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Testosterone is a hormone and an anabolic steroid that plays a variety of several important functions in the body (1). It is produced by both men and women by the gonads (testes in men and ovaries in women); however, testosterone is present in greater levels in men (2).


Testosterone is an androgen, meaning it stimulates the development of male characteristics (3).  It is considered a vital male sex hormone that initiates the development of the male internal and external reproductive organs during fetal development and male sexual development during puberty.  As a man transitions from childhood to adulthood, testosterone spurs the growth of hair on the face, in the armpits, and around the genitals. Hair also may grow on the arms, legs, and chest (2).  It is also essential for the production of sperm (4).

In women, testosterone is important during the menstrual cycle and is required for ovulation.  It is also required to support the early stages of pregnancy (5).


  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of regular sexual activity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Eating high saturated fat low nutrient diet
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Damage to cells in the testes that produce testosterone
  • Trauma
  • Inflammation
  • Testicular cancer
  • Cancer treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy
  • Diseases that affect parts of the brain, such as the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland
  • Disorders that affect the hormones, such as pituitary tumors or high prolactin levels
  • Chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, kidney and liver disease, obesity, and HIV/AIDS
  • Genetic diseases, such as Klinefelter syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, hemochromatosis, Kallman syndrome, and myotonic dystrophy (3,5,6,7,8,10)


Testosterone travels around the body in the bloodstream. The only way to know your testosterone level for sure is to have it measured. This usually requires a blood test (10).

Having low testosterone levels can lead to several complications:

  • Reduced libido
  • Low sperm count
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) (10)
  • Enlarged male breasts, called gynecomastia
  • Loss of confidence and lack of motivation
  • Lower ability to concentrate or cause feelings of sadness
  • Sleep disturbances and lack of energy
  • Loss of some body hair
  • Increase in body fat
  • Mood disturbances
  • Loss of muscle tone (11)


According to the Boston University School of Medicine, 4 to 5 million men in the United States have low testosterone.

After the age of 40, the concentration of circulating testosterone falls by about 1.6 percent every year for most men (12).  About 4 in 10 men have hypogonadism (reduced secretion of hormones by testes) by the time they reach 45 years old. The number of cases in which older men have been diagnosed as having low testosterone increased 170 percent since 2012 (5,12).


Testosterone levels in men tend to decline with age. That’s why many older men try testosterone replacement therapy. Low testosterone is becoming more and more common. The number of prescriptions for testosterone supplements has increased fivefold since 2012 (12).

Low testosterone can be treated in a variety of forms:

  • Skin gels
  • Patches
  • Injections

The safety of testosterone treatment is still being researched.  It has several possible side effects and some possible long-term effects, as well (2,9).


  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Promotion of prostate and breast growth
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer
  • Lowered sperm count (9,10,13)


Practices to Support Healthy Testosterone Levels:

  • Lose weight
  • Cardiovascular exercise
  • Strength training
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Eating a balanced diet of vitamins and nutrients
  • Reduce stress
  • Limit or eliminate sugar
  • Eat healthy fats
  • Boost healthy proteins (9)

Natural Supplements That Support Healthy Testosterone Levels:


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