Low Testosterone in Men: Can Exercise Boost This Hormone?
One of our family physicians, Yevgeniy “Eugene” Vaynkof, MD, was quoted in an EndocrineWeb article about combating Low T with exercise.
For men who are experiencing low testosterone, Dr. Vaynkof explores the role of exercise—the type, frequency, and duration—needed to raise your hormone levels to normal.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone known for stimulating the development of male secondary sexual characteristics, and it is considered a potent androgen. While this sex hormone is produced mostly in the testes, it is also released to a lesser extent by the ovaries as well as other organs, including the adrenal glands in both men and women.
The stimulus for testosterone production comes primarily from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which are responsible for sending signals to the testes from hormones such as GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle -stimulating hormone).
“When you think about the two major functions of the male testes: production of sperm and testosterone, the term hypogonadism refers to a problem when either or both of those functions are impaired,” says Yevgeniy “Eugene” Vaynkof, MD, a family physician providing care at the Medical Offices of Manhattan in New York City.
Having a low level of testosterone can arise from a disorder when there is a hormone failure of the testes, known a primary hypogonadism, or the problem can be due to faulty signals that go to the testicle, mainly from the brain, which can lead to other problems such as sperm production and/or testosterone production, called secondary hypogonadism.
The array of causes for secondary hypogonadism is quite large, ranging from a side effect of glucocorticoid treatment commonly due to long-term treatment for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sarcoidosis, extended opioid administration for chronic pain, as well as conditions like anorexia, diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea, just to name a few.
The physiological functions that rely on testosterone are numerous, some are well proven, while others are still being intensely studied. In both men and women, elevated levels of sexual arousal are usually matched with an increase in testosterone levels.1
Interestingly, there has been speculation that testosterone levels vary between the sexes early on in a relationship—decreasing in men and increasing in women—which some think can contribute to behavioral differences during that time.1
What is a bit more clear is a direct correlation with higher levels of testosterone and aggressive behavior in men, leading to a heightened competitive state. This has been shown in competitive sports, such as bodybuilding among others, where the competitive state is always high.2-4 Increased testosterone levels, especially when in excess, have also been associated with increased risk-taking behaviors and criminality, as some studies have shown increased testosterone levels in men who have been incarcerated.5
“Regarding the exogenous (supplemental) testosterone, whenever you put something into your body that was not produced by your own cells,” Dr. Vaynkof tells EndocrineWeb, “you’ll want to consider the potential side effects and risks that may occur when these substances are found above the normal range since the body was not designed to handle more than a set range.”
Read the original article placement on EndocrineWeb.