Testosterone is a sex hormone that performs important functions in the body, especially in men. It is necessary for the development of the male reproductive system, and the maintenance of good sexual performance. As people get older, particularly after the age of 30, their natural levels of testosterone gradually decrease. Aside from age, there are also other conditions that lower the testosterone levels like autoimmune diseases, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney diseases, obesity, or a high level of the sex hormone binding globulin. It is important to regulate testosterone levels in order for the hormone to do its roles in the body.
What are the Functions of Testosterone?
- On the Reproductive System
Testosterone starts to help in developing the male reproductive system as early seven weeks after conception. It is also the testosterone that helps the testicles and penis grow during puberty. Men with low testosterone levels may experience erectile dysfunction.
- On Sexuality
Along with the physical changes brought about by the rise of testosterone levels like growth of the male genitals, growth of pubic hair, and deepening of the voice, is the development of sexual desire. It is the testosterone that regulates a person’s sexual desire. Low testosterone level might also mean low sexual desire.
- On the Circulatory System
Testosterone helps the body to produce new red blood cells. It is also potentially beneficial for the heart. Studies say that testosterone help in regulating blood pressure, lowering blood sugar, and regulating cholesterol level.
- Muscular and Skeletal System
Testosterone is important in building muscle mass and muscle strength. It also promotes tissue growth. This helps people to build muscle when they work out. Because of the increase in muscle mass, testosterone also consequentially helps in burning fat. It also improves bone density, hence helping the bones become strong.
What are the Benefits to Having High Testosterone Levels?
Among the benefits of a good testosterone level are the following:
- Improves cognitive abilities and slows down cognitive decline
- Provides relief from anxiety or depression
- Increases muscle mass and muscle strength
- Helps in weight loss
- Strengthens the heart
- Increases male fertility
- Increases sexual drive and improves erection
- Strengthens the bones
- Increases Competitiveness
As seen above, testosterone is a very important hormone in the body. However, there are instances where the body does not get the benefits attributed to testosterone because of the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
What is the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin?
The Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, which is produced by the liver, is a carrier protein that performs a very important function in regulating the levels of free steroids, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and estrogen in the body. It is responsible in determining the levels of unbound sex hormones in the body, such as the testosterone. It does this by binding to the sex hormone, after which, the sex hormone will be identified as “bound.” It is when the sex hormones are free or unbound that they are able to perform their functions in the body. An imbalance of sex hormones is usually preceded by an abnormal level of the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
A high level of the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is particularly problematic for males and athletes, since high levels of SHBG lower the level of free testosterone in the body.
Effects of having low testosterone level in the body include:
- Hair Loss
Testosterone plays a role in the production of hair. Males typically experience hair loss or balding as they age. However, even younger men may experience hair loss at an early age if they have low testosterone count.
Testosterone boosts energy, and a deficit of it consequentially decreases energy levels. Males who have low testosterone levels have reported feeling extreme fatigue.
- Decrease in Muscle Mass
It has been aforementioned that testosterone helps in building muscles. Therefore, those who have low testosterone might experience a decrease in their muscle mass and strength, and might find it hard to build or rebuild muscles even if they do certain work outs to do so.
- Fragile Bones
One of the effects of having low testosterone levels is the decrease in bone mass, or what is medically known as osteoporosis. People who have low testosterone are likely to have brittle bones, and be prone to bone fractures.
- Increase in Body Fat
Men with low testosterone may have an increase in body fat. Research suggests that testosterone has an effect on the way the body stores fat.
- Moodiness, Anxiety, or Depression
Testosterone has an effect in the processes that occur in the brain. Research shows that those who have low testosterone levels are more prone to anxiety, depression, and concentration problems.
- Low Sex Drive
A drop in testosterone level also equals a drop in sex drive or libido in both men and women.
- Erectile Dysfunction
Testosterone signals the brain to produce more nitric oxide which triggers an erection. Low testosterone can result in difficulty to have or maintain an erection.
- Low Semen Volume
Testosterone is a chief factor in semen production. The semen helps in the sperm cells’ motility. The more testosterone, the more semen produced. The less testosterone, the less semen produced. Men who have low testosterone levels will have low volume of semen upon ejaculation. This can also affect a man’s fertility.
The functions of testosterone and the negative effects of having low levels of it are already apparent. In order to have a healthy level of testosterone, it is a must that the level of the sex hormone binding globulin be also regulated. One of the ways to lower high levels of the sex hormone binding globulin is through supplementation. Among the effective and natural supplements that can be taken are Magnesium, Boron, Stinging Nettle Root, Vitamin D, and the Tongkat Ali extract. These all have the ability to free lower the sex hormone binding globulin and increase the number of free testosterone in the body.