The Real Reason It's Low

Symptoms of Low Testosterone:

  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Low sperm count
  • Erectile dysfunction

How It’s Made:

In men, the production of Testosterone involves a series of signals sent from the brain to the testes. Starting with the hypothalamus, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is secreted. This stimulates the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH). LH then travels to the testicles and stimulates specific cells to produce testosterone.

〉Hypothalamus (GnRH)  Pituitary (LH)  Testes (Testosterone)

Testosterone levels are also regulated by a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds to testosterone and makes it inactive. Only a small amount of the total testosterone made, called free testosterone, is available for the body to use at any given time.

What Low “T” Means:

Testosterone is present in male and female children at about the same levels until puberty. At this point testosterone skyrockets in males and greatly outpaces the increase in females. The testosterone increase in males results in development of male physical characteristics such as body hair, muscle mass, bone density, and Adam’s apple. It is also what is responsible for sex drive.

Despite what many believe, the body doesn’t just decide to produce less testosterone. There is always something else interfering with the body’s ability to make it. Low testosterone should be viewed as a “check engine light” – it’s a red flag letting you know that something deeper is going on and needs your attention.

The Underlying Cause:

The most common treatment for low testosterone is testosterone replacement therapy. This involves some form of external testosterone being supplied to the body via injections, gels, pellets, or patches. Some chose a more natural way, and use herbs as testosterone support. Although both may be helpful in decreasing symptoms, they merely act as band aids until the underlying cause is addressed.


  • Inflammation is a normal immune response, but chronic inflammation can damage tissues and organs, including the testes. A large amount of inflammation occurs in the gut when there is an imbalance. This can result from bacterial overgrowth, parasites, or food sensitivities. When these are present, the immune system has to work overtime to keep everything in check. Inflammation in the gut can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients essential for testosterone production. For example, zinc is a mineral that is required for testosterone production. Gut inflammation can impair the absorption of zinc, which can lead to low testosterone levels.
  • One of the body’s mechanisms for dampening inflammation is cortisol. Cortisol is made from cholesterol. Testosterone is also made from cholesterol. With chronic inflammation, cortisol production is increased and this has an opposing effect on the production of testosterone. To read more about cholesterol click here.
  • Cortisol is also secreted by the adrenals when blood sugar levels are low. This is so the previously stored energy from fat cells can be used as energy. This mechanism relates to another underlying cause of low testosterone.

Insulin resistance:

  • Insulin is responsible for storing excess blood sugar in fat cells so the energy may be used later. When cells are exposed to high levels of insulin, they become resistant and require higher amounts for the same response. High levels of insulin increase aromatization (or conversion) of testosterone into estrogens.
  • Insulin resistance can also reduce testosterone production from the testicles. This is because insulin is involved in the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), which directly stimulates testosterone production. This is also how insulin resistance relates to PCOS in females.

Restoring your Testosterone:

With insulin resistance and inflammation playing a role in testosterone levels it is important to address both. This can be done by the following:

  • Exercise– this directly boosts testosterone.
  • Diet– Avoid excessive alcohol, artificial sugar, vegetable oils containing linoleic acid, processed foods, and trans-fats.
  • Eat more whole foods– these are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients which support male fertility and a healthy body weight.
  • Sleep– a lack of sleep increases stress hormones (ie. cortisol)

If you are experiencing low testosterone symptoms and would like to get to the root cause, feel free to book a free consultation here.