Are you aware of the functions of testosterone in the human body? Do you know what role it plays in various bodily functions and processes? How important is testosterone in a man’s sexual and reproductive functions?
In men, testosterone is considered the primary male sex hormone. It is primarily produced in the testicles and is behind some of the most essential bodily processes involved in a man’s sexual growth and development — from the fetal stage and through puberty and adulthood.
Looking at the normal testosterone levels in men
As a man ages, his testosterone levels naturally decline. Usually, the decrease in testosterone production starts at around age 30 years, and the levels are cut down by about 1% each year after.
Below are the normal testosterone levels throughout a man’s lifetime per age group:
- 0 to 24 years – 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
- 35 years to 39 years – 219 to 975 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
Examining the functions of testosterone
Many bodily functions and processes have testosterone as a vital component to make them possible. Below are some good examples:
Regulation of sex drive or libido
Testosterone helps build a man’s sexual desire, so having low testosterone levels will result in reduced or loss of interest in sex.
Bone and muscle development
Testosterone facilitates the formation and development of bones and muscles, so not having enough testosterone in the body will leave you with bones and muscles that are likely to get injured and develop diseases and disorders.
Testosterone is key to the growth and development of the penis, testicles, prostate, and other parts of the male reproductive system, so a shortage of testosterone will impede the increase in size and development of the male genitalia and other vital sexual and reproductive organs.
Growth of body hair
Testosterone promotes the growth of pubic hair, facial hair, and other body hair that typically starts to appear during the puberty stage, so low testosterone levels will cause no body hair growth.
Deepening of the voice
Testosterone causes the voice to deepen in boys who hit puberty, so a lack of testosterone will delay or even not make the voice change happen.
Production of new red blood cells
Testosterone is crucial to the production of new red blood cells in the body that are necessary for proper blood circulation and blood flow, so having a shortage of testosterone will cause problems that can negatively affect these bodily processes.
Distribution of body fat
Testosterone helps in the proper distribution of fat in the body, so not having enough testosterone will mess up the body’s cholesterol levels and increase the risk of obesity and other diseases.
No man is safe from low testosterone. However, certain men are more likely to suffer from it than others. Below are examples of common risk factors of low testosterone:
Testosterone levels in the body naturally decline with age, so older men tend to have lower testosterone levels than men who are in their teens or 20s.
Testosterone production can be disrupted by a heart attack, stroke, and other heart diseases, so it is important that you take good care of your heart health.
Testosterone levels in the body can decrease if your blood sugar levels are high or you have diabetes, so minimize and control your intake of foods that are high in sugar.
Testosterone production in the body can become problematic if you are feeding your body harmful and dangerous compounds found in cigarettes and tobacco.
Testosterone levels in the body can decline if you excessively drink alcohol, so strive to limit yourself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.
Testosterone has an inverse relationship with cortisol, which is a hormone produced by the body when it experiences stress, so if you are frequently under high stress, your cortisol levels rise, causing your testosterone levels to decline.
Finding ways to boost testosterone levels in the body
Keeping your testosterone levels normal is extremely important to maintain healthy sex drive or libido, strong and healthy bones and muscles, developed male genitalia, and others. Below are tips on how you can increase your testosterone:
Get enough sleep
Health experts recommend that everyone get 7 to 9 hours of sleep for optimal health. Sleep deprivation is a serious problem that can negatively impact not only your heart health, brain function, immunity, strength, and physical performance, but also your testosterone production and other sexual and reproductive functions.
Exercise on a regular basis
Doing 20 to 30-minute moderate level exercise at least 3 times a week can make a huge difference in your sexual health and overall health. Some highly recommended exercises are brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, and weight lifting.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Include more fruits and vegetables in your daily meals because your body needs to have all of those essential vitamins and minerals to increase your testosterone levels and keep your vital organs and systems healthy and strong.
Dealing with low testosterone
To know if your testosterone levels are below the normal values, you should go see a doctor and take a testosterone level test.
In a testosterone level test, you have to provide a sample of your blood for close examination and analysis in a laboratory. Once you get the test result and get an official diagnosis of low testosterone, discuss with your doctor what the best treatment option for you is.
Nowadays, low testosterone is usually treated using testosterone replacement therapy, which is available in different forms, such as:
- Injections – One shot is administered every 10 or 14 days
- Skin patches – These are applied directly onto the skin of the back, neck, arm, or shoulder.
- Gels – These are rubbed directly onto the skin too, usually the arm, back, or neck.