What makes a man, a man? Men and women have different hormones that are crucial to their development and set them apart. For men, that's testosterone.
As we age, hormone levels change and there are lots of products available that can help boost testosterone levels in men. But before you begin one of these therapies, it's important to know if it's right for you and how these supplements can affect you.
Testosterone is a hormone -- often called the "male sex hormone" -- that can be found in both men and women. In women, testosterone promotes ovarian function, but it's the dominant hormone in men. According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone is vital in the proper development of the male reproductive system, sperm production, brain function as well as muscle growth. The amount of testosterone a man has peaks during his adolescence and decreases as he ages, which can lead to several bodily changes.
Having testosterone deficiency can increase the risk for medical conditions like cardiovascular disease and impact longevity. Symptoms and signs of a deficiency of this hormone include decreased muscle mass and strength, loss of bone mass, osteoporosis, low libido or sexual desire, increased body fat as well as cognitive issues like poor memory and/or concentration.
According to the 2009 article "The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review," published in the journal of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, testosterone therapy can have many beneficial effects on the body to improve quality of life:
Develop Lean Muscle:
Adding more testosterone back into the body can help increase muscle protein synthesis and growth, helping to increase the amount of lean muscle mass in the body. Supplementation can also help reduce the amount of body fat present in the body and improve the muscle strength.
Improve Sexual Health:
Men who undergo testosterone therapy have improved sexual desire as well as function and performance with improved stamina. Testosterone supplements can be especially beneficial for men experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED). These supplements can also improve the health of the bladder and urinary tract.
Promote Bone Health:
Older men are especially susceptible to loss of bone mass and density, developing conditions like osteoporosis and osteopenia and experiencing fractures and breaks. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), men with hormone deficiency are twice as likely to develop osteoporosis and testosterone can help prevent these effects and treat them.
Strengthen Cognitive Health:
Brain health can decrease with aging and loss of testosterone. Adding this therapy can improve overall cognitive function for improved mood, mental clarity and ability to focus. Hormone therapy can also improve memory retention and prevent further degeneration.
What to Know First
Large clinical studies have still not been conducted on the safety and effectiveness of testosterone supplements, but research continues. An individual should be diagnosed with hypogonadism (inability to produce proper amounts of testosterone as related to the testicles or pituitary gland) or are-related testosterone deficiency before undergoing testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) treatment. These individuals exhibit the symptoms and signs of this condition explained above and low levels of testosterone present in the body. Oral, topical (patches, gels or creams) and even intravenous treatments are available.
It's crucial to always use testosterone replacement supplements under the supervision of a healthcare professional, whether they're prescription or over-the-counter products. Many of these products are used in cycles, taken for a number of weeks with a break in between cycles, so be sure to follow dosing instructions carefully.
Testosterone supplementation can boost that feeling of vitality with improved physical, mental and sexual health. Just what every man needs.