by Dr. Rouzbeh Sattari
Most people think testosterone deficiency only occurs in elderly males or the frail or smaller statured men. In fact, the truth is to the contrary. The men who come into my practice with testosterone deficiency usually present a myriad of symptoms, including fatigue, inability to concentrate, muscle weakness, and high cholesterol. It is less often that I see the classic low testosterone symptom of decreased libido. So if you have similar symptoms, you might want to take a look at this list (in no particular order) of health conditions which have been scientifically shown to reduce testosterone levels in men of all ages and of all health status.
- Sleep Deprivation/Shift Work – The main hormone signaling glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary, cause the production of testosterone levels to be elevated upon wakening. This production is decreased when chronic sleep deprivation occurs or when the circadian rhythm is altered by doing shift work. This is a vicious cycle because the more sleep deprivation you undergo, the more your thyroid, adrenal, and testosterone production declines, which leads to further fatigue and sleep disorders.
- Head injuries, testicular injuries – Did you ever have a serious sport injury in the past that caused some head injury or testicular injury? You might want to have your testosterone levels checked. Also, there are certain childhood conditions such as testicular torsion that require surgical repair or removal of a testicle. This can lead to low testosterone levels in adulthood.
- Diabetes – Diabetic men generally have a higher body mass index or obesity, which leads to higher adipose tissue (fat) and lower testosterone levels. Recent studies have shown that giving diabetic men testosterone has been known to increase their lean muscle mass, and drive down their insulin resistance, thereby improving their diabetes.
- Aging – Testosterone declines with the normal aging process, so by the age of 60, men have suboptimal testosterone levels lower than young adult males. This decline is exacerbated by chronic illnesses or acute stressful illnesses such as myocardial infarctions, cancer, surgery, etc.
- Marijuana – Studies have shown that social and chronic use of marijuana not only lowers testosterone and sperm production, but can also cause shrinking of the testicles and gynecomastia (excessive breast tissue) in males.
- Medications – Certain antifungal medications, chronic pain killer use, corticosteroids, and certain drugs that treat prostate cancer all inhibit testosterone production.
- Excessive Alcohol Use – Alcohol adversely affects the entire pituitary and thus, the testosterone production process, resulting in low testosterone and sperm production.
- Hypothyroidism – An underactive thyroid leads to suppression of the signals from the pituitary gland that lead to testosterone stimulation.
- Chronic Illness / Chronic Stress – Again, this leads to high stress hormones which can lead to a negative feedback loop on the production of testosterone.
Obesity – Extra adipose tissue (fat cells) leads to the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the body, which lowers testosterone levels. Also, having large abdominal fat causes the belly to hang over the testicles, which raises the temperature, thereby lowering testosterone production.
So who should have their testosterone levels checked? In my opinion, any male with any of the above conditions. Do you have chronic fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, muscle weakness, low sex
drive? Testosterone deficiency may be one of the causes. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting appropriate testing done, as just ordering a basic testosterone level is not enough to determine if you have low testosterone or not.
For more information call my office for a comprehensive evaluation of your micronutrients, hormones, and inflammation markers, all of which hold the key to your vitality, health and longevity.
Dr. Rouzbeh Sattari is board certified in Anesthesiology, and Alternative and Holistic Medicine, with over 20 years experience. Dr. Sattari is a fellow of the Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, is certified by the Age Management Group, and is a member of the American Anti-Aging and Age Management Medicine Group. You can reach his office at 201-549-8890.