Low Testosterone

If you are a man facing challenges with low libido, decreased energy levels, or mood fluctuations, it's possible that you might be dealing with a hormone imbalance. Hormones act as vital messengers in the body, directing organs on what to do and when. Among the primary hormones in men is testosterone, which plays a critical role in sexual function and masculine traits. The testosterone cycle involves signals from the brain's hypothalamus, triggering the pituitary gland to stimulate testosterone production in the testes, with a smaller amount produced by the adrenal glands. Beyond its effects on bone and body composition, research indicates that testosterone also plays a significant role in metabolism, vasculature, and brain function.

Male hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, can manifest with various symptoms. Around 40% of men over 45 years old experience hypogonadism. Because hormones have intricate control over multiple bodily functions, even slight imbalances can significantly impact symptoms. The natural decline in testosterone that comes with aging can be accelerated by factors such as dietary choices, lifestyle habits, medication use, lack of physical activity, and increased stress.

An integrative medicine approach to low testosterone in men involves a comprehensive evaluation of genetics, diet, hormonal shifts, and other lifestyle habits to identify the root cause and potential treatments. By conducting in-depth bloodwork and specialty lab testing to accurately diagnose and treat the issue, many patients can experience long-term improvements in their symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Male Testosterone:

Hypogonadism is characterized by serum testosterone levels below 300 ng/dL along with at least one clinical sign or symptom. Signs of hypogonadism include regression or absence of secondary sex characteristics, anemia, muscle wasting, reduced bone mass, oligospermia, abdominal adiposity, and more. Symptoms of postpubescent hypogonadism include sexual dysfunction symptoms like erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, difficulty attaining orgasm, and reduced ejaculate. Other symptoms can include reduced energy and stamina, depressed mood, irritability, difficulty concentrating, changes in cholesterol levels, anemia, osteoporosis, and hot flushes.

Potential Causes of Low Male Testosterone:

Low testosterone in men can result from primary hypogonadism, originating from issues with the testicles, or secondary hypogonadism, stemming from problems with the pituitary or hypothalamus. Causes of primary hypogonadism include aging, Klinefelter's Syndrome, undescended testicles, hemochromatosis, testicular injury, chemotherapy, radiation, and more. Secondary hypogonadism can be caused or accelerated by poor lifestyle habits, dietary choices, medication use, lack of exercise, exposure to chemicals or heavy metals, and increased stress. Obesity, certain medications, vitamin D levels, processed sugar consumption, zinc deficiency, lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol use, thyroid issues, stress-induced hypogonadism, and gut microbiome imbalances can all contribute to low testosterone.

Integrative Medicine Labs for Low Testosterone in Males:

To assess hormone level imbalances, the following tests are considered:

  • Testosterone: Serum testosterone levels, both total and free, to gain insight into androgen levels.

  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG): Evaluates the protein that binds sex hormones in the body and controls their availability.

  • Estradiol: Assesses estradiol levels to understand potential excess and its impact on symptoms.

  • DUTCH Complete: A urine test evaluating sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and cortisol to provide a comprehensive picture of hormonal status.

  • Comprehensive Stool Test: Assesses gut microbiome health and markers for inflammation and digestion/absorption deficiency, which can influence hormone levels.

  • Complete Thyroid Panel: Thyroid function evaluation as it impacts mood, energy, and other hormones.

  • Other serum lab tests to check include Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), iron panel, glucose, Vitamin D, and kidney and liver health.

Integrative Medicine Treatment for Low Testosterone in Males:

Lifestyle changes such as an anti-inflammatory diet, adequate sleep, maintaining ideal body weight, limiting alcohol consumption, regular exercise, and stress management techniques can help balance hormone levels.

Supplements like Vitamin D and Zinc can support optimal testosterone production and regulation. Herbal remedies like fenugreek and ashwagandha have shown potential benefits on testosterone concentrations.

Hormone therapy, including testosterone replacement, may be prescribed after a comprehensive assessment if indicated. However, individualization is crucial as the amount of testosterone required to maintain various aspects varies widely among men.

​​​​​​​In conclusion, addressing low testosterone in males requires a multifaceted approach, considering the various symptoms, causes, and individualized treatments. A thorough evaluation, including specialized lab testing, is essential to optimize health and well-being.