Some of the negative changes low testosterone can cause include:
Hypertension and heart disease
Weakened bones and osteoporosis
Worst of all for many men, the loss of sexual potency
Fortunately you can counter sinking testosterone levels and prevent these negative health impacts in a number of ways. But before we get into the solutions, let’s take a closer look at what you need to be alert for.
Testosterone levels drop for one of two common reasons. The first stems from a problem with the production of testosterone in the testes. The second is a problem in the brain’s hormonal regulatory center – the pituitary gland can either stimulate or suppress testosterone production.
Whatever the reason for the decline in your testosterone levels, here’s what you need watch out for. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with these symptoms so that if they ever do pop up in your life, you can respond early on and discuss them with your doctor, rather than wait until symptoms become more severe.
Weight Gain Medical research leaves no doubt about the close association between obesity and low testosterone. The body’s fat cells can metabolize testosterone into estrogen, which can then lower testosterone levels further. So when you have a lot of fat, your body cannibalizes your own testosterone stores.
To make matters worse, a protein known as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) tends to be lower in men with obesity. This is the protein that carries testosterone in the blood. If you have less of this carrier, you may have less testosterone available. So, can regular exercise increase testosterone levels? Yes, when you lose weight, you can improve your testosterone levels. Another benefit of exercise!
As many as 50% of men with diabetes in the United States may have low testosterone levels. Studies shown that men with low testosterone are also more likely to later develop diabetes. How does this occur? Well, testosterone helps to promote the uptake of blood sugar in the body in response to insulin. This improves the efficiency of insulin. One of the problems in diabetes is insulin resistance – the need to produce more insulin to maintain a normal blood sugar.
Testosterone helps with this. Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic syndrome refers to a combination of obesity in the waistline, problems with the regulation of lipids and insulin, high blood sugar, and hypertension. It’s a proven risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Some studies have shown that men with low testosterone are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. It’s unclear at this time if testosterone replacement can reverse this syndrome, but maintaining good testosterone levels may offer some protection against developing it in the first place.