Understanding how low testosterone is potentially hurting you is very important for developing a long term health strategy.
Testosterone is the most important of the male hormones, meaning A LOT of important bodily functions for men are directly linked to testosterone levels.
If your testosterone levels drop, you may be at risk of a broad range of health problems. Below are just a few of the ways that low testosterone can affect your health:
Low Testosterone and Reduced Sexual Function and Fertility
This is, of course, the most common of the side effects of low testosterone, and the one all men are familiar with (and very concerned about).
Given that testosterone is the “male sex hormone”, it stands to reason that a decrease in testosterone level can lead to problems with male sex. Low testosterone can wreak havoc with your sexual activity in a number of ways:
Low Libido – Your libido is your “sex drive” or “sexual appetite”. Essentially, it’s your desire for sex. Men with high libido have a higher sex drive and want more sex.
Low testosterone, sadly, reduces your libido. Men with low testosterone lose their sex drive and desire for sex. They want sex less, masturbate with less frequency, have fewer thoughts of a sexual nature, and even have fewer sex-related dreams.
This could be directly linked to the effects of testosterone on the brain. The parts of your brain involved with sexual desire (including your amygdala) have a lot of testosterone receptors.
When your testosterone levels are normal, your brain is stimulated by the hormone and thus engaged in a desire for sex. Low testosterone can suppress your sex drive and appetite not on a physical level, but a mental one. Without the testosterone to activate the receptors in your brain, your brain is less likely to want sex.
Erectile Difficulties – Let’s be clear: testosterone isn’t directly responsible for your erections. However, a lack of the male sex hormone can lead to erectile difficulties all the same.
Men with low testosterone tend to have fewer spontaneous erections (such as those that occur while you sleep). The reduction in their sexual appetite and libido means there is less desire for sex overall. We all know that the mind is as important for sexual performance as the body. If your brain isn’t stimulated, it’s highly likely that your body won’t respond. The reduction in sexual appetite can lead to erectile difficulties. Men with low testosterone often have problems with achieving and maintaining a full erection.
However, be warned: erectile difficulties may be caused by other health problems, such as obesity or high blood pressure. These health problems may stem from low testosterone.
Infertility – Testosterone plays a vital role in the production of healthy sperm. If your body isn’t producing enough testosterone, your sperm count is likely to be low. This means there are fewer viable sperm available to impregnate the egg, which decreases the chances of pregnancy.
Low testosterone levels won’t decrease the motility or viability of the sperm, only the quantity available. However, given the additional health problems that stem from low testosterone (see below), it’s likely that the quality of the sperm is also affected.
Penis Size Reduction – Say what?!!!! That’s not the sort of thing any man wants to hear.
Testosterone plays a role in the health of the tissue in your penis. Insufficient testosterone can lead to the atrophying of the tissue in your scrotum, testicles, and penis. Basically, this atrophying is a reduction in both size and function. A lack of testosterone could lead to penile shrinkage.
Men with low testosterone have reported a number of negative side effects, including:
- Reduction in the size of the testicles
- Loss of girth and length of the penis
- Testicles lose their firmness and become squishy
When the tissue in your penis, testicles, and scrotum atrophy, it becomes less functional as well as smaller in size. Thankfully, testosterone replacement therapy can help to restore penile size and function to normal (or near-normal, in some cases) levels.
Reduced Muscle Mass
Did you know that your body needs testosterone in order to produce new muscle tissue? High levels of the anabolic hormone puts your body in an anabolic state, one that is conducive to growth. When you damage your muscles (a good thing, the purpose of your workout) and increase your amino acid intake, you provide your body with everything needed to capitalize on that anabolic state. The result: an increase in muscle mass.
But, when the levels of testosterone (an anabolic hormone) drop, your body cannot maintain the anabolic state. Instead, it turns into a catabolic state, one where it begins to break down the muscle tissue rather than building it up.
At first, you may only notice minor decreases in strength and muscle size. However, over time, the breakdown of muscle tissue becomes visible. You will struggle to lift the same amount of weight as you were once able to easily, and your muscle mass will decrease.
In one Japanese study, it was discovered that men with low testosterone levels had double or triple the risk of muscle loss as men with normal testosterone levels. Age-related muscle loss can lead to a broad range of health problems, including reduced energy levels, slower metabolic function, and reduced strength. All of these problems are the result of a decrease in testosterone levels (normal with age).
Increased Belly and Body Fat
This side effect is WORSE than the reduction in muscle mass. It’s okay to lose a bit of lean body mass—you can still be healthy even if you’re not carrying lots of pounds of muscle. But when you start to put on body fat, that’s when the problems set in!
Low testosterone has been linked to an increase in visceral fat, the stuff that accumulates around the belly. The problem is that this isn’t just simple body fat. It’s the type of fat that is not only extra hard to burn (inert white fat rather than active brown or beige fat), but it also gets into your organs. Men with near-normal BMI but excess belly fat have experienced significantly higher risks of metabolic disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.
Low testosterone levels leads to an increase in the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that encourages your body to turn blood lipids (triglycerides and cholesterol) into stored fat. Basically, the lower your testosterone, the more free rein this enzyme has to turn the fat in your bloodstream into fat to store around your gut.
To compound the problem, you’re losing muscle mass every day. Muscle mass burns a lot more calories than fat mass, so men with a lot of muscle tend to have a healthy metabolic rate even if there is a bit of extra fat. But as you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows. Add to that the increase of fat, and you’re looking at some pretty serious health risks. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity may all be the direct result of low testosterone levels.
Increased Cardiovascular Risk
As you’ve seen above, low testosterone levels have been linked to both an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass. The more fat your body stores, the harder your heart has to work to send blood to your entire body. Your blood fat content also increases as your body fat does, which could lead to high blood pressure.
Multiple studies have found that low testosterone levels are linked to a higher cardiovascular risk. Not only were men with low T more prone to heart problems, but their mortality rates also rose.
Testosterone is needed for the production of nitric oxide, the enzyme that dilates your blood vessels. Nitric oxide plays a role in erectile function (dilating the blood vessels enables healthy circulation to the penis), but it is also needed for proper circulation. Without sufficient nitric oxide, the blood vessels can’t dilate to allow proper blood flow.
Of course, the higher blood lipid levels don’t help! The cholesterol and triglycerides floating in your bloodstream cling to the walls of your arteries, preventing the endothelial lining from producing nitric oxide. It’s a downward spiral that can lead to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and cardiovascular death.
Remember how the parts of the brain responsible for sexual activity are filled with testosterone receptors? When your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone, your sexual appetite suffers.
But those parts of your brain responsible for sexual activity also play a role in other functions. For example, they are directly linked to your mood and emotional health. People with low testosterone are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety because the testosterone receptors aren’t being stimulated.
The sexual dysfunction won’t do your mood any favors, either. The male “ego” and self-esteem are often closely linked to their sexual performance. Men with decreased libido and erectile difficulties are at a higher risk of depression as well. It’s a double-whammy that can lead to serious emotional problems!
Your memory could also suffer as a result of your low testosterone levels. An Australian study found that mental function declined along with testosterone levels. The study involved two tests taken five years apart. The men with lower testosterone levels scored significantly lower on the second try.
The cerebrum, the part of the brain associated with attention and memory, is also home to a lot of testosterone receptors. Without enough testosterone to stimulate these receptors, the brain doesn’t function at optimum capacity. The brain cells suffer the same dysfunction as the cells in the amygdala, leading to a decrease in cognitive ability.
Poor Bone Health
Did you know that your bones are made up of living tissue, just like your muscles? The cells of your bones are constantly breaking down (through impact from exercise, trauma, or wear and tear), and your body has to continually build them back up. Just as you need plenty of amino acids to repair and increase muscle tissue, so too you need calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium to build up your bones.
But what happens when your body is unable to maintain its anabolic (growth) state, and instead turns catabolic (breaking down)? Your bones suffer the same catabolism as your muscles. They break down faster than your body can repair them, leading to a decrease in your bone health.
Men with low testosterone are at a higher risk of osteoporosis (porous and brittle bones) and low bone density. Without sufficient muscle mass to protect the bones, you run the risk of serious injuries (fractures and broken bones).
As you can see, low testosterone can cause some pretty serious health problems! Not only does your body stop working at optimum capacity, but there are some definite long-term effects of the low hormone levels. The real problems begin when your muscle mass declines and your body fat increases. The amount of visceral fat produced as a result of low testosterone levels can lead to a lot of health problems—many of them potentially fatal.
That’s why it’s a good idea to consider testosterone replacement therapy if your hormone levels are low. The TRT can help to prevent the continued decline in testosterone levels and increase the amount of free and serum testosterone. This increase in available hormones may be enough to reverse many of the effects listed above, or at least mitigate them and make them less serious.
If you’re noticing any of the side effects mentioned above, consult with your doctor to find out if TRT is the right course of action for you. Or, if not, what else you can do to prevent the negative health effects of low testosterone.
Boost Your Health Gain Muscle and Lose Belly Fat
You can also achieve many of the same results of TRT through a very structured nutritional approach that I have laid out in my TCycle diet which is designed specifically to increase your testosterone naturally by eliminating belly fat and enhancing blood flow.
In this nutritional program I take you through many of the most important things you need to know as a man and how to maximize your hormonal profile for maximum testosterone.
You can grab your copy of the TCycle manual free <= Click that Link – and get started on the road to high performance, increased testosterone and feeling extraordinary again.