Listen Up, Ladies: 3 Reasons You Need Testosterone
Want more energy, sex drive, and confidence? This “guy’s hormone” is yours, too.
Do you ever feel so tired, you could just sleep all day?
When you think of someone with high levels of testosterone, what comes to mind?
A man, right?
Hulking muscles? Pumping iron at the gym? Maybe even grunting a bit?
Produced naturally by your adrenal glands, and (surprise!) your ovaries, we usually think of testosterone as a guy’s hormone. But it’s very much your hormone too, and when it comes to your overall health and youthful vitality, testosterone may very well be your secret weapon.
First, let’s debunk the #1 myth about testosterone – that women can ignore it – and get a clear picture of how it works in your body.
WHAT DOES TESTOSTERONE DO FOR ME? (A WOMAN?)
We like BodyLogic MD’s straightforward definition of testosterone, and how it functions in a female individual. They write:
“Testosterone in women has many functions. It is important for bone strength and development of lean muscle mass and strength. Testosterone also contributes to overall sense of well-being and energy level. It is best known for its crucial role is a woman’s sex drive or libido.”
They also explain why testosterone levels diminish – a common issue for women:
“Similar to other hormones, the onset of perimenopause and menopause cause the decline in production of testosterone (by at least 50%) in women. Again, hysterectomy with or without removal of the ovaries will cause a more significant decline in testosterone levels. Also, high levels of stress can divert the precursors for testosterone hormone production in women over to cortisol production and create a further reduction. High stress levels can also contribute to symptoms earlier in the perimenopause when a woman is in her late thirties or early forties. This means less energy, brittle hair, less bone and muscle strength, and a diminished sexual drive. A hysterectomy and some prescription drugs can also result in lower levels of testosterone for women.”
We’ll cover how to (naturally) restore your testosterone levels in a moment, but first, let’s go into a little more depth on testosterone’s benefits.
1. BETTER SEX DRIVE
One of our favorite natural health physicians and women’s health experts, Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, lays out the benefits of testosterone pretty clearly in her book, Great Sex Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine. She writes:
“Testosterone, with the assistance of estrogen, stimulates nerve receptors in your brain, igniting your pleasure circuitry and setting sexual feelings and arousal in motion. At the same time, testosterone can give an added jolt to your sexuality by increasing your clitoris’s senstivity to the touch.”
Raise your hand if that sounds pretty awesome?
Dr. Steelsmith also notes that testosterone plays a role in modulating the actions of dopamine – a brain chemical that allows you to feel joy and pleasure.
2. IMPROVED FAT TO LEAN MUSCLE MASS RATIO
Healthy levels of testosterone have also been shown to increase bone density (essential for women as we get older), decrease body fat and cellulite, and increase lean muscle mass. That’s because testosterone is important to female metabolic, sexual, and muscular function, because it increases muscle protein synthesis – and, makes you more motivated to undertake physical activity in the first place.
Testosterone varies so vastly with age though, that it’s one of the reasons a woman’s body can change so drastically between, say, college, and the time her kids are going off to college. By the time women reach their 40s, testosterone levels may be reduced by as much as 50 percent as compared to women in their 20s. Half as much!
Interestingly, exercise (especially resistance training) can help you naturally build up more testosterone – keep reading for tips on that. But while we’re on the subject of age, let’s also applaud testosterone for…
3. AN EASIER MENOPAUSE
Menopause is a change, but it doesn’t have to be a horrendous one, and keeping your testosterone levels in check will help. Menopause expert and author Ellen Dolgen writes,
“Women begin experiencing low “T” during their menopausal journey, which may begin a decade earlier than when menstrual periods stop…Women with low testosterone levels can experience depression, fatigue, weight gain, bone and muscle loss, and cognitive dysfunction. [But adequate] testosterone can sustain skin elasticity and tone, encourage heart health, boost libido, help prevent osteoporosis risks, decrease body fat and increase muscle strength.”
So if energy and youthful vitality are goals for you in your 40s and 50s, it’s not just your “womanly” hormones (i.e. estrogen and progesterone) that you need to pay attention to. Good “T” levels will significantly aid the transition.
…BUT CAN THERE BE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
In a word: yes.
Many conditions can lead to naturally high testosterone, including polycystic ovarian syndrome or an ovarian tumor during pregnancy. In some cases, too-high testosterone can also be prompted by hormone therapy, and according to the Natural Acne Clinic, unusually high levels of androgens (such as testosterone) have a way of triggering acne, not too mention excessive facial and body hair.
So as it comes to your entire hormonal system, the key takeaway here is balance. That means addressing your hormones as an interdependent system, rather than attempting to inflate one hormone up to artificially high levels. That approach can backfire, and yield health (not to mention appearance) results you do not want.
SO HOW DO I IMPROVE MY LEVELS?
There are several ways to do it, but let’s focus on two natural methods: exercise and supplementation.
Building more muscle mass will automatically improve your body’s levels of free testosterone, but exercise also wards off stress, and that is critical to the equation. That’s because the release of excessive cortisol (your stress hormone) diminishes your body’s production of testosterone, which is why the chronically stressed feel so tired. (Read more on that topic here: “4 Signs You’ve Got Adrenal Fatigue.”)
Supplementation will also further your goal of healthy “T” levels, but it’s important not to view testosterone in isolation. Your entire endocrine (hormonal) system works in tandem with one another, and in a woman’s body, the dance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone is especially delicate. Raising your body’s levels of progesterone will balance out your levels of estrogen, and chasteberry is particularly helpful in this regard – that’s why our AsensiaⓇ formula uses it, in conjunction with L-Arginine and green tea. Together, estrogen and progesterone perform a counter-balancing function to testosterone, and without them, testosterone levels in women can rise to unhealthy levels.
So again: it’s all about balance. And when it comes to your body’s usage of this “guy’s hormone” (which hopefully you’re chuckling at by now), that’s a very good thing.
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