Any beginner bodybuilder, sooner or later, will ask the question: what is testosterone?
Why should I care of my testosterone?
Testosterone is the principal male sexual hormone. It defines our sex when we are in our mom's belly.
It is an anabolic hormone, it defines our muscularity and all our male features.
It is present in women too, but in a very small part. Those women that take testosterone for its anabolic effects can present some male features that we will discuss later in Testosterone in Women.
Testosterone levels are higher in the morning and lower in the evening. Precisely, they discovered that the peak is around 6 am, and the lowest can be measured at 1 am at night.
I recommend to take the blood test in the morning if you want to measure your levels more accurately. Also, testosterone is very variable from day to day, so you should always take three samples to have a good average.
How is Testosterone Produced?
This is a description that regards males exclusively. Let's start by looking at the following descriptive picture:
This will help us to answer the questions what is testosterone? and how is it produced?
Everything Starts in the Brain
Our brain sends a signal to the pituitary gland, which is what regulates the production of testosterone.
The pituitary gland is very important for the regulation of several hormones in our body (testosterone, lutenizing hormone, prolactine) and is located in the center of our brain.
The pituitary gland tells the testicles to produce testosterone.
The testicles are those that actually produce the hormone, they get the job done.
Low testosterone means that for some reason the testicles don't produce enough Test.
If the whole process brain-pituitary gland-testicles doesn't work properly you are likely to suffer some or all the symptoms of low testosterone.
Low T symptoms include:
- Lack of sex drive (don't confuse it with male sexual dysfunction)
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Depression/bad mood
- Lack of energy
Hormone Regulation. What Other Hormones Should I Check?
As you all know if you have read the symptoms of low testosterone, I was diagnosed with low T a while ago.
That gave me the chance to learn how other hormones are very important too. Testosterone is not the only one that you should check.
If it is low the main reasons may be in your diet (see what the best testosterone diet is), in your life style, in your testicles (late mumps? Varicocele?) or in your brain.
If the problem is in your brain it's not a super news, that's why you should always check Prolactine levels and LH (Lutenizing Hormone)
What is Testosterone Regulated By?
When the problem is in your brain, it may produce a level of prolactine that is MUCH higher than normal. And the production of LH should be much lower than normal.
My doctor wanted to check testosterone, prolactine and LH together to have an entire view of what was going on.
When prolactine is very high it lowers the production of LH. High levels of LH tell your testicles to produce more testosterone.
That is why Tribulus Terrestris is considered a testosterone booster, because it helps your body to produce more LH and more testosterone would be just a natural consequence.
It is a little bit scary to consider this option, and it was scary when I took my blood test knowing WHY I was checking my prolactine levels...
If prolactine is very high (and I mean HIGH, not just a little bit higher than normal), the pituitary gland may be affected by what is called pituitary tumor, commonly known as brain tumor.
You can google it and you'll find tons of info about it.
One thing you should know, our brain produces more prolactine when we are agitated or under stress. It may happen that just before we take a blood test we are kinda nervous and that could influence the result.
You could see higher prolactine levels that are not actually real. This is another reason why you should take three blood tests before you consider your results accurate.
Check Your T Levels!
Now that I answered your What is Testosterone? question I hope that you will pay attention to your T levels.
Having normal testosterone will help your