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Brief and Straightforward Guide on: Testosterone

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a steroid-hormone. It is an anabolic steroid, (meaning, it builds up bone and muscle mass) belonging to the androgen group. Testosterone is primarily released from the Testes (cells of Leydig) in males, and the Ovaries in females. The Adrenal glands’ cortices (located above the kidneys) also secrete small quantities of the hormone. The testes produce about 4 mg to 7 mg of Testosterone every day, in a healthy male. Testosterone stimulates the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics in males, their sexual function, and the appearance attributes, such as voice characteristics and the growth of body hair.

The synthesis of Testosterone is governed by the Pituitary gland, by releasing a hormone - the Luteinizing hormone (LH). When Testosterone levels in the body are short, the Pituitary secretes LH, which raises the quantity of Testosterone synthesized by the testes. The Luteinizing hormone encourages the cells of Leydig, in the testes to synthesize Testosterone. Testosterone manufactured by the testes is utilized by a few cells as it is, whilst, other cells require Testosterone to be converted in to another structure/form, DHT dihydrotestosterone, before they can utilize it. Testosterone is made available to the target cells, through the blood. It is transported bound to a specific plasma protein.

Maintaining adequate levels of this hormone help lower LDL or bad cholesterol, triglycerides and fibrinogen, increase HDL or good cholesterol, enhance levels of the Human Growth Hormone, lower blood pressure, regularize abnormal heart rhythms and prevent angina, build muscle and reduce body fat.

At the commencement of puberty, and all through the reproductive years, males produce ten to twenty times greater amounts of Testosterone than females.

Functions of Testosterone

• It is the most important male sex hormone.

• In men, Testosterone plays a crucial part in the development of the male sexual organs - the testes and the prostate. It is also responsible for promoting secondary sexual characteristics like - deep voice, increased muscle and bone mass, and hair growth.

• The anabolic effects of Testosterone include - growth of lean muscle mass, increased bone density and bone maturation, and stimulation of linear growth.

• Androgenic effects include - development and maturation of the male sexual organs, chiefly the penis, and the formation of the scrotum in the fetus, deepening of the voice, beard growth and growth of axilliary and pubic hair.

• The hormone is necessary for normal spermatogenesis, i.e. sperm production and development. Testosterone is essential for sperms to mature, and contributes to the quality of the sperms.

• Testosterone plays a part in producing an active sexual drive in both males and females.

• It increases the metabolic functions in males, helps in faster healing and decreases total body fat.

• Testosterone is necessary for efficient brain activity, learning and recall capacity.

• In addition, testosterone is essential for general health and well-being, as well as, preventing osteoporosis.

• In both sexes, Testosterone boosts aerobic metabolism and augments protein synthesis. It is required for maintaining adequate energy levels in the body, necessary for effective functioning.

Symptoms of low levels of Testosterone in the body

For men, over fifty years, there occurs a normal fall in the quantity of Testosterone synthesized by the testicles. This drop in the hormone, can present considerable problems for older males, (especially, athletes), since, decreased Testosterone production will result in muscle weakness, as well as, reduced bone density, and lowered energy levels. The most extensively used treatment for Testosterone deficiency involves Testosterone replacement therapy, which supplies a substitution for the Testosterone in the body, via a trans-dermal skin patch, or an intra-muscular injection.

Inadequate quantity of Testosterone traveling in the body, results in the manifestation of a group of symptoms. These are:

• Reduced sex drive, weaker erections and orgasms
• Decreased sperm count
• Higher risk of developing osteoporosis
• Decreased muscle mass and muscle strength
• Fatigue
• Body hair loss
• Poor concentration power and depression
• Greater risk of developing heart disorders

Testosterone replacement therapy

• Testosterone therapy is a treatment choice for males in whom, natural levels of Testosterone are insufficient, not within the natural physiological range, and are showing symptoms of Testosterone deficiency. • Testosterone replacement therapy has been used to manage post-menopausal symptoms, particularly, lack of sexual drive in women.

• The therapy has been used successfully in the management of anemic conditions and in treating weariness and muscle - loss and wasting linked to AIDS.

• Numerous FDA - approved Testosterone therapies are accessible, with various methods of administration to suit personal preferences.

• The hormone can be given as a tablet, an injection, a patch or an implant. Testosterone gels are the most recent type of administration technique. The gel is smeared over the arms, the shoulders, or the abdomen, once a day. Testosterone replacement patches are put on for a day, and replaced every day. The patch placed on the arms, torso or the thighs. Injections are administered once every week, or occasionally, every 2 to 3 weeks.

In International Athletic Competitions controlled by the World Anti - Doping Agency (WADA), Testosterone has been declared a prohibited substance, on the forbidden list of all unlawful and illegal performance enhancement agents. Testosterone is classified as an Anabolic Steroid, that is meant to generate or aid lean muscle mass and boost energy levels.

Watch out!

Most of the unfavorable side effects of the therapy occur because of the hormone’s androgenic principles. Complications or side effects that occur are - acne, hair loss from the scalp, excessive body hair, the voice getting deeper, fluid retention, swelling of the clitoris, harmful effects on the blood cholesterol level, headaches, anxiety, bad temper and rage. Excess testosterone, spills over and becomes estrogen, thus, causing water retention, breast enlargement, prostate enlargement, atrophy of the genitals, reduced libido, and cancer.

Testosterone therapy may aggravate an existing prostate disorder. The hormone therapy can make cancers of the prostate expand, so, Testosterone replacement treatment could make an undetected prostate cancer, show symptoms or even become fatal. Testosterone also aggravates BHP or benign prostate hyperplasia, a non-malignant growth of the prostate gland.