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What is testosterone? How does it function in the body? If testosterone is a male hormone, why do females have it too? Understanding testosterone, what it does and how it functions in the body is essential for anyone thinking of enhancing its effect or increasing levels of testosterone in the body for any number of reasons. First, the basic testosterone definition: it is one of the many hormones produced by the endocrine system.
Testosterone is manufactured in large amounts by the male testicles (testes) but is also synthesized in small amounts by the adrenal glands of men and women. Levels of testosterone production in the body is controlled by the pituitary gland, known as the master gland because it controls the function, production, and secretions of numerous hormones in the body.
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Testosterone, at its basic function and description, controls the development of male sex characteristics and the male reproductive system. Testosterone also promotes growth during childhood and maintains male sex characteristics during adulthood, including maturation of sperm.
Endocrine glands, like the testes, the ovaries, the kidneys, or the adrenal glands, secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are basically defined as a chemical substance that affects specific body activities. Think of hormones as messengers of sorts that coordinate and control a massive number of activities and functions in the human body.
When the hormone reaches its “target” it binds to receptors on the target site. Imagine a key that slides into a lock, or a car that pulls into a parking space. After the hormone attaches or locks onto the receptor, it sends a message that initiates specific actions in the target. Hormone receptors are found on the surface of cells or deep within the nucleus of a cell.
Hormones, including testosterone, have a powerful effect an influence on the function of numerous body organs. Hormones have the ability to influence growth and development, sexual characteristics, reproduction, and more. Hormones like testosterone can impact the way the body stores fluid, energy, and even levels of sugars (glucose) and potassium (salt) in the blood. Even a very tiny amount of a hormone can initiate a massive response in the body. Every hormone, and that includes testosterone, can influence either one or two body organs or organs found throughout the body.
What does testosterone do in regard to body functions? As mentioned, levels of testosterone in the body are controlled by the pituitary gland. When levels are low, the pituitary gland kicks into action and releases luteinizing hormone, which instructs the testicles to produce more testosterone.
Levels of testosterone in males depends on age. Before puberty, levels are typically low but rise during adolescence. This increase in testosterone is what encourages larger muscles, a deeper voice, and growth of facial and body hair. By the time a man reaches 40 years of age, levels of testosterone are typically the highest. After that, levels gradually decrease.Check out the best natural ways to increase testosterone levels here.
So, if the body produces its own testosterone hormone, why would someone want to take a testosterone supplement? One of the reasons is that testosterone as well as other hormones can greatly affect health and wellness of male organs including the pituitary gland, and the testicles.
Testosterone not only aids in the maturation of sperm and development of reproductive organs, but also encourages muscle growth and strength, stamina and endurance, among other functions. Another male hormone known as dihydro-testosterone is produced in tissues from testosterone and can have an influence on prostate growth and loss of hair resulting in male pattern baldness.
As men age, hormone production decreases and can have an impact on the reproductive hormones. Testosterone injections or natural dietary supplements may boost testosterone levels for some. Testosterone levels are generally checked through a blood test. They’re typically higher in the morning and lower in the evening. Low testosterone levels can not only contribute to low sperm count, decreased sex drive, and erectile dysfunction, but have been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
However, it is perceived that low testosterone might not be the culprit of some of these conditions, but rather that poor health contributes to low testosterone levels. Continued studies and analysis of such questions continue to be assessed.
When deciding whether to buy testosterone supplements or injections, it’s recommended that you visit your health care provider first. A blood test can definitively analyze normal testosterone levels based on age, weight, and health status. Too much testosterone in the bloodstream can lead to side effects and adverse reactions, so caution is always advised when it comes to hormonal supplements. Ask your doctor what does testosterone do for you (or not), to determine whether you need a boost.
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