STOP……..before any of the ladies realising what this article is about and about to be stricken with a fear of a bushy beard and deep husky voice just indulge me and read on. This will be as relevant to you as it is to all the guys reading it if you desire a lean, aesthetically pleasing, functioning and healthy body.
Testosterone is an Androgenic Steroid Hormone that is more often than not associated to male characteristics. Testosterone however is produced by both males and females in, albeit significantly different levels in the reproductive systems. The testes in the males and ovaries in the females.
The levels of testosterone in females will be around one seventh of that in men yet is critical to health and sexual development, age typically sees a linear decrease in the amount of testosterone in both males and females alike. Testosterone imbalances in males can result in feminisation or the development of female characteristics and the opposite can be said of females. With a drop or imbalance in testosterone levels the balance of hormones becomes disturbed and masculinisation can occur. A symptom already associated with the menopause. Often confused as a direct elevation in testosterone it is actually brought about be an unstable level of testosterone coupled with the natural drop in estrogen.
The role we have if optimal hormonal health is to be achieved and the resultant physiological benefits is to maximise the natural levels of testosterone in both sexes until later life.
At this point I feel I am off on a sales pitch to females as men seem comfortable knowing that elevation or stabilisation will lead to a better physique and not saying we’re shallow but in most cases thats enough.
For the ladies out there reading this these are the roles that a normal testosterone have within your body:
Increase in Sexual Response and Libido
Positive impact on mood and mental health illiciting a feeling of well-being, power, motivation and assertiveness.
During the menopause regulating a normal level can prevent the increase seen through the drop in estrogen levels.
Stable levels have been shown to decrease the risk of neural disorders and stroke. The risk of breast and uterine cancers, osteoporosis, vascular disorders and heart disease to name but a few.
Normal testosterone levels can help with fat loss aswell. More on this in a second.
So as you can see these ‘normal’ levels are critical to maintain. That one seventh output needs to remain at one seventh (Remember it cannot go beyond your natural level unless synthetic testosterone is added to the female environment).
Much like in men there has been no ‘exact’ level to shoot at, for males a level of 250 ng/dl is considered low and ranges up to 600 ng/dl seem to be optimal. For females therefore 35 ng/dl would be considered on the low side with 85 ng/dl being good. Aiming at optimal levels is good but when would we see an excess of production?
In females adrenal and ovarian dysfunction, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and diabetes all cause excessive elevation in Testosterone and resultant masculinisation.
Adrenal Dysfunction is brought about by stressors. These can be categorised as
Ovarian dysfunction, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and Diabetes all have HUGE associations with being overweight. Not only will a good diet regulate Insulin and weight but also maintain this healthy hormonal balance we’re looking for.
Zinc Supplementation and Fat loss
Bodyfat contains an enzyme called aromatase that is responsible for the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. The more body fat someone has therefore the higher the estrogen levels will be and subsequently lower testosterone levels. Supplementing 50-100mg of Zinc per day and consuming foods high in zinc will block aromatase in this conversion process. Cutting calories will prevent the production of testosterone, the reason why so many women can lose fat from everywhere but hips and thighs. This coupled with adrenal dysfunction can be a major issue when fat loss is concerned. This is why I will NOT drop calories excessively with people for fat loss.
Look at the scenario…..years of low fat low calorie dieting, initial increase in weight and drop in testosterone with a resultant increase in estrogen, body starts to store fat around thighs and hips and aromatase levels increase, onset of diabetes, PCOS. At this stage the body starts to overproduce testosterone and we see the resultant masculinisation.
Seems a VERY familiar scenario in todays society and a LARGE amount of the female clients I deal with for fat loss. Dependant upon what stage in that scenario they are depends upon the strategy to implement. Diet remains the initial key and ‘regulation’ of hormones more-so. Someone in the initial stages would be to maintain a ‘good’ caloric intake and bring about fat loss through food choices not energy intake. Insulin regulation which I have spoke about before. Insulin is the master hormone and taking control over someones diet will have more of a profound effect than anything on hormonal regulation.
Help with the removal of excess estrogen by consuming a diet high in fibre and large amounts of cruciferous vegetables, these contain diindolylmethane (or DIM) that helps your body get rid of excess estrogen. THIS is standard and has a million other reasons to do this…..so just shut up and DO IT!! Remember the great thing about regulation and using foods to remove ‘excess’ or to ‘regulate’ as the human body is seeking a normal level at all times.
Try to live in an environment as devoid of chemicals as possible, many chemicals contain xenoestrogens (estrogen mimickers). Again this is like chemically increasing levels therefore regulation goes out of the window as removal of excess cannot occur.
One other point I want to get across is that Testosterone protects muscle tissue and also enhances our ability to develop it and make adaptations to it. Remember that a female will see only a seventh roughly of what a male can develop even if we put them both on the same ‘muscle building’ regime the returns we must understand are VERY different.
Lifting weights increases stress hormones but also increases testosterone and growth hormone output. Cardiovascular exercise increases stress hormones yet does nothing for testosterone or growth hormone levels. All the negative and none of the positives.
A female on a low calorie diet who does exclusively cardiovascular exercise will look something like this…….
………..and will continue to look that way until there is a full understanding of what fat loss is all about.
I could honestly fill a book with what there is to know about Testosterone and other corresponding hormones but hopefully this will give you a slightly better understanding what it will do for you or your clients in pursuit of that lean, toned shapely physique.