The link between testosterone and aging (and what you can do about it)
Many people have mixed views about aging. Some enjoy the process of gaining more experience, knowledge, and confidence as they grow older. However, others find some of the physical changes difficult to adjust to. Hearing and vision can start to decline while a decrease in balance and bone strength can lead to trips and falls. Changes in our hormone levels can also affect other aspects of our health, particularly in the case of testosterone for men. In this article, we look at the link between aging and a decrease in testosterone levels. We will also recommend a natural testosterone booster in form of food and supplementation.
Why does testosterone decrease with age?
Testosterone is known as the male sex hormone and is responsible for many of the characteristics that we consider ‘masculine’. It’s produced in the testicles and helps to build muscle mass, contributes to strength, and controls fat storage. It also regulates the sex drive, is involved in sperm production, and influences brain function. Testosterone plays a vital role in many of the systems within our body, so any changes to its levels can have a huge effect on our health.
It’s thought that testosterone levels decrease dramatically as we get older. However, it’s unclear whether this dip is caused by the aging process itself or whether other factors contribute towards it. Several studies have shown an association between declining testosterone and increasing age but many of these were conducted on men who were already in hospital due to other conditions. It’s unclear whether these underlying issues influenced testosterone more than aging.
More recent studies have found that decreasing testosterone levels are the result of deteriorating general health. Research by The Endocrine Society highlighted that testosterone levels didn’t appear to decrease in ‘older men who reported being in excellent health’. This suggests that other factors are more influential than previously thought.
What factors influence testosterone levels?
There are lots of different factors that can influence how much testosterone our bodies produce. Sometimes there are issues with the internal production process itself which can significantly affect your levels. Since many of the systems in your body are interlinked, this can have a knock-on effect on your other hormones too. But this is something that can happen at any age and isn’t specific to older men, so what else is a factor?
It’s common for men to gain weight as they age. The average person gains around 1-2 pounds each year between their early 20s and middle age. By the time we reach this point we have several decades of weight gain to contend with. And this is one of the biggest contributors to decreasing testosterone.
Our metabolism tends to slow down as we get older which means we burn less energy on a daily basis. The foods and portion sizes that were just right in our twenties are no longer appropriate because we’re simply burning fewer calories. So, unless eating habits are changed and portion sizes are reduced, this often leads to excess weight creeping up on us.
If you find yourself losing lean muscle mass at the same time, then the effects can be even more pronounced. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat so the more of it you have, the more calories you’ll burn (without even exercising). But if you’ve lost muscle over the years then your ability to burn off food will be diminished so you’ll be even more likely to gain weight.
Putting on weight around your midsection is particularly troublesome as it can have greater implications for your health. Abdominal fat is designed to protect your internal organs but too much can cause toxicity. This makes you more susceptible to heart attacks, stroke, and fatty liver disease.
All of these factors contribute to an increase in body fat which has been linked to a decrease in testosterone. Research shows that men who become obese as they age have significantly lower testosterone levels compared to those of a healthy weight. Not only does weight gain put you at risk of other diseases but it also affects you at a hormonal level.
How to avoid hormonal decline as you age
The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can go a long way to staving off a decrease in hormone levels. You can’t fight the natural aging process but you can make the transition a healthier one.
Taking regular exercise is a great start since it burns calories, strengthens muscles, and improves heart health. This helps to avoid weight gain and maintain muscle mass so that you have more metabolically active tissue. Plus, it can boost your energy levels so that you feel less tired, and improve your mood too. Doing high-intensity exercise before eating has also been shown to give your body a natural boost in testosterone.
Smart food choices can also help you to avoid weight gain and increase testosterone. Vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grain carbohydrates will fuel your body with all the nutrients it needs. These foods will also fill you up and leave you satisfied so that you aren’t tempted to snack between meals. Some foods are also known to act as a natural testosterone booster too. Broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, seeds, nuts, and salmon are just a few. By filling up on these foods, you’ll avoid weight gain and help your hormones, killing two birds with one stone.
Age-related testosterone decline
A decline in health and hormones doesn’t have to be an inevitable result of aging. By taking precautionary measures such as being proactive about your diet and exercise habits you can remain strong and energetic. Taking natural Testosterone boosters can be another. By keeping your testosterone levels in check, you can also avoid unwanted side-effects like loss of muscle and a decrease in sex drive. Just be sure to listen to what your body is telling you and follow its lead.
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