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Do you feel tired often? Are you having trouble adding on muscle mass or even maintaining it? If so, it might be a sign that you are low in Testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone produced by both men and women. It is essential in the development of male growth and characteristics. For women, the hormone is produced and necessary in smaller amounts. Some of the key roles played by Testosterone are:
Testosterone is crucial for building muscle mass. It increases the number of available androgen receptors that Testosterone can bind to within muscle. When this attachment occurs, protein synthesis is activated and muscles begin to recover and grow. Another way that Testosterone is crucial for muscle mass is that it is anti-catabolic.It blocks the ability of catabolic hormones, like Cortisol, to attach to their primary receptors. Testosterone is fundamental for building and maintaining muscle mass.(1)
Testosterone also plays a role in maintaining a healthy heart and healthy blood. Testosterone increases EPO, Erythropoietin, which activates red blood cell development. When more red blood cells are introduced to the body, more oxygen is also able to reach muscle cells. The US National Library of Medicine also includes a study titled “Testosterone and the Heart” in which participants increased Testosterone to aid various heart related conditions like Coronary Artery Disease(2) and Congestive Heart Failure.(3)
For both sexes, Testosterone works directly within the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to regulate metabolism. Testosterone also blocks the uptake of fat and storage of fat. It does this by increasing the amount of beta-adrenergic receptors, which burn body fat.(4)
Testosterone has been shown to improve cognition, memory, and emotions. And when Testosterone levels decline, the brain begins to suffer. In a study with aging men with or without a brain impairment were given Testosterone, it showed a relation between decreasing Testosterone and age-related cognitive diseases may exist.(5) Studies also show that increasing Testosterone works to activate a cortical network, improving spatial cognition and verbal and visual memory.(6)
The Testosterone/Estrogen ratio plays a huge part in the thickness and texture of skin. Because men generally have more Testosterone, the skin is more dense and vigorous.(7) Testosterone also supports collagen production which is the primary protein in skin. Maintaining a healthy amount of collagen is crucial for skin elasticity as you age. On top of that, collagen protects organs, provides structure to joints and tendons, and holds together bones and muscles.
(1)Kraemer, W. J., & Rogol, A. D. (Eds.). (2008). The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine: An IOC Medical Commission Publication, The Endocrine System in Sports and Exercise (Vol. 11) . John Wiley & Sons
(2)Webb CM, Adamson DL, de Zeigler D, Collins P. Effect of acute testosterone on myocardial ischemia in men with coronary artery disease. Am J Cardiol. 1999. February 1; 83 3: 437– 9, A9. [PubMed]
(3)Dos Santos MR, Sayegh AL, Bacurau AV, et al. Effect of Exercise Training and Testosterone Replacement on Skeletal Muscle Wasting in Patients With Heart Failure With Testosterone Deficiency. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016. May; 91 5: 575– 86.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512682/
(5)Cogn Behav Neurol. 2016 Sep;29(3):122-38. doi: 10.1097/WNN.0000000000000104. Effects of Testosterone Therapy on Cognitive Function in Aging: A Systematic Review. Hua JT 1 , Hildreth KL, Pelak VS.
(6)Aging Male. 2006 Dec;9(4):195-9. Testosterone and the brain. Zitzmann M 1 .
(7)Markova MS, Zeskand J, McEntee B, Rothstein J, Jimenez SA, et al. (2004)