A prescription is required to obtain true testosterone, though various supplements available over the counter are advertised as being capable of increasing the body’s production of that hormone, which is commonly associated with youthfulness and virility.
Testosterone – a hormone made by the testicles in men – is the “most important” male hormone in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health
. Testosterone is important for feeling well and maintaining energy, keeping bones and muscles strong, creating blood cells, maintaining sex drive and generating sperm.
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A man’s level of testosterone is the highest at about age 40, then gradually decreases after that, said WebMD
. Symptoms off low testosterone include a lack of energy, decreased sex drive, changes in sleep patterns, decreased muscle strength and a less effective memory, according to HealthClop.com
A growing number of men are pursuing hormone replacement strategies involving testosterone to rejuvenate libido, build muscle, increase energy and fight the effects of aging, according to Men’s Journal
. Sales of testosterone supplements have more than doubled since 2006 and estimates of the number of men currently taking testosterone in some form range as high as 5.6 million.
A prescription is required to acquire true testosterone because it is a controlled substance, Dr. Eva Cwynar said, according to Newsmax
. She said various supplements available over the counter are advertised as helping increase the body’s production of testosterone.
But Cwynar warned that the use of testosterone can shut down a man’s body’s production of that male hormone, saying once that treatment is started it can be difficult to stop.
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“Testosterone therapy is beneficial to many men with low levels of the hormone, giving them more energy, muscle definition and libido. It is usually administered by injection, skin gel or patch. But taking supplemental testosterone can shut off the brain's ability to send messages to the testicles to produce one's own natural hormone,” she said.
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