Testosterone Production in Males

Patient :   I have always been an outstanding athlete. On and off for the past ~5 years I have gone through varying levels of stress and tension. Bad relationships, confusion about career choice, extensive studying, etc. have all contributed to this. I was nervous that this tension would lower my testosterone levels so I had a testosterone test done. The results were that I was in the top 1%. ------- my question is, once the source of the anxiety / tension goes away -- does the body make a full recovery ? or will that tension limited my potential as an athlete?
Doctor :   To help answer your question, it helps to understand how testosterone is produced in the body and how production can be effected. In men, 95% of testosterone is produced in the testicles and 5% if produced in the adrenal glands. The testicles receive chemical signals from the pituitary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland receives signals from the hypothalamus which is also in the brain. The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).  GnRH signals the pituitary gland to produce and secrete luteinizing hormone (LH). LH orders the testes to begin producing testosterone.  As testosterone levels rise, the body signals the pituitary gland to make less LH. This feedback loop helps to maintain serum testosterone concentrations withing the normal range. Any disease of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland or testicles would cause a decrease in testosterone levels.  You do not have a decrease in testosterone levels.  Many lifestyle habits also affect the way testosterone is produced. A diet high in meat and poultry may expose a man to hormones used in meat production that act like estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production as are prolonged periods of high stress. Mild to moderately intense physical stress, as in casual sports and sexual intercourse, may actually boost testosterone levels. Alcohol consumption has been proven to decrease testosterone levels. Thus, to answer your question, Stress is reducing your hormone levels and exercising is increasing your testosterone levels thus a reduction in stress levels will probably improve your life and athletic performance.

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