Testosterone is part of a group of hormones called androgens – the kind of hormones that regulate the development of male characteristics in humans. Special cells called Leydig cells in the testes are mainly responsible for testosterone production. What does testosterone do?
This hormone plays important roles in the body. It helps control the development and maintains the structure and function of the various reproductive organs. It is also a vital hormone in the regulation of overall growth and development such as the growth in height and in the appearance of facial hair.
Testosterone and Physical Wellbeing
Testosterone is mainly considered a sex hormone, but that’s not all there is to it. It has important impacts on various organs.
The effects of testosterone on certain organs help promote better physical health and well-being.
Improvement in Metabolism and Body Composition
Testosterone has a positive influence on fats, body composition and metabolism. It is linked to fat loss.
Research found that testosterone treatment may help reduce body fat percentage. Furthermore, testosterone is also linked to total cholesterol reduction.
Puberty and Aging
Testosterone has been found to accelerate the onset and progression of puberty.
A few other studies found that a strong connection between testosterone and growth hormones exists. This connection appears to be quite vital during puberty.
Research found that nocturnal testosterone levels appear to be linked with the bursts of growth hormone release during puberty. This suggests that increasing testosterone levels and a rise in the GH release work together to bring about the changes that happen during puberty.
Aside from GH, testosterone also exhibited links with another hormone called IGF-1. Insulin-like growth factor 1 plays a pivotal role in childhood growth.
All these relationships with GH and IGF-1 were tested through testosterone treatment in children with CDP (constitutional delayed puberty).
Testosterone treatment was able to increase GH secretion from the pituitary gland. It also helps boost the rate of height growth among boys with CDP.
Boosts Strength and Function of Bones and Muscles
This hormone showed positive impact on the development of the bones and muscle mass.
It helps increase the lumbar spine bone mineral density. It also helped prevent the loss of bone mineral density and overall bone loss.
Normal Sexual Functions and Sex Drive
Sexual functions and the development of the reproductive organs are directly connected. Maintaining healthy testosterone levels were found to help promote healthy sexual drive and sexual performance.
Lower Risks for Autoimmune Diseases
T cell differentiation is found to be influenced by testosterone and other androgens. This cell is one of the specialized cells in the immune system typically associated with the development of autoimmune diseases.
Research indicates that low concentrations of testosterone in the blood are associated with autoimmune problems.
Maintains Red Blood Cells and Iron Levels
The conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone is important for RBC production. It helps maintain adequate red blood cell levels.
In turn, iron levels in the blood are maintained within normal limits.
Research also found that testosterone affects brain function as well. It has been shown to help with retrieval of knowledge and facts, called semantic retrieval.
This hormone also showed links with the activation of the brain’s left prefrontal lobe.
Testosterone and Mental Wellbeing
A good body of research also found that testosterone affects mental wellbeing.
It is believed that these influences on mental abilities and characteristics are linked to the effect on the orbitofrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain linked to impulse control.
High testosterone levels were found to promote the following:
Increased Aggressiveness, Protectiveness and Competitiveness
There appear to be some scientific truths to higher testosterone levels having an effect on competitiveness and aggressiveness.
One piece of research on rats found that higher levels led to increased participation in competitive or rough play behaviors. There is also another study that found links between higher testosterone levels and increased verbal and physical dominance or aggression.
Increased Risk-Taking Behaviors
This hormone also exhibited connections with risk taking behaviors. Some studies found that high testosterone levels in combination with lowered levels of cortisol increased a person’s risk-taking tendencies when operating within financial markets.
However, this same behavior may not be observed in situations where possibilities are determined and in strategic decision making.
Increased Attraction to Women and Monogamy
Higher testosterone in men was found to affect how receptive they are to feminine attraction. Higher testosterone levels showed links to a higher attraction to more feminine features in women’s faces.
However, a study in male rats already engaged in relationships found that testosterone reduces their attraction to other females. This indicates that while testosterone does boost attraction to feminine features, it also increases tendency to maintain monogamous relationships.
Hormone levels in the body naturally fluctuate throughout the day and during the different periods of development. In one study, higher levels of testosterone are generally observed in the morning than in the evening.
There is around 32% increase testosterone in the morning. This was observed among 30-year old men.
Effects of Low Free Testosterone Levels
There are many factors that can affect how much testosterone is produced by the testes and how much of it is circulated in the body.
Low testosterone levels can produce some unpleasant effects such as:
These are just some of the problems that may arise when testosterone is low.
Testosterone levels can be raised back up to normal range in many ways. Examples are diet and using testosterone injections.
Natural ways to increase testosterone levels are recommended. Testosterone therapy and anabolic steroids can effectively raise the level of testosterone but carry risks of having too much of the hormone. This can lead to more problems such as:
Natural testosterone boosters include a healthy diet and lifestyle. There are many foods that are effective testosterone boosters such as grass-fed beef, oysters and oily fish.
Getting enough sleep is also necessary to keep testosterone levels within normal range.
Testosterone is an important hormone. The benefits of testosterone go far beyond sexual development and functions.
Maintaining normal levels of this hormone in the body should be given proper attention because it promotes a healthy metabolism and normal growth and development.