Last Updated on April 23, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
Having a low testosterone level doesn’t merely impact sexual desire. For a man, this can cause a myriad of physical and mental problems. Recently, a friend of mine pointed out how I could be suffering from this issue. So, I decided to look up a few facts about the problem.
When you get older, most of the processes in your body start to slow down. Metabolism, energy and even patience are influenced by the passing years.
Men begin to experience a decrease in testosterone levels when they reach the upper 20s in age. For many, this can have a severe impact on overall mental and physical health.
Problems with Low Testosterone
Essentially, testosterone is the hormone responsible for making a man a man – from a physical standpoint. Not only does it manage how the reproductive organs are developed, but it also affects things like body hair and the deepening of the voice.
Part of this whole process is how the pituitary gland sends signals to the testes to produce testosterone[note]https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-hypogonadism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354881[/note]. Any damage to this gland will affect you in several ways, which is why many will suffer low testosterone due to head trauma.
Here are some of the most common problems I’ve found on low testosterone.
Low testosterone levels, or T-levels, have potential to drive depression in both men and women[note]https://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/depression#types[/note]. Yes, women use testosterone as well which is developed in the ovaries[note]https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/normal-testosterone-and-estrogen-levels-in-women#1[/note]. However, women offset this by also developing larger amounts of estrogen than men.
For many people, hypogonadism[note]https://www.healthline.com/health/hypogonadism#outlook[/note] is often the culprit when it comes to higher levels of depression. This is when the body isn’t producing enough testosterone to keep your emotions balanced. This includes women as well.
Almost every paper, blog and news article I’ve come across depicts how a low testosterone level affects sex drive. It’s not just related to erectile dysfunction, though. Simply having the desire to be intimate is also affected.
Studies of older men over the age of 65, demonstrate how testosterone treatments improve sex drive[note]http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1506119[/note]. These studies also show an improvement of muscle mass and decreased fat. However, the trials were exceptionally small and unable to define an impact to overall health of the treatment.
In other words, we still don’t know if these kinds of treatments have resounding negative side effects.
Another study in 2013 shows the results of how testosterone levels increase sexual drive by nearly double[note]https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT01816295?sect=X80156#outcome2[/note]. In this study, the age group was somewhat lower averaging around 55 years.
It’s believed that low-T is responsible for male osteoporosis in most cases[note]https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/male-men#1[/note]. This is when the bone structure begins to decline making it easier to suffer fractures and breaks.
Although I haven’t broken a hip, I did suffer fractures in both feet when trying to walk a 5K a couple of years ago. Originally, I thought perhaps it was due to being out of shape and obese. Now I am starting to wonder if I have the early stages of having a problem with osteoporosis.
I’m not going to turn into one of those self-diagnosing, self-proclaimed Google physicians, but it kind of makes sense if I’ve suffered from low testosterone over the past 15 years.
Development of Visceral Fat
Think of visceral fat as deep-tissue fat located near vital organs[note]https://www.healthline.com/health/visceral-fat[/note]. It’s the mass that is stored deep within the body and is often the most difficult to get rid of.
For many of us, it’s cortisol that helps fuel the development of visceral fat. This stress hormone increases storage capacity, which contributes to a myriad of health problems including obesity.
The problem is that visceral fat and low testosterone are intertwined in a confusing mess. There’s evidence to show that obesity reduces testosterone levels. But low testosterone also causes the body to gain weight.
What does this mean? That it’s difficult to tell which impacted what first. Is it obesity that lowers your T-count, or is the low T-count responsible for weight gain?
Some evidence suggests low testosterone treatments increase lean body mass[note]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2544367/[/note] while reducing obesity. Unfortunately, there is not enough clinical data to show improving overall quality of life.
This is because eliminating obesity removes visceral fat from many equations. Think of it as fixing one problem to eliminate several.
Disrupted Sleep Patterns
This is another example of two elements creating a synchronous problem. Low testosterone impacts how tired you get, but it also is affected by a lack of sleep. In fact, some guys will develop sleep apnea caused by low-T levels[note]https://www.everydayhealth.com/low-testosterone/low-testosterone-and-sleep-deprivation-whats-the-link.aspx[/note].
This is one element that hits close to home for myself. I have a habit of not breathing for extended periods of time if I sleep on my back. In some cases, I’ve woken up gasping for air. It doesn’t happen as often now that I’ve lost nearly 70 pounds.
So, is it sleep deprivation causing a lower testosterone level, or is it the low-T count causing sleep deprivation?
It’s one of those things that need more study to identify.
Overall fatigue is another problem I have. My default answer when anyone asks how I’m doing today is, “Tired. Always tired.” And it’s true. I am exhausted all the time, and it’s not like I have an over-active lifestyle.
According to some experts, low testosterone contributes to overall fatigue in men[note]https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/what-causes-low-energy-men#diet-and-exercise[/note]. However, there are other physical complications that lead to overall fatigue – such as obesity and being sedentary.
6 Natural Ways to Face Low Testosterone
Not everyone has the money to jump into low-T products and supplements. While many of these pills and treatments have demonstrated excellent results, there are a few things you can do at home today to start changing your life.
1. Balance Vitamin Intake, especially D and Zinc
Increasing vitamin intake is ideal no matter the physical problem. When you give the body nutrients it needs to maintain functionality, your life undoubtedly improves.
Studies show a significant difference in testosterone levels by taking vitamin D supplements[note]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195[/note]. Of course humans can get vitamin D from a myriad of things including the sun light.
Zinc directly impacts serum testosterone levels[note]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875519[/note]. This is the measure of testosterone in the blood stream as measured in nanograms. A zinc deficiency lowers this level while zinc supplements increases it, according to scientific papers.
2. Focus on Health and Fitness
Losing weight and being healthy is more than just looking good while standing on the beach or attracting a lover. It’s not about looks, but more about survival.
Putting more thought into healthy practices, such as eating better and getting more physical activity, improves a myriad of things in your life – including low-T levels.
Keeping active and diminishing visceral fat may improve overall testosterone levels, according to some research. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say exactly what causes which condition – as I mentioned earlier.
Still, a healthy body is more likely to last longer in any regard.
3. Reduce Stress Levels
Finding ways to cope with the situations in your life will improve a myriad of things. Because stress is so damaging to the human body, it’s advisable to reduce it whether you have low testosterone or not.
Stress comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it’s almost impossible to live a stress-free life. It depends on many factors ranging from personal lifestyle to the people around you.
Finding ways to cope will directly affect testosterone levels[note]https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/low-testosterone-guide/managing-stress/[/note]. Everything from sleep to appetite is influenced by stress, and you’ll find yourself in better mental and physical condition by finding ideal ways to relax.
4. Balance Protein Intake
Some bodybuilding sites recommend a higher protein intake to offset low testosterone. However, other sites backed by scientific studies suggest keeping proteins with balanced levels with carbs[note]https://www.anabolicmen.com/protein-testosterone/[/note]. In fact, it’s found that high-protein/low-carb diets causes low testosterone in many subjects.
This suggests keeping a balance of protein to carbs is more realistic to improve low-T levels in men.
Personally, I don’t dive into protein shakes or whey supplements. I don’t want to look like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. However, I do know the practical benefits of strength. I also balance my intake with carbs – mostly because it’s how the body develops glucose to provide energy for the muscles[note]https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/use-glucose-muscle-cells-exercise-17763.html[/note].
5. Improve Sleep Quality
A few studies show how improving your sleep also improves your testosterone levels[note]https://www.anabolicmen.com/sleep-testosterone/[/note]. The more sleep you get, the higher the testosterone levels become. In fact, it’s possible to double your count by simply getting 8 hours of sleep every night.
Personally, I bounce between 5.5 and 7 hours of sleep. Perhaps this is part of my problem as I don’t have the best sleeping habits. It’s something I want to work on anyway simply because I am tired of being tired.
And I find I am far more productive after a good night’s rest.
6. Using Ashwagandha
What about using Ashwagandha? Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of scientific data behind whether ashwagandha is beneficial for testosterone levels. However, it’s an herb that is used to treat a myriad of conditions including infertility in men[note]https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-953/ashwagandha[/note].
Ahswagandha is one of those natural testosterone booster herbal remedies that has potential to help with low levels. It’s available in a myriad of locations, such as Walmart, and doesn’t cost a lot.
In fact, the Ashwaganda Extract at Walmart is only $4.99.
I’m not a big fan of trying herbal remedies such as this, at least not without extensive clinical trials. On the other hand, I’ve come across a few herbal remedies that are worth their weight in gold.
So use it at your own risk, I guess. I might try it if anything to help me write a review for this website.
Always Seek Medical Advice
Like with many other things in your life, always seek proper medical advise from a doctor. A simple testosterone level test can show whether it’s impacting your ability to function or not. Your depression, lack of sleep, weight gain and sex drive may all be a symptom of having a low-T count.
It’s worth the trouble to discover if this is the case, especially if you’re over the age of 30.