The Benefits of Optimal Testosterone
Testosterone may fight depression. If you’ve been battling the black dog of depression, it may be because of low testosterone levels. Researchers have found that men suffering from depression typically have deficient testosterone levels. While scientists haven’t been able to figure out whether it’s low testosterone that causes depression or if depression causes low T levels, preliminary research has shown that some men suffering depression report improvement in mood and other factors of depression after undergoing doctor-directed testosterone treatments.
As someone who’s prone to being an Eeyore, I can report that I definitely felt much more hearty and hopeful during my experiment. Kate also noticed that I was less moody and in better spirits.
Testosterone decreases body fat. Testosterone plays an important role in regulating insulin, glucose, and fat metabolism. As our T levels decrease, our body’s ability to regulate insulin, glucose, and fat metabolism decreases, which in turn causes adipose tissue (i.e. fat) to begin accumulating. To add insult to injury, that increased adipose tissue may also contribute to further decreasing testosterone levels because it converts testosterone into estrogen.
This negative feedback loop may explain why obese men typically have below-normal testosterone levels and higher levels of estrogen. However, research has shown that by taking steps to increase testosterone levels, you can break the vicious cycle of low T and high body fat and actually create a virtuous cycle of fat loss and increased T levels.
For an in-depth article on the interplay between testosterone and body fat, click here.
I can report that I saw decreased body fat during my three-month testosterone experiment. I started off with 18% body fat and ended the experiment with 12% body fat. I almost have a six-pack! This is the leanest I’ve ever been in my entire life. The funny thing is, I wasn’t even trying to shed body fat. It just happened. All hail, mighty testosterone!
Testosterone increases muscle mass. We all know about testosterone’s ability to increase muscle mass and strength. It works its muscle-building magic by increasing muscle protein synthesis.
I definitely enjoyed an increase in muscle mass during my experiment. Despite dropping six percentage points in body fat in three months, my weight stayed about the same; I began the experiment weighing 185 pounds and I ended it weighing the same. The body fat I lost was replaced with muscle. It was fun to see and hear Kate’s reaction when I’d take off my shirt to get into the shower. “Whoa! Your muscles have gotten huge!”
Another benefit of the increased muscle mass was that I got stronger. My bench press, squat, and deadlift all enjoyed significant gains during my experiment. It’s great to be able to bench press 225 pounds again for 5 sets of 5 like I used to in high school, and I’m on track to beat my maxes on the bench and squat that my 18-year-old self set over 12 years ago.
Testosterone may strengthen your heart. Research on testosterone’s relation to heart health is split. Some scientists have found that men with higher testosterone levels have an decreased risk of heart disease, while recent studies have shown that men with below-normal T levels are more at risk for heart problems. The research is still on-going, but many doctors find the evidence compelling that optimal testosterone levels can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
To be clear, it’s not the testosterone hormone itself that strengthens your cardiovascular system, but rather the myriad of health benefits that come from optimal testosterone levels.