Testosterone, a steroid hormone, is the principle hormone released by the gonads whose levels increase tremendously in males from childhood to adulthood. Such a rise in testosterone levels is necessary for male physical development-such as the emergence of secondary sexual characteristics such as voice register, height and muscle mass. It also plays an integral role in bone growth, muscle size, appearance of pubic hair, sperm production and development of reproductive organs in men. In later life, it might even have a role in balding.
Presently, numerous couples suffer from infertility problems and men are said to be the causative factors almost 50% times. Sedentary lifestyles, inappropriate eating practices and abstinence from performing physical activities are some of the common contributors for rising infertility rates. But testosterone too plays an equally important role in contributing towards fertility. If you think that too much testosterone is good for the man making him all macho and muscular you are absolutely mistaken. Abnormally high testosterone levels in men lead to lower sperm count, shrinking of the testicles and impotence, all of which might surprise you. At the same time, too little testosterone production leads to lower libido, reduced sperm count and infertility problems. There is more to testosterone than what is assumed (that it’s simply a reproductive aid!). Men need optimal levels of this hormone to develop and function normally but we aren’t clear of what ‘optimal’ levels are really! Most of the infertility problems are the result of improper lifestyle practices that can be resolved with the help of reputed dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Factors that Determine Growth Hormone Levels
We simply say that genes determines a man’s testosterone levels which might be altered by dietary habits and exercise routines but a new study suggests that men growing up in challenging environments that house numerous infectious diseases are likelier to suffer from lower testosterone levels later in life compared to those who are brought up in a healthier surrounding.
This study comes as a challenge to all theories that propose that testosterone levels are controlled by genes or race. Men are at a higher risk of prostate cancer and high testosterone levels increase the risk even more. Hence, when hospitals screen for risk of prostate cancer in men it is absolutely necessary that it takes into account the man’s childhood environment as well. The research team collected data on height, weight, age of puberty and other health information from 359 men. Their saliva samples were also collected to test for their testosterone levels. A comparison between 5 groups of men were performed-men born and residing in Bangladesh, Bangladeshi men who moved to UK as kids, Bangladeshi men who moved to UK as adults, second-generation UK-born men whose parents were Bangladeshi migrants and UK-born ethnic Europeans.
The results showed that Bangladeshi men who grew up and lived as adults in the UK had higher levels of testosterone compared to those who grew up and lived in Bangladesh as adults. Bangladeshi men in Britain attained puberty at a younger age and were also comparatively taller than men who lived in Bangladesh throughout their childhood. The researchers feel the difference in testosterone levels to be the result of energy investment. When men dedicate their energy against fighting infections and strive hard for survival, they miss out on the ability to possess high testosterone levels. But it was also observed that a man’s testosterone levels were not influenced by the surrounding once he reaches adulthood. Hence, living in a poverty-struck area or in some place that requires much efforts to fight infections makes it hard for the man to grow up with normal testosterone levels showing that environment plays a greater role than genes in determining testosterone levels in men.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.