All About Testosterone!Testosterone is one of the most important tools in your body to grow, repair, and thrive. It's also an increasingly popular medical treatment for men looking to pause —or even reverse —the clock. If you're trying to naturally raise your testosterone levels or testosterone cypionate side effects bodybuilding considering taking a testosterone-boosting supplement, don't go in blindly! This is your complete education in the king of anabolic hormones. Imagine sitting at a scientific conference in Paris, on June 1,when your year effwcts colleague, Dr.
All About Testosterone!
Testosterone is one of the most important tools in your body to grow, repair, and thrive. It's also an increasingly popular medical treatment for men looking to pause —or even reverse —the clock.
If you're trying to naturally raise your testosterone levels or are considering taking a testosterone-boosting supplement, don't go in blindly! This is your complete education in the king of anabolic hormones. Imagine sitting at a scientific conference in Paris, on June 1, , when your year old colleague, Dr. Charles Brown-Sequard, describes miraculous improvements in his physical and mental stamina, and even the arc of his urine flow ever since first injecting himself with a concoction of blood, semen, and testicular fluid he had extracted from the testicles of dogs and guinea pigs.
Not in , apparently. Brown-Sequard's "Elixir of Life" would be prescribed by over 12, physicians by the end of that same year.
However, it wasn't until that the hormone responsible for these remarkable anti-aging, energy, and performance-enhancing benefits would get its name: That same year, both Swiss researcher Leopold Ruzicka and German researcher Adolf Butenandt would discover how to synthesize it for commercialization, and later be jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry for the achievement.
Ever since then, the king of hormones has been one of the most controversial and sought-after substances in health, fitness, and sport. But fortunately for Fido, dogs no longer have to donate the family jewels in your quest for the fountain of youth and weight-room domination.
Chemically, testosterone is a steroid. Biologically, it's an androgenic male sex hormone. In the eyes of the law, testosterone is a controlled substance —at least in the U. If you live in or travel to places like Mexico or Thailand, you don't need a prescription to obtain it. Men and women both produce testosterone, with the typical adult man producing about milligrams per day and the average adult female producing at least fold less per day. In men, almost 95 percent is produced within a group of cells located within the testes, and women likewise produce up to 50 percent of their testosterone within corresponding sex glands, the ovaries.
The adrenal glands, located atop the kidneys, are also a minor source of testosterone production within men but a significant contributor for women. The body produces testosterone in still other ways.
The hormone gets converted out of dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA within tissues, most commonly in women, but only a minute fraction of the testosterone your body produces locally affects circulating concentrations of the hormone. Regardless of the method of its production in either gender, the compound from which all such sex hormones are originally derived is every nutritionist's sworn enemy: Your levels actually fluctuate throughout the day. In men, testosterone concentrations are highest in the morning, but gradually decrease throughout the day.
Normal testosterone production is largely controlled by the rhythmic bursts of another hormone that's released about every hours—gonadotrophin-releasing hormone GnRH. Those fluctuations aside, in late adolescent and young adult men years of age , the average healthy range for total testosterone is between nanograms per deciliter. Of that amount, only about 25 percent is considered "biologically active" Just percent is present as free testosterone, and the rest as loosely bound to albumin.
The remaining is tightly bound to a protein called serum hormone-binding globulin SHBG. Therefore, it's possible to have your total testosterone within the healthy, normal range, but if a high percentage is bound to SHBG, then your overall testosterone health —and your muscle tissues' ability to respond to the hormone —will be greatly reduced.
The Testosterone Finger Length Test: A less sophisticated, but still surprisingly valid way to assess if you were born with higher testosterone levels and greater androgen-receptor sensitivity is to look at your right hand. Laying your hand flat on a table, look to see if your ring finger is significantly longer than your index pointer finger.
If it is, then you were exposed to more testosterone during development and your androgen receptors were working well. Testosterone can enter cells passively—like a ghost traveling through a wall—and bind to androgen receptors that act directly upon the nucleus of a cell.
It can also serve as a prohormone in sex glands and tissues such as your skin, hair follicles, and fat. For example, when the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase is present, such as in the prostate or skin, testosterone is converted to the more potent androgen, dihydrotestosterone DHT.
In fat tissue , the aromatase enzyme converts testosterone to the estrogen, estradiol. In other words, the more fat tissue you have, the more estrogens your body can form from testosterone. In some cases, both occur: Additionally, testosterone increases insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 , and healthy testosterone levels are associated with good health and immune function, lower mortality rates, and lower body fat and increased metabolic rate.
In men with low testosterone, supplementing with the hormone has likewise been shown to improve energy, muscle mass, libido, sexual performance, and bone mineral density, and reduce body fat, depression, and problems within the urinary tract. Low testosterone in men increases fat and weight gain, reduces caloric expenditure , increases the prevalence of blood glucose disorders and insulin insensitivity, and otherwise negatively affects metabolic control.
In women, unusually high testosterone has many of the same negative effects. Collectively and in both sexes, testosterone acts directly within your central nervous system brain and spinal cord to regulate metabolism, affecting how well your body burns calories and maintains healthy blood glucose levels.
For example, when milligrams of prescription testosterone enanthate was injected just once per week for six months, in men ages that were healthy but didn't exercise, testosterone levels increased by Lean mass concurrently increased by 9.
The results of 59 studies involving more than 5, subjects concluded that younger adults realize the greatest decrease in blood glucose in response to using prescription testosterone, as do adults with metabolic disorders.
The studies also concluded that supplementing with testosterone significantly increases lean muscle mass, reduces body fat, and makes the body more sensitive to insulin. Studies involving over 1, healthy adults have reported similar effects, with a typical 6. Though many of the benefits of the testosterone produced in your body occur as a result of its conversion to its more potent androgen or estrogen, that's not the case in muscle.
Testosterone acts directly to stimulate muscle growth, which is why it's called an anabolic steroid —even when your body is what's making the steroid. How Testosterone Makes Muscles Bigger: The prevailing theory is that testosterone activates and increases the number of muscle fiber precursor cells, called " satellite cells. Additionally, testosterone increases the number of control centers—nucleuses myonuclei —present within a muscle fiber, thereby also increasing the number of available androgen receptors that testosterone can bind to within muscle.
When combined with training, which increases the sensitivity of androgen receptors, and the consumption of essential amino acids necessary to support protein synthesis, the effects of testosterone on muscle and performance is significantly amplified.
Testosterone is also anti-catabolic because it blocks the ability of catabolic hormones like cortisol to bind to their primary receptors. Thus, testosterone is both an anabolic and anti-catabolic steroid. This makes it fundamental for building and maintaining muscle mass, and for rapid exercise recovery. How Testosterone Makes Muscles Stronger: Until recently, it was thought that testosterone increased strength and power simply by increasing muscle size.
However, testosterone has also been shown to increase the amount of calcium that's released within the cell, which can boost the force of muscular contractions. Similarly, in a recent rodent study, DHT has been shown to directly stimulate muscle contraction force output by up to percent in both power and endurance muscle fibers. How Testosterone Boosts Endurance: People aren't just interested in testosterone's muscle building and recovery benefits.
Testosterone increases EPO, which stimulates red blood cell development. More red blood cells means more oxygen carrying capacity within the blood and to working muscles. Injecting adult rodents with testosterone has even been shown to increase the number of fat-burning and energy producing factories mitochondria present within cells, and improve mitochondrial function.
If the same occurs in humans, that could have a profound effect on performance and is a major area of interest for anti-aging research. How Testosterone Boosts Athletic Performance: As long as testosterone levels are within normal ranges, where they stand doesn't seem to affect athletic performance in men.
Blood collected from hundreds of male and female Olympic-level track and field athletes that competed in the and World Championships revealed that, in men, sprinting activities significantly elevated bioavailable testosterone, whereas throwing activities reduced it.
In neither case did it predict how they actually performed. In women, on the other hand, those with the highest free testosterone in the meter sprint and hurdles, meter sprint, the hammer throw, and pole vault outperformed their low-bioavailable testosterone counterparts by a margin of between 1.
Beyond its roles in male sexual development and fertility, testosterone supplementation has been nearly conclusively shown to improve sexual function in men. Researchers have summarized the benefits of testosterone on male sexual function as being five-fold:.
Though high-dose testosterone supplementation can cause infertility, high-dose testosterone therapy is only about percent effective as a form of male birth control, which is to say it's less consistently effective than the use of oral contraceptives in women. A recent study showed that total and free testosterone, as well as its adrenal steroid precursor, DHEA-S sulfated form , are significantly lower in women who report low sexual desire, arousal, and ability to orgasm.
Collectively, the research in women with low sex drive or in menopause supports the safe and effective use of testosterone therapy to increase sexual desire, activity, pleasure, and orgasms, with an increase in acne being the only notable side effect. The most common effects of testosterone on the brain are that it increases social dominance behaviors, and risky decision making.
The more testosterone present during fetal development, then again during puberty and adolescence, the more likely that person will be intelligent but lacking in certain social skills, such as empathy or restraint. They may also act more aggressively. Both human and animal research has shown that aggression increases when supplemental testosterone is used during adolescence beginning at puberty and ending by about age 27 in most men and women.
When used by adults, that doesn't seem to be the case. Taking testosterone just gives them, and everyone around them, a convenient excuse for their behavior. In general, men, but not women, with higher levels of naturally occurring testosterone appear to have better memory recall.
This has led some researchers to study whether there might be a link between low testosterone and greater risk for dementia or Alzheimer's disease. In general, higher volume weight training performed at an intensity above your current threshold stimulates testosterone production. If you typically get exhausted by performing 5 sets of 5 reps of bench press, with 2-minute rest periods between sets, reducing the weight so that you burn out at reps per set should increase your relative training volume and stimulate a testosterone response.
The same approach can be applied to cycling or running, or performing high-intensity interval training: Do more work in less time to produce more testosterone. Once your body adapts, though, you'll need to continue making changes or else you won't stimulate that same testosterone response.
In other words, if you want to keep experiencing a boost in your testosterone from your workouts, then you need to keep increasing your total or relative volume. Research also suggests you'll have a higher testosterone response if you train later in the day versus in the morning.
However, that effect probably has more to do with already possessing high levels of testosterone in the morning, so there's probably little room for change. Testosterone isn't called the "King of Hormones" for nothing. Athletic competition, winning, feeling like a winner, achieving a personal best, or just being in a position of domination can boost testosterone.
Simply wanting to win a competition doesn't mean you'll have a boost in testosterone, you also have to be the type of person with nerves of steel. Being rattled by stressful situations and producing a lot of cortisol reduces your testosterone response. Winning the match stimulated testosterone even further.