In the minds of many men anti-aging treatments is an exclusively female preserve, limited mainly to cosmetic products. Men tend to be less concerned about the wrinkles and more concerned about the loss of strength, energy and libido.
So it will come as encouraging news that recent research suggests testosterone could hold the key to halting or even to an extent reversing what was previously thought to be an unavoidable and often distressing decline.
When you consider the role it plays in the male body, it hardly seems surprising that boosting testosterone levels has a revitalising effect.
It is responsible for such varied functions as: determining bone mass, muscle size and strength, maintaining sex drive, as well as encouraging the production of red blood cells, which oxygenate the blood and sustain energy levels.
Usually testosterone is at its peak in those around their late teens or twenties then from the age of 30 onwards, there is an steady reduction in production of roughly about 1% a year. By about the ages of 40 to 45 there can often be marked reduction from optimum levels.
Low testosterone has been linked to falling energy, waning libido (it’s also implicated in some cases of erectile dysfunction) low mood and weight gain. There has even been a study published recently from Sheffield University in the U.K suggesting that the lesser levels of testosterone in older men leaves them more open to type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Those who successfully raise their testosterone back to optimal levels, for the most part, report increased energy, more muscle mass, decreased body fat, greater sex drive, and a general sense of well-being. Some have called testosterone as close to a direct anti-aging medication as is available, but the crucial question is, is it safe?
Parts of America have seen an upsurge in men seeking Testosterone Replacement Therapy. This is a process whereby clients pay (to say ‘handsomely’ here would be a considerable understatement) to have their hormone level increased with injections of testosterone manufactured in a lab. Users often have very positive outcomes, but these clinics are not without their problems.
TRT is Expensive
The treatments are not currently covered under the American Health Insurance system meaning that the financial burden would falls squarely on the consumer and it’s pretty substantial. The figures I came across while investigating this option were typically in the region of about $5000 dollars for the initial therapy, with $1000 dollars thereafter for regular and required top-ups.
TRT Side Effects
Expense isn’t the only thing to be mindful of either. As much as the power of testosterone should be recognised and harnessed, it ought also to be respected. This is a hormone with huge transformative potential.
Studies into Hormone Replacement Therapy are ongoing but many have already voiced concerns over the long term effects of suddenly artificially spiking levels of testosterone with injections.
Links have been made to adult acne, sleep apnea and in 2014, The Indian Journal of Urology published a study into possible side effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy which found there was the potential for more serious risks.
Remember this is not a case of encouraging the body to produce more of its own testosterone; it’s topping up flagging levels synthetically. This is also key to why Hormone Replacement Therapy may prove a continually expensive business for users.
We know (through research into anabolic steroids) that when receiving testosterone from an external source over a length of time, the body’s own internal regulation of the hormone has a tendency to fall away.
So what if you’re not rich enough, brave enough, or American enough (it’s not currently available in many countries including the U.K and part of Europe) to pursue Testosterone Replacement Therapy? Are there more organic ways the rest of us can boost our testosterone output?
Alternatives to TRT
Well of course being a naturally occurring hormone it naturally follows that there are plenty natural ways to fuel it.
- Weight loss. Excess fat sends out a chemical signal that both limits testosterone production and breaks the existing amounts down into estrogen, so getting rid of added pounds can give your body every chance of more testosterone.
- Limiting or eliminating sugar from your diet could also help, as like fat, elevated levels of insulin too have a detrimental effect on testosterone.
- A healthy mix of not only polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (like those found in avocados and nuts), but also the saturated fats mainly found in animal meats is advisable. Contrary as it might sound, research shows that a diet with less than 40 percent of energy as fat lead to a decrease in testosterone.
- Exercise – specifically high intensity exercise or strength training, which has been shown to lift testosterone in a way that normal, moderate exercise does not.
- Upping your intake of zinc and vitamin D can play a part, as both help to stimulate the hormone’s production.
- Limit stress where possible; when we’re stressed we produce the hormone cortisol, which serves to block the effects of testosterone in our system, so it goes without saying that staying as relaxed as you can is desirable.
The problem with this is it for some it can mean a fairly radical change of lifestyle. Busy schedules can make it difficult to always observe a structured diet and I can tell you from eye wateringly bitter experience that when Elvis sang “Only Fools Rush In” he might well have been referring to High Intensity Exercise (although a quick Google of the great man’s later career appears to confirm that he probably wasn’t).
For many, supplements are the answer. A safe and effective natural testosterone boosting supplement should bring together all the natural components which have been shown to stimulate internal hormone production, steadily increasing our levels over time.
This gradual build-up of the body’s own production aims to give the same end result as Hormone Replacement Therapy, while avoiding the synthetic shock to the system which still concern sections of the medical profession. A happy and cost-effective answer.