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The Role of Testosterone in Woman's Health

Testosterone is usually associated with men’s health, but it’s also vital for women’s health too and can often be overlooked when addressing hormonal imbalances



The Many Roles of Testosterone in Women’s Health

 

Testosterone supports many functions in a woman's body:

 

  • Muscle mass

  • Skin elasticity

  • Bone strength - Low levels of testosterone are associated with the formation of osteoporosis and loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) as women age.

  • Hair health

  • Memory function

  • Mental health - Testosterone elevates norepinephrine levels in the brain, causing an antidepressant effect in women

  • Libido - Healthy testosterone levels support libido and sexual interest

  • Energy

  • Weight management 

 

So you can see not only are estrogen and progesterone important to consider for women's health, but testosterone also plays an important role.


Once again I'll refer to the 'Goldilocks principle' - Women need testosterone but the amount of it and its ratio to other hormones matters immensely. Too much or too little can lead to health problems.

Too much testosterone and women may experience hair loss on the head and hair in places you don't want it i.e. the chin, the likelihood of acne increases and mood changes that usually involve irritability and anger.

Yet we need some testosterone for the things that I've already mentioned above.


Like other sex hormones, women make testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands.

If we have too much of it, it can be linked to too much of another hormone called insulin, which can occur with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

In order to address elevated testosterone, it’s almost always necessary to also address elevated insulin levels. Remember the Hormonal Hierarchy!



What causes Low Testosterone 

There are several main reasons for low testosterone levels in women acknowledging that levels typically do drop as women age.

Chronic stress, through its effects on the adrenal gland, can reduce testosterone. So not only does testosterone support positive mood and cognitive function, but in the reverse, chronic stress can feed back and cause lowered levels of testosterone.

Other causes include the use of oral contraceptives, poor sleep quality, and depression.

Low testosterone is a usually associated with stress and aging in women.


How to help your body produce more testosterone naturally?

 

  •  Get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep

  •  Effectively manage stress - Breathwork, TIme in Nature, Make time for fun!! etc

  •  Regular Moderate Exercise - strength and aerobic

  •  Maintain a health weight

  • Eat a nutritious diet for proper nutrition, which may include supplementation. Arginine, leucine, glutamine, and zinc have been shown to help increase testosterone levels in women.


Elevated Testosterone

Elevated testosterone is problematic, most often, in young women.

A common problem caused by too much testosterone is Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with elevated testosterone often report sugar and salt cravings. Irregular periods and infertility can be caused by elevated testosterone, which can be a part of PCOS.

Sometimes I also see elevated testosterone during perimenopause or in women who over exercise, which can cause so much stress in the body that the body responds by increasing testosterone.


There are other effects of elevated testosterone that people sometimes don’t think about. These include an increased risk of developing breast cancer, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

PCOS falls into the category of metabolic syndrome, which is associated with insulin resistance, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, osteoporosis, sleep apnea, and a whole host of other issues that can drive up testosterone in women. What is interesting is that these similar things can make testosterone lower in men.


How to help your body lower testosterone naturally?

Food truly is medicine. There are so many ways we can use food to improve our health, especially in hormonal health. A special mention too:

  • Green tea can increase a binding protein called sex hormone binding globulin, while the licorice root decreases testosterone synthesis directly.

  • White peony tea has been shown to improve progesterone, reduce testosterone, and modulate estrogen and prolactin.

  • Zinc helps regulate the menstrual cycle, promotes healthy ovulation, reduces inflammation, and balances stress, thyroid hormones, and testosterone. Whether a woman’s testosterone levels are too low or too high, zinc helps balance it to the right level.

  • Omega-3 works similarly to zinc, where it will help balance your hormones. For men, it can help increase testosterone, whereas with women it can help decrease the number of androgens.

  • Quality sleep 7-9hours a night

  • Stress mitigation techniques like Breathwork, TIme in Nature, TIme spent with friends and doing things just for the fun.


How to test if you suspect you might have a Testosterone Issue

The DUTCH test is the most comprehensive way to evaluate sex hormones function, as it evaluates metabolites and biomarkers derived from estrogens, progesterone, and androgens.

It is taken via urine sample multiple times during the day to gain reliable data.

I offer the DUTCH test at the Live Wild Studio for clients who need support with sex hormone balance or infertility concerns.


Understanding and managing testosterone levels is a vital aspect of maintaining vibrancy and well-being for a woman.

By incorporating nourishing foods, engaging in regular exercise, taking care of the hormones above testosterone in the hierarchy you can take meaningful steps towards balancing this essential hormone.


Disclaimer: Please note that as a Clinical Nutritionist I work primarily with food and lifestyle changes, and on a case by case bases with nutritional supplements as my primary strategy for improving wellness.

The balance of the information in this article is based on my own research gleaned from credible sources and is intended as general information only, NOT personalised advice.

If you would like personalized advice please book a consultation that will result in a unique Treatment plan for you.

This information provided takes a functional/integrative medicine perspective which includes a holistic (nutritional and environmental) approach to improving health and well-being.

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