Testosterone is an active and vital hormone in both men and women. It plays a role in your mood, energy levels, regulating bodily functions, and let’s not forget your sex drive. And the biggest role, the balance of estrogen. But the truth is, we’ve been groomed our entire life by late night advertisements, ex-boyfriends (or current ones) and our friends that testosterone is a male dominant hormone. But it’s not. Yes, testosterone and androgen levels in men are naturally quite higher than in women (almost 10 times), but you still have testosterone running through your body, just at lower levels. And having low T in women can affect you a lot more than you may think. Let's find out why, together.
The Benefits Of Testosterone For Women
Testosterone is a very powerful hormone. In fact, testosterone is the most abundant biologically active hormone in women. Women, however, are much more sensitive to androgens than men, and the amount of testosterone in your body can vary [R] Some of the benefits of testosterone for women include:
- Increasing positivity and mood
- Elevating Overall Vitality
- Enhancing Sexual Desire
Low T In Women: A Bigger Issue Than You May Realize
Women produce testosterone in the ovaries and fat cells in much smaller, but necessary amounts, as compared to her male counterpart. When testosterone is combined with estrogen in the female body, a woman enables her natural ability to increase growth, maintenance, and repair of her bone mass, reproductive tissues, muscle mass, and overall functioning. Imbalances of testosterone, both high and low in women, can have serious and often damaging effects on a woman's overall health, including the ability to produce new blood cells, sex drive, sports/activity performance, muscle building/maintenance, mood, and more.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the normal range of testosterone levels for females is:
|Age (in years)||Testosterone range (in nanograms per deciliter)|
The range for males is higher, depending on age:
|Age (in years)||Testosterone range (in nanograms per deciliter)|
Androgens & Low T Levels In Women
The primary androgens in the body are testosterone and androstenedione. In the female body, androgens are converted into estrogens, the “female hormones”. These are also produced in the adrenal glands. Levels of testosterone in a female’s body can fluctuate often, and when androgens are imbalanced, hormonal imbalances ensue.
Low levels of T in women often goes undiagnosed because symptoms, like flagging desire and general malaise, have a variety of causes, and thanks to the categorization of “men’s hormones” and “women’s hormones”, many physicians overlook testosterone levels in women due to societal gender norms.
Low androgen and low T levels in women can occur at any age, but are more commonly associated with menopause or “perimenopause”. It's important to understand what to look for, symptoms-wise when you're considering if you have low testosterone levels.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels in Women
Testosterone levels will naturally regress as you age. Pre and postmenopausal women may experience low signs of testosterone or androgen deficiency, which can drastically affect your mood, cause anxiety, irritability, and even depression. The following are the most common symptoms of low T in women.
Low T In Women: Decreased Sex Drive
The most simple way you can tell if you have a testosterone deficiency is your sex drive. If you're consistently sexually active, and suddenly encounter a loss of sexual desire, affection, or notice declined arousal, or dryness down south, in an otherwise arousing situation, it can often be associated with a hormonal imbalance. [R]
Low T In Women: Decreased Musculoskeletal Health
Breaking bones, having bone pain, getting early onset arthritis or just noticing that your body's musculoskeletal system feels different? Clinical trials suggest that testosterone enhances musculoskeletal health in postmenopausal women [R]
Androgen directly influences bone health and is important in the acquisition and maintenance of bone mass and density. Maintaining optimal levels of androgen is essential in preventing osteoporosis and its associated complications [R]
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Signs and Symptoms Of What It Is Like to Go Through Menopause
Low T In Women: Depression & Mood Swings
I'm not talking about the normal mood swings, this is different. Unexplained emotional symptoms, such as moodiness, depression, and stress can often be a sign of low testosterone levels in women. Androgen helps to regulate several neuropathic functions, and with an imbalance in your hormones, mood-based symptoms may occur. This may be especially concerning if you're under the age of 40.
Low T In Women: Inability to Gain Muscle with Increased Weight Gain
Having trouble increasing lean muscle mass, especially if you're resistance training, or performing HIIT workouts on a consistent basis, can definitely be a sign of low testosterone levels. Often times, a loss of muscle mass paired with an increase in body fat, particularly around the abdominal area is a symptom of diminishing testosterone levels.
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Overarching Reasons Why Women Should Be Lifting Heavier Weights
Low T In Women: Muscle Loss
If you're losing muscle mass, but haven't changed your fitness or nutritional protocol, then it could be a sign of low T in women. Testosterone gives your body the ability to create muscle mass. With a deficiency in testosterone production, you'll have a much harder time building muscle mass and maintaining it. You have to remember, that the small quantity of testosterone flowing through your body, plays a much larger role than you think.
RELATED ARTICLE: The 6 Best Supplements To Build Muscle Mass And Strength
Low T In Women: Mental Fogginess
When you think of testosterone, you normally don't think about mental acuity and function. Researchers at the University of Monash in Melbourne, Australia, recently discovered that menopause is linked with memory decline due to lower levels of estrogen. Testosterone also plays a major role in a women's hormonal balance, and It's been shown that natural testosterone production has positive effects on women's brain function.
In a randomized controlled study, 92 women were assigned treatment with testosterone therapy, and at 12 and 26 weeks underwent cognitive testing. After 26 weeks, the women who received testosterone therapy had a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in verbal learning and memory. [R]
Low T In Women: Chronic or Physical Fatigue
Women with low levels of testosterone can often exhibit symptoms of chronic fatigue. If you find yourself with an increased drop in energy levels throughout the day, when you normally have energy, you may be experiencing low testosterone levels. Often times you can tell when you become increasingly tired when you're still getting enough sleep. If you find yourself taking naps more often, with no real explanation, you could have an imbalance of hormones. Many medical conditions can cause physical and chronic fatigue, therefore it's best to consult with your physician.
How To Treat Low T In Women
These are all symptoms of low T in women and possible androgen or female testosterone deficiency. These symptoms are becoming increasingly recognized, as they can severely disturb your wellbeing, considering that testosterone is essential for a woman’s physical and mental health.
Before we go any further, NO! Testosterone does not masculinize women.
Effective doses of vitamins and minerals to elicit the release of natural testosterone will actually stimulate and increase femininity. However, pharmacological doses of free form testosterone can and may produce masculinizing traits. Outside of supra-pharmacological doses of synthetic androgens, however, Testosterone does not have any masculinizing effects. So, NO! You will not turn into a man. You'll just turn into a stronger, healthier, and happier woman.
The Best Supplements To Naturally Increase Low T In Women
So what do you do if you are exhibiting symptoms of low testosterone? Often times the symptoms of low testosterone are misdiagnosed or under diagnosed. The first step is to consult your physician for a blood test. According to general practicing standards, if your testosterone levels are lower than 25 ng/dL then you should consider ways to naturally increase testosterone levels such as by supplementing vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Zinc, Fenugreek or diindolylmethane (DIM).
Zinc is a trace mineral and element that helps with important biological processes such as hormone balance, production, and regulation. Zinc also plays a vital role in fertility as it helps the production of estrogen and progesterone, which will also balance mood and vitality.
Magnesium is also a trace element similar to Zinc that increases free and total testosterone values [R] Magnesium is a required component of energy production, specifically on the production of ATP, which can help with mental and physical fatigue.
Vitamin B6 is an essential vitamin that must be obtained from your diet, which ensures a healthy hormonal balance of testosterone and estrogen [R].
Fenugreek is a leguminous annual plant, which is native to India and China. It has been proven through several different clinical studies, that Fenugreek helps physiological aspects of strength, libido, and boosting testosterone levels [R].
DIM is a compound that is formed within your body when digesting foods that contain nutrient indole-3 carbinol. Indole-3 carbinol is found in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. DIM also helps with hormone balance of testosterone and estrogen. DIM helps break down estrogen, to be utilized effectively by the body. DIM also reduces the levels of harmful estrogen metabolites, which helps decrease the loss of sex drive, breast pain, and balances mood.
RELATED ARTICLE: Ultimate Guide To Diindolylmethane (DIM)
Symptoms Of Low T In Women: The Takeaway
It’s evident that Testosterone plays an imperative role in women’s health and overall well-being. With low levels of T in women, you lose a significant part of your biological hormonal balance. Your sexual desire disappears, you lose muscle mass, you gain weight, you get irritable, and you can’t even satisfy your partner, causing added stress and emotional anxiety.
Naturally increasing your testosterone levels, could be exactly what you need to enhance your mood, increase energy levels, obtain better sleep, increase strength and obtain a better quality of life. A great place to start is with a great supplement, like ZMT, from Swolverine.
Packed with natural key ingredients such as Fenugreek, Diindolylmethane (DIM), Zinc, Magnesium & Vitamin B6 ZMT can help improve strength, endurance, enhance athletic performance and vitality. A healthy balance of testosterone helps supports energy, promotes a positive mindset, and also aids to maintain a healthy sex drive.
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- Chen, Steve, et al. “Arginine and antioxidant supplement on performance in elderly male cyclists: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 23 Mar. 2010, jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-13.
- Maheshwari, Anuj et al. “Efficacy of FurosapTM, a Novel Trigonella Foenum-Graecum Seed Extract, in Enhancing Testosterone Level and Improving Sperm Profile in Male Volunteers.” International Journal of Medical Sciences 14.1 (2017): 58–66. PMC. Web. 15 Nov. 2017.
- “Testosterone therapy in women: Myths and misconceptions.” Maturitas, Elsevier, 4 Feb. 2013, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512213000121.
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- Wåhlin-jacobsen S, Pedersen AT, Kristensen E, et al. Is there a correlation between androgens and sexual desire in women?. J Sex Med. 2015;12(2):358-73.
- Endocrine Society. "Testosterone improves verbal learning and memory in postmenopausal women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617142043.htm>.