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How Can You Tell If You Have Low Testosterone?

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As your primary male hormone, testosterone is paramount for health, wellness and performance. But low testosterone can spell disaster.

Testosterone provides you with everything that makes you masculine and commanding, and is an essential hormone for a number of reasons.

It’s a natural steroid hormone from the androgen family that is produced in the Leydig cells of your testes.

But what if you levels are not running optimally? How does low testosterone affect your body?

In this article we take a look at the varying and serious symptoms of low T and analyze the hard truths behind how this common disorder can affect your health, performance and quality of life.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Testosterone as a regulator of masculinity
  • What is low testosterone?
  • The causes of hypogonadism
  • What are the symptoms of low T?

Testosterone – The Key Male Hormone

Testosterone (T) is an anabolic hormone that is synthesized from cholesterol. It plays a primary and key role in a controlling a number of male characteristics:

  • Anabolic – regulates protein synthesis, muscle mass, physical strength and inhibits muscle protein degradation/breakdown.
  • Androgenic – controls manliness by managing body hair growth, voice deepening, aggression and assertiveness, and also bone structure.
  • Secondary sexual – sperm count, libido, sex drive, stamina and performance are all controlled by anabolic hormone levels.

Although T is produced in the testes, it is actually regulated by a dynamic and complex hormone feedback loop called the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonodal (HPG) axis

Testosterone production is tightly regulated

Once you reach puberty, your T production increases sharply.

And it’s all controlled by your brain and testes.

The process behind exactly how this anabolic hormone reaches your blood involves a small number of important stages:

  • If your brain senses that your blood (serum) T levels are low, it triggers a signal from a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
  • Your hypothalamus releases a hormone called GnRH which carries the message to another gland called the pituitary.
  • Once received, the pituitary kicks into action and releases its own hormones – the most important being luteinizing hormone (LH).
  • LH has to then travel all the way down to your testes. But once it arrives, it gently nudges your testes into action.

Hormones are tightly regulated by a negative feedback loop

When your HPG system is working efficiently, your testosterone levels always fall within a safe range.

As a negative feedback loop, your this axis of hormones speeds up messages when T is beginning to drop, and slows them down as it reaches your upper limit.

This ‘relay race’ system of glands and hormones makes sure that you have just the right amount of T flowing through your body at all times.

What’s a normal testosterone level?

This chart shows you what your hormone levels should be at, based on age.

Age (years)Mean Total Testosterone (ng.dL)
Under 25692
25-29669
30-34621
35-39597
40-44597
45-49546
59-54544
55-59552

Often though, your health professional will tell you that as long as levels fall between 300-1,000 ng.dL you are healthy.

But this is more of a ‘catch-all’ approach and not individual to you.


Muscular bodybuilder posing with arms folded on black background

What is Low Testosterone?

When you were in your late teens and twenties you’ll have no doubt enjoyed the benefits of high T.

You were lean, muscular, assertive and confident.

Times were great.

But unfortunately, as soon as you hit your early 30’s, your HPG system doesn’t work as effectively and your T levels begin to fall – by around 1-2% each year.

It might not sound a lot, but research shows that even with this steady decline, by the age of 45, as many as 40% of men will suffer from hypogonadism – clinically low T measured below 300 ng.dL [1].

What causes low testosterone levels?

There isn’t one specific reason why your hormone levels naturally decline.

Some say ageing.

Others say lifestyle.

Your hormone levels could suffer due to fault within your testes, or even because of reduced brain signals to your gonads. Disease or genetics can also play a part too.

Different types of hypogonadism

Primary hypogonadism is caused by issues within the tissue of your testes. It means that your hypothalamus and pituitary glands are working fine, but for some reason your testes are not converting the incoming messages into T production.

Common causes of this include Addison’s disease, genetic or surgical issues, undescended testes and even renal issues.

Secondary hypogonadism refers more to issues with the hypothalamic-pituitary regions of the HPG axis. Diseases such as Kallmann syndrome, diabetes, obesity, anabolic steroids and inflammatory disorders can all interrupt the signals travelling yo your gonads.


What are The Symptoms of Low Testosterone?

Clinically low testosterone levels that fall below 300 ng.dL are referred to as hypogonadism in the scientific literature.

According to research, “hypogonadism can significantly reduce the quality of life and has resulted in the loss of livelihood and separation of couples, leading to divorce” [2].

And another study suggested pretty firmly that low T is the cause of…

a constellation of signs and symptoms that may include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased volume of ejaculate, loss of body and facial hair, weakness, decreased bone density, decreased lean body mass, increased body fat, fatigue and anemia [1].

It can affect you both physically and mentally, having such an impact on your health that it can even lead to early death [3].

Reduced sexual performance and function

Let’s not forget that T controls secondary sex characteristics ranging from sex drive to performance.

It goes without saying that as hormone levels decrease, so does your ability (and enthusiasm) for a strong and virile sex life.

And this is one of the biggest and most common worries for men. Typically men with lower testosterone may experience:

  • Fewer spontaneous erections
  • Onset of erectile dysfunction
  • Poor performance in the bedrrom
  • Infertility or low sperm count

Additionally, you might also suffer from reduced growth of your testes… and even your penis.

Mental well-being can decline

There’s a strong connection between both cognitive and mental health and testosterone levels.

Common symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Irritability and frustration

There’s also a significant relationship between hormone levels and depression too.

One study for example found that men with low testosterone were nearly 22% likely to suffer from chronic depression, in comparison to the much lower 7% of men with healthy concentrations of the steroid hormone [4].

Loss of muscle mass and increased belly fat

One of the potent anabolic benefits of T is that it boosts lean mass.

T provides the building blocks of muscle by stimulating protein synthesis, while offsetting loss of muscle cells.

So as you can imagine – low testosterone means low muscle mass. And studies show that both muscle wastage and weakness are strong symptoms of hypogonadism [5].

Another sign that your hormone levels are slipping is that you’ll quickly develop higher levels of body fat – particularly around your belly and chest [6].

If you’ve discovered that your muscles seem weaker and the belt size on your jeans is quickly changing notches (for the worse), chances are you have low testosterone.


You Don’t Have to Accept Low Testosterone Levels

Hypogonadism isn’t an inevitable part of ageing.

In fact, most research shows that lower T levels are the consequence of a poor lifestyle and a lack of the right T-boosting nutrients, not just because you’re getting older.

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As a premium and all-natural supplement, TestoFuel provides clinically-tested nutrients, shown to elevate hormone levels in the most robust of clinical trials.

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References

  1. Mulligan, T et al. Prevalence of hypogonadism in males aged at least 45 years: the HIM study. Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Jul 1; 60(7): 762–769
  2. Kumar, P et al. Male hypogonadism: symptoms and treatment. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2010; 1(3): 297-301
  3. Laughlin, GA et al. Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men. J Clin Endoc Metab. 2008; 93(1): 68-75
  4. Shores, MM et al. Increased incidence of diagnosed depressive illness in hypogonadal older men. Arch Ge Psych. 2004; 61(2): 162-7
  5. Huo, S et al. Treatment of Men for “Low Testosterone”: A Systematic Review. PLoS One. 2016; 11(9): e0162480
  6. Wang, C et al. Low Testosterone Associated With Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome Contributes to Sexual Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Men With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes care. 2011; 34(7): 1669-1675

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