There are distinct biological differences between men and women. These mainly come from our bodies’ physical characteristics, which are defined by the production of certain hormones. Testosterone, it must be noted, is one of the predominant hormones in the human body – especially for males. Although it does appear in women as well, affecting their sex drive, among other factors. But if Biology 101 is something you skipped out on and you want to find out more about the crucial hormone testosterone, then this post is for you!
What is testosterone?
The human body is a wonderful and complex system. And when it comes to hormones, especially testosterone, there’s no easy answer to the question of where is testosterone produced because it entails a number of processes and different body parts to function in tandem with each other to produce this crucial hormone.
But before we get started looking at the production process, let’s look at what testosterone is. In brief, testosterone is part of a group of hormones, which are called androgens or steroids. If you’re thinking that “andro-” specifies something specifically related to men, you’d be somewhat mistaken. The reason behind this is that testosterone is not just a male hormone.
In fact, everyone (women included) produce and needs some levels of testosterone or androgens for reproductive functions and development. But focusing on men, testosterone is generally the primary sex hormone for this gender. It fulfils a couple of important functions including developing “typically male” physical characteristics.
With that being said, let’s look at the process of production. As many other things in our bodies, it all begins with the brain. In particular, we’re talking about the hypothalamus. It initiates or kick-starts the testosterone production process. Firstly, it receives a signal that it needs to produce testosterone. After this, the gonadotropin (GnRH) hormone is released and it travels to the pituitary gland.
When it reaches its destination, a.k.a. the pituitary gland, it then signals and releases two hormones to begin the production of testosterone. These are luteinizing hormone (LH) and gonadotropins or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These two buddies then travel to the testes and produce testosterone. And when all is said and done, testosterone is then released into the bloodstream, ready for action. However, with the body’s “negative feedback loop”, when there’s a signal that there’s too much testosterone in the system, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland will receive messages to halt testosterone and GnRH production.
But what about women? In women, testosterone is produced by the ovaries and by the adrenal glands. After this, it is converted to the primary sex hormone – oestrogen.
What does testosterone do?
We already mentioned that both men and women have testosterone in their bodies, but in different quantities. It’s also worth noting that testosterone production depends on one’s age and generally declines the older one gets.
However, before we reach adulthood, it’s important to note that testosterone has a critical role during adolescence in males. In general, testosterone helps with penis and testicle growth, development of facial, pubic and body hair, deepening of the voice, strengthening of bones and muscles, increases in height and more.
But let’s explore what normal levels of testosterone do and what does high testosterone do to a man. In men, healthy to comparatively higher levels of testosterone aid with maintaining one’s sex drive, maintaining muscle mass and strength and bone density, mood stabilisation, growth, repair and maintenance of reproductive tissues and it has even been linked to supporting cardiovascular health.
Other things that testosterone does is produce red blood cells, distributes fat and produces sperm. It’s also shown to have effects on anti-inflammation and cognitive functioning. The latter includes aspects such as mood, memory and the production of dopamine.
How to test testosterone levels
You may be curious about your own testosterone levels and may wish to have them tested. But how do you do this? The answer is not as clear cut as it seems. The reason for this is that testosterone testing is not a simple blood test for low, normal or high levels of testosterone. In fact, there are five different categories that define total testosterone markers and levels. These are the following:
- Total: this is the total amount of the hormone that cicrulates in your bloodstream. This type of blood test measures both free testosterone and that which is bound to the proteins albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).
- Free: on average only 1% to 3% of the total testosterone is considered free. But what this means is the amount of testosterone that is “bioavailable”. Looking at it from a different perspective, it looks at how much is available for use in your body.
- Bound: this refers to what amount of testosterone is bound to the two proteins – Albumin and SHBG.
- Albumin: what you need to know about Albumin is that it is the protein that’s most abundant in your blood. In addition, approximately 50% of the testosterone in one’s body is attached to this protein. Although this situation makes the testosterone “bioavailable”, it is not as “readily active” as unbound testosterone.
- SHBG: this one plays a bit of an inhibiting function. What happens is that after SHBG is produced in the liver, it attaches to hormones including testosterone. But when it does so, it removes it from being directly used in the body and from doing anything useful in the body, too.
So, to answer the question how much testosterone does a man have, it’s important to distinguish between these five measurement criteria, look at a man’s age and ways of life and consider a variety of different factors together because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
What causes low testosterone?
We just spoke about how to measure testosterone but what if the results show that your levels are low? What happens when a man’s testosterone is low? The answer is complicated but we’ll try to narrow it down for you. In many cases, symptoms of a testosterone deficiency could manifest as:
- Reduced sex drive
- Negative impact on mood including increased risk of anxiety and depression
- Lethargy, low energy
- Increased body fat
- Muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass and tone
- Osteoporosis, loss of bone strength
- Sleep disturbances
- Problems getting or maintaining an erection
- Low sperm count
What’s more is that low testosterone levels over a prolonged period of time may also contribute to long-term health conditions. These include heart disease, memory issues and loss of bone density. We already mentioned that testosterone levels decrease with age (by age 45, you’re looking at a 1% decline per year), so it’s worth considering checking out whether you simply have low levels or you have a deficiency.
So, what could be the causes of lower testosterone apart from age? Some reasons include lifestyle factors such as exercising too much, excessive alcohol intake, taking certain medication or not eating a healthy diet/being overweight. There are, however, medical reasons for the so-called “low T”. The condition is generally known as hypogonadism. This happens when the body doesn’t generate sufficient quantities of testosterone.
How to increase testosterone
If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels and you’re wondering if there is a solution for
how to raise testosterone and how to increase testosterone levels quickly, a part of the answer comes in the form of testosterone replacement therapy. However, this is only for those men who have been diagnosed with hypogonadism (low T). But the other part of the answer for how to boost testosterone is through taking testosterone in different forms including topicals such as gels, creams, and patches; injections; and pellets that are surgically placed directly beneath the skin.
What must be noted though is that if you have an excess amount of testosterone in your system (hyperandrogenism), you could experience issues such as acne and oily skin, excess facial and body hair, thinning hair, mood changes, increased muscle mass, weight issues, voice deepening and others. Meanwhile, others suggest that high T levels can affect higher levels of cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
With this in mind, you want to know how to get more testosterone? The quick and simple answer to what increases testosterone is the intake of anabolic steroids. Often used for the improvement of athletic performance and one’s physical appearance, another option you have is testosterone replacement therapy, as mentioned above.
As for what foods increase testosterone, the results are mixed but the general outlay is that consuming zinc-rich foods such as lean meat, oysters, dairy, whole grains, nuts, sesame, seeds, beans, bread and fortified cereals could help you naturally improve your testosterone levels. Although changing your diet or undergoing any therapy related to your testosterone levels should be done in conjunction with your medical practitioner.
Where to inject testosterone
If you want to take the fast route and inject testosterone into your body, it’s worth knowing where you should do this for maximum effect. Specifically, medicines such as the hormone testosterone should be injected into a muscle to work. As such, this type of injection is best given in the thigh or hip, owing to the greater mass of muscle there.
How long does testosterone stay in your system?
According to research, those who consume or intake anabolic steroids or undergo testosterone therapy, should be aware that once you start this treatment, your body will cease making its own testosterone. As a result, it will rely on the steroids you receive. Consequently, the testosterone in your system would only remain there for a period of around three to four weeks (after ceasing to take them).
What does testosterone do for women?
It was briefly mentioned above that women also produce testosterone. But it is in smaller quantities and is produced in the ovaries, after which it is then released into the bloodstream. In women, there are three major hormones that affect the menstrual cycle and one of these is testosterone. The other two are progesterone and oestrogen. With specific regard to testosterone, it helps regulate women’s sex drive.
Furthermore, it helps with the preservation of muscle mass and overall well-being. When combined with oestrogen, testosterone can increase a woman’s libido quite significantly during ovulation and menstruation.
As women age and approach menopause, their levels of testosterone will generally decline, resulting in lower libido. As such, some women take testosterone supplements to increase sex drive or athletic performance. However, as everything in life requires a careful balance, so does testosterone intake in women.
The reason behind this is that too much testosterone can affect ovulation and menstruation. It can, for example, lead to irregular periods, missing periods, weight gain, excess body hair and acne. On the more serious side, excess testosterone has been connected to infertility and conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Knowing all you can about testosterone and its functions in your body is a great way to starting on a healthy testosterone regimen to help improve various aspects of your body’s functioning. From a better sex drive to improved muscle mass and bone strength, there are easier ways than hormone replacement therapy to get started. The answer? Anabolic steroids. And the best part? You can purchase them online from the comfort of your own home. Browse our selection of injectable steroids or oral steroids.
Deliveries are made directly to your chosen address and you will be well on your way to living a better, healthier and more fulfilling life. With the major role that testosterone plays in both the male and female body, it’s worth considering supplementing your testosterone production in order to reap the rewards.