What do you know about testosterone
Testosterone - Why is the Men's Hormone Irreplaceable?
"Without testosterone there is hardly an erection, no muscle can grow significantly, no beard becomes thick," says Professor Dieter Hesch, endocrinologist and men's doctor from Landschlacht. How important the hormone is for men, what a deficiency or a testosterone level that is too high means, and whether artificial intake makes sense, we will clarify all of this here with experts.
In this article:
What is testosterone exactly?
Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone (androgen). As with all other hormones in the human body, testosterone is also a biochemical messenger substance - it has a chemical composition. This is based on androstane, i.e. organic hydrocarbon molecules. The hormone was first discovered in 1935 by Ernst Laquer. The doctor and pharmacologist dealt with hormone research for a long time. After the discovery of the female hormone (estrogen) in the mid-twenties, he isolated the sex hormone he named testosterone from bull testicles - ten years later.
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What does testosterone do?
Testosterone doesn't just control a man's sexuality and fertility. It works in all organs. So while it contributes to sperm production, it is also responsible for your muscles. The hormone also supports bone metabolism and promotes bone growth in adolescents. In the course of a man's physical development, the messenger substance is also involved in building and maintaining bone density.
Where is the male hormone produced in the body?
The testes are the largest production site for testosterone. Up to 95 percent of the testosterone content in the male body is produced here. The adrenal cortex takes on the remaining five percent. However, the release of the male hormone is controlled by the brain. Whenever the control center notices that there is not enough of the messenger substance in the bloodstream, it releases another hormone, namely lutropin (LH). As soon as this gets into the testicles, it signals the cells that live there to speed up their work. The hormone production is immediately in full swing. The newly created testosterone not only gets into the bloodstream, but also allows an army of millions of lively sperm to mature from immature progenitor cells for reproductive purposes.
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Which testosterone level is normal?
The average testosterone level in the blood of an adult male is between 12 and 40 nmol / l (nanomoles per liter). Incidentally, women also have the hormone in their blood, but only a little. For comparison: in women it is below 3 nmol / l, in some cases even so low that laboratories cannot prove it at all. A value of 1 nmol / l means that 1 milliliter of blood drawn by the doctor with the syringe contains less than 1 billionth of a gram of the hormone. Little - but effective.
Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day
Men release the hormone every 24 hours - this has consequences for sex and strength training, among other things. Here is a rough schedule:
- 7:00 a.m .: The testosterone level now begins to rise and at this point it reaches its daily maximum. If you want to have your hormone level checked by the doctor, he will draw your blood early in the morning to determine the maximum value. Testosterone levels in men with testosterone deficiency are as low in the morning as they are in the evening.
- 1 p.m .: During the day, testosterone levels gradually drop. The production of the hormone does not decrease evenly, however, but can also increase slightly in between - for example when your body reacts spontaneously to stimuli from barely clad colleagues.
- 8 p.m .: let's go? At this point, the hormone production drops to its daily minimum. But that doesn't mean the evenings are generally a bad time to have sex. "New studies show that fluctuations in the testosterone value can always trigger a stimulus, even if the absolute value falls," says endocrinologist Professor Dieter Hesch. So if you irritate your lovely loved one a little, it'll work.
How is testosterone measured?
Your doctor will usually do this by taking a blood test. Other methods of measuring testosterone levels include saliva or urine samples. There are now also testosterone self-tests for at home.
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What Causes Testosterone Deficiency?
When your hormone levels are too low, there can be different reasons. In men, values that are too low are usually associated with underactive gonads, the use of anabolic steroids, cirrhosis of the liver, drug abuse or severe malnutrition. But women can also have too little testosterone in their blood. This often becomes noticeable in an underactive ovarian function. But therapy with antiandrogens, the intake of estrogens (i.e. the female hormones) as well as the intake of anabolic steroids, cirrhosis of the liver and malnutrition can reduce the value.
However, the exact opposite can also occur. Namely that yourTestosterone level too high is. In men, the value can be too high if they take an additional testosterone supply - for example with doping agents. But also in cases of testicular tumors, adrenal cancer or androgen resistance, it can lead to an increased value. In women, overactive ovaries or adrenal cortex can lead to an increase in hormone levels. With them, too, it can lead to adrenal cancer or even premature puberty.
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Taking testosterone: lifestyle hormone or useful supplement?
This question is justified: Testosterone is often only taken to achieve better results in sports or to strengthen muscles. The latter was particularly common in the bodybuilder scene. Anabolic steroids were taken here particularly often, which exposed the athletes to a considerable health risk. If you inject yourself high doses of testosterone, thrombosis, strokes and heart attacks can be the result. Also, dormant cancer foci in the body, for example in the prostate, can be fueled by the additional testosterone administration.
But if you now think that a testosterone supply in the form of medication is always harmful to your health: This is just the other side of the coin. The messenger substance can also have a positive effect on your body. For example, the hormone replacement can be used when a testosterone deficiency is determined and help when there is a lack of sexual desire (loss of libido). Testosterone can be delivered to the body in different ways. Be it the conventional ingestion of tablets, an external application on the skin or the injection (via syringe).
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Our tip and advice:There are numerous drugs that are based on the male hormone that can balance your testosterone levels. Since everyone reacts differently to drugs, side effects and interactions can occur - but do not have to. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and get advice from them. He will be able to tell you whether an additional testosterone supply makes sense for you personally.
Can testosterone accelerate muscle building?
Many men wonder if a testosterone patch can speed up muscle growth. "Testosterone patches have been officially available from us since 1998. They are intended as an alternative to syringes for men with a testosterone deficiency," says Professor Günter Stalla, head of Medicover Endocrinology in Munich. You are therefore always required to have a prescription.
The plasters are put on the testicles. Since the skin is thin there, the body can easily absorb the testosterone. With daily use, the testosterone level is kept at a constant level - easier and more constant than with injections. Muscle growth is hardly to be expected with one of these patches. For one thing, the dose is very low. On the other hand, a healthy body has a balancing mechanism that ensures that the testosterone level remains constant. So if you feed this hormone to the body from the outside, although there is no deficiency at all, it cuts down its own production - the result is a zero-sum game.
If you are disappointed with the preparation, you have to reckon with a loss of potency and libido due to the slowed down endogenous testosterone production. Apart from that, the hormone is not a training substitute: testosterone, which is also contained in chemically modified anabolic steroids, is considered doping in high doses and also has side effects: acne formation, shrinking of the testicles, breast growth in men, limited or complete inability to conceive.
The risk of developing liver tumors also increases. If the hormone is no longer taken, the splendor quickly disappears. So you should think twice about whether muscle growth is worth all of these risks to you.
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Contraception with testosterone: an alternative to condoms, pills, etc.?
Since the messenger substance is important for sperm maturation, it could even be suitable for contraceptive purposes. But prevention with testosterone - should that work? Yes and no. Until mid-2011, the World Health Organization was researching a hormonal contraceptive method for men. The hormone was injected from the outside.
Aim: Inhibit the body's own testosterone production. Episode: The brain then leans back calmly - there is enough testosterone in the blood. Without a command from the brain, the hormone production in the testicles soon comes to a standstill. However, the exogenous testosterone does not get there in sufficient quantities. Soon not a single sperm will wriggle in the ejaculate. The preparation should be injected every two months. If the subjects wanted to stop taking the drug, they were fertile again after a year. However, this method of contraception brought many side effects and not 100 percent protection, which is why the Study canceled has been.
Another possible consequence: Since the testicle cells are unemployed, they become limp. The tissues become softer, and the testicles begin to feel like old plums. The same can happen with bodybuilders who inject testosterone - usually in an even higher dose - for doping purposes. A glimmer of hope: as soon as you stop doing it, the tissue becomes plump again and the hormone-producing cells start working again - at least most of the time.
Safety first! Last but not least, the fact that such contraceptive methods have their side effects, they also do not protect 100 percent against your partner becoming pregnant. Suppression of sperm formation by testosterone is insufficient in around 10 to 15 percent of men. For this reason, no pharmaceutical company has dared to take the step of bringing such an innovative male contraceptive onto the market. The condom is and will therefore remain the only successful method of contraception for men to date.
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Testosterone as a drive for the brain?
The body is sensitive to hormone fluctuations. Even the smallest changes have a big effect. Testosterone makes men self-confident, ambitious, dominant and keeps their brain fit for a long time - probably because it protects nerve cells from destructive stress. A testosterone deficiency, on the other hand, is said to promote decline. What threatens are depression and, in later years, Alzheimer's and dementia. Experiments show that the testosterone intake makes you smarter almost immediately in old age.
Everyone experiences something similar every day. In the morning, when the testosterone value is at its highest, tasks related to spatial thinking are particularly good. In the late afternoon, when the hormone level is lower, the error rate increases, as an English study by University of Leeds has shown.
But there is also too much of a good thing. In the test tube, large amounts of testosterone drive nerve cells to suicide after a few hours. Naturally, this is not possible in a natural way. For men who dope with anabolic steroids, we don't put our hands on fire.
Is testosterone good for the heart?
Testosterone strengthens the heart, perks up tired pumps and protects the blood vessels. "For example, cells from the bone marrow that repair damaged blood vessels are present in significantly lower numbers when there is a testosterone deficiency," says Hamburg urologist Professor Hartmut Porst. Men with low hormone levels are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and have a shorter life expectancy.
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But be careful! In bodybuilder doses, anabolic steroids (muscle building substances) overturn the protective effect! The heart then grows to an unhealthy size and blood pressure rises. Consequence: There is a risk of stroke and heart attack.
Brain research: why men think differently than women!
Men are different. And that very early on, namely already in the mother's womb. "Before birth, male brains literally swim in testosterone," says the American neurobiologist and author Dr. Louann Brizendine from the University of California in San Francisco. That's a good thing, because that's the only reason why they leave the preset, feminine path. Regions of the brain that store memories, process emotions or control language are shrunk in the testosterone bath; instead, the areas for sex, aggressiveness and spatial imagination grow. That is why a grown man speaks fewer words later - around 7,000 a day, a woman three times as much. He thinks of one thing more often - namely every 52 seconds - and is faster in the parking space than a woman. Ideally, at least, because the brain is much more complex than a switch that flips testosterone in one direction or the other. So you are welcome to talk more. No woman will therefore doubt your manhood.
You see, the hormone testosterone affects almost every aspect of your body. You now know the natural level fluctuations in the course of the day, use them for your goals, and do not risk your health with unnecessary substitutions.
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