"Some say it's just a part of aging, but that's a misconception," says Jason Hedges, MD, PhD, a urologist at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. A gradual decline in testosterone can't explain a near-total lack of interest in sex, for example. And for Hedges' patients who are in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s and having erectile problems, other health problems may be a bigger issue than aging.
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Exercise boosts testosterone in two important ways. First, specific types of exercise actually cause our body to produce more testosterone. We’ll talk more about those in a bit. Second, exercise helps to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. As we’ve discussed previously, adipose tissue converts testosterone into estrogen. The less fat we get, the more T we have.
According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone therapy can help treat hypogonadism. This condition occurs when the body can’t produce enough testosterone on its own. However, it’s unclear whether supplements can help. A study published in found no scientific reason to prescribe testosterone to men over 65 years of age with normal or low to normal testosterone levels.
There are several supplements on the market claiming to be natural testosterone boosters. I get these sorts of things in the mail all time. The companies that produce these products claim that the herbs (typically stinging nettle and tribulus) in their pills increase free testosterone by reducing SHBG. They also throw in some B vitamins for “increased energy and vitality.”
The International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance recently studied tennis players, rugby teams, and wrestlers to find a link between testosterone and competitive outcome. They found that the difference between winning and losing was reflected in testosterone levels! The athletes' own natural testosterone prior to the game was directly related to the outcome after the game -- the higher the testosterone, the more frequently the athlete won.6
There are the testosterone deficiency signs, such as loss of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, impaired fertility, chronic fatigue, etc. But it’s not always possible to understand which medical condition caused the decrease in testosterone levels. For example, if you always feel exhausted and have no sexual desire, it may provide evidence of depression.
Prolactin is suppressed by dopamine activity. Since supplementing L-DOPA suppresses prolactin (by increasing dopamine activity), supplementing L-DOPA would increase testosterone if prolactin was abnormally high. The average, healthy male does not have elevated prolactin (unless he’s on steroids), so supplementing with L-DOPA will not increase your testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a steroid sex hormone found in both men and women. In men, testosterone is produced primarily by the Leydig (interstitial) cells of the testes when stimulated by luteinizing hormone (LH). It functions to stimulate spermatogenesis, promote physical and functional maturation of spermatozoa, maintain accessory organs of the male reproductive tract, support development of secondary sexual characteristics, stimulate growth and metabolism throughout the body and influence brain development by stimulating sexual behaviors and sexual drive. In women, testosterone is produced by the ovaries (25%), adrenals (25%) and via peripheral conversion from androstenedione (50%). Testerone in women functions to maintain libido and general wellbeing. Testosterone exerts a negative feedback mechanism on pituitary release of LH and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Testosterone may be further converted to dihydrotestosterone or estradiol depending on the tissue.
Everyone knows that carbohydrates are extremely important for testosterone production, but instead of reaching for grains during your next meal, stack your plate high with potatoes. Research reveals that grains have inflammatory properties, but the testosterone-friendly starches in potatoes will have the bodybuilder in your life smiling at dinnertime!
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As blood levels of testosterone increase, this feeds back to suppress the production of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus which, in turn, suppresses production of luteinising hormone by the pituitary gland. Levels of testosterone begin to fall as a result, so negative feedback decreases and the hypothalamus resumes secretion of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone.