Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone, found in humans and other vertebrates. This hormone is secreted by the male testicles and the female ovaries, and in small amounts by the adrenal glands of both sexes. Although both men and women produce testosterone, men produce seven to eight times more. Testosterone is a very important hormone for men, which helps to explain the direct relationship between low testosterone and sexual function and libido.
Why are Healthy Testosterone Levels Necessary?
Maintaining normal testosterone levels is very important for the health and well-being of men. Testosterone is needed for many things in the body, including:
- protein synthesis
- tissue growth
- muscle mass
- bone density
- normal sperm development
- cognitive and physical energy
- sexual maturation during puberty
Which are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
Symptoms of low testosterone can range from mild to vary unpleasant, depending on the degree of deficiency. Possible side effects of low testosterone include:
- loss of sex drive or libido
- difficulty achieving or maintaining erections
- weight gain
- decreased muscle mass
- breast tissue growth
- lack of self-confidence
- lack of mental clarity
What Can Cause Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone may be caused by external factors or other conditions including cancer, autoimmune disease, testicular injury, medication side effects, excessive alcohol use and thyroid cancer. However, the most common reason for lower testosterone levels is simply the aging process. Statistics show that at least 40 percent of men over the age of 45 experience a significant drop in testosterone, and this is considered a low estimate. Although low testosterone can be a normal part of aging, that doesn’t mean that men simply have to deal with it. There are both pharmaceutical and natural remedies for low testosterone.
Study Demonstrates Link Between Low Testosterone and Sexual Function
A study led by Dr. Glenn R. Cunningham of Baylor College of Medicine was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. The study examined data from almost 500 men in order to investigate the effects of testosterone on sexual function and libido. This study is part of a series of studies that make up the largest investigation to date on the relationship between low testosterone and sexual function in older males.
All of the men were at least 65 years old, had a female sexual partner, reported low libido or sex drive and had their low testosterone levels confirmed through medical measurements. These men each received either testosterone gel, the most common medical way to medically treat low testosterone, or a placebo gel. Participants answered questionnaires about their sexual function every three months for 12 months. After a year had passed, 10 of the 12 items of the questionnaire showed significantly improved scores for men who received the testosterone gel. Researchers investigated other factors, such as body mass index, alcohol use and diabetes, but found that these factors did not influence the men’s sex drive or sexual function; the testosterone gel was responsible for this. This study offers quite definitive proof that low testosterone and sexual function and libido are linked.
How to Support Healthy Testosterone Levels Naturally
If you are suffering from low libido or poor sexual performance because of low testosterone, there are steps that you can take to maintain healthy hormone balance, which can help restore libido and libido-related sexual function. The first step in supporting healthy testosterone levels is to live a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, losing excess weight, exercising regularly and managing stress will all have significant benefits on your hormone levels. You might also benefit from using natural supplements including herbs, vitamins and minerals, to help support healthy hormonal balance. Supplements that support healthy testosterone levels include:
Zinc is required by the body to make testosterone, and studies have shown that zinc supplementation can support healthy levels of testosterone in the blood.
This Asian plant root has been found to help maintain healthy blood flow, which may benefit some symptoms of erectile dysfunction, a symptom of low testosterone.
Research has proven that vitamin D supplementation helps maintain healthy testosterone levels. This is crucial for many people because most Americans don’t get enough vitamin D.
Chemical compounds found in this herb have been found to help maintain healthy testosterone levels as well as encourage healthy sperm motility and sperm concentration in rats.
This traditional Indian herbal medicine has been scientifically proven to help improve the balance of testosterone and other hormones.