Can testosterone levels be maintained by managing stress? Read on to find out the answer to this question.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone present in ample amounts, in men. The body depends on testosterone for proper growth of male reproductive tissue. Secondary male sex characteristics such as facial and body hair as well as proper penile erection and sexual behavior are also due to the presence of testosterone. Hence, it is also referred to as male sex hormone, though it is present in women as well. For an active sexual life, adequate testosterone in the body is a pre-requisite. Although there are a number of factors that influence testosterone levels in the body, the one that has maximum impact is stress. The amount of stress one experiences throughout the day does affect testosterone levels in the body.
Stress and Testosterone Levels
Today’s hectic lifestyle leaves us very little time for relaxation. With no time to relax, coping with stress becomes quite difficult. Unmanageable stress can have adverse consequences on health. It is observed that when a person has a hard time dealing with stress, testosterone levels dip below the normal range. In other words, testosterone levels get a beating if one is not able to control stress. Research has also shown that stress is one of the main causes of low testosterone. Be it acute or chronic stress, testosterone plunges, as revealed through various studies. Now, why is that stress causes decrease in production of testosterone. What is the connection between falling testosterone levels and chronic stress? Read ahead to know the reasons.
When subjected to a stressful event, the body reacts by releasing cortisol (stress hormone) into the blood stream. The secretion of cortisol raises the blood pressure and causes the heart to beat at a faster rate. This stress hormone also cuts down testosterone production. Thus, the secretion of cortisol as a response to stress, blocks the release of testosterone. Cortisol levels soon decrease, when the encountered stressful situation (threat) goes away.
However, in today’s hyperactive competition juggling between personal and professional demands is challenging and puts us under constant stress. This type of chronic stress keeps cortisol levels raised for longed periods of time and testosterone levels continue to slide further. Longer the duration of stress, greater will be the production of cortisol and eventually testosterone output will also decrease considerably. No wonder, most cases of declining testosterone levels have been attributed to chronic stress. Low testosterone levels associated with chronic stress may lead to:
- Impotence or lowered sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mood swings
- Inability to sleep properly
How to Maintain Healthy Testosterone Levels
As mentioned earlier, a person with low testosterone is least interested in having sex. As the sexual stimulant (testosterone) is present in meager amounts, sexual activity takes a backseat. So, one can understand how important it is to ensure healthy testosterone levels. Stress being the primary contributor in reducing testosterone, one should essentially devise strategies to manage stress effectively. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and meditation will equip you to deal with stress in a better way. Taking sufficient sleep and eating foods rich in zinc may also help to boost testosterone naturally. Apart from dietary changes, concentrate on doing muscle-building exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts and bench presses to increase testosterone.
No matter what pills you take to raise testosterone, they won’t work unless your stress levels are managed. Bust stress through relaxation and follow the aforementioned modification in diet and exercise and rest assured, you will never face low testosterone problems. On a concluding note, controlling stress is the key to keep testosterone in the normal range. Stress hormone ‘cortisol’ won’t come in the way of testosterone production, if one masters the art of stress management.