Michael T. Murray, ND, is widely regarded as one of the leading authorities on natural medicine. He is the author of many books, including the classic Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. His latest book is What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know. Visit him online at doctormurray.com. Article Courtesy of Better Nutrition
Testosterone is included in the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines, which are the most important medications needed in a basic health system. It is available as a generic medication. The price depends on the form of testosterone used. It can be administered as a cream or transdermal patch that is applied to the skin, by injection into a muscle, as a tablet that is placed in the cheek, or by ingestion.
In accordance with sperm competition theory, testosterone levels are shown to increase as a response to previously neutral stimuli when conditioned to become sexual in male rats. This reaction engages penile reflexes (such as erection and ejaculation) that aid in sperm competition when more than one male is present in mating encounters, allowing for more production of successful sperm and a higher chance of reproduction.
These results have been echoed in clinical trials. A meta-analysis of 24 RCTs looked at weight loss caused by diet or bariatric surgery: In the diet studies, the average 9.8% weight loss was linked to a testosterone increase of 2.9 nmol/L (84 ng/dL). In the bariatric-surgery studies, the average 32% weight loss was linked to a testosterone increase of 8.7 nmol/L (251 ng/dL).
Dr. Wassersug, whose background is in evolutionary biology, also noted that lower testosterone in older men may be adaptive, a positive benefit, as our bodies age and become increasingly frail. "The argument can be made," he said, "that it's not beneficial to have the mindset of a 19-year-old when you are 49-years-old, because if you are aggressive enough to get into a conflict with an actual 19-year-old, you are going to get killed."
When many people think of someone with a high level of testosterone, they may picture a man loaded with strength, sexual prowess, and machismo. But while high-T has been correlated with all those things, it’s also been correlated with aggression, sexual misconduct, and violence. One of testosterone’s most common uses—as a performance-enhancing steroid—illustrates both sides of the hormone. Injecting steroids can be a quick way for athletes to dramatically improve performance, but the side effects can also be extreme, and can include excessive body hair growth, sexual dysfunction, and the hard-to-corral anger known as “roid rage.”
A sedentary lifestyle is another scourge for modern civilization. And this is a serious danger for men. After all, if physical activity is minimal, the testosterone levels will decrease steadily. And in this situation, strength training exercises are a proven method for raising testosterone. Thus, sports exercises always helped raise the levels of male sex hormone. As a result, the testosterone levels elevate after every workout.
It is now well-established that elderly men with type 2 diabetes mellitus have reduced levels of testosterone (Barrett-Connor 1992; Betancourt-Albrecht and Cunningham 2003). It is known, however, that obese men and diabetic men have reduced levels of SHBG (Barrett-Connor 1990) which could account for the lower total testosterone levels found in diabetic men. Dhindsa et al (2004) studied 103 male patients who had type 2 diabetes mellitus using free testosterone (done by equilibrium dialysis) or calculated free testosterone which takes SHBG levels into account. Of the 103 patients, 57 had free testosterone by equilibrium dialysis and of these, 14 (25%) had a free T below 0.174 nmol/L and were considered hypogonadal. Using a total testosterone of 10.4 nmol/L (300ng/dl) as the lower limit of normal 45 patients (43%) were in the hypogonadal range. They also found that LH and FSH concentrations were significantly lower in the hypogonadal group. The authors thus concluded that hypogonadotropic hypogonadism was a common finding in type 2 diabetes irrespective of glycemic control, duration of disease or the presence of complications of diabetes or obesity.
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:
Conflicting results have been obtained concerning the importance of testosterone in maintaining cardiovascular health. Nevertheless, maintaining normal testosterone levels in elderly men has been shown to improve many parameters that are thought to reduce cardiovascular disease risk, such as increased lean body mass, decreased visceral fat mass, decreased total cholesterol, and glycemic control.
If in a 46 XY individual testosterone is either not produced in adequate concentrations as in gonadal dysgenesis (MacLaughlin and Donahue 2004), or in the absence of the enzyme 17 alpha-hydroxylase so that testosterone is not produced (Ergun-Longmire et al 2006), or testosterone androgen receptors are absent as in the androgen insensitivity syndrome (Hughes and Deeb 2006), phenotypic females will result.
There is an increased incidence of hypogonadism in men with rheumatoid arthritis. Tengstrand et al (2002) studied hormonal levels in 104 men with rheumatoid arthritis and 99 age-matched healthy men. They divided their subjects into 3 age groups: 30–49, 40–59, 60–69. Mean non-sex hormone binding globulin-bound testosterone (bioavailable testosterone) was lower in men with rheumatoid arthritis for each of the three groups. LH was also found to be lower in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis suggesting a hypothalamic-pituitary cause of the reduced bioavailable testosterone. Of the 104 men with rheumatoid arthritis, 33 had hypogonadism compared to 7 of the 99 healthy controls.
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