Age and Testosterone
Testosterone is widely misunderstood in today’s culture.
The Washington Post outlines the five most popular myths behind testosterone, one claiming high levels of testosterone as the root cause of the financial crisis in 2008.
On the other side of the coin, wellness clinics and spas have heralded testosterone replacement therapy for its anti-aging properties. Individuals tell anecdotes of better energy and youthful skin.
It's hard to cut through the noise with such a wide range of varying assertions on testosterone.
As the healthy aging authorities, we’re here to give you some clarity on this hotly debated hormone and whether you should consider increasing testosterone as part of your healthy aging routine.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone, aka T, is a naturally occurring hormone, typically in higher concentrations in men. It’s a kind of androgen, hormones that regulate growth and reproduction.
The National Institutes of Health outlines how testosterone is vital for many things in the body.
For men, testosterone regulates:
the production of red blood cells
the production of sperm
muscle mass and strength
What causes testosterone decline?
According to Mayo Clinic, testosterone levels generally peak at adolescence and early adulthood, slowly declining about 1% a year after 30 or 40.
A gradual decline in testosterone levels is a natural part of aging, but in some cases, it can be due to a disease called hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism occurs when the body can't produce normal testosterone due to a biological problem with testicular function or the pituitary gland.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone?
According to the Urology Care Foundation, the following symptoms may accompany low testosterone:
Reduced lean muscle mass
The American Urology Association identifies low blood testosterone (Low-T) as less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
According to MedPageToday, testing lower than 300 ng/DL typically warrants an evaluation for any abnormalities in pituitary or testicular function.
Women also need testosterone.
Testosterone isn't just a male sex hormone. Women need it as well, albeit in smaller amounts.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, average testosterone levels for women should range from 15 to 70 ng/dL.
The University of Rochester Medical Center lists the following symptoms of low testosterone in women:
Missed or irregular menstrual periods
Changes in breast tissue
Unfortunately, testosterone deficiencies in women don’t get a lot of attention, and it could lead to a misdiagnosis in some cases.
The Boston University School of Medicine expresses how the medical community often overlooks testosterone deficiency in women as an underlying cause for depression.
But there’s a good reason for that. The research behind low testosterone levels in women is severely lacking.
A review published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism recommends against making any diagnosis of testosterone deficiency syndrome in women due to the lack of data.
Can testosterone therapy help with healthy aging?
Testosterone therapy are the pills, injections, and supplements that boost your testosterone.
A paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation clarifies that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve the use of testosterone therapy for age-related testosterone decline.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) expresses, “The evidence does not support prescribing testosterone for men with concerns about energy, vitality, physical function, or cognition.”
The Mayo Clinic lists a variety of risks of undergoing testosterone therapy as a healthy adult, including:
Worsening sleep apnea
Acne or other skin reactions
Stimulating benign growth of the prostate
Limiting sperm production
Too much red blood cell production
In general, using testosterone therapy as part of your healthy aging regimen is not advisable.
Boost testosterone naturally instead of using testosterone therapy.
If you don’t have hypogonadism, but you are interested in feeling more energetic and youthful, it’s much safer to boost your testosterone naturally. Here are a few ways you can boost your T:
1. Lift heavy weights.
A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology pointed to resistance training being a primary component of increasing T in the body.
2. Eat a healthy diet.
A study published in Genetic Epidemiology suggests that diet can impact testosterone levels in men, specifically fat intake.
3. Manage your stress.
The stress hormone cortisol can directly affect your testosterone levels. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found testosterone and cortisol are inversely related to each other. When levels of cortisol go up, testosterone goes down.
4. Get some sun.
A few minutes in the sun can boost your vitamin D, and a study published in Hormone and Metabolic Research suggests getting enough vitamin D may increase testosterone levels.
5. Maximize your sleep.
Sleep can directly affect your testosterone levels. A study published in the Journal of Andrology showed that sleep duration was associated with androgen hormone levels in men. The more you sleep, the higher your testosterone.
Increasing testosterone isn’t the only healthy aging tool.
You’ll find plenty of overlap in your healthy aging journey with different routines and supplements.
Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a healthy aging supplement that can help counteract some of the daily wear and tear from your testosterone-related gains.
For example, getting enough sun may help increase testosterone, but too much sun can cause cellular damage. Supplements like NR can help promote cell repair in the event you linger outside a little too long.
If you’re routinely stressed and over indulge with beer or afternoon sweets, not only are your testosterone levels out of sorts, but your body can undergo significant oxidative stress. Supplements like NR can help your body get back on track on a cellular level.
Listen to your body.
Monitoring your T-levels as you age should be on top of mind as you get to the later years of your life.
Just remember, testosterone decline is a natural part of aging. And research can only recommend those with hypogonadism to investigate testosterone replacement therapy.
If you are healthy, tune into your body instead.
Avoid habits that induce oxidative stress and look for any irregularities in your biorhythms. Try healthy aging supplements like Tru Niagen® and customized diets to get the benefits you need.