As men get older, most will start becoming more concerned about their testosterone levels. While it is true that sex hormones like testosterone tend to decline as we age, they don’t have to drop off precipitously as we get older. You don’t have to rely on hormone replacement therapy to restore ideal hormone levels for example.
Testosterone and its mechanisms remain a mystery to a lot of people, but there are things that can be done to boost production, even as we advance into old age. In this article, we’re going to look at a few tips for those who want to maintain testosterone levels as they grow older. We’ll also explain what testosterone does exactly, some myths about the hormone, and a few ways to increase production naturally.
What Does Testosterone Do, Exactly?
A lot of people have only a vague idea of what testosterone is and what it does to the body. While it does have an effect on virility and sexual functions, it’s not all that it does. For instance, testosterone has an effect on everything from muscle growth to immune function.
More testosterone isn’t always better either. As a matter of fact, according to a study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, men with higher testosterone levels showed a weaker immune response to the influenza virus, which made them more susceptible to the virus. This also explains why men are more vulnerable to infections than women.
Testosterone, at its basic level, is responsible for sexual development in men. Women also produce testosterone, but at smaller levels. Testosterone has an influence on bone mass, fat distribution, muscle strength and size, and the production of red blood cells among other things. In addition to this, testosterone has an effect on the libido of both men and women. It also has an effect on fertility.
Common Myths On Testosterone
Testosterone is largely misunderstood. It is being blamed for all sorts of issues specific to men. For instance, there is this idea that high testosterone automatically drives aggression in men. While some studies have shown a correlation between high testosterone and aggressive behaviour, gold-standard studies where neither the control subjects nor researchers knew who was getting testosterone supplementation showed no difference in behaviour.
There are also many myths about testosterone and sexual performance. For instance, a lot of men seem to think that testosterone has an effect on penis size and that testosterone injections could help them increase theirs. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
While testosterone does have an effect on the development of sexual organs in puberty, once puberty stops, testosterone no longer has an effect on size. So, you shouldn’t expect to get any signs of growth after getting supplemented. Testogen has an article where you can read more about the impact that testosterone has on the body. You’ll get more insights into how testosterone affects the body at different stages of life. They also offer some nutritional advice on how to elevate your testosterone level naturally, and a few supplements you can take as well.
One thing is true, however, and that is that testosterone levels do have an impact on erectile function. This is why older men often suffer from erectile dysfunction. However, that doesn’t mean that supplementing with testosterone will automatically make you a sex-machine. There are tons of different factors that can affect your sex drive, such as overall fitness, nutrition, cardiovascular health, and more.
The Effects Of Low Testosterone
Declining testosterone levels can be alarming to many men, and it’s completely understandable. Low testosterone is correlated with lower sperm counts, loss of muscle mass, and higher fat reserves. In the long run, low testosterone can lead to things such as osteoporosis, reduced energy, testicular shrinkage, and mood swings.
Testosterone And Aging
Testosterone tends to decrease as men age. This has been getting a lot of attention over the last few years and has been referred to as late-onset hypogonadism.
On average, men tend to lose around 1.6% of their testosterone production every year. And by age 60, many end up being diagnosed with testosterone deficiency. About 40% of men get diagnosed by the time they reach 45 years old. The numbers of older men being diagnosed with low testosterone have almost doubled since the year 2012. This is why more are trying to find ways to maintain those testosterone levels and avoid some of the issues that come with it. Fortunately, there are tons of things that can be done, not only to maintain levels but also to increase them as we age. Here are a few of them.
This may be a chicken-and-the-egg problem. However, men who are obese have the lowest levels of testosterone, while falling testosterone levels contribute to lower levels of muscle and an accumulation of fat.
On the flip side, this means that losing weight can improve your testosterone levels. This also reduces the risk of long-term health problems like diabetes, which can hurt testosterone levels. Higher testosterone levels will also help minimize the weight gain that often accompanies aging, reducing your risk of developing conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Just starting an aerobic exercise level can raise your testosterone levels. Several studies have found that men between the ages of 40 and 75 were able to raise their testosterone levels by starting a moderate-level exercise program, especially if they maintained it for a year or more. A side benefit of exercise like this is that it reduces your risk of diabetes and depression, factors that further depress the male sex hormone. When you get moving, you tend to feel better physically and mentally. Furthermore, lowering your stress level in this way can help prevent testosterone loss.
The type of exercise you do will also have a huge influence on your testosterone levels. Strength training, for instance, will do more for your testosterone levels than cardio. But it’s also about what type of strength training that you do.
Compound exercises, which are exercises that solicit effort from large muscle groups, have been shown to be better at increasing testosterone levels in men. Some of these exercises include the deadlift, the squat, and the inclined dumbbell press.
However, these can tend to be difficult as we age, so you need to take precautions. That means warming up before each exercise, starting with lower weights, and making sure that you have the form down first.
Increase Your Vitamin Intake
Most of us know that a lack of vital nutrients can harm the body, but the modern diet tends to lack the nutrients we need to make sufficient levels of sex hormones. A simple first step to increasing your testosterone levels naturally is to take a good multivitamin. The next step is increasing your intake of zinc and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
Zinc is a likely solution if you’re suffering from fatigue or have a low sperm count. Healthy testosterone and estrogen levels help stave off bone loss. If you are developing osteoporosis, start calcium supplements and vitamin D in addition to these vitamins.
Most of us know that a lack of sleep interferes with memory and mental function. However, a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep wreaks havoc on your hormonal levels, too.
For example, sleeping only five hours a night causes a 15 percent reduction in testosterone. Only sleeping four hours a night leads to borderline testosterone deficiency. This means that the simplest way to increase testosterone levels is to get at least eight hours of sleep at night. Note that the quality of sleep matters, too. Block out outside lights and noise. Turn off the screens before you go to bed. If you suffer from sleep apnea or constantly get up to go to the bathroom at night, get treated.
A secondary benefit of this approach is the impact it has on mental health. It will reduce your risk of depression and anxiety. You’ll be better able to deal with stress.
Eliminate Substances That Hurt Your Hormone Levels
Drug use like alcohol and drugs – whether recreational or medical – decreases testosterone levels. Stop taking them. You can also try to reduce your intake of estrogen-like chemicals. A lot of the modern hype is on BPA and chemicals found in some plastics, but soy has a similar effect.
There is also a large number of foods that might be hurting your testosterone. While you could get away with these when you were younger, you have to keep a close eye on your consumption as you grow older. Soy products, for instance, have been shown to have a negative effect on testosterone levels. Dairy products and sugars were also shown to affect testosterone negatively. Even things like mint can hurt. So, you might have to evaluate your whole diet if you want to keep optimal testosterone levels as you age and get all the benefits.
There are a variety of lifestyle changes you can make that will improve your overall health and that will naturally raise your testosterone levels as well. Focus on living a healthy and active life first, and you will eventually be able to improve your hormone levels as well.