Hypogonadism and Low Muscle Mass
It has been observed that as men get older, their metabolic processes that are responsible for producing normal testosterone levels becomes inefficient. The resultant effect is decline in the serum testosterone levels. With increasing age, these men begin to experience sign and symptoms of low testosterone such as low sex drive, poor libido, erectile dysfunction, low energy, decreased muscle mass etc. This condition is also known as hypogonadism. According to a survey almost two to six million men in US are suffering from hypogonadism.
Testosterone and Muscle Remodeling:
Anabolic hormones such as testosterone are responsible for building muscle mass by converting dietary nutrients to long chain complex proteins that are converted into muscles. Normal serum levels of testosterone serve following functions:
- Strengthening of existing muscle fibers
- Remodeling of skeletal tissues to enhance strength and stamina
- Deposition of new t to add more bulk and strength to tissues
So, it is no surprise why a lot of people in US tend to rely on exogenous sources of testosterone to gain muscle mass in a short span of time.
Why low testosterone levels lead to low muscle mass?
Muscles are dynamic tissues that constantly undergo wear and tear (also known as remodeling) changes as part of normal metabolism. All muscle tissues have androgen receptors that have special affinity for testosterone. When testosterone is released in the system, it binds androgen receptor and facilitates the remodeling of muscle matrix. With loss of testosterone due to hypogonadism, the muscle remodeling processes shut down and muscle degradation begins.
In addition, with decline in testosterone levels due to aging or disease, estrogen overpowers and converts muscle mass into fat. Several research studies have also proved that belly fat secretes aromatase – an enzyme that converts circulating testosterone to estrogen.
Building muscle mass with low testosterone:
If you have low testosterone levels, start with following simple tips to reverse hypogonadism:
- Engage in aerobic and strength training to build muscle mass by converting fats
- If you are obese or overweight, speak to a dietitian or nutritionist and start following a healthy weight loss plan
- Healthcare professionals recommend about 150 minutes per week weight lifting for men who are interested in building their muscles and restore their testosterone balance.
- Maintain healthy sleep cycles to optimize testosterone synthesis as lack of sleep increases the production of stress hormone that counteracts the benefits of testosterone
- Choose your diet wisely; make sure you consume a healthy and balance diet with high quality proteins, vegetables and fruits along with nuts
Not every case of symptomatic hypogonadism responds to lifestyle modification and dietary management. Some men may need more aggressive measures such as hormone / testosterone replacement therapy. TRT or testosterone replacement therapy aims at restoring normal testosterone levels in the body to achieve optimal basal metabolism and restoration of other biological and reproductive functions.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hypogonadism, speak to your healthcare professional to see what treatment options are right for you.