By David Blyweiss, M.D.
When you think of testosterone, visions of bodybuilders might come to mind. But, testosterone plays a much larger role in men’s health than just how muscular you are. In fact, testosterone is the most important sex hormone in men, and when your testosterone levels are low, you can experience a wide range of health problems.
The symptoms of low testosterone can include a lot of nondescript maladies, includng lack of energy, a loss of interest in sex, difficulty maintaining an erection and mood changes. But not having enough testosterone can also lead to some serious conditions associated with premature aging such as osteoporosis and changes in body composition. While most men have lower testosterone levels—levels of less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL)—as they age, there are other reasons for this hormonal drop.
One of the most direct links, at least according to some studies, is long-term recreational drug use. For instance, marijuana can cause decreased interest in sex and may lower testosterone levels. Chronic opiate use frequently causes low testosterone, too. Withdrawal from anabolic steroids will also result in low testosterone, a consequence that may be irreversible.
Low testosterone levels can also share many of the same symptoms as other conditions. Both low testosterone and depression can cause decreased sex drive, sadness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, lack of energy and loss of interest in normal activities. But it’s hard to know if this is a cause and effect situation since low testosterone can be a cause of depression in some men.
Type 2 diabetes and low testosterone also commonly occur together in men over the age of 45. That’s also true of heart disease. It’s not clear if one causes the other, but symptoms can often overlap. If you have type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular problems, you should be aware of the increased risk for low testosterone, especially if you have symptoms of decreased sex drive.
If I suspect low testosterone levels in my patients, I order blood tests to check their levels. If the levels are indeed low, however, I don’t prescribe supplemental testosterone. Testosterone replacement therapy is best done through injection or via transdermal patch and can be prohibitively expensive. It also carries some risk of triggering prostate enlargement, a condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH. Supplemental testosterone can also increase red blood cells that can block your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Men who use testosterone therapy can also experience infertility, sleep apnea and fluid retention.
Fortunately, there is a much easier and affordable way of regaining your youthful vigor and virility. Natural compounds can encourage your body make more of its own testosterone. One of these compounds is chrysin, a polyphenol found in passionflower and honey. Numerous studies show that chrysin prevents the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. As a result of this blocking action, testosterone levels are raised.
Zinc also plays a critical role in balancing your hormones. It is a necessary nutrient to maintain normal serum testosterone. Inadequate levels of zinc prevent the pituitary gland from releasing lutenizing and follicle stimulating hormones, which stimulate testosterone production.
Because so many of my male patients experience low testosterone levels at some point. I’ve developed Masculon Forté. Along with chrysin and zinc, this unique supplement contains natural herbs and nutrients that restore a healthy hormonal balance. The ingredients in Masculon-Forté have been found to increase unbound free testosterone. That makes for a healthy sex life, a strong libido, lots of lean muscle mass and a faster fat burning metabolism. Taken daily, you’ll soon rediscover the man you used to be. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year!
Jana K. Chrysin, a natural flavonoid enhances steroidogenesis and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein gene expression in mouse Leydig cells. Journal of Endocrinology. 2008;197:315-323.
Om AS, et al. Dietary zinc deficiency alters 5-alpha-reduction and aromatization of testosterone and androgen and estrogen receptors in rat livers. Journal of Nutrition. 1996;126:842-848.
Rhoden EL. Risks of Testosterone-Replacement Therapy and Recommendations for Monitoring. New England Journal of Medicine. 2004; 350:482-492