We’ve got good and bad news regarding your testosterone.
The bad news is one in four men over 30 experience low testosterone.
But the good news is there are many things you can do to prevent and treat low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is an important hormone. It regulates our sex drive as well as muscle and bone development. When testosterone levels dip below normal, men experience a variety of symptoms that affect their mental and physical wellbeing.
There are a lot of myths and fake news surrounding testosterone, so let’s get to the bottom of what lowers testosterone in men.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is an anabolic steroid and the primary sex hormone in men. It plays a significant role in testicle and prostate tissue development. Testosterone increases muscle mass, bone strength, and body hair growth. Healthy testosterone levels can prevent osteoporosis in males.
Normal testosterone levels are essential for a healthy male. In addition to reproductive and bone health, testosterone regulates fat distribution and red blood cell production. It plays a significant role in a man’s sex drive and sperm production. Low testosterone levels can make a man infertile.
Men and women have testosterone, but each gender possesses different levels. In men, testosterone is made within his testicles. Women’s ovaries produce testosterone in very small amounts. Males contain seven to eight times more testosterone than females.
What Lowers Testosterone?
Let’s dive into the different reasons your testosterone levels are going down.
1. Natural Aging
Testosterone production begins when a person enters puberty. As men age, their testosterone levels gradually decrease after they reach 40. The natural loss of testosterone is slow. At most, men lose about 1% of testosterone a year.
However, some men may experience greater testosterone losses compared to others.
A man’s testosterone levels will never reach zero. But while some men don’t notice a difference, others may be impacted by the gradual decline in testosterone. They may experience fatigue, low sex drive, and loss in muscle mass despite keeping up a healthy workout routine.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Men living with type 2 diabetes are two times more likely to experience low testosterone levels compared to those who don’t.
Insulin-resistant males produce insulin, but their bodies refuse to use it properly. Glucose builds up in their blood instead of being absorbed by cells, forming type 2 diabetes.
There is a link between low testosterone and insulin resistance. In fact, low testosterone levels may predict a man’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
On the other hand, low testosterone could be a complication due to type 2 diabetes disrupting the pituitary gland. When a person has type 2 diabetes, their pituitary glands do not produce enough luteinizing hormone. This hormone triggers testosterone production within a man’s testes. When the hormone malfunctions, males experience lower testosterone levels.
3. Poor Diet
You are what you eat. For men, eating poorly may contribute to abnormally low testosterone levels.
What does eating poorly include? Researchers found that a traditional western diet may have a link with low testosterone levels. The study discovered men who enjoyed pizza, artificial sweeteners, snacks, and processed foods produced 68 million less sperm compared to men who maintained a balanced diet.
The research revealed healthy testosterone diets, which features:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
Altering your diet is inexpensive and easy to do. In addition to keeping testosterone levels up, a balanced diet leads to better heart health, improved mental health, and a longer lifespan.
4. Soy Products
Medical professionals believe certain foods lead to lower testosterone in men. One of these foods is soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens, which is similar to the estrogen hormone.
Anyone with a soy allergy understands how popular the ingredient is. Soy is a common meat and dairy alternative, making it a popular ingredient in veggie burgers and non-dairy milk and cheeses. Soy is also found in:
- Soy sauce (Tamari, Shoyu, and Teriyaki)
Research between soy and low testosterone is new, so there is no hard evidence that it messes with a man’s hormones. However, small-scale studies have noted a connection between eating soy and experiencing changes in estrogen or testosterone levels. One study found that men who drank soy-based protein experienced lowered testosterone levels.
5. Alcohol Use
Excessive alcohol intake can lead to abnormally low testosterone levels in men. The more a man abuses alcohol, the more likely he is to experience a change in testosterone levels.
Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down the body, including blood flow. With less blood flowing to the penis, there is a drop in testosterone levels. Alcohol also attacks the endocrine system and prevents the testes from producing testosterone.
Long-term moderate drinking, which equals two drinks a day for men, may result in a slight reduction of testosterone. Heavy drinking, which equals five or more drinks within two hours, leads to lower testosterone levels in men and higher testosterone levels in women.
The type of alcohol plays a role in how testosterone is affected. Beer contains hops and barley. These ingredients carry phytoestrogen and prolactin, which increase estrogen and decrease testosterone. Wine and bourbon also contain phytoestrogen.
Mint may provide excellent stress and digestive relief, but its menthol can cause lower testosterone levels in men. Spearmint and peppermint, in particular, have displayed a direct impact on testosterone.
There have been no human studies to determine the effects of mint on male testosterone levels. But a study on 48 male rats found applying spearmint essential oil to the animals reduced testosterone levels within 20 days. Researchers observed spearmint lowered androgenic hormones, resulting in decreased testosterone production.
7. Testicular Trauma
The testicles sit low in the scrotum. Since they are on the outer side of the body, it’s easy to injure your testicles. Severe testicular trauma can contribute to low testosterone levels in men.
Testosterone is produced by Leydig cells located on a man’s testicles. When the testicles are injured, it makes it difficult to produce healthy levels of hormones.
Men may injure their testicles playing sports, falling, or in the event of a car accident. Blunt trauma accounts for 85% of testicular injuries. Examples of testicular trauma include:
- Testicle dislocation
- Teste infections or allergic reactions
- Inflammation along the testicles (such as epididymitis)
- Testicular ruptures
Testicular incidents are common and range from moderate to severe. While painful, most men heal from their injuries. Once the testicle heals, normal testosterone production usually resumes. However, permanent testicular damage can lead to long-term problems with testosterone levels.
What Are the Signs of Low Testosterone?
Men need to know what to look out for when it comes to low testosterone levels. Let’s break down some of the most common low testosterone symptoms in men.
Lowered Sex Drive
It’s normal for men to experience a decrease in libido as they age, with their peak sexual drive lasting within their teens and 20s.
Testosterone is a sex hormone, so of course, it plays a key role in a man’s sexual drive. When a man’s testosterone levels decrease, so does his sex drive. A Massachusetts study found 28% of male participants with low testosterone levels also experienced low libido.
Decrease in Semen Production
Testosterone is involved in semen production. Men who notice a decrease in semen during ejaculation may be living with lowered testosterone levels. This is why men with low testosterone production have difficulty with fertility.
Loss of Body Hair
During puberty, testosterone production leads to body hair development in men. This includes arm, leg, pubic, back, and facial hair. When a man experiences low testosterone levels, he may notice a loss of bodily hair.
Testosterone may also affect the hair on a man’s head. That means lowered testosterone levels can contribute to balding. However, many other factors (like genetics) also play a role in male pattern baldness.
Low testosterone leads to chronic low energy. It creates mental and physical fatigue. Low testosterone leads to hormone imbalances that disrupt your sleep patterns, resulting in insomnia.
Muscle Loss and Weight Gain
Despite hitting the gym regularly, men with low testosterone experience a decrease in muscle mass. Muscle cells possess receptors, which the androgen in testosterone bind to. When this happens, muscle fibers are maintained. But when testosterone levels dip below normal, the muscle loses its bind and decreases in size.
Men may also experience an increase in weight when their testosterone levels decrease. This is because low testosterone increases fat deposits, especially within the belly region.
Enlarged Breast Tissue
Low testosterone may lead to gynecomastia, which is the development of large breasts in men. When a man’s testosterone levels fall below his estrogen levels, the excess estrogen can take over. This leads to the development of enlarged breast tissue.
While gynecomastia affects about one in 4 men, it’s totally treatable.
Mental Health Problems
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a role in regulating your mood. Healthy testosterone levels contribute to a healthy mind. Low testosterone can lead to mood swings, depression, and stress.
Cells in the brain contain testosterone receptors. When hormone levels are out of balance, our emotions suffer. Studies show how men with low testosterone levels were more likely to experience depression symptoms compared to men with normal hormone levels.
How Can I Keep My Testosterone Levels Healthy?
A healthy lifestyle is your best weapon against low testosterone. Avoid excessive drug and alcohol abuse. Instead, focus on eating a balanced diet, manage your weight, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.
Resistance training (as in weight lifting) is the best way to boost short and long-term testosterone production. As muscle mass increases, the body produces more testosterone. Exercising in the afternoon is ideal if you want to give your testosterone a boost.
High-intensity interval training enhances testosterone production and cardiovascular health. All forms of exercise reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to low testosterone levels.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
Eating whole foods optimizes hormone levels and has long-lasting health impacts. Stick to a diet with equal amounts of poultry, fish, protein, fat, and carbs. Steer clear of processed food and saturated fats.
Testosterone-boosting foods include:
Protein aids in testosterone production and fat loss. Carbs optimize testosterone levels during weight training. Healthy fats stimulate hormone production.
Get Enough Sleep
Testosterone levels rise during sleep and lower when a person is awake. REM sleep yields the highest testosterone production. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea lead to a lack of sleep and contribute to low testosterone levels in men. In fact, sleep apnea is a common cause of hormonal imbalances in men.
Too little sleep can also lead to higher stress levels. Increased cortisol, the stress hormone, decreases testosterone production in men.
Ensure you receive a healthy night’s sleep to prevent throwing off your testosterone production. Go to bed at the same time every night and strive to get seven to nine hours of rest. Not only will a good night’s rest to lead to better testosterone production, but healthy sleeping habits enhance mental clarity and build a better immune system.
Consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) replaces testosterone and stimulates hormone production. TRT is administered through gels and patches.
TRT can reverse the effects of low testosterone on the body. Many participants report improvements in their energy levels, sex drive, and bone density, and muscle mass. Many men also experience mood boosts while undergoing TRT.
Get the Testosterone Boost You Need
From medical conditions to eating certain foods, low testosterone stems from a variety of sources. Now that you understand what lowers testosterone and how it affects men, it’s time to make sure your hormone levels remain in tip-top shape.
Our mission is to help men live powerfully. Hormone imbalances shake a man’s confidence, reduce his sex drive, and decrease his quality of life. Our testosterone therapies give men their drive back.
We provide top-notch testosterone replacement therapy for men who qualify. We work with you to monitor your treatment and improve your mental and physical health. Contact us to learn more about our testosterone services for men.