7 Testosterone Weaknesses and How to Defeat Them

7 Health Risks in Men with Low
Testosterone and What to Do About It

If you’re a man, falling testosterone levels may be affecting you big time. But there IS something you can do about it. Some effects of low testosterone in men are obvious such as a declining energy level, failing libido, and decreased muscle mass.

Each of these is bad enough on its own. But other effects aren’t as easy to recognize and that means that your doctor might miss the link between these effects and low testosterone.

On average, your testosterone levels decline by 1% each year after age 40. That’s a gradual decline that can fool you into thinking the associated symptoms are just normal changes that come with aging. You might ignore the decline in your quality of life for years or even decades!

Some of the negative changes low testosterone can cause include:

  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • 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!

Diabetes mellitus

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.

Some of the symptoms related to testosterone deficiency may be psychologically related. Studies point to a link between depression and low levels of testosterone in men. The link is clear even after factors such as general health or the presence of obesity are accounted for. It’s possible that a mood disturbance such as depression or anxiety may be directly related to low testosterone’s biochemical effect on the brain.

It’s also possible that low-normal levels of testosterone may have some predictive value in terms of depression risk. If depression may be an issue in your life; consult a specialist. Depression is rarely “all in your head”; there’s very often a chemical or hormonal reason behind it, meaning it’s very often treatable.

Memory Loss

Even memory loss may be related to having a low testosterone level. Studies show that testosterone deficiency can lead to a significant loss of synapses in regions of the brain that are involved with memory.

Problems with memory retention have been described in neuropsychological studies, and imaging studies of the brain have shown blood flow and functional changes with hormone replacement. Hypertension and Heart Disease Recent studies have shown that low testosterone can be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Weakened bones and osteoporosis Testosterone plays an important role in male skeletal health. Osteoporosis is a generalized skeletal disease that involves low bone mass and breakdown of bone tissue at the micro-level. This results in bone fragility and an increased risk for fractures.

Osteoporosis is a significant problem in older men. Close to 30% of all hip fractures occur in men, and in men the mortality rates from a hip fracture exceed those of women. Over 50% of older men with low testosterone levels may have bone mineral density levels below the young adult normal range, and this can significantly increase the risk for fractures.

So What Can You Do?

How you handle low testosterone and its effects on your body depends on several factors, such as how low your level is and what type of symptoms you have. There’s not yet conclusive evidence that replacing testosterone will eliminate these health risks. While measurable health improvements have been seen from testosterone replacement, more studies are needed.

Studies show that testosterone replacement therapy may increase bone and muscle mass, improve muscle strength, and enhance cardiovascular function. It may also improve general sense of well-being and sexual function by successfully helping to improve your libido. Starting testosterone replacement therapy is a decision you should discuss with your doctor, after reviewing the potential benefits and risks, which may include prostate disease.
Lifestyle modifications alone are often helpful. Weight loss, exercise, and dietary modifications may all help to naturally increase your testosterone levels. Nutritional studies indicate that certain foods can be helpful in increasing your testosterone levels. For example, garlic may increase testosterone production as a result of indirect stimulation by a compound knows as diallyldisulfide.
Increasing your dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, for example) may also help to raise testosterone levels by helping to eliminate excess estrogen in your system.

Vitamin A may also improve testosterone levels. Good sources include cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs, and squash. Studies have also shown that men with adequate levels of vitamin D had relatively higher levels of testosterone compared to those with low levels of vitamin D.

Excellent sources of vitamin D include salmon, dairy products, mushrooms, and eggs. By including these foods and nutrients in your regular diet and by taking steps to improve your overall fitness levels you can begin to improve your testosterone levels naturally. And you’ll enjoy the added benefit of improving some of the other important health risk factors triggered by low testosterone.

If you think you have a low testosterone level, talk to your doctor about your concerns. He’ll be able to help you decide if testosterone replacement makes sense for you, and he’s sure to congratulate you on your decision to act on some of the healthy lifestyle changes suggested here.