Often thought of as the ‘primary’ male hormone, testosterone is in fact one of several male hormones (or, androgens), which play an important part in the health of muscles, bone, and skin. Mainly produced by men, testosterone is also produced in a woman’s ovaries in small amounts.
Essential for normal reproductive and sexual function, testosterone actually has a much bigger role to play, including regulating muscle mass, fat distribution, red blood cell production and bone density. Low testosterone is usually diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), with a normal range typically 300–1000 ng/dL.
Hormonal imbalance in men
When people talk about male hormones, they tend to relate them primarily to sex drive and focus on symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and low libido. In reality, hormonal imbalance can create many symptoms such as fatigue, heart palpitations, hair loss, depression, mood swings, weight gain, and memory loss. It can even increase the risk for serious health problems like heart attack and stroke.
Regulating hormone levels
During adolescence, testosterone levels surge, which can result in acne breakouts, increased muscle mass, a deepening voice and spike in sex drive. As men reach their 30s, however, testosterone levels begin to decline. To keep hormones in shape, a few lifestyle adjustments can be of assistance, such as staying fit (reports show that overweight men are 40% more likely to have below average testosterone levels), and getting seven to eight hours sleep, as sleep deprivation can lead to lowered testosterone levels for older men. Supplements such as magnesium, calcium, selenium, zinc and vitamins A and E can also help men meet their daily mineral and vitamin intake and increase testosterone levels.
Too high, or too low?
Recent studies have suggested that testosterone does not increase risk of prostate cancer or developing benign hyperplasia, but that low testosterone levels can in fact lead to serious health implications, such as insulin resistance and increased likelihood of a heart attack.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be used to improve many of the symptoms of decreased testosterone, such as depression, bone mineral density, energy, libido, erectile function, muscle mass, insulin resistance, and lower urinary tract symptoms, although HRT has been associated with side effects such as increased risk for blood clots and stroke.
While women experience a rapid drop in hormone levels at menopause, men undergo a more gradual decrease of testosterone levels over time. Men with testosterone levels below 300 ng/dL may experience some degree of low testosterone symptoms that may require treatment, medication or lifestyle modification, such as high-quality sleep, vitamin and mineral supplements, exercise and a balanced diet based on whole foods.
Our Male Hormone Screen test will provide valuable information on an individual’s hormonal status assessing key hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and DHEA. This Screen will provide insights into a wide range of disorders, from reduced libido and muscle mass to cardiovascular disease and other hormone related imbalanced symptoms.