Do women need Testosterone?
Testosterone is a well known mens hormone but is also a key hormone for women as well. Since it's an essential hormone, an imbalance for both men and women can have a huge impact on your health and well-being.
First, what role does testosterone play in a woman's body?
Testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. It helps the body with a number of different functions like,
regulate mood and supports the health of female reproductive tissue and bones
Increase muscle mass
Decrease body fat
Supports a healthy libido and sex drive
Maintain and support bone growth
Helps support cardiovascular health
So yes, it's just as important for women as it is for men!
Now, what are some symptoms of low testosterone in women?
Dry skin or skin issues
Low sex drive
Loss of muscle mass
Increase in body fat or difficulty to lose weight
Mood changes - depression, anxiety etc.
If you have any of these symptoms or suspect low testosterone, it's a good idea to ask your doctor for a blood test to determine your hormone levels. Even if you don't go about that route, there are a few things you can do to increase your testosterone levels naturally.
What to do?
Exercise and lift weight - strength training is key! HIIT or High intensity interval training, is also an effective form of exercise in raising testosterone levels.
Balance your macros - AKA - protein, fats, and carbs! Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with your testosterone. Carb intake also plays a role, with research showing carbs can help optimize testosterone levels during resistance training. Also having a sufficient amount of healthy fats is beneficial for testosterone and healthy hormones in general. So a whole foods based, macro balanced diet is best!
Minimize stress and cortisol - high stress and cortisol levels can extremely damaging to hormones in general. High cortisol levels can quickly reduce testosterone as these two hormones go hand in hand.
Sunshine and Vitamin D - To boost testosterone and reap the other benefits of vitamin D, try to get regular exposure to sunlight or take around 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement daily.
Sleep - getting enough sleep is crucial for health in general especially for testosterone levels. Studies show that getting only 5 hours of sleep reduced testosterone levels by 15%. Another study showed that increasing your sleep by just an hour a night could increase your testosterone by 15%.
Again, if you suspect you how testosterone or a hormonal imbalance in general, it's a good idea to ask your doc for a blood work up. Don't be quick to start taking meds though as there are lots of things you can do to boost testosterone and balance hormones naturally.