Low testosterone is something that is absolutely crippling for a huge number of men around the world. According to ABC News, a shocking 24% of men suffer with this condition and when you look at the older portion of the population, that number goes up significantly.
Where does this come from? A number of factors. For one, people are spending a lot more time indoors now and a lot more time out of the sun. Likewise, we are exposed to a lot of synthetic estrogens in our food, in hair care products and even in plastics. Then there’s the relative lack of exercise and the large amounts of stress…
In short, there are lots of reasons that you may be suffering from low testosterone and if you’ve been feeling generally listless and unwell then this is one possible explanation.
Some of the potential symptoms of low testosterone include:
If you generally feel tired, irritable and disinterested in sex and if you have been finding it hard to get into good shape, then you may been tempted to write it off as a normal result of stress.
On the other hand though, it could be a sign of low testosterone, which in turn can have negative impacts on your health and on your wellbeing.
If you suspect you may have low testosterone, then the first thing to do is to visit your GP. They will be able to conduct a blood test in order to identify if this is indeed the cause and from there, they can then recommend a course of treatment, which might include HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or lifestyle changes. This can end up being a permanent treatment, as HRT can unfortunately suppress natural levels of testosterone.
At the same time, this may well be a very worthwhile treatment if it results in increased energy levels, muscle mass, libido and weight loss.
Alternatively, a doctor may be able to diagnose another condition that could be impacting on your testosterone levels, or they may be able to identify a medication as a cause.
In terms of lifestyle changes, there are many things that can improve testosterone production and that may have positive effects. For example, spending more time outdoors can increase vitamin D production which in turn can improve sleep and additionally aid hormone balance.
Sleep is particularly important because this is the time during which the body produces the most testosterone. Specifically, the body produces maximum T during the hours of 4am-6am, so it’s very important to try and be in a deep, restorative sleep during this time. You should also aim to ‘feed’ this anabolic window by making sure that you have plenty of natural fats in your diet (animal or plant fats, not trans-fats). This is important because the body actually makes testosterone from cholesterol!
Exercise is also important for testosterone production and if you lift heavy weights – especially with big, compound movements – then you’ll produce extra testosterone in both the short term and the long term.
Also important is to reduce stress. This is because the stress hormone – cortisol – actually has a negative correlation with testosterone. When cortisol goes up, testosterone goes down. If you spend a lot of time under great stress then, your testosterone levels are naturally going to be lower. Try to avoid jobs that put you under continuous stress and consider taking up an activity like meditation to learn to better manage and reduce your psychological stress throughout the day.