Testosterone is an androgenic hormone that has both anabolic and androgenic effects. Androgens are essential for the development of male reproductive organs, secondary sexual characteristics, libido, and sperm production. Anabolic effects include increased lean muscle mass and reduced abdominal fat.
Low testosterone or symptomatic hypogonadism means that your testosterone levels are low enough that they are affecting your overall health. Symptoms you may notice include decreased sex drive and energy levels, ED, mood changes, swollen or tender breasts, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and changes in body composition—meaning less muscle and more fat.
While the symptoms of low testosterone can be nonspecific, testing for low testosterone is pretty straightforward. Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day and night. Levels are usually highest in the morning. Endocrinologists suggest two separate measurements of total testosterone in the morning (between 8 am and 10 am) using the same laboratory. The American Urological Society recommends using a total testosterone level below 300 ng/dl as a cut-off to support starting TRT.
Like all medications, testosterone supplements can have adverse effects, so it is really important to discuss your symptoms with a doctor and have the proper lab work taken before considering any supplements. Unfortunately, studies show that up to 25% of men do not have their testosterone levels tested before starting TRT. On the other hand, many men would benefit from TRT and are not receiving it. In one study, 88% of men who were androgen-deficient were not receiving testosterone despite adequate access to care.
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Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a prescription medication prescribed to men who have low testosterone levels, have symptoms of low testosterone, and have no contraindications for taking TRT. However, testosterone replacement therapy should not be prescribed without documented symptoms of low testosterone and lab results indicating that low testosterone levels are the source of your symptoms. Men can choose several physician and clinic options when determining how to get a prescription for testosterone injections and the best place to buy testosterone, whether locally or online.
Several types of testosterone boosting supplements are sold online without a prescription. The herbal and nutrient-based supplements are marketed as testosterone boosters. These products are not regulated by the FDA and can contain a myriad of ingredients. Most contain horny goat weed, saw palmetto, and fenugreek. These products are advertised to supplement testosterone without the high cost of prescription medications and are prominently displayed on websites and online pharmacies. Physicians can point to cases where these testosterone imposters have included banned substances, including steroids, which resulted in serious adverse effects for consumers.
When researchers evaluated the top 5 T-Boosters on Amazon and looked at 19 unique ingredients in these products, there were 191 studies in the literature. However, only 19% of the studies examining the ten most common ingredients in these products were conducted in humans. Furthermore, among those that conducted human studies, most ingredients had either a questionable effect or were ineffective at actually raising testosterone levels.
Testosterone boosters are frequently marketed as natural. As a result, men may bypass TRT, hoping to boost their testosterone levels in a way that may have fewer side effects. It is important for men to be fully informed about the ingredients in testosterone boosters and to see if there is any scientific backing for the marketing claims companies may make. Talk to your doctor before trying any testosterone booster and track your testosterone levels to see if they have any effects.
Testosterone levels decline by about 1% per year, starting in your 30s. TRT is a well-established treatment option for men who have symptomatic low testosterone. TRT has been well-studied. It has clear guidelines on when it should be used, and when it shouldn’t, as well as dosing information, treatment goals, and guidelines for monitoring lab work.
In the best case, the ingredients in testosterone boosters may be ineffective. In the worst case, they may be harmful to your health. So buyer beware. Learn more about the dangers of over-the-counter pills for ED.
If you have symptoms of low testosterone, the first step is to call your doctor. Next, request lab work to determine if your testosterone levels are indeed low. A combination of symptoms and low testosterone levels are both required to make a diagnosis. If your testosterone levels are not low, chances are there is another medical condition causing your symptoms, and the earlier it is identified, the better. If you want to take the most natural approach possible, ask your doctor about ways to naturally boost your testosterone. Learn more about how the licensed professionals at Invigor Medical can help.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.