The latest research estimates that 25 percent of men over the age of 30 may be suffering from low testosterone. But many men who fit this demographic are still not aware of common signs of low testosterone, and thus, the condition goes undiagnosed.
If you fit this demographic, you may do what many men do and assume your symptoms relate to something else — perhaps stress or poor sleep or even allergies. This article will give you the information you need to decide whether to seek further information from your doctor about low testosterone.
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What Is Testosterone, Exactly?
Testosterone is hormone that all humans — both male and female — produce. However, males produce more testosterone than females.
There is a rather complex communication network that instructs the body on how much testosterone to produce. First, the hypothalamus notices that more testosterone is needed. It marshals the body’s messengers, chemicals and hormones, that a memo is being prepared. Next, the messengers head to the pituitary gland to deliver the memo. The pituitary gland gets in touch with the testes ASAP and make the specific amount of testosterone required. After all that, the testes get to work making the requested testosterone.
Testosterone in boys leads to physical maturity. Testosterone in men assists with mood, bone and muscle strength, healthy hair and reproduction.
What Does “Low Testosterone” Mean?
Low testosterone, hypo-gonadism or just “Low T” for short, indicates that your testosterone levels have fallen below a certain range. WebMD states that most doctors consider a range from 800 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to 300ng/dL “normal.” Levels lower than 300ng/dL may indicate you have low testosterone.
10 Top Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Spotting the symptoms of low testosterone is the key to alleviating any discomfort or anxiety they may be causing you.
Symptom 1: Fatigue and general weakness
If you have started feeling more fatigued than usual, low testosterone might be the culprit. WebMD says that many men who initially seek a doctor’s help come in complaining about fatigue and a general lack of energy and strength.
Symptom 2: Depression
Testosterone plays a significant role in mood stabilization. If the drop is sudden, the mood shift may be striking enough to catch your attention. But if the drop is more gradual, you may not even realize what has occurred until you wake up one day feeling truly depressed.
Symptom 3: Less interest in intimacy
Many of your responsibilities in daily life can contribute to increased stress and simple exhaustion. But when you begin to lose interest in intimacy with your partner, this points to something else at work. Among the possible physical causes is low testosterone.
Symptom 4: Lower ability to enjoy intimacy
In similar fashion, if low testosterone is at the root of your lack of interest in intimacy, it may also be contributing to an inability to enjoy being intimate or even impotence. Some men discover they have low testosterone when they are ready to start a family but their partner can’t get pregnant.
Symptom 5: Decreased muscle mass with increased fat mass
Testosterone is very important for maintaining strength, energy and muscle mass. When testosterone levels decline, muscle may turn to fat. You may first notice this when you begin to have a belly. At later stages, you may also find you are developing male breasts.
Symptom 6: Difficulty with memory and concentration
Some men with low testosterone describe this symptom as “brain fog.” Others say they can’t seem to concentrate as well or they have trouble remembering things, all of which are signs of low testosterone.
Symptom 7: Shrinking testicles
As testosterone levels decline, this can cause the testicles to actually shrink. In some cases, there may also be a loss of feeling.
Symptom 8: Hair loss
Because testosterone plays a vital role in the development of body hair in the transition from boyhood to manhood, if levels begin to decline, you may notice you have less body hair and less hair on your head.
Symptom 9: Osteopenia or osteoporosis
A loss in bone mass is another symptom that testosterone levels have become too low for your body to maintain a healthy muscle mass. Osteopenia is the first stage on the road to osteoporosis, or brittle bones.
Symptom 10: Irritability
Another common symptom of low testosterone is an increase in feelings of irritability or aggression, sometimes combined with a loss of patience or ability to focus.
One great way to help your body make more testosterone is to make some changes to your daily diet. Specifically, certain foods are known to be testosterone-boosting foods. Conversely, there are other foods that have been identified as testosterone-lowering foods (these you may want to avoid for the same reason).
Here is a helpful resource list you can use to improve your body’s ability to manufacture testosterone through what you eat:
- Honey contains boron and nitric oxide. The first is known to aid in making testosterone and the latter in increasing blood flow.
- Asparagus’s reputation as an aphrodisiac comes from its plentiful levels of folic acid, Vitamin E and potassium, each essential for making testosterone.
- Eggs are not just “the perfect protein.” They are also great for making testosterone, since they contain omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.
- Bananas give you a good supply of bromelain to boost your testosterone.
- New research highlights watermelon’s ability to boost your body’s arginine levels, which in turn boosts blood flow.
- Almonds are loaded with zinc, which can boost testosterone.
- Oysters and cheeses. Both are also rich in zinc.
- Oatmeal and oat grains. Oats may not seem glamorous, but if your body is dealing with low testosterone, they are a VIP. Oats are packed with B vitamins, L-arginine and zinc.
- Citrus fruits can do two great things for your body: give you Vitamin A to help testosterone production and reduce your estrogen levels to balance your body’s hormones.
- Spinach is a power green, with plentiful quantities of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and magnesium.
- Cucumber has the ability to improve brain health and memory because it contains fisetin. Cucumber also have compounds called lignans that can lower estrogen.
- Research shows that tuna can increase testosterone by up to 90 percent since it is packed with Vitamin D.
It can be uncomfortable to discover your testosterone levels have decreased below the normal range. But endocrinology (the science of the body’s hormones) has made great advances in understanding how and why low testosterone may occur and how to treat it.
You can start today by including the great foods listed here in your diet, paying close attention to see if any of your symptoms are eased. The important thing is to know the signs of low testosterone and when to seek treatment.