Do you need more testosterone?
HEALTH Here is a common oversimplification: Males have testosterone. Females have estrogen. Actually, males produce testosterone with a little estrogen. Female production of these two hormones is the opposite. So everyone has both testosterone and estrogen to some degree. Aging can affect levels. How do you know if you have too much or too little of either?
Most people associate testosterone with male sexual performance, muscle mass, and bravado. This is not so much wrong as it is incomplete. In men, testosterone regulates sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, red blood cell production, and sperm. The jury is still out on bravado, with one study suggesting such is based on estrogen level.
Physical Symptoms of Low Testosterone
- Decreased libido
- Weak, fragile bones
- Increased body fat
- Decreased muscle mass
- Hot flashes
- Thinning hair
- Cholesterol imbalance
A testosterone-supplement study was funded by the NIA and published in the July 8, 2010 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Cardiac event risk on men with poor mobility was high enough to halt the study. Twenty three of 106 men receiving topical testosterone gel on their arms and torso experienced cardiovascular-related events, compared to 5 out of 103 men receiving placebo. Male testosterone levels peak around the age of 18 before leveling off. It holds steady until about age 30 before slight annual declines. By age 60, testosterone levels can be about the same as at age 13 or 19.
|Male Testosterone Levels|
|Age||T Level (ng/dL)|
|0 – 5 months||75 – 400|
|6 months – 9 years||<7 – 20|
|10 – 11 years||<7 – 130|
|12 – 13 years||<7 – 800|
|14 years||<7 – 1200|
|15 – 16 years||100 – 1200|
|17 – 18 years||300 – 1200|
|19+ years||240 – 950|
|Avg. Adult Male||270 – 1070|
|30+ years||-1% per year|
|A balance of hormones are responsible for physical differences in men and women.|
Relationship Between Sexual Enhancement Drugs and Testosterone
The enzyme nitric oxide synthetase (NOS) must be present in ample amounts for erection enhancers to work. Men with low testosterone levels have low NOS levels. This is why some erections do not improve after using sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra). With normalizing testosterone treatment, erections resume or are enhanced with the use of either sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil.
Male estrogen levels increase as testosterone decreases. Extremely high male estrogen levels contribute to prostate cancer, heart disease, and gynecomastia (enlarged breasts). As the testosterone transforms into estrogen, low testosterone levels can reduce muscle mass, decrease libido with erectile dysfunction, and cause fatigue. Excessive estrogen in men also raises body fat, contributing to high lipids and diabetes. Clinical studies do not support the fear that soy feminizes men.
Women require small amounts of testosterone. It contributes to other hormones that regulate mood, energy levels, sex drive, and bodily functions like healthy bones and pain management. Testosterone amounts are so low that self-dosing with supplements is not advised. This can worsen effects you are attempting to correct. Female testosterone levels peak around the age of 18 at only 2 percent of males’. After a slight decline by age 19, the level remains somewhat consistent throughout adulthood.
|Female Testosterone Levels|
|Age||T Level (ng/dL)|
|0 – 5 months||20 – 80|
|6 months – 9 years||<7 – 20|
|10 – 11 years||<7 – 44|
|12 – 16 years||<7 – 75|
|17 – 18 years||20 – 75|
|19+ years||8 – 60|
|Avg. Adult Female||15 – 70|
|Low amounts of testosterone enhances female libido while higher estrogen ratio is responsible for feminine form and function.|
Estrogen enhances female characteristics. It causes the uterine lining to thicken during menstruation in preparation for pregnancy. Estrogen stimulates breast tissue growth. It lubricates and maintains blood flow to the vagina. Estrogen aids protein synthesis. The increase hepatic production of binding proteins, and coagulation proteins. Estrogen is considered to play a significant role in women’s mental health. Estrogen deﬁciency in women increases the risk of heart disease. Lack of estrogen is found among women with atherosclerosis.
Testosterone Nutritional Supplements
Foods that boost testosterone are the safest form of nutrition. This includes foods with vitamin D such as tuna, egg yolks, fortified milk and cereals. Foods with zinc like oysters and shellfish are also recommended to regulate testosterone. Beans are good sources of vitamin D and zinc. With a caution about overconsumption, beef can boost testosterone. The abundance of available testosterone supplements can make self-diagnosis and treatment appealing. However, hormone imbalance is best left to medical professionals. Talk to an endocrinologist or urologist if you have questions about your hormone levels to remain A Bit More Healthy.
- Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men. Harrison Wein, Ph.D. nih.gov
- Macho behaviour is not so much testosterone fuelled as oestrogen fuelled. telegraph.co.uk
- Low Testosterone in Men. healthline.com
- Testosterone Boosts Heart Risk in Men with Poor Mobility. nih.gov
- Adolescence to Early Adulthood. healthline.com
- Testosterone and Men’s Health – New Insights. empoweryourhealth.org
- Estrogen Levels in Men. bodylogicmd.com
- Low Testosterone in Women. Madeline R Vann, MPH. everydayhealth.com
- What is the function of estrogen in women? Jan L Shifren, MD. sharecare.com
- Estrogen Function. Ananya Mandal, MD. news-medical.net
- 5 Myths About Soy You Probably Still Believe. huffingtonpost.com
- Diet Right: 8 Testosterone-Boosting Foods. healthline.com