Most people are aware at some level that testosterone is important in what makes a man, a man. Testosterone is primarily produced in the testicles and then released into the blood stream where it acts on tissues throughout the body. If your testicles are not functioning correctly then you could have primary hypogonadism, which can be a cause of low T. On the other hand, if your brain is not telling your testicles to produce testosterone, this is called secondary hypogonadism. The symptoms of low T are generally the same regardless of being either primary or secondary hypogonadal.
The primary function of testosterone is the transformation into adulthood during puberty. The importance of testosterone does not stop at the completion of this process though. Testosterone is an important hormone in maintaining optimal health throughout adulthood for both men and women. Testosterone has many effects on the body including:
- Production of red blood cells
- Improvement in erectile function and strength
- Creating and maintaining muscle mass
- Bone health
- Body fat regulation
- Regulation of libido and mood
- Sperm production
Outside of these known effects, multiple studies and recent research has shown that optimized testosterone levels have other beneficial effects on the body. These include:
- Reduction of arterial stiffening. A study in 2009 showed that men who underwent testosterone replacement therapy had a reversal in their arterial stiffening. The underlying mechanism for this is unknown but hardening of the arteries is associated with cardiovascular disease. You are as old as your arteries!
- Reduction of arterial plaque. A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Internal Medicine showed that men who had low testosterone levels had significantly increased carotid atherosclerosis then those with normal levels. Atherosclerosis leads to stiffening and narrowing of artieries which predisposes people to heart attacks and strokes.
- Improved sleep quality. A multitude of studies have shown that men with low T often suffer from insomnia. Anecdotally, once men begin testosterone replacement therapy, their sleep improves significantly.
- Improvement in glucose regulation which leads to the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Research has shown correlations between low testosterone levels and decreased insulin sensitivity. What does this mean? Individuals who are hypogonadal are at an increased risk of developing diabetes. Furthermore, short term interventional studies have also demonstrated that testosterone replacement therapy in diabetic men improved insulin sensitivity! Individuals who are diabetic and undergoing testosterone therapy usually can stop many of their diabetic medications.
- An observational study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology showed that men with low T had high levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. This is relevant because inflammation is the root of disease in biological lifeforms. After testosterone replacement, the study subjects inflammatory markers significantly decreased.
Optimal testosterone levels not only produce pleasant subjective and objective effects for a man, but also protects him against disease as he ages. It is important for any man who is proactive about their health to optimize their hormonal profile. If you are concerned that your testosterone levels could be low, call us today for a consultation. We will discuss your symptoms, the pros and cons of testosterone treatment, and ways on how to optimize your health.