Testosterone, one of the many words autocorrect has to fix for me. But, it is also the building block of what makes us gay men, both men and probably gay. First we would like to stress a few important points about this hormone. GMJ will never believe or state that anything about being male or having testosterone is a negative thing. There is no science that states its mere existence causes rage, anger issues, emotional distance or violence. Also, it is no more toxic to society than any other hormone including estrogen. Being a man, being a gay man, is what you make of it. Testosterone doesn’t genetically turn you into an asshole.
When most guys think of testosterone they picture a guy like the one in the picture; beautiful smile, great skin complexion and muscles on top of muscles. But this hormone does much more than get you ripped. Here is what every guy needs to know about this hormone.
- is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bonemass, and the growth of body hair. In addition, testosterone is involved in health and well-being, and the prevention of osteoporosis. Insufficient levels of testosterone in men may lead to abnormalities including frailty and bone loss.
- is linked to many of the changes seen in boys during puberty (including an increase in height, body and pubic hair growth, enlargement of the penis, testes and prostate gland, and changes in sexual behaviour)
- is essential for the production of sperm in adult life. This hormone also signals the body to make new blood cells, ensures that muscles and bones stay strong during and after puberty and enhances libido
- is also essential in creating pheromones and natural male body scent (odor)
In essence, testosterone is what makes you, you. But, unfortunately, your levels of this hormone will not continue to grow or even stay consistent as you get older. And worst of all, there are many studies that indicate that the modern Western male has less testosterone than males even twenty (20) ago. What is causing this rapid decline is not yet known but here is a list of the usual suspects that are known to decrease your T levels.
- obesity/weight gain (specifically around the gut) levels are also taking a nose-dive by 50% among obese adult men between the ages of 18 and 35 due to type 2 diabetes prescription medications
- even swimming (in chlorinated water), long distance biking and running make the list
- The findings of another study by Travison and colleagues indicated that health and lifestyle changes, such as unemployment and loss of a spouse, can have as much impact on testosterone levels as normal aging during a short to mid-length period of about 10 years.
Then we have some unexpected reducers of testosterone. But, as expected, they are high in estrogen, which is the problem.
- Flaxseed products
- Soy products (This includes the soy in your protein shakes but some disagree)
- Vegetable oils
- Mint, peppermint, spearmint
- Trans fats
- some others claim everything from soda to fast food and even dairy.
- A new study found reduced levels of circulating testosterone were associated with increased phthalate exposure in several key populations, including a 24-34 percent decline in testosterone levels in boys aged 6 to 12
- It is believed that phthalates may have adverse hormonal effects because they reduce testosterone synthesis by interfering with an enzyme needed to produce the male hormone
- Declines in testosterone levels among men have been noted for decades, along with a rise in related health problems such as reduced semen quality and genital deformities in newborn boys
- During fetal development, low testosterone can lead to incomplete formation of the sex organs, and during puberty it may permanently affect growth and development; in adults, low testosterone may lead to decreased sex drive, depression, weight gain, and more
- You can minimize your phthalates exposure by choosing natural personal care products and avoiding the use of PVC plastics; adults can also optimize their testosterone levels naturally by following a healthy lifestyle
- Phthalates are almost everywhere but here are some ways you can avoid many of them.
The bottom line is that scientist don’t really know what is causing the decrease in testosterone in the general population and much more study and research needs to be conducted. But, as an individual here are some signs you need to look out for regarding “Low T”
In general, the normal range in males is about 270 to 1070 ng/dL with an average level of 679 ng/dL. A normal male testosterone level peaks at about age 20, and then it slowly declines. Testosterone levels above or below the normal range are considered by many to be out of balance. Moreover, some researchers suggest that the healthiest men have testosterone levels between 400 – 600 ng/dL.
Signs of low testosterone
If testosterone deficiency occurs during puberty, a boy’s growth may slow and no growth spurt will be seen. The child may also fail to develop full sexual characteristics (hypogonadism) associated with men undergoing puberty, including development of pubic hair, growth of the penis and testes and deepening of the voice. Around the time of puberty, boys with too little testosterone may also have less than normal strength and endurance, and their arms and legs may continue to grow out of proportion with the rest of their body.
In adult men, low testosterone may lead to a reduction in muscle bulk, loss of body hair and a wrinkled ‘parchment-like’ appearance of the skin. Testosterone levels in men decline naturally as they age. In the media, this is sometimes referred to as the male menopause (andropause).
Low testosterone levels can cause mood disturbances, increased body fat, loss of muscle tone, inadequate erections and poor sexual performance, osteoporosis, difficulty with concentration, memory loss and sleep difficulties. Current research suggests that this effect occurs in only a small group of aging men, but disproportionately in HIV positive males. However, there is a lot of research currently in progress to find out more about the effects of testosterone in older men and also whether the use of testosterone replacement therapy would have any benefits.
Testosterone Replacements therapy:
So, about now, you are scared shitless and wondering what you can do to keep from falling into the Low T trap. The bad news is that for the most part, there is nothing you can do. We all will have our levels dip and decline with age. But, there are some things you can do to slow down the process…at least for a little while.
The first thing you can do is begin to take better care of yourself. This includes working out, eating right, getting proper sleep and reducing stress. Avoiding foods and products which reduce testosterone levels is also a good idea. But, you want to know about the quick fixes. One guy took the natural route for 90 days and claimed dramatic results. Take a look for yourself.
Hormone Replacement therapy:
If you have ever stayed home from work or up late at night, you have seen the commercials about Low T and the medications that can treat it. Testim and Androgel are the most common ones prescribed by doctors. But there has been some controversy about their usage as they do come with a long list of possible site effects with some major ones including heart attack, stroke, prostate cancer, and even death that have resulted in a number of class action law suits. But a study in 2014 refuted these claims.
This is great news for HIV positive guys because World Health Clinicians published in Postgraduate Medicine that 66 percent have low testosterone,” said Dr. Gary Blick, founder and chief medical officer of World Health Clinicians (WHC, www.worldhealthclinicians.org). “
Athletes and shots in the ass
Some legitimate doctors do prescribe injectable forms of testosterone for their patients with Low T. But, we all know of, heard about, or seen obvious examples of guys juiced up at the gym, club or anyplace that gay men can and will show off their bodies. (i.e. Earth). Outside of being illegal and banned from most sports, (non/semi and pro), anabolic steroids are synthetic copies of your naturally produced testosterone. They are also known to shrink your balls and cause other long term problems besides the amazing pain that comes with each shot.Dr. Richard Quinton, an endocrinologist, says “The man who’s most likely to have low testosterone is the one who’s taken it,”. “When you inject, your brain senses a high level and your own production is switched off.” Parry confirms it: “In our clinic, we see ex-bodybuilders who have taken so much testosterone that they’ve switched off their natural production. Ten years later, they’re testosterone deficient.”
This is the true fear of many. That like a flesh coloured version of the Incredible Hulk, they will bust out of their clothes and begin a large rampage that destroys the village. The first thing you need to know is that natural testosterone is not the same as anabolic steroids used by strength trainers, athletes and those that want to get huge. Also, we could not find one study that definitely linked the usage, or even abuse of this substance with increased aggression, violence or any other negative trait. What we did find were a lot of body building sites that happily debunked the myth, all citing a New England Journal of Medicine research and report.
Here are the best things that we can recommend:
- Have regular check-ups with your doctor and make sure to get your testosterone levels checked and monitored
- If you levels are low, talk to your doctor about natural alternatives and life style changes first
- If this does not work, then ask about gels and creams for replacement
- Accept that you will have a decrease in everything from muscle mass to mental ability as you age, but keeping proper health with slow the hands of time.