Tragically, most men don’t seek help from doctors until it is a crisis or an emergency, and there are specific reasons why. I wrote about these specific reasons in a blog post titled, In Defense of Men’s Health: How do we remain healthy in a society designed against us? Men need support to get the help optimizing their health, and preventing cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers. Us men have been conditioned to procrastinate & minimize our health problems by poor examples of health around us. Optimizing your testosterone (and other hormones) can help prevent dementia, cardiovascular disease, and even prostate cancer (source)!
Many men today from age 22 – 80+ are suffering from severely low testosterone (I have seen this clinically repeatedly), which is missed by the general practitioner since they don’t understand how to diagnose deficient Testosterone levels in men. You must be above 600 ng/dL total testosterone to not be deficient in endogenous Testosterone production, and ideal levels are 800 – 1,000 ng/dL total testosterone with a conventional blood test.
You might be wondering, “what are the key signs of low testosterone?” Based upon the Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (ADAM) Questionnaire the following symptoms are some of the most common signs of low testosterone in men:
1. Do you have a decrease in libido (sex drive)?
2. Do you have a lack of energy?
3. Do you have a decreased strength and/or physical endurance?
4. Have you lost height?
5. Have you noticed a decreased enjoyment in life? or your hobbies?
6. Are you sad and/or grumpy?
7. Are your erections less strong?
8. Have you had a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports (exercise)?
9. Are you falling asleep after dinner?
10. Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your work performance (focus, productivity, memory, etc.)?
A positive questionnaire result is a “yes” to either 1 or 7, or a “yes” to any 3 other questions.
You can rate each from 1(terrible), 2(poor), 3(average), 4(good), or 5 (excellent), and determine how severe each symptom is for you, or a loved one.
As men, our testosterone levels are dropping by an average of 1% per year after age 30 (all of our hormones drop after age 30 naturally), and from the research an average of 5.85 ng/dL per hour of sleep lost after less than 7 hours of sleep per night!
Sleep disorders (sleep apnea, insomnia, jet lag, frequent travel to other time zones, shift work, etc.) are one of the many frequently missed causes of low Testosterone by most doctors! Improve your sleep and improve your testosterone!
You can read about it in this large analysis in the NHANES database with 9,756 men age 16 to 80 years-old (median age: 46), showed that both high BMI (body mass index), and sleep (<7 hrs/night) played a more significant role in decreasing testosterone than age!
Let me review that again, your body weight and sleep duration & quality play a bigger role in your testosterone levels than your age!
The results specifically state, “Median serum testosterone level was 377 ng/dL (IQR: 279-492 ng/dL). Median number of hours slept was 7 h (IQR: 6-8 h). On multivariate linear regression, we found serum testosterone decreased by 0.49 ng/dL per year of age (p = 0.04), 5.85 ng/dL per hour loss of sleep (p < 0.01) and 6.18 ng/dL per unit of body mass index (BMI) increase (p < 0.01).”
Read the complete study here.
Even after improving your sleep and the other root causes – see other blog posts, and optimizing body composition if your testosterone levels (total testosterone) does not increase above at least 600 ng/dL serum blood then it is time to get diagnosed bio-identical testosterone therapy. Not every doctor is going to know how to optimize your hormones adequately, and even if you are on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) now you might still need some adjustments with dosage and the form (cream vs. injections). Some men do better on a cream topically, and some men do better with injections of Testosterone cypionate or Testosterone enanthate. You can read more about Testosterone Replacement Therapy at Apollo Health Clinic in Seattle, Washington or Whitefish, Montana here.
Testosterone, thyroid & adrenal hormones for men are important to optimize for muscle, heart, bone, energy, and sexual health, while working on improving their body composition. Balancing your hormones can make you feel and you’re your best! These are my areas of specialty. You can read more of my blogs on men’s hormones here.
I will share more Overlooked Causes of Low Testosterone soon in my next blog posts. There are many other causes of low testosterone. Sleep is one the most important ones. Falling asleep by 10 pm and sleeping for 8 hours per night at least 5-6 nights per week is very important for your health, hormones, brain function, and even your digestion!
Check-out my 10 Ways in 10 Days to Optimal Hormone Health by signing up for free here to learn more about how to optimize all your hormones without a doctor’s visit!
I’m curious if your current health journey is revealing the root causes of your health concerns?