Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for the development of sexual characteristics in men. It is produced by the Leydig cells in the testes, which also produce sperm.
Testosterone has many roles in a man's body. It produces sperm and maintains a sex drive in men. Additionally, it makes red blood cells and keeps bones and muscles strong. Women also produce testosterone, but in much smaller amounts.
During the seventh week of fetal development, the male fetus begins producing testosterone. The hormone stimulates the development of male sexual organs and influences the brain development of the fetus to introduce male characteristics.
Testosterone is largely responsible for the changes that take place in boys during puberty. It leads to growth of the penis and testes, deepening of the voice, strengthening of body muscles, etc.
It's hard to find a man with high testosterone levels. It's not normal to have them naturally. But you might see men with high levels of testosterone if they have testicular cancer or an illness of the adrenal gland—or if they're using steroids to build muscle mass.
Generally, hormone levels vary throughout the day. Testosterone levels are highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.
Research has established that testosterone reduces anxiety. Further studies show that this hormone can also act as an antidepressant. Moreover, testosterone has been shown to improve memory in people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
It is known that castrated males do not become bald. This is because testosterone is needed for balding to take place. Testosterone also affects the growth of hair in other parts of the body.
While it is true that testosterone levels drop with age, men never really stop producing this hormone. Unlike women who have a plunge in hormones during menopause, testosterone levels in men simply get lower.
An estimated 80% of men over 60 years of age have normal testosterone levels. For men, it is poor health and excessive weight gain that cuts down testosterone and not old age.
Testosterone Production in Women
Testosterone is primarily made from cholesterol, but women's ovaries also produce some testosterone. The adrenal glands located above the kidneys produce some testosterone in both men and women.
You might think that the adrenaline rush one feels after a few drinks is due to an increase in testosterone. But research shows that as alcohol consumption increases, testosterone levels decrease.
Make it a habit to engage in certain activities. For instance, if you want to increase your testosterone levels, regular weightlifting can increase your testosterone and strength.
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