What is the marker for low testosterone? Sometimes a quick eye test can often serve as a basic gauge. Men who carry the extra weight around the waistline or hold a little extra fat around the upper chest are showing some of the common red flags that testosterone levels are more then likely on the decline. Now for females it is not so straightforward: however my friends, low levels are often associated with high stress.
Our naked-eye test has its limitations, of course. However, in someone with absolutely no physical symptoms, there may still be indications of relative testosterone deficiency, which means testosterone levels are depleted relative to what they may used to be. This can occur also in younger men and in those who are not strong and fit. The energy levels sag, the libido lessens, recovery from exercise begins to be harder, and it becomes more difficult to build muscle.
The real trouble with the traditional medical testing is that it’s possible to have testosterone levels well within the normal range and yet well below what they once was. Relative deficiencies are very common and becoming more difficult to diagnose, so, many of our doctors believe there is nothing wrong. It is therefore important for us to compare against a personal baseline.
If testing is something you are interested in pursuing with a medical professional who is qualified, It’s very important to get the full panel of testosterone lab tests. The first, is called total testosterone, it represents the total amount of testosterone in your blood. However, you must understand not all of this testosterone is biologically active and available for use. Approximately only 50% of total testosterone is bound to a carrier protein (this is meaning the testosterone cannot be used by the body).
Consequently, it is also important to measure bioavailable testosterone levels as well, about 5% of which is free testosterone (completely unbound), leaving the remaining 45% bound to a protein that is called albumin. The combination of these two forms makes up bioavailable testosterone levels, which is the amount that cell can actually utilize (1981 Dunn, Nisula & Rodbard).
What causes low testosterone? While testosterone levels will decline with age, the rate of the decline in recent years has accelerated. It seems after the age of 40, the bioavailable testosterone levels have been shown to decrease approximately 1% per year in most of the general population (2002 feldmanet al,). This gradual decline can diminish the ability to build lean muscle, stay healthy and burn fat. While we can’t put the brakes on this decline indefinitely, we can slow it, especially compared with the ever-accelerating rate that we see in most of the general population today.
Even for those that are in there 20s or 30s, relative testosterone deficiencies are becoming more and more common, as various factors conspire to deplete stores. Let us now take a closer look at the eye-opening top 5 factors that lead to testosterone deficiency and review some simple tips that will help to back on track.
The research is very clear: Obese men have 25%-45% lower testosterone levels that the average-weight males (1999 Isidori et al.). When the body fat levels increase, a carrier protein-(SHBG) sex hormone-binding globulin-gobbles up the bioavailable testosterone, rendering it to be unusable by the body. The bottom line, the more overweight that you are, the more active SHBG is, and the lower your testosterone levels will become.
Recently, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States examined 1,265 men, between the ages of 20-90 and older. Researchers measured body mass index, waist circumference, body fat percent and circulating the levels of sex hormones, including the testosterone levels. They found that increases in BMI, waist circumference, and body fat percent were associated with relative decreases in the total and free testosterone levels (2011, Rohrmann et al.).
THE BIG FIX: If an individual is overweight, it is a very good chance his testosterone levels are on a decline. The top priority may very will need to be fat loss, which one can target with strength training and HIIT cardio. It would be good for the individual to try a low-carb diet or something suitable for his biological make-up.
This is a common scenario for any one struggling with weight gain. The end stage of having poor insulin sensitivity is insulin resistance, which is the hall-mark of type 2 diabetes. Here is the kicker, over time, over consumption of processed carbohydrates and sugars leads to poor insulin sensitivity and weight gain. The high insulin levels will also shift the body’s testosterone to a far weaker form called androstenedione, which will than takes up the receptor sites or “parking spots” that are intended for regular testosterone. The end results: a much weaker anabolic effect.
This is commonly seen in men with increased central adiposity, or the well-known classic beer belly. A chronically high intake of beer (any alcohol beer) can rapidly increase aromatase activity and lead to weight gain. When you combine increased aromatase activity with weight gain and poor insulin sensitivity, a fairly common scenario-it all adds up to more pounds on your scale and less testosterone in the tank.
THE FIX: If you are looking for the quickest path to increased your testosterone levels, it may become necessary for you to disco the alcohol completely for 4-8 weeks. The next best choice would be to swap out that calorie-rich beer and those sugary cocktails for red wine.The reason my friends is, red wine contains resveratrol, which is a potent antioxidant that also acts as an aromatase inhibitor to block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. (Always remember, no more than one glass if your testosterone and weight loss are top priorities)
Lack of sleep can deplete the testosterone levels by as much as 10%-15% and is associated with fatigue, poor concentration, also low libido (Leprous &Van; Cauter 2011).
THE FIX: For you to maximize testosterone production, you should aim for 7-8.5 hours of sleep per night, and definitely 6 hours minimum. The studies show that sleeping less than 6 hours per night can dramatically limit hormone production. I encouraged you to pay attention to sleep hygiene and make sure your bedroom is set up for deep, rejuvenating sleep. Turn off your cell phones and your laptops 1 hour before bed, don’t be watching television, and make sure your bedroom is cool. Also, block out ambient light to ensure optimal rest, recovery and testosterone output.
This scenario is classically seen in endurance sports like cycling and distance running, where longer training sessions and greater training volume will very often suppress testosterone production. However, you really don’t have to be an athlete to experience the detrimental impacts of stress on your levels of testosterone; similar effects can occur at work from the stress of long, busy days (or at home, caring for young children).
Stress also can have a big impact on food cravings. When stress levels are high, our body will crave more simple sugars and carbohydrates ( unfortunately, not wild Alaskan salmon or grass-fed beef ). This can lead to steady weight gain and to insulin dysfunction in the long run.
My friends, the negative effects of stress don’t stop there. There high stress levels can interfere with the sleep hormone melatonin, which can lead to having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. The problem impacts our sleep time and our sleep quality, diminishing our amount of time spent in deep, restorative sleep.
THE FIX: You who spend too much time stuck in fight-or-flight mode, I encourage you to prioritize activation of your parasympathetic “rest-and digest” nervous system. This will increase resilience and mitigate the detrimental effects of long, busy days. With that said, your first priority should be getting enough good sleep. If your sleep is squared away, the focus can shift to boosting the parasympathetic nervous system by activating the vagus nerve, (Breath Exercise)
While testosterone levels are declining at a much faster rate than they did in previous generations, it is important for us to uncover the source not just automatically reach for a cream or a pill. Most people don’t even need more testosterone; they only need to slow there testosterone losses. Physical activity, nutrition, and lifestyle are the biggest factors influencing our natural genetic testosterone output. The tips that I have given you in this article will help you to have a strong foundation for burning fat, building muscle and upgrading your overall health.
May you be always in good health. Humbly your Paul Earl.