The correlation between hormones and mood in women is well documented.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that testosterone plays a role in optimal mental health in men.
It plays a role in your state of mind, including how efficient your brain works. That’s why low-T has been linked with symptoms such as mood swings, increased stress, and even depression and why low-T symptoms are more often than not misdiagnosed as depression.
Cells in the brain have testosterone receptors that significantly affect mental health.
Men with low testosterone can experience fatigue and commonly have mood swings.
Low T levels can often be misdiagnosed as depression due to the impact on mood and energy levels.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describe depression as “the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.”
ONS research illustrates that approximately 17% of men in the UK have symptoms of anxiety or depression. This goes alongside the 25% of men in the UK with low testosterone.
Anxiety, irritability, and depression are common amongst both men and women with low levels of testosterone.
For example, a study of more than 600 elderly Dutch men found a significant association between low testosterone and depression.
The men in the study with low testosterone levels were more likely to also be dealing with symptoms of depression showing how they can often go hand in hand and there is a direct correlation between low hormone status and low mood.
Researchers from TU Dresden, a leading German university, looked at 27 clinical trials to try to determine whether testosterone treatment could be used to successfully alleviate the symptoms of depression. Their analysis of the available evidence has been published in the Jama Psychiatry journal and it shows that testosterone treatment is linked with a substantial reduction in depressive symptoms in trial participants.
Additionally, data demonstrates that, when directly compared with a placebo, trial participants who received testosterone treatment were 130% more likely to see at least a 50% improvement in their depressive symptoms.
HOW TO MAINTAIN OPTIMAL T LEVELS
We know that T level health is the poorest it’s been since record began.
Lifestyle and environmental factors have caused a 50% decline in as many years and the rate its decelerating is speeding up.
Whilst this is bad news in terms of men’s health, the good news is that there’s plenty you can do to optimise your own natural production.
1. Clean up your Diet
Adopting and maintaining a healthy diet benefits your testosterone levels in
Promotes weight loss and a healthy weight
Reduces the chance of blood sugar spikes
Helps avoid nutrient deficiencies which can prevent hormone production
2. Weight Training & Get Moving
Exercise in general can help you lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. And now we know that excessive weight can contribute to low testosterone levels.
So, if you're not already exercising, starting a workout regimen focused on losing weight may help boost your levels.
Studies have shown that the more muscles under tension simultaneously, the more testosterone is released by the body. Although not as much as the compound movements, any type of resistance training has shown to help increase levels of natural testosterone in the body.
We also know that regular physical exercise has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and to provide other stress reduction rewards that can improve cardiovascular and immune system function. Extra reasons to get moving.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep
Testosterone is produced over night in line with your circadian rhythm – the 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of human beings.
This means that is vital that you get as much sleep as possible between 10pm and 6am so it can replenish. It makes sense then that the loss of morning erections is often the first sign of low-T.
Data show that getting less than eight hours of sleep can reduce a man's testosterone levels by as much as 15% the next day.
So, while 4 to 5 hours of sleep may seem like enough to get you through the day, it could be contributing to lower levels of testosterone. It’s also the quality of sleep – not just the quantity.
During the REM phase, testosterone production reaches its maximum limit.
4. Reduce Stress wherever Possible
Like sleep, stress affects your entire well-being — including your testosterone levels.
When you experience stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone helps your body prepare and respond to this stress, and then your body goes back to normal. But when you're stressed more often than not (chronic stress), you experience prolonged exposure to cortisol — and studies show that cortisol circulating in the bloodstream reduces the level of free testosterone.
One of the best ways to relieve stress is to take time for yourself and do something you enjoy — even if it's only for a few minutes every day.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The links between depression, low mood and low-T levels are clear.
Don’t delay – take action today – otherwise you’ll start to notice the symptoms and prevention is always better than a cure.