by Dr. David Minkoff June 08, 2017 2 min read
Testosterone is an important ingredient in every male’s genetic makeup, but levels of androgen testosterone vary from man to man. Let’s consider this hormone and why it’s vital for male health, energy and fitness.
Testosterone promotes growth hormone responses in the pituitary, influencing protein synthesis in muscles. Testosterone influences male pattern fat distribution, bone density and red blood cell production, and therefore low amounts of testosterone (also called “Low T”) can severely impact the potential and results of even the most tried and true fitness regimens.
Low T, otherwise known as hypogonadism, can occur as early as during fetal development, and pertains to the testes being underactive and producing little to no sex hormones. Also known as low serum testosterone, gonad deficiency and andropause, this disorder has several primary causes, including problems with the testicles, and several secondary causes, mainly stemming from a problem with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, parts of the brain that signal the testicles to produce testosterone. Causes of secondary hypogonadism can include: inflammatory diseases; medications; obesity; HIV/AIDS; concurrent illness (including severe emotional stress); and radiation treatment.
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can restore, raise and maintain testosterone at ideal levels suitable for muscle gain and making the most of active living. Getting enough sleep is one big help we can give ourselves. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that regularly getting a good night’s rest—ideally between seven and nine hours every night—helps to remedy low levels of testosterone. Losing excess weight through a sensible diet, along with regular exercise, is also crucial. A 2013 study in the European Journal of Endocrinology showed that a properly balanced nutritional diet (no crash dieting) and exercise offset effects of hypogonadism.
Ingesting zinc-rich foods such as edible oyster (Ostrea edulis), red meat and poultry, beans, nuts, blue king crab, spiny lobster and whole grains—equivalent to 11mg of zinc each day—is another step you can take, as studies indicate a correlation between serum testosterone level and concentrations of zinc found in hair tissue, with testosterone synthesis influenced by micronutrients such as zinc and copper.
Low testosterone is common and frustrating, but it doesn’t have to ignored. We can strive for hormonal balance and with better levels of testosterone achieved naturally, you’ll feel more capable and energetic than ever before.*
by Dr. David Minkoff
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