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Testosterone is a male sex hormone although women have it at approx. a 10th of male levels, men making 20-30mg daily with women making 2-3mg daily. It is primarily produced in the testes by males, is at its peak during the 20's and 30's and thereafter a slow decline occurs, which becomes more apparent after the age of 50. Is made in the ovaries for females and in the adrenal cortex of both sexes. To a lesser extent is can also be made in the skin, brain and liver. As with all hormones it starts from cholesterol through Pregnenolone then diverts through the androgen pathway to DHEA then Testosterone. Testosterone can further cascade into Oestradiol one of the Oestrogens through a process called aromatosis.
Testosterone helps to slow the ageing process through maintaining muscle mass and bone mineralisation, although the exact mechanism for bone support is not clear yet. It has a positive effect on heart muscle and has been shown to reduce the risk associated with atheroscleosis, (plaque build up in the arteries) It also works with emotional well being, helping to maintain motivation and enthusiasm for living. Its most widely acknowledged effect is on supporting libido and sexual function. While this is more readily accepted with men the same can be true for women as Testosterone has been effective in treating vaginal dryness, thinning of vaginal tissue and increasing sensitivity in the genitals and breast tissue.
The ability to produce Testosterone is partly genetic so that in many cases, it's "like father, like son." We also know that lifestyle plays a role and men, who are overweight, smoke and/or drink alcohol excessively, will have lower levels of testosterone in their blood. Add to this the fact, that, as a man ages, not only does the production of Testosterone diminish, but so does the ability of his tissues and cells to respond to Testosterone.
A man who has previously had high levels of Testosterone throughout his younger life may find in his 40's and 50's that although his blood Testosterone levels are still within normal range he is experiencing symptoms of Testosterone deficiency. This is because the testosterone levels are much lower than they used to be and he is sensitive to the decreasing levels.
INDICATORS OF LOW TESTOSTERONE
THE WARRIOR MAY FIND HIMSELF BECOMING A BIT OF A MOUSE. If such a male takes himself along to the doctor, he may be told that all this a symptomatic of the psychological male midlife crisis, especially after a full physical check-up fails to reveal any medical problems. He may be told that this crisis is due to a plateau, in his career, looming retirement, unrealised ambitions, getting older, overdoing it or stress. He may be offered a course on anti-depressants or tranquilisers and referred for counselling to assuage his growing self doubts. Men are more reluctant than women to accept a course of such therapy and continue to battle on.
Unfortunately alcohol ingestion, if it becomes regular or excessive, often further reduces the production of Testosterone, leading to an aggravation of the mental and physical imbalance. It is vital to check the possibility of a hormone imbalance so that if needed Testosterone can be supplemented.
Nutritional help for a poor libido:
Also read about FEMALE TESTOSTERONE
Ref: Rako, Susan M.D.: The Hormone of Desire
Cabot Sandra: Hormones, Don't let the Ruin your Life