Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone.In male humans, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair.
Testosterone is a steroid from the androstane class containing a keto and hydroxyl groups at positions three and seventeen respectively. It is biosynthesized in several steps from cholesterol and is converted in the liver to inactive metabolites.
In humans and most other vertebrates, testosterone is secreted primarily by the testicles of males and, to a lesser extent, the ovaries of females
The hypothalamus, located in the brain, tells the pituitary gland how much testosterone the body needs. The pituitary gland then sends the message to the testicles. Most testosterone is produced in the testicles, but small amounts come from the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys.
Levels of testosterone naturally decrease with age, but exactly what level constitutes "low T," or hypogonadism, is controversial, Harvard Medical School said. Testosterone levels vary wildly, and can even differ depending on the time of day they're measured (levels tend to be lower in the evenings). The National Institutes of Health includes the following as possible symptoms of low testosterone:
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction or impotence
- Increased breast size
- Lowered sperm count
- Hot flashes
- Depression, irritability and inability to concentrate
- Shrunken and softened testes
- Loss of muscle mass or hair
- Bones becoming prone to fracture
It is important to note, however, that conditions other than low T can cause erectile dysfunction, such as diseases in the nerves or blood.
Doctors typically to treat men for hypogonadism if they have symptoms of low testosterone and their testosterone levels are below 300 nanograms per decilitre.
High testosterone levels can cause problems in women, including irregular menstrual cycles, increases in body hair and acne, and a deepening of the voice. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have high levels of male hormones, including testosterone, which can be a cause of infertility.
8 Testosterone-Boosting Foods
- Low-fat milk.
- Egg yolks.
- Fortified cereals.