Testosterone plays a vital role in men’s health, but did you know that gut health and testosterone are connected?
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone responsible for many functions in the body for both men and women. In men, the testicles mainly produce testosterone. Some functions of testosterone for men include muscle growth, sexual health, bone density, and brain health.
Testosterone deficiency (TD) currently impacts 30% of men ages 40-79 years.
Although it is normal for men’s testosterone levels to drop by one to two percent every year as they reach their 40s, certain things can exasperate this decline. Unfortunately, low testosterone can be a symptom of a wide range of conditions and circumstances such as chronic kidney disease, hypertension, alcoholism, type 2 diabetes, obesity, genetic predispositions, and cancer treatments to name a few. More recently, studies are finding that poor gut health can be added to this list of conditions impacting male testosterone levels.
Symptoms of low testosterone include but are not limited to the following:
- Fatigue and decreased energy levels
- Decreased libido and sexual function
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
- Increased body fat
- Mood changes and irritability
- Decreased bone density
Understanding Gut Health and Testosterone
Knowingly, many things can influence men’s testosterone levels. However, emerging research shows a connection between gut health and testosterone in more than one way for men.
Leaky Gut and Inflammation
Currently, in the health and wellness world, it is common to hear about leaky gut. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, means an important membrane in your small intestine is dysfunctional. Normally, the junctions of your small intestine are tight and absorb nutrients while also keeping out unwanted particles and pathogens. When the junctions become dysfunctional, often from eating irritating foods among other causes, foreign particles can get into your bloodstream, which is not good!
Why is it concerning to have particles leaking out of your small intestine you may be wondering? Well, on the other side of your small intestine is your immune system. When particles leak through your gut, this can stimulate certain receptors to activate immune system cells to release histamine and other inflammatory compounds. This is how a leaky and unhealthy gut can create chronic or acute inflammation.
Inflammation Associated with Testosterone Deficiency
So, what does all this leaky gut and inflammation talk have to do with testosterone? Studies show that both chronic and acute inflammation initiated by endotoxin exposure is associated with testosterone deficiency. Endotoxins are among the list of particles that can leak through the gut lining when someone has leaky gut. Specifically, inflammation in men can disrupt the function of Leydig cells in the testes, which are responsible for testosterone synthesis.
Not only can things like poor diet, excess alcohol consumption, chronic stress, and lack of sleep cause leaky gut, but these stressors can also cause dysbiosis within the gut microbiome. Dysbiosis means there is an imbalance between the friendly and unfriendly bacteria in the gut. Having dysbiosis in your gut can not only contribute to leaky gut, but it can also cause even more inflammation and thus a further decline in testosterone.
How Testosterone Impacts the Digestive System
Adding more fuel to the fire, having an unhealthy level of testosterone, whether it be from leaky gut, microbiome dysbiosis, or another cause, can directly impact the functions of the digestive system. Optimal testosterone levels keep things moving within the colon as well as reduce pain within the GI (gastrointestinal) system. So basically, having low testosterone from an unhealthy gut condition can cause even MORE issues within your digestive system. The struggle is real.
Improve Gut Health for Optimal Testosterone Levels!
There is no denying that gut health and testosterone production are connected. We now know that inflammation interferes with the production of testosterone, but there is hope! On a positive note, a balanced healthy gut microbiome helps regulate inflammation and promotes hormonal balance.
Although research is still emerging, there are several strategies that can help promote a healthy gut and thus help support optimal testosterone levels. Consuming a balanced and nutrient-rich diet is always a good idea for better overall health and a healthier gut microbiome. But many times, people need a little more help with supporting their gut, and that’s where a high-quality probiotic like Flourish probiotics comes into play!
Introducing an all-natural living liquid probiotic like Flourish can actively reduce inflammation in the body and thus help prevent low testosterone in men. Research continues to show that probiotics play a vital role in helping reduce inflammatory markers by improving intestinal barrier function. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials showcases with the highest amount of scientific evidence how probiotics indeed fortify intestinal barrier function.
Remember to Always Consult with Your Physician
Although optimizing your gut health can have potential benefits for testosterone levels, testosterone regulation is a complex process influenced by various factors. It is crucial to always consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and proper guidance.
The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Written by Kelsy Armstrong, Entegro Health