Does Low Testosterone Equal Low Mood?
In a study carried out by LetsGetChecked, it was found that 34% of men with low testosterone also reported feeling anxious or depressed.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is produced in the testes in men, the ovaries in women and the adrenal glands of both sexes. Testosterone is the most common naturally occurring androgen, and while it is mainly associated with sexual function, it can play a huge role in determining one's ability to cope with everyday life.
- What is testosterone?
- How can you tell if you have low testosterone?
- Why does low testosterone cause low mood?
- How can you combat low testosterone?
What is testosterone?
In women, testosterone is responsible for developing muscle and strength and maintaining feelings of vitality and wellness. It’s most notable function in women is influencing sex drive, sexual sensitivity and pleasure. A larger proportion of testosterone is found in men which could explain the traditional stereotyping of males as having a higher sex drive than females.
In men, testosterone plays an integral role in regulating the development of male sexual characteristics, especially during puberty. It stimulates the growth of the Adam’s apple, and the lowering or “breaking” of the voice, the growth of reproductive organs and the production of sperm. Following puberty, testosterone is responsible for muscle mass distribution, fertility, red blood cell production, bone density and sex drive.
In the study carried out by LetsGetChecked, it was found that men aged 25-35 were the largest demographic taking testosterone tests.
How can you tell if you have low testosterone?
After the age of thirty, it is normal for testosterone levels in men to start dropping by an average of 1-2% each year according to a study carried out by Dove Medical Press.
Symptoms of low testosterone include fatigue, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive or libido, issues with fertility, brain fog and mood changes.
The study by LetsGetChecked found that the majority of men testing their testosterone levels reported having a low sex drive or libido as the top ranking symptom that drove their motivation in taking the test.
Why does low testosterone cause low mood?
Low testosterone can cause an array of physical symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and low sex drive. These three physical implications drive one another in creating anxious or depressive states of mind. Chronic fatigue, caused by low testosterone has the ability to dampen down one’s ability to remain physically active, it can also influence cravings for unhealthy foods that offer a short term energy hit.
It is not fully understood if weight gain causes depression and anxiety or if anxiety and depression cause weight gain but numerous studies have shown that they are intrinsically linked in influencing one another. One study published by Leiden University in the Netherlands details a systematic review of literature examining the links between being overweight and emotional health. It concludes that “there is a reciprocal link between depression and obesity.” In the study, it was founded that significant weight gain influenced the development of depression.
Low levels of testosterone are also said to be closely linked to anxiety. In a study carried out in house mice, it was found that sexual encounters lower male anxiety. The level of anxiety in mice was measured through observing their performance in a maze before and after contact with a female mouse. The study also showed that when male mice were exposed to female pheromones via the urine, their anxiety was decreased in the maze in which they were placed.
In the third experiment it was observed that testosterone injections in the male mice versus the sample who did not receive shots of testosterone showcased lower levels of anxiety when faced with the maze.
Low sex drive and libido can be a source anxiety within men whether they are single or in a relationship. This is compounded by the likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction alongside low testosterone levels.
How can you combat low testosterone?
Low testosterone has been said to cause Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS), a behavioural state of nervousness, irritability, lethargy and depression that occurs in adult male mammals following withdrawal of testosterone.
There are a myriad of reasons why you may be diagnosed with low testosterone, some are related to chronic health conditions, others are connected to lifestyle factors that can be adjusted.
It is important to understand what causes low testosterone before you can understand how to combat the condition either physically or emotionally.
Some causes of low testosterone include:
- Injury or infection of the testicles
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Klinefelter's syndrome
- Performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids
- Dysfunction of the pituitary gland
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- A family history of low testosterone
By making these five lifestyle adjustments, you can begin to combat your low testosterone and/or low mood.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
To combat low testosterone, it is important to maintain a healthy weight, weight gain causes a significant drop in testosterone. If you lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight, you should experience an increase in testosterone.
If you have a sedentary lifestyle, your body will produce less testosterone. Stimulating the body through exercise prompts the hypothalamus to signal testosterone production in the testes and adrenal glands. Resistance training and weight-lifting are particularly effective in boosting testosterone levels.
Eat Protein Rich Foods
Proteins including eggs, lentils, almonds, nuts and beans naturally contain D-aspartic acid. D-aspartic acid is an amino acid regulator of testosterone. It can be taken in supplements but adding these protein rich foods to your diet will stimulate testosterone production on a day to day basis.
Get Enough Sleep
Fatigue wrecks havoc on all systems, the HPA axis which is responsible for hormone production is no different. Aim to get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night for optimal health.
Take a Testosterone Test
Taking a Testosterone Test will enable you to track, monitor and improve your testosterone levels as you age.
LetsGetChecked offer a Testosterone check that you can take from the comfort of your own home. If testosterone levels remain low, it is possible to receive treatments in the form of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) through gels, patches and injections.
Read: What Can Affect Male Fertility?
Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically Approved by Dr. Dominic Rowley