…Is a question that I hear often, probably because most media and advertising is geared towards menopausal women, and not as much to the men. Oh yeah, and also because men just don’t speak up when they actually have a problem, right?

So keeping just shy of bachelor parties and late night poker games with the bud’s, we are going to discuss a hormone, actually not just “For Men Only”, so ladies don’t lose interest, we’re talking about testosterone.

Testosterone, “the guy hormone”, is actually a very important hormone to follow in both men and women. Testosterone is considered an androgen and shares the family with DHEA, and androstenedione.

Men actually have a change in life much akin to a women’s menopause, which is aptly called andropause. This is the time where their androgen levels have decreased, leading to symptoms and even affecting disease states linked to sub-par levels of hormones such as testosterone.

Testosterone, in men is made primarily in the testicles and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands; for women, primarily in the ovaries, and a lesser amount in the adrenal glands as well.

The ‘norm’ for testosterone levels is actually quite broad, so falling in to the ‘norm’ but still exhibiting levels of low androgen levels should be further investigated. In a perfect world we would have gotten a reading of our testosterone levels somewhere around the age of 20 years old or so when our levels are at their peak, to give us a marker to work off of that is more individualistic as we age.

For instance, someone might naturally have been running at a level in the high 700’s during their late teens and twenties, but when they hit their 50’s or so, levels could be precipitously lower, such as in the 300’s. Where a reading in the 300’s might be in the ‘normal’ range, being void of over half the amount of testosterone that one once had is not normal, and if symptomatic dysfunction exists…this should be further examined.

The customization and individualization continues from assessment to treatment. Like other hormonal therapies, testosterone replacement is not a one size fits all approach. That is why through proper symptom and testing assessment we can customize a preparation designed specifically for you, to help you be the best you can be.

Now, decreasing levels of hormones is a natural part of aging, the problem is that we are exhausting our hormones at a much earlier age now-a-days than ever before. That’s why we like to call what we do functional medicine, we must keep in mind how we are functioning, in addition to what a lab test says to help us further identify a clients core issue.

So, what does testosterone do for us? Testosterone is responsible for increasing sexual interest (a major complaint during the times of menopause and andropause), increases emotional well-being, self-confidence, and motivation. Testosterone increases muscle mass and strength, it helps maintain memory, increases skin tone as well as decreases excess body fat. Testosterone helps with prevention of osteoporosis by decreasing bone deterioration and helps maintain bone strength.

When people are low on testosterone, common symptoms are muscle wasting, weight gain, decreased energy, low self-esteem, decreased HDL (good cholesterol), decreased sex drive, depression, poor skin elasticity, thinning dry hair, and anxiety.

There are many reasons people might succumb to unnaturally low testosterone levels. Things like chemotherapy, surgical menopause, adrenal stress or burnout, psychological trauma, and depression.

A topic I find very interesting as a pharmacist is drug induced hormonal depletions. There are plenty of medications that can unnaturally drop someone’s testosterone levels such as birth control pills, cholesterol lowering medications such as Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor, Pravachol and others, opiod pain relievers as well as a medication used for elevated blood sugar…Glucophage.

Author's Bio: 

Robert B Kress aka The Renegade Pharmacist has been bucking the trend of Big Pharmacy since he graduated pharmacy school in 1994, to the time he and his wife Amy opened and ran their own Longevity Pharmacy to now where he writes for his own site www.longevityleague.com to educate others on all things health.