Testosterone is getting a lot of attention these days. With an aging population, more and more men suffer from low hormone levels which, among other things, affect a man’s sexual functioning. Buried in all of this buzz, it’s yet another reason men of all ages embrace healthy lifestyles.

About 40% of men 45 and older don’t produce enough testosterone, a condition formally known as male hypogonadism, reports the Cleveland Clinic. Testosterone levels naturally drop by about 1% per year from the age of 30, although this is not the only reason a man can suffer from what is called a “low T”.

With a growing number of baby boomers battling the aging process and trying to maintain the most personal dimension of their manhood, you can see why a report from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that testosterone prescriptions for treatment hormone replacement therapy in men over 40 tripled between 2001 and 2011.

Interestingly, this study also found that prescriptions declined from 2013 to 2016 after two published reports described adverse cardiovascular events associated with testosterone and the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a morbidity warning. cardiovascular. However, since then prescription rates appear to be increasing in the United States with the growth of aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing.

Beyond sex

Beyond the impact of Low T on a man’s libido, there are other disturbing symptoms that can impact quality of life. Harvard Medical School cites a number of additional symptoms, including reduced body and facial hair, loss of muscle mass, irritability, poor focus, depression, weak bones, and increased risk of fractures.

Motivation for healthy living

Yes, aging sucks and nothing epitomizes that better than Low T. That said, my review of the topic revealed an interesting fact. Healthy behavior, and exercise in particular, can help alleviate low testosterone levels and actually boost the hormone. Talk about an incentive to live healthily!

According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy lifestyle choices are a sure way to naturally increase testosterone levels. A healthy diet and daily physical activity can help men maintain strength, energy, and lean muscle mass, as well as promote better moods and better sleep.

Piedmont Healthcare urologist Dr Richard Jadick said that “exercise will increase testosterone, although some types of exercise increase testosterone more than others.” It states that weight lifting and high intensity interval training are exercises that will trigger the body to produce more testosterone. He recommends lifting weights for 30 to 45 minutes two or three times a week and doing cardiovascular exercise or high-intensity interval training on rest days.

A study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health indicated that testosterone levels in patients with erectile dysfunction can be increased by reducing fat percentage and improving cardiorespiratory fitness through aerobic exercise.

And, at the University of Western Australia, a study of men with mild testosterone deficiency found that exercise was more effective in improving men’s fitness, strength and body composition than treatment with testosterone.

Diagnosis and treatment

According to the American Urological Association, doctors use a combination of blood test results and symptom checks to diagnose low T. Blood tests will likely include the total level of testosterone. Symptom assessment is gathered through a history with focused questions and a physical examination.

If testosterone treatment is prescribed, the AUA sets out five options depending on individual circumstances and insurance coverage: topical application, injections, oral / buccal dose, intranasal and lozenges. The association notes that the therapy is not without side effects that range from mild to more severe.

Over-the-counter supplements

In a market full of over the counter supplements, many men will be inclined to buy something off the shelf or place an order online for the latest testosterone booster. Anyone who has seen the commercials knows that the promises of a rejuvenated sex life are everywhere.

But buyers should beware, says urologist Daniel Stokes of the Cleveland Clinic. There are no natural testosterone boosters, he says. Only urologists or endocrinologists should administer any type of testosterone replacement.

Over-the-counter supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may not be safe, Stokes says. Men cannot be guaranteed that they contain even what they claim.

Decrease in younger men

Although my focus is on men over 50, the reports of declining testosterone levels in adolescents and young men are, in the words of one researcher, “very frightening.” During the American Urological Association’s 2020 Virtual Experiment, experts reported that the declines can be attributed to a number of reasons, including obesity, diet, reduced exercise, and weight loss. physical activity, as well as the use of marijuana and environmental toxins.

As in older men, such decreases in testosterone can lead to low libido and an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. This is another reason why men over and under 50 adopt healthy behaviors, especially if men are to change the course of history when it comes to their overall health.

As personal as it can get

Evaluating the benefits and risks of testosterone therapy is a conversation that men should have with a qualified physician. Experts advise against treating normal aging with testosterone therapy. What is beyond doubt is the material benefit of a healthy diet and regular exercise on testosterone levels.

Yes, as the data on younger men shows, there are a number of factors outside of the aging process that can impact T levels. Yet with all the other benefits of healthy behavior, Knowing that a man’s lifestyle can help maintain his manhood – and many others – makes healthy behavior the easy choice.

I’ve often suggested that adjusting a healthy lifestyle is one of the most personal choices a man makes. Now you know how personal it gets.

Louis Bezich, Senior Vice President and Administrative Director of Cooper University Health Care, is the author of “Crack The Code: 10 Proven Secrets that Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Fulfillment in Men Over 50.” Read more from Louis on his website.