What is a Testosterone?
Testosterone is a specifically male hormone but is also produced in fewer amounts in females. It not only performs reproductive functions but also plays an important role in body composition and appearance. In this article, I will give insight information that what is a testosterone and what are its functions.
Testosterone is mainly produced in Leydig cells of testes under the influence of the Luteinizing hormone (LH). Research proved that in past decades semen quality, as well as quantity, has decreased by about 50-60%.
Besides the factors relevant to lifestyles like age, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and no exercise, diet also plays an important role. Research conducted in the West reported that a healthy diet pattern improves sperm quality parameters and testosterone levels.
How does Testosterone decide the Gender of a Foetus?
During embryo development, until early 6 weeks, reproductive systems are identical in both male and female fetuses. After 6 weeks, some genes on the Y chromosome started the development of testicles. Leydig cells present in fetus testicles produce testosterone and it helps in the growth of the Wolffian duct which in the future becomes the male urogenital tract.
Functions of Testosterone in Males
It has versatile functions in the body like
- Male reproductive organs development
- Heavy Voice during puberty
- Development of male character like facial and pubic hairs
- Muscle growth
- Bones density
- Sexual desire
- Sperm production
The raw material for testosterone is Cholesterol. It does not mean that if you have a high cholesterol level, you will also high level of testosterone. In spite high level of cholesterol is responsible for heart stroke.
The Function of Testosterone in Female
Testosterone is also produced in females but in very low amounts. It mainly plays important role in
- Growth of ovaries
- Bone strength
- RBC production
- Sexual desire
Abnormal Levels of Testosterone
The level of testosterone is naturally decreased with the increase of age in males. High or low levels of testosterone both are detrimental to health. Normally body keeps its level at normal through feedback hormones that control its production.
The problem of high levels is very rare. This problem is mostly seen in athletes who use anabolic steroids for their muscle growth which definitely have their side effects like:
- Reduced sperm count
- Increase risk of cardiac problems
- Chances of prostate issues
- Hypertension and high cholesterol
- Increase chances of blood clots
- Mood swing
The decline in the level of Testosterone also called hypogonadism could be due to multiple factors. It may be due to normal physiological processes like aging or due to underlying medical conditions like a testicular tumor. Testicular injury may also be the reason for reduced testosterone levels.
There are the following symptoms of low testosterone level:
- Low sexual desire
- Loss of body hairs
- Low sperm count and quality
- Shrinkage of testes
- Decrease energy level
- Lethargic condition
- Poor cognitive skills
- Decrease muscle volume
A total testosterone test is performed on a blood sample to diagnose its deficiency along with symptoms. There are multiple factors related to the deficiency of testosterone levels in males. So in order to make the final diagnosis, your doctors must test for Luteinizing hormone, serum prolactin, serum estradiol, and PSA to exclude prostate cancer risk.
There are many flaws in the treatment of low testosterone levels. Studies reported that the majority of the men (25%) who have received testosterone therapy, did not even test their blood for any deficiency.
A lot of real patients could not receive treatment due to concerns regarding prostate cancer and cardiac-related issue as side effects of treatment.
The decline in the testosterone level with increasing age is a normal phenomenon. This decrease may be due to some other factors. So, the addition of Testosterone hormone should not be the first choice of a doctor. In spite of it, he should alter other routine activities of an individual to sort out the reason.
How to Improve Low Testosterone Naturally?
There are multiple natural ways to improve testosterone levels without any treatment because treatments have a lot of risk factors associated.
The body accumulates extra glucose as fat in adipose tissues. These tissues secrete an enzyme called “Aromatase” which decreases the testosterone level. So try to maintain your body weight in the ideal range.
Aerobic exercise and workouts enhance testosterone production. Exercise also prevents you from cancer and cardiac problems and keeps your body active. Excessive gym workouts and weightlifting have a very bad impact on testosterone levels.
A good amount of sleep also improves testosterone levels as its production is at its peak during Rapid eye movement during our sleep time.
Tobacco and Alcohol
Alcohol and tobacco reduced the testosterone level.
These are the chemicals present in our environment that act in our body like hormones but actually, they are not. Over time testosterone levels have decreased possibly due to these products. There are the following xenobiotics:
- Bisphenol is present in plastic bags. Avoid microwave food in a plastic container
- Phthalates are the chemicals present in plastics, lubricants, and binders.
- Organophosphates are found in insecticides. So try to use organic food.
Diet plays an important role in maintaining your health. So to stay healthy avoid these foods:
- Excessive caffeine
- Excessive dairy products
- Processed food
- Food colors
To improve your testosterone level, include these foods into your diet:
- Variety of fruits
- Dry fruits and nuts
- Soy milk
- Green tea etc.