Grab your cheatsheet
As men age, it's common for their testosterone levels to decrease. While the natural decline in testosterone is a normal part of aging, it can also result in various symptoms, including decreased sex drive, fatigue, and depression.
But does low testosterone cause depression, or is it just a coincidental occurrence?
This is a question that many men and healthcare professionals ask, and the answer is not straightforward. While low testosterone levels have been linked to depression, it's unclear whether it's a direct cause or simply a contributing factor.
And with as many as 5% of men suffering from depression at some point in their life, it’s essential to understand how decreased levels of testosterone impact this.
This article will explore the latest research on the link between low testosterone and depression and what you can do if you're experiencing these symptoms. So, if you're looking for answers on this important topic, read on to discover what science has to say.
What is depression?
The first thing to understand about depression is that it's more than just feeling sad.
Everyone will feel down occasionally, and that's normal. However, depression is more severe and burdens the sufferer with persistent and chronic sadness and loss of interest.
For many people, depression can be debilitating and impact their ability to do regular day-to-day things. It affects how you act, feel, think, and behave, and it's not something that you can 'cheer up' from.
The truth is that there are a lot of conflicting and often unsupported claims about depression, making it hard to understand fully. Despite this, the medical field has identified various symptoms and indicators of depression.
Some of the most common symptoms include the following (although you're unlikely to experience them all at once):
- Feelings of dread and hopelessness
- Having a low sense of self-esteem and body issues
- Feeling irritable and intolerant
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling anxious - many people with depression also suffer from anxiety.
In addition to these physiological symptoms that will affect your mood, depression also has some effects on your body that many people may not be aware of. These physical symptoms include:
- Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
- Changes in appetite leading to weight loss.
- Increased levels of aches and pains
- Lack of energy
- Poor sleep quality
In most cases, those who suffer from depression likely have a chemical imbalance in their brain. The main culprit is that they lack enough serotonin, which is considered the happy hormone.
That said, although the biological reason behind depression is simple enough to explain, the causes of this imbalance are far more varied and difficult to pin down.
There could be dozens of reasons why someone can develop depression, including childhood trauma, genetic inheritance, health problems, life events, and testosterone levels.
Testosterone's role in depression
If a person has a low testosterone level, it's not uncommon for that individual to also have symptoms of depression. This is because some of the side effects of testosterone mirror some of the impacts of depression, such as low energy, decreased drive, and irritability.
In fact, because so many symptoms of depression and low testosterone overlap, it can make diagnosis tricky, leading to many men being attributed to having both issues at the same time.
Of course, low testosterone isn't the only cause of depression, and men can still get depression despite having normal and even high testosterone levels. That said, there is a higher portion of men suffering from depression also having low T, implying a correlation, and suggesting that this condition has an effect.
It's also worth considering how low testosterone's effects can alter your mood. Low testosterone can cause weight gain and other physical changes, and a person's view of self may change, with many men with low T feeling ashamed of how they look.
This can heighten the feelings of depression, making the condition worse and more layered and complicated to fix.
Due to these similarities, it’s not always easy to figure out if you have low testosterone or depression. And if you are struggling with any of these symptoms, then it’s a good idea to check your testosterone levels or speak to a physician.
Other effects of low testosterone
Low testosterone levels don't just affect your mood. A significant drop in this male hormone can adversely affect your body and mind.
Although these other effects won't cause depression, they can contribute to a negative feeling of self, making you lose self-confidence, which can heighten the feelings of depression.
Some of the other effects of having low testosterone levels include:
Increased body fat
As your testosterone levels drop, your metabolism will slow down alongside it. Unfortunately, this means that you won't be able to process and break down the fats and calories you consume, leading to a domino effect that causes weight gain and not the good, muscley kind that bodybuilders train for.
In addition, a low testosterone level will mean that you have a higher level of estrogen, a primarily female sex hormone. This increase will mean that you are at greater risk of growing man boobs, which are swollen breast tissue caused by this increase in estrogen.
Your testosterone governs your sex drive. This means having a low level of this hormone will make you feel far less inclined to bed down and be sexually active.
As a result, you'll feel far less interested in doing the deed, and you may also struggle to perform when engaging in the act. This can be a big issue if you have a long-time partner, which can affect your relationship and inhibit your ability to contribute to satisfying sex.
- Related content: Foods that increase your libido
The good news is that low testosterone is unlikely to cause erectile dysfunction directly.
That said, most men who report issues with getting an erection have low testosterone levels alongside other problems. This means that although it's not a significant cause of the issue, it contributes to worsening the situation.
Low testosterone is linked with many causes of erectile dysfunction, such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Dealing with these issues by increasing your testosterone levels will likely help with erectile dysfunction.
Decreased muscle mass
One of the essential things testosterone does to your body regulates your muscle
A large amount of testosterone will help you build larger muscles quickly, whereas a low testosterone level will make it harder for you to gain mass and, instead, will contribute to losing a lot of your size. These changes in your appearance can cause issues with your self-image, worsening your feelings of depression.
Low testosterone will also make you feel a lot more tired and sleepy during the day and make it harder for you to recover after exercise.
This issue doesn't improve after rest either, meaning that no matter how well you sleep, you may still feel tired and require more energy.
How to increase your testosterone levels
If you think that you're dealing with some symptoms of depression or the other issues that low testosterone can cause, then one of the best approaches you can take is to try and raise your testosterone levels. Depending on the stage you are at in life, doing this can be easier said than done.
Exercising frequently is one of the best ways to boost your natural testosterone levels. Resistance training is the best exercise for strengthening testosterone levels, such as lifting weights that strain your muscles. The rise in levels usually lasts only 15 minutes to an hour. Still, it can help you alleviate some of the symptoms of depression caused by low testosterone.
It's said that exercising is best in the evening instead of the morning, as this time will give you a more significant rise in testosterone that will usually last longer. In addition to exercise, your food can also help raise your testosterone.
More specifically, avoiding certain foods can help you overcome low levels. This is because foods like processed meats can contribute to low testosterone levels, so replacing these items with foods high in zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D can help you see an increase in testosterone, which should help boost your mood.
Boost your testosterone, boost your mood.
Depression can and has ruined many lives in the past. Although it is usually treated through medication, therapy, diet changes, and even exercise, an often-overlooked way to improve your mood and mental function is to try and boost your testosterone.
With so many overlapping symptoms of low testosterone and depression, it's no surprise that both are linked. Improving one may cause the other issue to get better too.
Boosting your testosterone can be difficult, although doing things like eating right, performing regular resistance training, and taking the right supplements can make the process a lot easier and hopefully improve your mood if you are suffering from depression that a low level of testosterone has caused.
If you need help boosting testosterone, a natural, legal supplement such as Testoprime can help.