The term “Low T” – or low testosterone – is being heard more and more often. It seems the topic of “T” is everywhere. Doctors, television ads, and men’s health magazines are talking about low testosterone, testosterone supplements, and even natural remedies for low T. According to one source, between 2001 and 2011, the number of men over 40 using testosterone therapy tripled. But what exactly is low testosterone in men? What does it mean when you have it, and how can it be increased naturally?
What is Low T?
Testosterone is a hormone made in the testicles that stimulates the production of sperm, helps build muscle and bone mass, and drives a man’s sex drive.
In development, testosterone helps form the sex organs of male babies. Then in puberty, it helps boys develop into men, causing hair growth on the face, building muscle, deepening voices, and stimulating the production of sperm. For grown men, it ignites the sex drive and helps maintain erections.
As men age, they naturally lose testosterone. Other things can cause it to drop as well, including injuries to the testicles, chemotherapy or radiation for treating cancer, or diseases of the pituitary gland.
A normal testosterone range is between 300 and 1,000 ng/dl. When testosterone drops below 300, it’s considered low.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone in men?
When testosterone is low, men can experience several symptoms in their appearance and mood, overall health, and sexual health. With so much at stake, many men are taking a look at their testosterone levels and the effect those levels may be having on their lives. The following are common symptoms.
Reduced sex drive or a lack of libido. As the driver of male’s sexual organs and puberty, testosterone has a huge effect on men’s sexual health.
Fatigue and lack of energy. Low testosterone in men can also make them feel less energetic and less self-assured, which can further impact their sex lives.
Low semen volume. Low T can result in reduced libido and low semen volume.
Hair loss. Because testosterone fuels the body’s ability to grow hair, low T can result in hair loss.
Loss of muscle mass and bone mass. Low T can cause loss of bone mass, which can result in a weakening of the bones. This condition, called osteoporosis, can increase risk of injury.
Increase in body fat. Low T also decreases muscle mass and increases body fat, which not only affects appearance but can put men more at risk for conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Mood changes. Many men experience fatigue, loss of energy, depression, and mood changes. Men may also experience a diminished ability to concentrate.
Other concerns. Low testosterone has many of the same symptoms of other medical issues, such as diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. Because of this, low T may be a sign that something else is going on in the body.
Low testosterone in men and ED
It’s important to recognize that low testosterone is not the same as erectile dysfunction. Testosterone tells receptors in the brain to produce the molecule nitric oxide, which smoothens the penile muscle so an erection can occur. Low testosterone can result in low nitric oxide, which can result in erectile dysfunction.
While both low T and ED can affect a man’s ability to get and sustain an erection, low T is a hormonal issue; whereas, ED is a vascular one.
And while low T and ED are not the same health concern, addressing both can be the first step in figuring out how to get an erection naturally and with more predictability.
How to increase low testosterone
While there are topical and oral treatments to increase testosterone levels, there are six things you can do right away, naturally.
1) Evaluate your medications. If you’re taking opioid narcotic pain medication or glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisone, talk to your doctor about their effects on testosterone levels and whether alternative treatments might be effective.
2) Get enough sleep. One study found that sleeping less than five hours a night for one week can cause a drop in testosterone. To increase your T levels, try to get seven to eight hours of consistent sleep every night.
3) Get to a healthy weight. There is a correlation between being overweight or obese and low T levels. Try to drop any extra pounds, and if you’re underweight, look into adding muscle and fat. A simple BMI calculator can help you determine your ideal weight.
4) Exercise in short bursts. Short intense exercise, as opposed to prolonged moderate exercise, has been shown to boost T levels. Try interval training, or short workouts that get your heart rate going for 10-to 20-minute sessions.
5) Rev up your Vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to increase testosterone, and Vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. is at epidemic proportions. If you’re low in Vitamin D, increasing it to acceptable levels may be as easy as stepping out in the sun every day.
6) Manage stress. Stress produces the hormone cortisol, which impairs the ability to create testosterone. Make an effort to reduce stress by unwinding after work, pursuing a hobby, or limiting work hours. Keep in mind not to relax by having multiple drinks. Excessive alcohol lowers the amount of NAD+ inside the liver and testes—the body uses this coenzyme to produce testosterone.
Natural solutions can go far in preventing low testosterone in men. They can also be effective in treating erectile dysfunction. Learn more in our free ebook, All-Natural Ways to Achieve and Keep the Best Erections of Your Life.