Do You Have Low Testosterone Levels? This T Expert Answers All Your Questions
Meet Dr. Mark Opperman. In 2014, Opperman started a dedicated “T Clinic” focusing on the effects of low testosterone on the body and mind. Through his practice, he’s helped men both locally and internationally tap into the benefits of balancing their testosterone levels. Here he answers some important questions about testosterone levels.
Are testosterone supplements you can order online safe?
One of my patients, 34, presented with symptoms of low libido, decreased erectile function, fatigue and low energy levels, mood swings and a decreased sense of general well-being. He had been taking an over-the-counter testosterone booster for three months with no change in his symptoms. His serum or blood testosterone levels were high-normal. On closer inspection none of his other biochemical parameters were affected and in that lies the answer! The product he was taking was mimicking testosterone in the blood but not at the receptor level and therefore didn’t have the effect of natural testosterone. Most over-the-counter supplements have no scientific data to support the claims they make. The labels only say, “this may” or “this might”. For all you know, I “might” be a green alien…
I’m always tired and don’t have the energy I once had. I’ve fixed my diet and ruled out vitamin deficiencies – do I have low T?
The most common complaint I get from patients is that they feel fatigued. When I take a look at their hormone levels, they often have lower than average testosterone levels. This creates an imbalance with other steroid hormones like oestrogen which can lead to low energy levels. By re-balancing these levels – often through upping T levels – patients can experience improved energy and well-being.
I have anger issues. Is testosterone behind my bad temper?
Yes and no. After treating hundreds of patients, my observation is that higher levels of testosterone do not cause aggression or irritability – in fact, the opposite. In men, testosterone converts to oestrogen. If the balance between these hormones is disturbed, the higher levels of oestrogen can lead to mood swings.
I’m getting older, will my T levels start dropping? Should I be worried?
Testosterone levels naturally start declining when you’re in your late 20s. But not everyone will develop hypogonadism (low T). The most common sign that your testosterone levels have dropped off is decreased libido and sexual functioning. Other signs can include dips in strength, weight gain around the abdomen and mood changes. The scariest thing for me is that younger and younger men are presenting with clinically low T levels.
I’m thinking of getting my T levels tested. Where should I start?
If you reckon that low testosterone levels could be affecting your well-being, you should ask your GP to conduct a blood test looking at all your steroid hormones. This should be done first thing in the morning and preferably after a short period of abstinence. Remember that testosterone, like all our steroid hormones, comes from cholesterol, so this should be included as part of the test. The strength of this test is really in the interpretation – so make sure you’re dealing with a doctor who has extensive experience in this field.
Is soy still a big no-no? Or can I go to town on those Chinese takeaways?
Today soy is widely consumed, not only as a source of plant- based protein but also as an ingredient in many processed foods. However, yes, soy is a controversial food – some praise its health benefits, others claim it may be bad for you. Should you avoid it at all costs? For me, definitely not. But I believe moderation in all things is best.
Will lifting weights help boost my T levels?
If you’re a man with low testosterone, exercise might help. After exercise, testosterone levels spike – but not for long. It’s not yet clear what health effects, if any, these temporary boosts may have. Of course, exercise has tons of other well-known health benefits. So, for men whose testosterone levels are borderline – between normal and low – lifting weights could have a potent effect.
How To Boost Your Testosterone Levels Naturally
Testosterone replacement therapy is more a case of “break in case of emergency”. Want to up your T levels naturally? Here’s how:
- MINIMISE STRESS: A diet of whole foods, regular exercise, good sleep, and even laugher can help reduce stress and improve T levels.
- TAKE VITAMIN D: Research has shown that vitamin D has various health benefits, says Opperman, and may also be a natural testosterone booster.
- HAVE SEX: A healthy sex life can play an important role in regulating your sex hormone and testosterone levels.
- DON’T DRINK (TOO MUCH): Excessive alcohol or drug use can decrease T levels, says Opperman.
- GO HEAVY: Exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent many lifestyle- related diseases. It has also been shown to, at least temporarily, boost your testosterone.
Visit the-t-clinic.com to find out more about Dr. Mark Opperman’s practice.