The general recommendation is that men 50 and older who are candidates for testosterone therapy should have a DRE and a PSA test. If either is abnormal, the man should be evaluated further for prostate cancer, which is what we do with everybody whether they have low testosterone or not. That means a biopsy. But if all of those results are normal, then we can initiate testosterone therapy. The monitoring that needs to happen for men who begin testosterone therapy is really very simple: DRE, PSA, and a blood test for hematocrit or hemoglobin, once or twice in the first year and then yearly after that, which is pretty much what we recommend for most men over age 50 anyway.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are rich in indoles, anti-cancer compounds that indirectly boost testosterone production by breaking down and flushing the system of excess estrogen, which inhibits the production of male sex hormones. As men age, their estrogen levels gradually rise, while testosterone levels fall. Indoles can help strike the balance. In one study, supplementing with indole-3-carbinol from cruciferous vegetables for just 7 days cut the estrogen hormone estradiol in half for men. Another study found indole supplementation significant increased urinary excretion of estrogens among men.
Studies have demonstrated reduced testosterone levels in men with heart failure as well as other endocrine changes (Tappler and Katz 1979; Kontoleon et al 2003). Treatment of cardiac failure with chronic mechanical circulatory support normalizes many of these changes, including testosterone levels (Noirhomme et al 1999). More recently, two double-blind randomized controlled trials of testosterone treatment for men with low or low-normal serum testosterone levels and heart failure have shown improvements in exercise capacity and symptoms (Pugh et al 2004; Malkin et al 2006). The mechanism of these benefits is currently unclear, although a study of the acute effects of buccal testosterone given to men with chronic cardiac failure under invasive monitoring showed that testosterone increased cardiac index and reduced systemic vascular resistance (Pugh et al 2003). Testosterone may prove useful in the management of cardiac failure but further research is needed.
One study looking at alcohol consumption found that increasing alcohol consumption led to a higher level of free & total testosterone compared to a non-drinking control group (20). Drinking did however lower SHBG testosterone levels, though this type of testosterone is bound to a protein meaning our bodies cannot use it to build muscle or increase our mood.
Have you ever wondered why? When we are under stress, our body produces cortisol that is bad for our testosterone levels. This particular component blocks the production of testosterone. In addition, if there is a lack of Z’s then this is the bad news for your testosterone. You should know that the huge amounts of testosterone are produced during our sleep. Every guy knows that the “morning wood” comes only after a good night sleep.
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