Feb. 1, 2022 -- The stresses of everyday life can change how a man feels physically and mentally, affecting everything from his sleep to his mood.
So, goals for a healthier lifestyle in the new year may already face obstacles before he even buys that gym membership.
The fact is, good intentions are not good enough: No matter how hard a man works to lose weight and build muscle mass, he may be fighting a losing battle with low testosterone.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for sperm production in men. Women produce testosterone, too, but in smaller amounts.
Spencer Kroll, MD, an internal medicine specialist in Morganville, NJ, says low testosterone may be caused by “several hormonal disorders, aging, an accident, an injury, the side effects of some medications, some infections, and obesity.”
What does a reduction in testosterone have to do with your ability to keep new year’s resolutions?
Does Low T Reduce My Motivation to Work Out?
Yes, it does. After a man turns 30, his testosteronelevels start dropping 1% each year. About 40% of men over 45 have low testosterone, which affects many men in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s.
Low T can make it difficult for men to get motivated to exercise. And when they do exercise, their workouts are often poor and exhausting with a long recovery. Results may also be hard to see.
But the reverse happens when their testosterone levels are bumped right back up.
“When we put patients on testosterone, we find out that they’re more motivated to [exercise], which leads to more muscles and less body fat,” says Michael Werner, MD, a sexual and reproductive health specialist at Maze Sexual & Reproductive Health in Purchase, NY, and New York City.
How Does This Happen?
Low T also plays a role in lowering your body’s metabolism.
“Testosterone makes it easier for you to put on muscle when you exercise,” Werner says, “so just by having muscle, you burn more calories and your baseline metabolism goes up.”
Ways to Increase Your Testosterone
Testosterone levels can be measured through blood tests, a physical exam, and a description of symptoms.
Werner says patients who have symptoms like less energy, muscle mass, and libido; difficulty with erections; fatigue; and mental fog are often treated with testosterone.
Testosterone-boosting drugs can come as a gel, nasal sprays, pills, and shots.
Weight loss can also help to balance testosterone levels. An enzyme called aromatase converts testosterone into estrogen. And when you lose weight, you decrease the function of this enzyme.
Of course, the problem is that living with low testosterone makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Kroll says some nutritionists believe that certain foods increase testosterone levels. Examples are ginger, oysters, pomegranate, green vegetables, salmon, mackerel, extra virgin olive oil, and onions.
But these claims have not been tested in controlled clinical trials. Still, making healthy lifestyle choices will go a long way in regulating hormone levels.
Things to avoid include marijuana, smoking, and poor sleeping habits, which decrease your testosterone.