Testosterone is a key male sex hormone. However, it is also present in females but at a much lower level. During puberty, testosterone is responsible for the deepening of the voice, the growth of male sexual organs, and the development of pubic hair. It also plays a role in sperm production.
• Regulating sex drive
• Increasing bone mass
• Fat distribution and storage
• Muscle growth
• Red blood cell production
• Sperm production
Testosterone levels generally peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As we age, testosterone levels begin to decline. Levels typically decline about 1% each year after age 30 or 40. For older men, it is important to distinguish if a low testosterone level is due to aging or hypogonadism. Hypogonadism hampers the ability to produce normal amounts of testosterone due to a problem with the testicles or with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles.
What are the symptoms of testosterone deficiency?
• Reduced sex drive
• Erectile dysfunction
• Reduced facial hair growth
• Loss of lean muscle mass
• Difficulty sleeping
• Reduction in sex drive
• Weight gain
• Irregular menstrual cycles
• Vaginal dryness
• Worsening sleep apnea
• Causing acne or other skin reactions
• Stimulating noncancerous growth of the prostate
• Enlarging breasts
• Limiting sperm production or causing testicles to shrink
• Stimulating too much red cell production, which contributes to the increased risk of blood clots
What over-the-counter supplements can help boost testosterone levels?
• Vitamin D
Vitamin D may help boost your testosterone levels. A recent study in Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
found a link between vitamin D and testosterone levels. They found that men with a vitamin D deficiency had lower testosterone levels. It looks like Vitamin D isn’t just for your bones and immune system.
Ashwaganda is an evergreen shrub, but the roots and fruit have medicinal properties. A 2019 study examined the effects of ashwagandha on hormone levels in males aged 40–70 years with overweight and mild fatigue. One group received a placebo while the others received ashwagandha. The researchers found that the testosterone levels of the participants taking ashwagandha increased by 14.7% more than they did among the placebo group.
• D-aspartic acid
D-aspartic acid is an amino acid. It plays a role in testosterone production and release. An older study showed that a daily dose of D-aspartate led to an increase in testosterone levels.
Fenugreek is plant belonging to the Fabaceae family. A meta-analysis of trials investigating the effect of Fenugreek on males suggests that it may have a significant effect on testosterone levels. A study involving the effects on females has produced similar results. The extract led to a significant increase in testosterone levels and sexual desire compared to placebo.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is naturally occurring in our bodies and is made by the adrenal glands. DHEA actually helps produce other hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
An older study found that a lack of sleep actually resulted in lower testosterone levels the following morning.
• Weight Loss
Males with obesity have lower testosterone levels. Losing weight may help
Research has shown that males that eat diets lower in fat have lower levels of testosterone, regardless of body mass index (BMI) and physical activity level.
Sunlight is a source of Vitamin D for our bodies. Research may have found a link between Vitamin D and testosterone levels. Higher vitamin D levels could lead to high testosterone levels.
What do I do if I think I may have low levels of testosterone?
• Talk to your doctor. They may want to do blood or saliva tests to get a baseline for your levels.
• Talk to your compounding pharmacist. Our compounding pharmacists have undergone extensive training on bio-identical hormones. Consultations are available to evaluate your symptoms and provide recommendations on prescription and over-the-counter medications.
• Take the ADAM Questionnaire. The ADAM questionnaire was designed to help determine whether a person may have low levels of testosterone. It is 10 questions and can be used as a tool to discuss symptoms with your doctor or pharmacist.
• Topical Cream or Gel
• Troche (placed between gum and cheek)
• Oral capsules are available but may not be recommended. Testosterone quickly becomes degraded in the stomach, which may decrease the effectiveness of oral dosing.