cancer and lower sperm count. All of these birth defects and abnormalities, collectively referred to as Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS), are linked to the impaired production of testosterone.5
While it would be nice to buy a testosterone pill from the local supplement store and have your testosterone levels go up, such a magic pill does not exist. As you can see from the above rundown, while a few supplements may be somewhat effective if your T levels are already low, none will significantly raise your testosterone above a baseline level. Thus, the basics of keeping your T levels high remain pretty simple:
Grass-fed beef and commercially produced beef are best foods that boost testosterone. Both contain minerals and other nutrients essential for boosting your testosterone levels. The major advantage of grass-fed beef over their commercial variant is the amount of omega 3 fats present in them. The grass-fed beef had higher omega 3 fats to omega 6 fats. As you know omega 3 fats are the healthy one and keeping the ratio higher will be healthy.
Like most supplements, Beast Sports contains several ingredients with little research about their long-term effects. WebMD describes Suma powder, Rhodiola Rosea, Cissus quadrangularis, Tribulus extract, and ashwagandha extract as possibly safe when taken for a short period of time (usually around 6-10 weeks). However, their long-term safety remains unknown. It also has a few ingredients, like cyanotis vaga root, safed musli, and polygonum cispidatum root extract for which there is a lack of data on even short term safety.
And remember, saturated fats work best (along with monounsaturated fats – olive oil, almonds, avocados etc.). In fact higher intakes of polyunsaturated fats (canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, margarine etc.) are linked to LOWER testosterone levels (14 & 15). I explore the dangers of PUFA's in a lot more detail in this article - PUFA's: The Worst Thing For Your Health That You Eat Everyday.
What you really need to worry about is the level of triglycerides in your blood. High triglycerides are a big warning sign for potential cardiovascular problems and disease. Again, to keep your triglycerides low while on a high cholesterol diet, take in a lot of veggies, limit your carb intake (especially sugars), supplement with omega 3 fish oil (more fat to make your cholesterol better – ironic right?), and exercise regularly.
The use of anabolic steroids (manufactured androgenic hormones) shuts down the release of luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone secretion from the pituitary gland, which in turn decreases the amount of testosterone and sperm produced within the testes. In men, prolonged exposure to anabolic steroids results in infertility, a decreased sex drive, shrinking of the testes and breast development. Liver damage may result from its prolonged attempts to detoxify the anabolic steroids. Behavioural changes (such as increased irritability) may also be observed. Undesirable reactions also occur in women who take anabolic steroids regularly, as a high concentration of testosterone, either natural or manufactured, can cause masculinisation (virilisation) of women.