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We know stress generates too much cortisol and shuts down sexual hormones since our bodies go into a "fight or flight" mode. Supplements that nourish our adrenals are key to correcting those imbalances. A few recommendations that I have include adrenal adaptogens such as maca, ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, and rhodiola. Adaptogens are a great way to restore adrenal glands, balance hormones, and detoxify. Supplementing with 25 to 50 mg of DHEA, and a high-quality multivitamin with bioavailable B vitamins and high dose vitamin C can also be helpful. It's important to eat a diet high in quality omega-3s like salmon, oysters, and sardines. I suggest 2,000 to 6,000 mg per day of carnitine to improve energy production and mitochondrial function.
The aim of treatment for hypogonadism is to normalize serum testosterone levels and abolish symptoms or pathological states that are due to low testosterone levels. The exact target testosterone level is a matter of debate, but current recommendations advocate levels in the mid-lower normal adult range (Nieschlag et al 2005). Truly physiological testosterone replacement would require replication of the diurnal rhythm of serum testosterone levels, but there is no current evidence that this is beneficial (Nieschlag et al 2005).
Travison, T. G., Vesper, H. W., Orwoll, E, Wu, F., Kaufman, J. M., Wang, Y., …Bhasin, S. (2017, April1). Harmonized reference ranges for circulating testosterone levels in men of four cohort studies in the United States and Europe. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 102(4), 1161–1173. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/102/4/1161/2884621
However, testosterone is only one of many factors that aid in adequate erections. Research is inconclusive regarding the role of testosterone replacement in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. In a review of studies that looked at the benefit of testosterone in men with erection difficulties, showed no improvement with testosterone treatment. Many times, other health problems play a role in erectile difficulties. These can include:
Testing is the only way you can validate a low-T diagnosis and measure treatment progress. I always say, "Test, don’t guess!" Your doctor may "suspect" you have hormone imbalances by your symptoms, but you should ask that they do testing to confirm unhealthy levels. Testing also ensures your doctor rules out other issues that may simply have similar symptoms. With your test results in hand, your physician can best determine what the optimal levels are for you and determine the best course of treatment.
That testosterone decreases with age has been clearly established by many studies over many years in several different populations of men (Harman et al 2001; Feldman et al 2002; Araujo et al 2004; Kaufman and Vermeulen 2005). Of even greater significance is the steeper fall of the most biologically active fraction of total testosterone, non-sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)- bound testosterone, or bioavailable testosterone (bio-T). The classical, but not the only approach to measuring bio-T, is to precipitate out SHBG (and hence the testosterone which is strongly bound to it as well) and measure the remainder as total testosterone (Tremblay 2003). Vermeulen et al (1999) have devised a less tedious and less expensive method of measuring a surrogate for bio-T, namely calculated bio-T, inserting total T, albumin, SHBG and a constant into a mathematical formulation. There is a strong correlation between actual bio-T and calculated bio-T (Emadi-Konjin et al 2003).
We should probably start with the elephant in the room: do these supplements increase testosterone? The answer is probably yes. There are some ingredients that help convince your body to produce more testosterone, but there’s a catch. Testosterone boosters aren’t actually great at boosting; that is, at pushing your testosterone levels above your healthy, normal balance. Boosters typically act more like restorers — helping bring low testosterone levels back to that healthy equilibrium rather than boosting you above normal testosterone levels. Just like how if you have anemia, taking a vitamin B12 supplement can help restore your energy and reduce fatigue, but if your B12 levels are good, a supplement won’t give you super energy levels to stay awake for three days — your body will likely just process (read: pee) out the extra.
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In males, testosterone is synthesized primarily in Leydig cells. The number of Leydig cells in turn is regulated by luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). In addition, the amount of testosterone produced by existing Leydig cells is under the control of LH, which regulates the expression of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase.
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.
Testosterone levels generally peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone level gradually declines — typically about 1 percent a year after age 30 or 40. It is important to determine in older men if a low testosterone level is simply due to the decline of normal aging or if it is due to a disease (hypogonadism).