Testosterone is one of the main hormones in the human body. It is necessary for maintaining and increasing muscle mass, strength, having a healthy sex drive, bone density, body fat distribution and sperm count.
Generally speaking, the amount of testosterone you have determines whether you’re a man or a woman, since women have higher estrogen count, and lower testosterone. This is associated with clear physical and emotional differences between the sexes. However, men especially need a healthy amount of testosterone to function properly.
Men with low testosterone have been found to be more likely to have or develop depression, and men with depression are more likely to have low testosterone levels. Even thought it may not be 100% understood testosterone levels do play a majoy role in mens mood and psychological well being.
Signs & Symptoms Of Low Testosterone
Although it’s levels fluctuate throughout one’s life, there are clear signs that low testosterone can cause a myriad of problems. Some of the symptoms associated with low testosterone are:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Lack of concentration
- Low energy
On top of the physical and mental imbalances, low testosterone increases the likelihood of contracting prostate cancer and growth of tumors, due to it’s large influence on the immune system (Study). Testosterone deficiency can also cause cardiovascular issues, and potentially life threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke (Study).
So how can you tell if you have low testosterone? The simple way is to determine whether you are experiencing most of the symptoms above. Low sex drive and erectile dysfunction are especially indicative of low testosterone levels. A large meta-analysis has shown that by raising serum testosterone most of the mild-to-severe erectile dysfunction issues in patients were solved (Study). But perhaps the most simple way to determine whether you have low testosterone is your mental state. If there is nothing significant happening that would warrant feelings of depression, sadness or anxiety and yet you still harbour them, there is a high chance that low testosterone levels are the main culprit.
Why Does Low T Cause Depression?
The main reason why low testosterone causes depression is due to it’s impact on energy levels, aggressiveness and ambition. People with testosterone deficiency tend to lack motivation for training, going to work, socializing, and would much rather be alone in a quiet environment.
This is a natural occurrence that is common for men after ejaculation. Ejaculation causes a temporary reduction of testosterone, which causes a tranquil, relaxing feeling. However, this feeling on a long term basis causes physical and mental issues, as it doesn’t allow the person to function at the optimal level. Therefore, low testosterone causes depression directly through physiological changes, but also multiplies it’s causes through making it difficult to function on a day-to-day basis.
How To Raise Testosterone Levels
If you want to improve your mood, raising your natural testosterone levels is a great, and perhaps necessary way to do it. You could of course take anabolic steroids, and inject artificial testosterone, but that approach can lead to nasty side effects, and it’s also expensive in the long run. For most men, a few lifestyle changes can substantially raise testosterone levels.
Getting enough sleep on a daily basis is the simplest way to raise testosterone. Lack of sleep causes a spike in cortisol, the stress hormone, which reduces the amount of human growth hormone and testosterone produced during the day. By getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a consistent basis, you can revert your testosterone production back to normal.
Physical exercise is another excellent way to do it. High intensity interval training is the best way to release more testosterone and growth hormone. The reason why you should do high intensity training for hormonal benefits is mainly due to the ability to do more work in less time. High-volume training causes a release of cortisol and brings the body into catabolism, especially after the 45 min mark. By lifting heavier weights or doing sprints instead of jogging you can get the optimal testosterone boost.
A less common and popular way to increase testosterone is abstinence from ejaculation. Testosterone levels increase by up to 150% after the 7th days of abstinence (Study), and many professional athletes use this method to raise their mood, increase energy levels and concentration for competitions.
Testosterone plays a large role in our physiology, and has a huge impact on how we feel and behave. If you feel like you could and should perform better in the bedroom, the gym or at work, but cannot get rid of lethargy and bouts of depression, raising your testosterone might be the ultimate solution you need.