x Health Men's Health Children's Health Nutrition and Wellness Reproductive Health Health & Science Digital News Videos Opinions Cartoons Education E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise BULK SMS E-Learning Digger Classified The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
Login ×
BTV
VAS
DCX
RMS

Why supplementing testosterone may do more harm than good

Nutrition and Wellness - By The Conversation | October 26th 2020 at 10:00:00 GMT +0300

Testosterone is blamed for violence in males, implicated in sport scandals, linked to sexual prowess, desired by gym devotees, and promoted as a tonic for ageing. But how many of us really understand what testosterone is, what it does, and why it’s important?

Testosterone levels are about 10 times higher in men than women. While it does have important functions in women, its role is quite different so this article will focus on testosterone in men.

Testosterone and development

Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone (androgen); it’s needed for normal reproductive and sexual function. Hormones are chemical messengers made by glands and carried in the blood to act on various organs.

This particular hormone is important for the physical changes that happen during male puberty, such as development of the penis and testes, and for features typical of adult men, such as facial and body hair. Testosterone also acts on cells in the testes to make sperm.

It’s important for overall good health; testosterone helps the growth of bones and muscles, and it affects mood, libido (sex drive), and certain aspects of mental ability.

Levels don’t have to decline as you age

The hormone is present in the body from the early stages of fetal life to old age. At the earliest stage of development, it helps the fetus develop a male body and a “male brain” (there are gender differences, or “sexual dimorphism” in the human brain).

Levels are highest between the ages of 20 and 30. As men age, testosterone levels fall by about one per cent to two per cent every year, although recent research suggests this may not be true of all men as they age. It seems a large part of the drop in testosterone levels in older men is due to chronic conditions, such as obesity and diabetes.

If men remain very healthy into old age, their testosterone levels may stay the same as when they were younger.

Effects of too little and too much

Low testosterone is usually caused by a genetic disorder (such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, the commonest chromosomal disorder in males that leads to poor testicular function) or damage to the testes or, in rare cases, a lack of certain complementary hormones made by the brain.

It’s thought that about one in 200 men under 60 years of age and about one in 10 older men may have low testosterone levels, but exact numbers are not known.

Low testosterone levels have a variety of effects at different ages. In young boys and teenagers, it means the testes and penis don’t grow properly and there’s poor development of muscles and facial and pubic hair. Boys with low levels of the hormone may be taller than their peers and their voice may not deepen.

In adults, low energy levels, mood swings, irritability, poor concentration, reduced muscle strength and changes in body fat distribution, and low sex drive may result from low testosterone. But that’s not to say that low levels of the hormone are the only possible cause of these symptoms.

Research suggests that men with low testosterone may have a higher risk of chronic conditions, such as stroke and heart disease. Older men with low testosterone also have thinning bones and that puts them at risk of fractures.

Too much testosterone can cause problems too. Although people link the hormone with aggression, this hasn’t held up under scrutiny. Rather, research has shown testosterone levels are associated with quite different traits, such as care-giving and empathy.

Supplementing it; a good or bad idea?

Longevity is highest for those men with testosterone levels in the mid-range – not too high or too low – and recent research supports the idea that too much or too little testosterone is best avoided.

For men with a clinical diagnosis of low levels, testosterone therapy can bring the amount of the hormone in their blood back to normal and restore and maintain good health. In boys, it can restore sexual development.

But in men with normal testosterone levels, taking supplements of the hormone is not appropriate and can cause problems. Taking testosterone can lead to a reduction in the size of the testes, and it can slow or stop sperm being made. And it can take many months to go back to normal once the man stops taking testosterone.

There is some controversy around studies suggesting that older men taking testosterone have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but the jury is still out. What we do know is that there’s no good evidence for the much-publicised “benefits” of testosterone supplements in old age, except for men with clinically diagnosed low testosterone.


Testosterone

Top Stories

Woman gives birth to a baby with coronavirus antibodies
Health & Science - By Reuters and Mercy Kahenda


When a simple stretch can break your bones
Health & Science - By Mactilda Mbenywe


Why Kenya is worst place to be as child with cancer
Health & Science - By Gatonye Gathura


Artificial melanin: New-age hair dye
Health & Science - By Killiad Sinide


Firms apply for corona vaccine rollout permit
Health & Science - By AFP


Blow for Kenyan doctors as court dismiss case to stop foreign doctors
Health & Science - By Paul Ogemba


Africa not ready for vaccine, says WHO
Health & Science - By AFP


When should a person be pronounced dead?
Health & Science - By Graham Kajilwa


Covid-19 cases up by 711 but only 1.86 per cent of Kenyans tested
Health & Science - By Judah Ben-Hur


Singaporean gives birth to baby with Covid-19 antibodies: report
Health & Science - By Reuters


Latest Stories

Seven new health studies that will change the way you live
Nutrition and Wellness - By Yvonne Kawira


Conditions that can be improved by fasting
Nutrition and Wellness - By Kimathi Makini


How the interval between dinner time and bed time affects your health
Nutrition and Wellness - By Gatonye Gathura


When the body can’t break down fats
Nutrition and Wellness - By Yvonne Kawira


Report reveals county of unfit people
Nutrition and Wellness - By Gatonye Gathura


The new frontier in weight loss surgeries
Nutrition and Wellness - By Killiad Sinide


Lactose Intolerance: A disease of many known by few
Nutrition and Wellness - By Sponsored Content – New KCC


//

Stay Ahead!

Access premium content only available
to our subscribers.

Support independent journalism
×
Log in
Support independent journalism
Create an account    Forgot Password
Create An Account
Support independent journalism
I have an account Log in
Reset Password
Support independent journalism
Log in