A Brief History
In August 1935, the chemical synthesis of testosterone from cholesterol was achieved by German biochemist Adolf Butenandt (1903–1995) and G. Hanisch. Nearly a century later, we ask, “Should you get a testosterone test?” There are many reasons to ensure you have healthy testosterone levels.
Did you know that 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 have low testosterone levels? The scary part is that many men are not aware of their low testosterone levels, as only 1 in 20 men show clinical symptoms that would link to a deficiency. Therefore, because regular testing can’t always detect low testosterone levels, undergoing a testosterone test is a good idea if you are over the age of 30.
But, why is it so important to know about your testosterone levels? What does testosterone do for the body anyway? Check out this guide to learn about the benefits of testosterone so you can better understand why getting tested is so important! Here are the 6 testosterone benefits to know.
What Is Testosterone?
First things first, what exactly is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone. It is primarily produced in the testicles of men and in the ovaries and adrenal glands of women- that is right, women have testosterone too!
And, just like men, women can have testosterone levels that are too low or too high. So, when we talk about the importance of getting your testosterone levels tested, we are speaking to women as well as men; however, women have much smaller amounts of testosterone in their bodies than men do.
During adolescence and early adulthood, testosterone levels increase rapidly. In fact, they become about 30 times greater during these years. Then, levels start to taper off bit by bit in early adulthood. After you’re 30 years old, it’s normal for your body to see a 1 percent decline in testosterone levels each year.
Testosterone plays a key role in your body. It affects your:
- Bones and muscle mass
- Sex drive
- Verbal memory
- Thinking ability
- Facial/pubic hair
- Depth of your voice
Whether you are looking to boost your testosterone levels or you’re concerned about low testosterone, you should see your doctor.
If you have low testosterone levels and undergo therapy to increase them, you may experience some major benefits. Let’s now dive into the benefits of testosterone.
1. Healthy Heart and Blood
We all know how important it is to have a healthy heart. When your heart is healthy, it can easily pump oxygen to the rest of your body so that your muscles and organs can perform at optimal levels; however, if you have low testosterone levels, you’re at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems that make it difficult for your heart to perform at its optimal level.
One study that involved 83,000 men found that those who underwent testosterone therapy and once again experienced normal testosterone levels were 24 percent less likely to suffer from a heart attack.
2. More Muscle and Less Fat
If you have low testosterone levels, hitting the weights will only do so much.
This is because testosterone is responsible for increased muscle mass. And, when you have a leaner body mass, you’re more easily able to control your weight. And, you’ll experience increased energy levels; however, increasing your testosterone levels alone likely won’t result in a dramatic change in body composition. For the best results, you should combine hormone therapy with strength training and exercise.
3. Boost Your Brain Power
When people think of testosterone, they often think of how it affects their bodies; however, testosterone can also have an effect on your mind.
In fact, higher testosterone levels can help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, improve your verbal memory, increase your processing speed, and boost your thinking abilities.
It can also help with your spatial memory and mathematical reasoning.
4. Stronger Bones
As we age, not only do our testosterone levels drop but so too do our bone density levels.
It is important to do what you can to increase the strength of your bones, as strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis, boost athletic performance, and better support the muscles and organs.
5. Improved Libido
One of the toughest aspects of aging is experiencing a decrease in your libido.
In response to sexual activity and arousal, your testosterone levels naturally rise. As you age, you need more testosterone for erectile function and libido; however, it is important to note that erectile dysfunction is rarely caused by low testosterone levels. It’s most often due to other conditions or medications.
But, studies do show that testosterone therapy can improve your sexual health and performance. However, this is only in cases where one has low levels of testosterone to begin with. If you have normal testosterone levels, there are not any studies that show that increasing your testosterone will benefit your sexual performance.
6. Improved Mood
Increasing your testosterone levels can improve your mood and your overall quality of life.
People with low testosterone often experience depression, irritability, and fatigue. By increasing your testosterone levels, you have a better chance of lowering your depression and improving your mood; however, keep in mind that some studies suggest that mood is only affected by men who have hypogonadism (improperly functioning testicles). If your testosterone levels drop at a normal rate as you age, then your mood should not be affected.
If you are experiencing changes in mood and you do not have hypogonadism, then you should talk to your doctor to figure out the cause.
Risks of Testosterone Therapy
As you can see, there are many benefits that come with having healthy testosterone levels; however, this does not mean you should dive right into testosterone therapy, as it comes with its own risks. Risks associated with testosterone therapy include:
- Fluid retention
- Increased urination
- Increased acne
- Enlarged breasts
- Decreased testicular size
- Decreased sperm account
- Aggressive behaviors
Before starting testosterone therapy, you should have a long conversation with your doctor. You should also check out this guide to learn about common questions associated with testosterone therapy.
Are You Ready to Take a Testosterone Test?
As we said earlier, low testosterone levels can often go undetected, so it’s important to take a testosterone test to figure out where you’re at.
And, be sure to check back in with our blog for more healthy living tips and tricks.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever had a testosterone test? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Epstein, Randi Hutter. Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything. W. W. Norton & Company, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a ball-and-stick model by Jynto (more from this user) of the testosterone molecule, an anabolic steroid and the main hormone responsible for the growth of male primary and secondary sex characteristics in humans.is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.