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How Age Affects Testosterone Levels

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSC S,CES

Let us face reality for a minute, everyone is getting older and, men, this means our testosterone is on the decline.  The baby boomer population is increasing, and the older adult population is expected to grow exponentially in the next decade. 

Most of us understand what happens to us when we age.  Our bodies just do not work like they used to.  Getting out of bed in the morning takes a little bit longer, our thought processes are a little bit slower, the waistline might be getting a little bit bigger, and, especially for guys, you just do not have that vigor that you had ten years ago.  This is all part of the aging process.

The Chinese were the first to pinpoint what happens to men as we get older.  By the fifth decade of life, our testosterone levels start to decline, which lead to all the above mentioned conditions.    Hypogonadism is a condition that occurs as we get older, and results in declining testosterone levels.


Some common conditions that are associated with lower levels of testosterone:


1. Decrease in sex drive=less enjoyable sexual life

2. Less muscle tissue=Increased body fat

3. Increased risk of Atherosclerosis

Loss of Sex Drive

With declining levels of testosterone, there can also be a loss of sex drive in older men.  Testosterone is an important hormone in enhancing sex drive and increasing libido.   There are over 150 million men today that suffer from age-associated decline in sex drive, mainly a result of low levels of bioavailable testosterone levels.

Aging can lead to loss of sex drive, mild to moderate forms of impotence, and loss of erections.   Bioavailable testosterone has been associated with an increase in sex drive, while higher levels of total testosterone and bioavailable testosterone were associated with higher sex drive and more erection scores.

Loss of Muscle Mass and Increase In Body Fat

Higher levels of circulating testosterone has been shown to help retain muscle mass.   Decline in testosterone, due to the aging process, can result in lower muscle mass and higher levels of body fat.  This body fat can be located around the belly in men, which has been shown to increase your risk for developing heart disease or Diabetes. 

Increasing both your free and bound testosterone can lead to increase in muscle strength and muscle mass.   Strength has been shown to slightly increase, but more importantly, the muscle mass increases.  This is adding a metabolically active tissue, which can lead to lower body fat levels and lower risk for premature death due to increased belly fat, mainly in the dangerous form of visceral fat.

Leptin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates food intake and energy expenditure to levels of body fat on the body.   Aging increases Leptin production, which is a result of having lower testosterone levels in the body.   Research has shown that hypogonadal men who had lower levels of testosterone, have higher levels of Leptin, which correlated with a higher BMI.   Increasing testosterone levels show a decrease in Leptin levels and can possibly improve insulin sensitivity.


Risk of Atherosclerosis
Lower levels of testosterone can have dramatic effects on the body, especially the heart.  The decline has been attributed to more arterial plaque, and an increased risk of having a heart attack.  Men who have lower levels of testosterone have been shown to possibly have increased risk of developing respiratory disease, as well as cardiovascular disease.  They also concluded that there was an increased risk of mortality in a 20-year period in men with lower testosterone levels.

Increasing testosterone levels can help to improve mortality risks.  Higher levels can potentially lead to vasodilation of arteries or a widening of the arteries to allow for more fluid blood flow.   Another interesting find is that higher levels of testosterone can also help with angina and pressure in the chest in people who have had previous heart problems. 
 
There is no easy answer for fighting the aging process, however, finding different ways to increase testosterone levels can be beneficial to health, by reversing some conditions associated with getting older.   By increasing testosterone levels, you are protecting our most valuable asset, the body, by reducing the chance of heart attacks, reversing the age-associated decline in muscle tissue and increase in body fat, and also help with increasing our sex drive and pleasure.
 
 
 
NEXT: Natural Solutions For Increasing Low Testosterone >>
 
 
 

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References

Behre, H. M., Simoni, M. and Nieschlag, E. (1997), Strong association between serum levels of leptin and testosterone in men. Clinical Endocrinology, 47: 237–240.
Simon, D. Charles, M. Lahlou, N. Nahoul, K. Oppert, J. Gouault-Heilmann, M. Lemort, N. Thibult, N. Joubert, E. Balkau, B. Eschwege, E. Androgen Therapy Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Decrease Leptin Level In Healthy Adult Men With Low Plasma Total Testosterone. A 3-Month randomized placebo-controlled trial.  Diabetes Care. 2001. Vol. 24(12);pp. 2149-2151.
Laughlin, G. Barrett-Connor, E.  Bergstrom, J. Low Serum Testosterone and Mortality in Older Men.  JCEM.  2008. Vol. 93(1); pp. 68-75.
Perry, H. Morley, J. Wittert, G. Testosterone and Aging. Male Reproductive Dysfunction. Book.
Tenover, J.S. Effects of Testosterone Supplementation in the Aging Male. JCEM. 1992. Vol. 75(4); pp. 1092-1098.
Gades, N. Jacobson, D. McGree, M. St. Sauver, J. Lieber, M. Nehra, A. Girman, C. Klee, G. Jacobsen, S.  The association between serum sex hormones, erectile function, and sex drive. J. Sex. Med.  2008.      Vol. 5(9); pp. 2209-2220.