Like other steroid hormones, testosterone is derived from cholesterol (see figure). The first step in the biosynthesis involves the oxidative cleavage of the side-chain of cholesterol by cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc, CYP11A1), a mitochondrial cytochrome P450 oxidase with the loss of six carbon atoms to give pregnenolone. In the next step, two additional carbon atoms are removed by the CYP17A1 (17α-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase) enzyme in the endoplasmic reticulum to yield a variety of C19 steroids. In addition, the 3β-hydroxyl group is oxidized by 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase to produce androstenedione. In the final and rate limiting step, the C17 keto group androstenedione is reduced by 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase to yield testosterone.
Next, while testosterone levels do decline with age, this may simply be because the older that men get, the less they take care of themselves – they stop exercising, start putting on weight, and don’t pay as much attention to their diet. A recent study suggests that age-related T decline is not inevitable, and that if you keep living a healthy lifestyle, you can maintain healthy testosterone levels. So if you’re an older guy, try to do all you can as far as lifestyle changes before you get on the prescription T. I don’t mean doing a little cardio a few times a week, using the machines at the gym, and eating “pretty” healthy. Follow the guidelines above, and see what happens first.
Ghlissi, Z., Atheymen, R., Boujbiha, M. A., Sahnoun, Z., Makni Ayedi, F., Zeghal, K., ... Hakim, A. (2013, December). Antioxidant and androgenic effects of dietary ginger on reproductive function of male diabetic rats [Abstract]. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 64 (8), 974–978. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23862759
Smith and colleagues (2005) undertook a prospective study on the contribution of stress to coronary heart disease. Their study, which involved 2512 men aged 45 to 59 years, looked at a number of metabolic parameters. They found that an increased cortisol to testosterone ratio was associated with a high risk of coronary artery disease and that this risk was mediated by components of the insulin resistance syndrome. They reported that high cortisol and low testosterone levels are associated with a worsening of insulin resistance and that there is evidence to support the possibility of improving this pattern by treatment with testosterone.
Here’s one proof: in a number of British rivers, 50 percent of male fish were found to produce eggs in their testes. According to EurekAlert,3 EDCs have been entering rivers and other waterways through sewage systems for years, altering the biology of male fish. It was also found that fish species affected by EDCs had 76 percent reduction in their reproductive function.
Unfortunately, in the modern world, stresses and emotional exhaustion lie in wait for men at every step. Nowadays, burnout is a constant state for many men. Of course, this causes great harm to the men’s health. Stresses drain of vitality and affect emotional state. Besides, they are also very dangerous for the nervous system. The nature is wise. And the body of a man who is not subject to stress can produce more testosterone.
Watch out for ingredients that interfere with blood clotting If you are taking any kind of blood medication, take aspirin or ibuprofen, or have any kind of blood-related condition, you’ll want to consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements. Fenugreek, Forskolin, and Acetyl-L-carnitine are just a few of the ingredients that can make these situations worse and increase your chances of bruising and bleeding.
When females have a higher baseline level of testosterone, they have higher increases in sexual arousal levels but smaller increases in testosterone, indicating a ceiling effect on testosterone levels in females. Sexual thoughts also change the level of testosterone but not level of cortisol in the female body, and hormonal contraceptives may affect the variation in testosterone response to sexual thoughts.
Grape seed extract is another ingredient with not enough research to suggest a dosage. Grape seed extract can interact with drugs like “blood thinners, NSAID painkillers (like aspirin, Advil, and Aleve), certain heart medicines, cancer treatments, and others.” If this sounds like you (or if you ever pop an Advil to clear off a headache), you’ll need to speak with a doctor to make sure this supplement is safe to take.
Phthalates are found to cause poor testosterone synthesis by disrupting an enzyme required to create the male hormone. Women with high levels of DEHP and DBP (two types of phthalates) in their system during pregnancy were found to have sons that had feminine characteristics Phthalates are found in vinyl flooring, detergents, automotive plastics, soaps and shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays, plastic bags and food packaging, among a long list of common products. Aside from phthalates, other chemicals that possess gender-bending traits are:
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Vitamin C (unnecessary). I don’t know where I first heard about vitamin C’s supposed T-boosting benefits, but it’s one of those things you see all over the internet when you Google “how to increase testosterone.” Without trying to find the research that backs up that claim, I took a vitamin C supplement during my experiment. I later found some research that suggests that vitamin C does increase testosterone levels in diabetic mice, but because I wasn’t diabetic (nor a mouse), I’m not sure how much the vitamin C helped. I’ve actually stopped taking vitamin C supplements. I’m likely getting more than enough with my diet. Unless you have diabetes, you probably won’t see much benefit from this supplement. Don’t waste your money.
If a man's testosterone looks below the normal range, there is a good chance he could end up on hormone supplements—often indefinitely. "There is a bit of a testosterone trap," Dr. Pallais says. "Men get started on testosterone replacement and they feel better, but then it's hard to come off of it. On treatment, the body stops making testosterone. Men can often feel a big difference when they stop therapy because their body's testosterone production has not yet recovered."
The changes in average serum testosterone levels with aging mean that the proportion of men fulfilling a biochemically defined diagnosis of hypogonadism increases with aging. Twenty percent of men aged over 60 have total testosterone levels below the normal range and the figure rises to 50% in those aged over 80. The figures concerning free testosterone are even higher as would be expected in view of the concurrent decrease in SHBG levels (Harman et al 2001).
Here’s a scary thought: You may be less of a man than your father was—at least hormonally. A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that, on average, testosterone levels were higher in men of the same age in the ’80s than they were in the 2000s (due, researchers speculate, to higher rates of obesity and the wider use of medication these days).
If you still feel the need to supplement, keep in mind that supplemental magnesium is more likely than dietary magnesium to cause adverse effects, which is why the FDA fixed at 350 mg the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for magnesium supplementation in adults. Also, you may want to avoid magnesium oxide: it has poor bioavailability (rats absorbed only 15% in one study, and humans only 4% in another) and can cause intestinal discomfort and diarrhea.
Millions of American men use a prescription testosterone gel or injection to restore normal levels of the manly hormone. The ongoing pharmaceutical marketing blitz promises that treating "low T" this way can make men feel more alert, energetic, mentally sharp, and sexually functional. However, legitimate safety concerns linger. For example, some older men on testosterone could face higher cardiac risks.