The infamous testosterone. All of our bodies produce it (even you ladies!), we’ve all heard lame jokes about it (something along the lines of men, fighting, and all that built-up testosterone), and we all need it (for many, many reasons). But what is it that makes testosterone so great? In fact, some think it’s so great they want to produce even more of the stuff.
While you may associate it with sex, testosterone does so much more for us in all stages of our lives (pre-natal, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood). Let’s look at the top 5 reasons why we not only need to love the testosterone we already have, but we should want to increase it even more.
1) Healthy Bones
Remember all those reasons why your mom told you to drink milk (If you’re not lactose intolerant)? How important it is to have strong bones so we don’t go breaking them every time we trip or fall? Well, it’s not just milk that affects are bones. Testosterone helps our bones form as we grow up and pass through the awkward childhood and teenage years. The benefit testosterone has on bones doesn’t stop after adolescent, either; it helps us maintain strong bone density throughout adulthood. That may not seem too important now, but wait until you hit your 70’s or 80’s. As we get older and our bones become more brittle, testosterone helps save us from broken limbs or injured hips. Basically, more testosterone = stronger bones = less fractures and breaks as we age.
2) Increases Muscle Mass
Testosterone and working out have a strange correlation in the sense that one doesn’t work too well without the other. If we work out, we increase testosterone. Conversely, higher amounts of testosterone increase muscle mass making it easier to workout. Pretty simple.
3) Decreases Body Fat
Testosterone helps you lose body fat, too. I won’t presume everyone wants to lose a bit of weight and replace it with muscles, but I think it’s a fair assumption that most of us would like that. So you kill 2 birds with one stone when you increase your testosterone: gain muscles and decrease body fat.
4) A Happier You
For every yin there is a yang. In this case, the opposite of testosterone is cortisol. When producing too much, cortisol can you make lethargic. High stress and lack of sleep increase levels of cortisol. Therefore, if we decrease our cortisol and increase our testosterone, we’re a lot happier (Paleo Bars make me happy) and have more energy as we decrease stress and increase the amount of sleep we’re getting. This also leads to increased confidence. I’m sure there are always days we wouldn’t mind a little more confidence (e.g. giving that big presentation to your boss at work). Isn’t that nice of testosterone to do that for us?
5) Increased Libido
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what some may consider the most important reason to increase our testosterone. It affects our procreative drive (men and women alike). In our teens, as you may well remember, procreative drive jumps to extremely high levels—especially in men. Those little side glances at the opposite gender become much more serious as feelings on all levels develop. However, that desire starts to drop as we get older. Keeping your levels of testosterone up has a large effect on keeping your procreative drive up.
While the above mentioned are definite direct effects of testosterone, there is still a lot of potential benefits from testosterone we can’t prove absolutely yet. In other words, there are a lot of “Studies have shown it may help ___________, but we can’t prove it with 100% certainty… yet.” That said, testosterone may also help fight depression, strengthen your heart, decrease your chances of Alzheimer’s disease, and improve cognitive ability.
As more evidence emerges on the benefits of testosterone, it’s starting to become clear that testosterone not only helps with us our physical game, but our mental one, too. With that said, you may want to start changing your diet and focusing on exercise not just for your overall health, but also to help increase the testosterone in your body that already helps you so much.