Low testosterone occurs when the testicles fail to produce enough testosterone. It is a condition that naturally comes with aging, but can also be a result of some underlying health problem and other factors.
The different functions of testosterone
In men, testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that helps in several important bodily functions and processes, including:
The growth and development of bones and muscles
Testosterone is responsible for the formation of bones and muscles with good mass and density, which lowers the risk of injuries, disorders, and other health problems.
Testosterone regulates a man’s sex drive or libido. If testosterone levels are low, there is a high risk of a loss of desire for sex, trouble getting and sustaining erections, and others.
Testosterone is an integral component of the body’s sperm production process. It is necessary to make enough healthy sperm for good sperm count and fertility.
Body hair growth
Testosterone facilitates the growth of body hair, including pubic hair, facial hair, underarm hair, and chest hair.
Development of the male genitalia
Testosterone is responsible for the growth and development of the penis and the testicles from the fetal stage to adulthood. If there are low testosterone levels in the body, there is a risk of getting underdeveloped genitals.
Production of red blood cells
Testosterone aids in the production of high concentrations of new red blood cells, which are necessary for good blood circulation and flow in the body for enhanced erectile function and overall health.
Having normal testosterone levels in the body is also key to a good mood and mental health, decreasing stress, anxiety, or depression levels.
The low testosterone problem
The body’s testosterone levels naturally decline with age, so it is common to have lower testosterone levels when you are in your 40s and older than when you were in your early 20s. However, sometimes, low testosterone can occur because of underlying health conditions and other factors.
According to studies, low testosterone is prevalent in men who are 45 years old and older, affecting about 40% of them. And, many of the cases have been found to not be due to aging but by things like illnesses, nutrition, body mass index, and medications.
To know if you have low testosterone, you have to take a testosterone level test, which is a type of blood test that calculates how much testosterone there is in your body. Usually, this test is conducted in the morning to take advantage of that time of the day when the body’s hormone levels are at their highest.
The normal testosterone levels in men vary per age group, and they are measured in nanograms per deciliter.
- 25 years and below – 376 to 1,008 nanograms per deciliter
- 25 years to 29 years – 257 to 1,081 nanograms per deciliter
- 30 years to 34 years – 233 to 1,009 nanograms per deciliter
- 40 years to 44 years – 201 to 993 nanograms per deciliter
- 45 years to 49 years – 220 to 872 nanograms per deciliter
- 50 years to 54 years – 170 to 918 nanograms per deciliter
- 55 years to 59 years – 204 to 900 nanograms per deciliter
If your testosterone level test result has a number that is lower than the normal testosterone levels above, then you have low testosterone and must see a doctor to find the best treatment for your problem right away.
What foods are great for testosterone?
There are plenty of foods that can naturally boost your body’s testosterone levels. They contain essential vitamins and minerals that can enhance your testosterone production and optimize your health. Some good examples are:
Tuna is loaded with vitamin D, which is a nutrient that can increase your body’s testosterone production and prolong your life. It is great for the heart, lowering your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications. Furthermore, it contains few calories, which makes it an excellent food option for people trying to lose weight or wanting to maintain a healthy weight. It is also rich in protein, which helps in building strong muscles.
Oysters contain high concentrations of zinc, which is a nutrient that facilitates the production of testosterone. Zinc is also important in regulating the body’s metabolism and in the maintenance of the skin. If your body has zinc deficiency, you will not only suffer from low testosterone but you will also experience hair loss, eye and skin disorders, diarrhea, and even underdeveloped sexual characteristics and impotence.
Garlic is rich in allicin, which is a compound that reduces the body’s cortisol levels. Every time you are stressed, your body releases cortisol as a response, and this causes a decrease in your testosterone levels. Because of this inverse relationship between cortisol and testosterone, it is important that you keep your cortisol levels low by staying away from stress or increasing the allicin concentrations in your body.
Eggs are a great source of healthy cholesterol that helps in the production of more testosterone in the body. As long as you eat no more than three eggs a day, you can maintain good cholesterol levels and increase your testosterone production. Because eggs are also loaded with protein, vitamin D, selenium, and vitamins B6 and B12, they can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
Cabbage is a green, leafy vegetable that contains high concentrations of indole-3-carbinol, which is a substance that helps boost testosterone production. Like other vegetables, such as kale, cauliflower, turnips, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, and collards, it can also protect against colon cancer, breast cancer, and other types of cancer.
Pomegranate is overloaded with antioxidants that ward off free radicals, protecting your vital organs from inflammation, infections, and other diseases. According to various studies, it also has the ability to boost testosterone levels in middle-aged men, enhancing their muscle mass and bone density, improving cardiovascular function, and lowering the risk of erectile dysfunction.