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.
The brain is also affected by this sexual differentiation; the enzyme aromatase converts testosterone into estradiol that is responsible for masculinization of the brain in male mice. In humans, masculinization of the fetal brain appears, by observation of gender preference in patients with congenital diseases of androgen formation or androgen receptor function, to be associated with functional androgen receptors.
The most common "out of balance" testosterone levels are found to be on the low side of normal; this occurs because a male's highest testosterone level usually peaks at about age 20, and then it decreases slowly with age. It has been suggested that a 1% decrease in testosterone level per year is not unusual for middle-aged (30 to 50 years old) and older males. While this decrease may not be noticeable in some men, others may experience significant changes starting in their middle-aged years or more commonly at age 60 and above. This drop in testosterone levels is sometimes termed hypogonadism, "male menopause" or andropause.
While I do have a pretty manly mustache, I’m not a doctor or a medical expert. I’m a guy with a law degree he’s never used who blogs about manliness. What I’m about to share shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for qualified medical expertise. It’s simply my experience and views on the subject. Before you make any changes in lifestyle or diet, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Be smart.
Sharma, R., Oni, O. A., Gupta, K., Chen, G., Sharma, M., Dawn, B., … & Barua, R. S. (2015, August 6). Normalization of testosterone level is associated with reduced incidence of myocardial infarction. European Heart Journal, 36(40), 2706-2715. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/36/40/2706/2293361/Normalization-of-testosterone-level-is-associated