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7 Best Low Testosterone Treatment Options (Science-Based)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: December 30, 2021

As men age, their testosterone levels drop. It starts happening when men are 30 to 40 years old.

The drop in testosterone levels leads to low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depression, reduced muscle mass, and lower energy levels.

Many testosterone treatments are available, but with so many options out there, knowing what’s best for you can be difficult.

I’ve consulted a medical professional and performed hours of research on different testosterone treatments to help you decide what’s the best one for you. Let’s start.

Summary of Our Key Findings

  • Signs that you may have low testosterone include losing body hair, erectile dysfunction, low energy, and depression.
  • There are several effective therapies for low T levels.
  • You should consult with a doctor to decide which testosterone treatment is best for you.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Testosterone levels reach their peak when men are in adolescence to early adulthood.

Once they turn 30 to 40 years old, T levels start to drop. According to research, total testosterone levels drop around 1.6% on average per year. [1]

It’s recommended to do a blood test to determine if testosterone level drop is due to age, or a disease, such as hypogonadism.

The most common signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels include:

  • Decreased facial and body hair
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Increased body fat
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Lower bone density
  • Lower sperm production

What Is The Best Therapy?

man with syringe and a woman patching her elbows

For a long time, normal testosterone levels have been difficult to establish for clinicians.

This was done in 2017 when a press release from the Endocrine Society said a study helped define the normal range of testosterone to be 264 to 916 nanograms per deciliter for men between 19 and 39 years old. [2]

Problems with the testicles or the pituitary gland that controls them can cause low T even in younger men.

To go on testosterone replacement therapy, men need to have low testosterone levels in their blood, as well as show several other symptoms of low T levels.

Some of the testosterone therapies a doctor can choose from include:

  • Skin patch — applied once a day, usually in the evening on the upper body. It releases small amounts of testosterone into the skin, which helps fight hormonal imbalance.
  • Gel — applied once a day on the skin of upper arms, shoulders, or thighs. After applying, you should wash your hands and cover the treated area so others aren’t exposed to testosterone.
  • Pellets — these are implants placed under the skin. They are usually placed under hips or buttocks and are replaced every 3 to 6 months.
  • Injections — these are usually applied for 7 to 14 days. Injections affect testosterone levels most quickly. Usually, after an injection, testosterone production is high for a few days, and then it slowly decreases until there’s a testosterone deficiency again, and the T levels stabilize. It can be challenging for the patient, as there are likely to be mood and energy level swings.
  • Oral therapy — Pills that are swallowed or tablets attached to the gum or inner cheek twice a day. These slowly release testosterone into the bloodstream.
  • Testosterone supplementsherbal supplements that contain vitamins and minerals and claim to increase testosterone levels. There isn’t enough research done to support these claims.
  • Testosterone foodsome food can help increase testosterone levels, especially if it is rich in zinc and vitamin D. One study claims that garlic can raise low T. [3]

You should visit a primary care doctor, who will perform blood tests, such as total testosterone level, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, to determine your natural hormone levels and decide if you need testosterone replacement therapy.

“There are screening tests that we like to do to, to monitor and to make sure that you do have a truly low testosterone level. And there are some other lab tests that we’d like to check that we will monitor when you're on therapy. So, having the discussion with your MD, understanding the risks and benefits will really lead to a better outcome.” - Aram Loeb, MD, University Hospitals urologist 

Doing blood tests to determine your levels of testosterone is especially important if you have prior health conditions, genetic diseases, or hormonal imbalances.

Natural Remedies

Since testosterone is a hormone, your best bet to increase the levels of this hormone is to consult your doctor and undergo one of the available hormone therapies for low T levels.

However, some people strive to avoid therapies, and they are on the lookout for natural remedies.

If you are one of them, you can try to increase the levels of testosterone in a natural way.

Here is what can help you achieve this goal:

  • Do resistance exercise and lift weights
  • Try to manage your stress levels
  • Get enough vitamin D
  • Get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol
  • Change your diet
  • Use supplements

Side Effects of Therapies

While testosterone therapy is believed to be the best treatment for low T, it has several side effects, such as:

  • Acne
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer
  • Blood clots
  • Increased red blood cells count
  • Fluid retention
  • Redness and itchiness at the place where testosterone therapy is administered
  • Allergic reactions to long-acting injection
  • Topical testosterones (gels and creams) can transfer to others
  • Enlarged breasts in men

What’s the Best Treatment for Low Testosterone for You?

You should consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment for low T for you. Consulting with a professional is especially important if you’re trying to have children or have liver or prostate issues.

Testosterone therapy can have many benefits, such as improved sexual function, increasing muscle mass, losing weight, and overall optimal health.

However, there are many side effects, such as less energy, mood swings, and belly fat, among other things.

To avoid or at least minimize the side effects of testosterone therapy, let a doctor prescribe a therapy according to your condition and needs; don’t choose the hormone therapy on your own.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2544367/
  2. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/102/4/1161/2884621
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11481410/

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