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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.
Hypogonadism (as well as age-related low testosterone) is diagnosed with blood tests that measure the level of testosterone in the body. The Endocrine Society recommends testing for suspected low T with a total testosterone test. It may be performed in the morning when testosterone levels tend to be highest in young men, although this isn't necessarily the case in older men. The test may be repeated on another day if the results show a low T level. (5)
Instead of turning to some drug that can only ameliorate symptoms and cause additional complications, I recommend using a natural saw palmetto supplement. Dr. Moerck says that there are about 100 clinical studies on the benefits of saw palmetto, one of them being a contributed to decreased prostate cancer risk. When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, you should be wary of the brand, as there are those that use an inactive form of the plant.
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.
From the age of 25–30, a man’s testosterone levels naturally start to decline. This is a problem because strong research shows a link between low testosterone and obesity, increased disease risk and premature death. Healthy testosterone levels are also important for women, along with other key hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, everyone should take the necessary lifestyle steps to optimize testosterone levels. You will improve your health and body at the same time.
Although some men believe that taking testosterone medications may help them feel younger and more vigorous as they age, few rigorous studies have examined testosterone therapy in men who have healthy testosterone levels. And some small studies have revealed mixed results. For example, in one study healthy men who took testosterone medications increased muscle mass but didn't gain strength.