Muscle Space Fitness Comunity
JeffBehar
Posted July 25, 2009 by JeffBehar

As men age, the amount of testosterone in their bodies gradually declines. older_man_in_swimming_poolhis natural decline starts after the age of 30 and continues to decline steadily throughout a man's life.

This hormone decline can affect men in several ways, such as loss of energy, loss of muscle mass, loss of strength, loss of bone mineral density, increase in body fat, decreased sense of well being, reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and several other undesirable affects that can dramatically decrease quality of life. Such changes, in association with low testosterone levels, have been called "male menopause."

With people living longer and a much bigger emphasis today on quality of life, many men are looking to hormone replacement therapy (aka, testosterone replacement therapy TRT) as a new fountain of youth for anti aging.

According to pharmaceutical industry estimates, more than a total of 2.3 million prescriptions were written for Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) products in 2005 and the numbers haave been growinrapidly every year.

Causes of Testosterone Deficiency

Testosterone deficiency results from the testes being unable to produce the normal levels of testosterone. This deficiency can be physiological or pathological. Physiological deficiency occurs with age. As a man ages, the amount of testosterone in his body gradually declines. This natural decline starts after the age of 30 and continues throughout the life.

In healthy male population 20-40 years of age, the level of early morning testosterone should be 21.8 nmol/L (627 ng/dL).

Pathological deficiency is caused by some other condition and the most common causes are:

1. Injury or infection of the testicles
2. Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
3. Genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter's Syndrome
4. Hemochromatosis caused by too much iron in the body
5. Dysfunction of the pituitary gland
6. Inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis
7. Medications, especially hormones used to treat prostate cancer and corticosteroid drugs
8. Chronic illness
9. Chronic kidney failure
10. Liver cirrhosis
11. Stress
12. Alcoholism

In order to be treated correctly, and to even be properly considered for male hormone therapy several male hormone levels should be reviewed.

Male Hormone Levels
Hormone to Test Normal Values What value means
Testosterone 270-1100 ng/dl

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the Leydig cells of the testes. Like other steroid hormones, testosterone is derived from cholesterol. It has many functions and it is responsible for normal growth, development of the male sex organs and maintenance of the secondary sex characteristics.

Testosterone is also important for maintaining muscle bulk, bone growth, adequate levels of red blood cells, energy, sexual function, and a. sense of well-being. 600-625 ng/dl is considered by most doctors as "normal" however these numbers can vary widely

Free Testosterone .95-4.3 ng/dl It is important to remember that blood levels of both free and total testosterone vary widely among individuals, making it difficult to establish a general threshold for treatment. However, levels are quite consistent within individuals, so it is helpful for men to have multiple tests over time to determine trends and individual thresholds for treatment.
% Free Testosterone .3% - 5% A normal male has about 2% free, unbound testosterone. Many people forget the importance of this number.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) 1-18 mIU/ml Basic hormone testing for males often only includes FSH and testosterone. FSH stimulates spermatogenesis.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) 2-18 mIU/ml

LH stimulates Leydig cells and production of testosterone.

A problem with LH levels alone is rarely seen, so testing is only needed if testosterone level is abnormal. As men age, a number of changes occur that reduce the testosterone level available to the body and that alter the ratio between testosterone and the chief female hormone, estrogen. This condition is now referred to as partial androgen deficiency of aging men.

Estradiol (E2) 10-60 pg/ml Elevated estradiol levels in males can lead to gynecomastia. Increased estradiol levels in males may be caused by increased body fat, resulting in enhanced peripheral aromatization of androgens. Levels in men can also be increased by excessive use of marijuana, alcohol, or prescribed drugs. Estradiol levels can also be dramatically elevated in germ cell tumors and tumors of a number of glands in both men and women.

It is also imperative to also test estrogen levels. Many of the unwanted effects of male hormone imbalance are actually caused by an elevated estrogen level relative to testosterone level (the estrogen/testosterone ratio).
Progesterone (P4) .3-1.2 ng/ml


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About the Author, Jeff Behar

Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition, anti aging and alternative medicine. Jeff Behar's work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on major health, fitness and weight loss websites. Jeff Behar is also the CEO of MuscleMagFitness.com, and MyBestHealthPortal.com; two very popular health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition and anti aging information sites.

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