Testosterone is a vital hormone for men, but just like estrogen in women, it goes down as you age. This is a natural process that has many drawbacks. In men, testosterone is responsible for hair growth, bone density, proper weight distribution, sex drive, muscle mass, red cell production, and so much more. But did you know that you can actually increase your testosterone levels as opposed to letting them dwindle?
Before assessing the evidence of testosterone’s action in the aging male it is important to note certain methodological considerations which are common to the interpretation of any clinical trial of testosterone replacement. Many interventional trials of the effects of testosterone on human health and disease have been conducted. There is considerable heterogenicity in terms of study design and these differences have a potential to significantly affect the results seen in various studies. Gonadal status at baseline and the testosterone level produced by testosterone treatment in the study are of particular importance because the effects of altering testosterone from subphysiological to physiological levels may be different from those of altering physiological levels to supraphysiological. Another important factor is the length of treatment. Randomised controlled trials of testosterone have ranged from one to thirty-six months in duration (Isidori et al 2005) although some uncontrolled studies have lasted up to 42 months. Many effects of testosterone are thought to fully develop in the first few months of treatment but effects on bone, for example, have been shown to continue over two years or more (Snyder et al 2000; Wang, Cunningham et al 2004).
Since then there have been many publications documenting suppressed testosterone and gonadotropins (Daniell 2006) in men using opioid medications whether these agents were administrated orally (Daniell 2002) or intrathecally (Finch et al 2000). Not only do opioids act centrally by suppressing GnRH, they also act directly on the testes inhibiting the release of testosterone by Leydig cells during stimulation with human chorionic gonadotropin (Purohit et al 1978). Although the large majority of men (and women) receiving opioids do develop hypogonadism, about 15 percent also develop central hypocorticism and 15 percent develop growth hormone deficiency (Abs et al 2000).
The reasons for considering such therapy become evident from the many associations, indicated above, that reduced testosterone has with a variety of both physiological functions (bone metabolism, muscle mass, cognitive function, libido, erectile function) and pathophysiological states (metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, obesity, insulin resistance, autoimmune disease). Although a definitive long-term, large scale placebo-controlled double-blind study of testosterone therapy in the aging male has not yet been carried out, multiple shorter-term trials have suggested improvement by testosterone with a resultant enhancement of muscle mass, bone density, libido, erectile function, mood, motivation and general sense of well-being.
It is important not to use any DHEA product without the supervision of a professional. Find a qualified health care provider who will monitor your hormone levels and determine if you require supplementation. Rather than using an oral hormone supplementation, I recommend trans-mucosal (vagina or rectum) application. Skin application may not be wise, as it makes it difficult to measure the dosage you receive. This may cause you to end up receiving more than what your body requires.
Testosterone may prove to be an effective treatment in female sexual arousal disorders, and is available as a dermal patch. There is no FDA approved androgen preparation for the treatment of androgen insufficiency; however, it has been used off-label to treat low libido and sexual dysfunction in older women. Testosterone may be a treatment for postmenopausal women as long as they are effectively estrogenized.
The biggest problem with supplementing your testosterone levels is it can shut off your own natural production and it can also permanently lower your sperm count. Taking testosterone boosters may also leave you open to some of the other unwanted side effects, like acne, male pattern baldness, mood swings and aggressive behaviour. To give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding these side effects, you need to see an expert before going for boosters.
Dr. Ronald Swerdloff, chief of the endocrinology division at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and a professor of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, served on the panel of experts who developed the Endocrine Society's guidelines. He is also the principal investigator for one of the 12 sites of The Testosterone Trial in Older Men, a nationwide study funded mainly by the National Institute on Aging. The study of 800 men over age 65 with low testosterone is looking at whether men using AndroGel for one year, compared to placebo, will show improvements in walking speed, sexual activity, vitality, memory, and anemia. The study will be completed in June 2015.
Ashwagandha is most prominently used for its powerful adaptogen properties. Adaptogens refer to natural substances that can help your body adapt to stress. Stress has become something of a modern epidemic, and it is more than just feeling bad or annoyed. Stress has real effects on your physiology, thanks in part to the chemical cortisol. Cortisol is designed to put your body in a fight or flight response characteristic of stressful situations. However, chronic stress causes consistently high levels of cortisol, which can cause negative effects, including increased blood sugar, weight gain and even reduced testosterone levels. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha can help to regulate cortisol and curb many of its effects.
Studies of the effects on cognition of testosterone treatment in non-cognitively impaired eugonadal and hypogonadal ageing males have shown varying results, with some showing beneficial effects on spatial cognition (Janowsky et al 1994; Cherrier et al 2001), verbal memory (Cherrier et al 2001) and working memory (Janowsky et al 2000), and others showing no effects (Sih et al 1997; Kenny et al 2002). Other trials have examined the effects of testosterone treatment in older men with Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline. Results have been promising, with two studies showing beneficial effects of testosterone treatment on spatial and verbal memory (Cherrier et al 2005b) and cognitive assessments including visual-spatial memory (Tan and Pu 2003), and a recent randomized controlled trial comparing placebo versus testosterone versus testosterone and an aromatase inhibitor suggesting that testosterone treatment improves spatial memory directly and verbal memory after conversion to estrogen (Cherrier et al 2005a). Not all studies have shown positive results (Kenny et al 2004; Lu et al 2005), and variations could be due to the different measures of cognitive abilities that were used and the cognitive state of men at baseline. The data from clinical trials offers evidence that testosterone may be beneficial for certain elements of cognitive function in the aging male with or without cognitive decline. Larger studies are needed to confirm and clarify these effects.
Take 1 teaspoon. Incredibly dense in nutrients and feed by bees to the larvae who grows on to be the queen bee. I found one human study where a 4g daily serving led to an small increase in testosterone in older men (ref 78). There are also numerous animal studies (ref 79) showing positive effects. Personally I source NZ manuka royal jelly from Manuka Health.
We all remember the time during our teens where our body underwent majority of its changes that led us into adulthood. As far as testosterone levels go, this period of time is where the production of this hormone peaked. Testosterone levels during these teenage years remain high and consistent, and therefore it is not advisable to use a testosterone boosting supplement during this time. This is because, Natural Testosterone Boosters work by encouraging your body to increase it;s natural levels back to their maximum capacity. If your body is already producing it’s maximum amount of Testosterone, these products will be ineffective for you. You should be prioritising quality, intense training sessions with adequate nutrition, rich in protein and carbohydrates to elicit growth and repair.
That said, magnesium is one of a few ingredients demonstrated to impact testosterone levels. Researchers at Italy’s University of Palermo found that magnesium improved participants’ anabolic hormone status — including their testosterone levels. In a follow-up study, they confirm that even adjusting for age differences in their participant group, “magnesium was positively associated with total testosterone.” They propose that magnesium supplementation might help improve muscle performance in aging men — a group particularly vulnerable to declining/low testosterone levels. Outside of Italy, researchers at Turkey’s Selçuk University found that magnesium supplementation increased testosterone levels for both athletes and more sedentary men alike.
Changes in body composition are seen with aging. In general terms, aging males are prone to loss of muscle mass and a gain in fat mass, especially in the form of visceral or central fat. An epidemiological study of community dwelling men aged between 24 and 85 years has confirmed that total and free testosterone levels are inversely correlated with waist circumference and that testosterone levels are specifically related to this measure of central obesity rather than general obesity (Svartberg, von Muhlen, Sundsfjord et al 2004). Prospective studies show that testosterone levels predict future development of central obesity (Khaw and Barrett-Connor 1992; Tsai et al 2000). Reductions in free testosterone also correlate with age related declines in fat free mass (muscle mass) and muscle strength (Baumgartner et al 1999; Roy et al 2002). Studies in hypogonadal men confirm an increase in fat mass and decrease in fat free mass versus comparable eugonadal men (Katznelson et al 1998). Taken together, the epidemiological data suggest that a hypogonadal state promotes loss of muscle mass and a gain in fat mass, particularly visceral fat and therefore mimics the changes of ‘normal’ aging.
"A lot of the symptoms are mirrored by other medical problems," Hedges says. "And for a long time, we were not attributing them to low testosterone, but to diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. But awareness and appreciation of low testosterone has risen. We recognize now that low testosterone may be at the root of problems."