When we think of low testosterone, we often think of older guys who’ve lost their mojo.
They may have sexual problems. They may lack the energy of their younger days. And their muscle may have given way to flab.
But a new study finds that low T is far from a condition of aging. It hits younger and middle-aged men in surprisingly high numbers.
The study also reveals that low T is not just a lifestyle problem. It’s strongly linked to a wide range of serious chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and depression.1
University of Michigan scientists recently completed one of the largest ever population studies of testosterone deficiency.
They gathered data on 2,161 men over 20. The participants were part of the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.2
The researchers monitored testosterone in the subjects. And they also checked participants’ markers for nine chronic conditions: Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, pulmonary disease, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and clinical depression.
The most striking finding was that low T is far more prevalent than believed. More than 30% of the men had testosterone below 300 ng/dL. That’s the minimum needed for good health, the researchers said.
Here are other noteworthy findings:
- Young man blues: It was once thought that low T was rare in young men. But the study found that more than one in five men under 40 has it.
- Middle-age crisis: Men between 40 and 59 are just as likely to have low T as seniors. The study found that 35% of middle-aged men are deficient in testosterone. This is slightly more than the 34% found among men over 60.
- Low T equals poor health: Subjects with low T were up to 300% more likely to have two or more chronic health conditions than those with adequate testosterone.
The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.3
Dr. Mark Peterson is an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medicine. He led the study.
The study did not look at the cause of the low T epidemic. But Dr. Peterson believes it is due at least in part to obesity and lack of exercise. “A consequence of being obese and physically inactive is that men are seeing declines in testosterone at younger ages,” he said.4
Five Signs of Low T
A testosterone test is a simple blood draw. You should have your doctor check your levels if you start to suffer any of these symptoms:5
- Low sex drive
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Mood changes
Four Testosterone Killers
In addition to obesity and being sedentary, these lifestyle issues can drive down your testosterone:6
Going low fat. Research shows that it only takes six weeks of reducing fat intake to lower your testosterone. Dropping the percentage of calories you get from fat from 40% to 25% can make you lose 15% of your testosterone.
Skipping sleep. Just a few consecutive nights of poor sleep can drop testosterone levels by up to 15%.
Too much alcohol. If you’re having more than two drinks a day, you’re helping your body convert testosterone into estrogen. That’s the female sex hormone.
Stress. Your adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stressors. High levels of cortisol reduce testosterone.7
Two Natural Testosterone Boosters
If you have low T, you may not need to take prescription testosterone to get your levels higher. Here are natural male hormone boosters:8
Ashwagandha. Studies show this herb can increase testosterone production by almost 20% in a matter of weeks. It also decreases cortisol. So you aren’t just boosting testosterone… You’re also taming the hormone that steals it from you.
Longjack. This Indonesian root has long been valued for its natural anti-aging effects. And modern research shows it’s one of the best natural testosterone boosters. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that longjack boosted testosterone among 32 men by an average of 37% in just four weeks. And like ashwagandha, it also caused a significant drop in cortisol.
Editor’s Note: Testosterone decline is just one symptom of what we call “Male Aging Syndrome.” Most men think lack of energy or libido are a natural consequence of getting older… when it may actually be an easy-to-fix chemical imbalance. See the four ways you can break free of Male Aging Syndrome here.
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