What is testosterone needed for? Both men and women rely on testosterone to maintain muscle mass and bone density. It ensures high mental and physical energy, libido, sexual responsiveness and metabolism. It reduces insulin resistance and keeps body fat under control.
Testosterone is a hormone needed by both men and women, although men produce 50 times more of it than women do. In the same way, women produce two or 3 times more estradiol than men do. It’s the balance of the two that matters.
In both men and women, the gonads produce testosterone from cholesterol. Women produce 25% of testosterone from their ovaries, 25% from adrenals, and 50% from peripheral tissues
We need testosterone to produce red blood cells for transferring oxygen. We need oxygen to create energy (more oxygen increases metabolism). Health and vigor generally are also improved.
Muscle Mass and Body Fat
What is testosterone’s beneficial effect with respect to weight control? It comes primarily from its role in developing muscle mass. If you want to be lean, you must have adequate levels of testosterone, which enables more muscle development and a higher metabolism.
In addition to muscle mass and strength, this hormone increases bone density and strength
Adequate levels of testosterone are needed for both mental and physical energy. Research suggests testosterone affects attention, memory, and spatial ability.
Testosterone in both men and women is aphrodisiac. It increases metabolism by increasing activity, both sexual and otherwise. It is necessary for sperm development. It also facilitates erections in men (something to do with vasodilators).
What is testosterone’s role in our masculinity and femininity? During puberty, a testosterone spike helps mature the body. This is when we get more body hair and oily skin at this time. Our sex differences like a deeper voice for men and differing body and brain size relate to the balance of testosterone and estradiol.
Men have bigger lungs, heart, liver etc due to the growth effects of testosterone. When young, men combine high levels of testosterone with relatively inactive levels of the enzyme (found in fat cells) that converts it into estradiol. The more body fat the more testosterone converts into estradiol. Therefore, you get an upward spiral. More body fat – less testosterone – more body fat.
If you haven’t noticed, women think in different ways from men. The average male brain is larger due to testosterone effects, while women have more connections through the corpus callosum and dendrites. High levels are also associated with increased competitiveness – ambition and drive (considered desirable in Western culture).
Problems with high testosterone
Acne, highly oily skin, growth of some cancers, difficulty sleeping, and other complications are associated with abnormally high testosterone levels.
This hormone decreases naturally with age.
- In men, this creates Andropause and increased osteoporosis risk and body fat, with decreases libido, muscle mass and strength.
- At 80, the average man can have a 60% drop in testosterone levels. By menopause a woman’s testosterone levels may have plummeted by 50% opening the door to osteoporosis.
- In both men and women, when testosterone levels drop, body fat increases and its distribution changes.
- Insulin resistance increases when testosterone drops – increasing the risk of type two diabetes
- Low testosterone levels in men are associated with mood and aggression (usually thought to be associated with high testosterone).