At a certain age, low testosterone becomes a concern for almost every man. But what exactly is low T? What causes it?
To fix a problem you first have to understand it, so we asked our resident fitness and nutrition expert, Dr. Brett Osborn, to answer some of your most basic questions. Find his answers to the first four below:
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a male sex hormone, a steroid hormone, if you will, that is responsible for our growth and development, among other things. Those being: our mood, how much muscle mass we have on our body, secondary sex characteristics, hair distribution, etc. and how much fat we have on our body and where.
What is Low T?
Low T is a gradual reduction in the natural production of testosterone that typically occurs with age.
What are normal levels of testosterone?
Normal levels of testosterone are defined as 350 nanograms/deciliter up to about 1100 nanograms/deciliter on standard lab testing. What must be emphasized is that Low T is a clinical syndrome. So those laboratory numbers, those total testosterone values, must be taken in the context of one’s clinical status.
What causes Low T?
Low testosterone can be caused by numerous factors, one being age, and that’s the most common. The body slowly starts to reduce its natural production of testosterone, even during our thirties! Other medical problems can cause low testosterone such as diabetes, obesity – and those two entities are often intimately related – scrotal injuries, so injuries to the testicles themselves, radiation, and something that I keep close to my heart, pituitary tumors. There are certain types of tumors in the brain that can actually reduce testosterone production.
Still have questions? Stay tuned for Part Two with even more answers from Dr. O.
Dr. O is a Team BPI Sports’ fitness and nutrition expert.