The short answer? It’s possible that low testosterone is hereditary, but not for the same reasons as cancer or heart disease.
Unless you’re an advanced robot or some extra-terrestrial being, you are made from cells that perform essential functions to keep you alive.
Inside these cells are hereditary materials known as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). This DNA is responsible for directing the activities of each cell, telling it what to do and when to do it.
But more importantly, DNA is a house of genetic information. From the color of your eyes to how tall you’ll be in adulthood, every unique component about you is influenced by your genetics.
And just like how your looks can be attributed to that of your parents and relatives, your genes also highly influence your propensity towards developing certain health conditions.
From cancer to heart disease, scientists have been able to link a wide variety of illnesses with specific gene variants. One health condition that’s been garnering a lot of attention lately is low testosterone.
But first, what is the significance of testosterone anyway? How do our genes dictate whether or not we produce enough of it?
Let’s investigate the research as to why this is the case, as well as ways to treat testosterone.
What is Testosterone and When is it Low?
Testosterone is a hormone that’s produced in the testes. It belongs to a group of hormones called androgens, which are responsible for male sex characteristics such as increased muscle mass, body hair, and deep voice. It also plays role in libido (sex drive) and fertility.
In men, testosterone is essential for proper development during puberty. It also plays a role in muscle mass, bone density, and sex drive throughout adulthood.
Testosterone levels usually reach their peak in early adulthood and start to decline around age 30. This gradual decrease is called andropause or “male menopause.”
Low testosterone, or “low T,” is when testosterone levels fall below the healthy baseline levels, typically ranging between 400 ng/dL to 1,000 ng/dL. Testosterone deficiency can cause a number of symptoms, such as:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of muscles
It can also lead to more serious conditions such as osteoporosis (weak bones) and depression. Low testosterone is diagnosed with a blood test, and low-T treatment usually involves testosterone therapy.
What is Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)?
Sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG, can affect male hypogonadism. SHBG is a protein that’s responsible for binding androgens like testosterone. When testosterone is bound, it stops becoming available for parts of the body to use.
Unbound or free testosterone make up only 2% of the total testosterone levels in the body. These are free for your tissues and organs to build up muscle mass, produce red blood cells, and more. The rest of the total testosterone levels are bound by SHBG.
When the number of circulating or free testosterone is low, your body will experience the effects of low testosterone.
What the Research Says about Whether Low Testosterone is Hereditary
Firstly, it should be mentioned that low testosterone is not only a genetic disease. It can also be caused by other conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and pituitary gland problems.
If you have a family history with the disease, it’s still possible that you won’t experience low testosterone if you take care of your health. The opposite is also true; you can have low testosterone even if there’s an absence of testosterone problems in your ancestral history.
However, research suggests that low testosterone may have a genetic component.
A study published in the Journal of The Endocrine Society looked at the relationship between testosterone levels, male serum SHBG, and genetic markers in 1,505 men.
The study found that out of seven SHBG genetic variations examined in the study, three of the seven variations had genetic associations with decreased testosterone levels.
In addition, rare genetic disorders may also lead to men developing low testosterone levels. Diseases like Klinefelter syndrome, where men are born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome, can also increase the risk of T-levels falling in the low to low-normal side.
Until now, the science of how we can predict the likelihood of men developing low testosterone is still unfolding. However, medical advancements are starting to look up in the future.
A recent study has uncovered 114 new genetic markers that can assist doctors in determining the chances of men developing low testosterone in their adulthood.
How to Cure Low Testosterone
Curing low testosterone requires a doctor’s intervention. If you think you have the symptoms of low testosterone,visit a doctor for a testosterone consultation.
If the results come back and show that your testosterone levels are lower than they should be, your doctor will likely prescribe testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
TRT therapy may be administered through one of several methods:
- Testosterone Injections: Testosterone cypionate or enanthate are injected into a muscle
- Implants: A pellet of testosterone is placed under the skin
- Testosterone Gel: Applied daily to the skin
- Patches: Applied daily to the skin
Hormone replacement therapy is another possible treatment plan your doctor may explore depending on your test results and customized diagnosis.
Natural Ways to Improve Testosterone Levels
There are also some things you can do to help boost your testosterone levels naturally.
These include the following activities:
- Shed the excess pounds
- Exercise regularly
- Decrease stress levels
- Sleep at least 8 hours daily
- Eat a nutritious and T-friendly diet
- Stop taking vices like alcohol and nicotine
By falling into bad habits, you may have an increased risk in developing hormone deficiency.
Contact Atlanta’s Top Men’s Health Clinic for a Low Testosterone Consultation, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options
Low testosterone can be genetic, but it can also be caused by other health diseases like diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, there’s still more to discover about how genetic variants play a role in altering one’s likelihood towards developing low testosterone.
TRT is currently the most effective treatment for low testosterone levels. You can also try some lifestyle changes to help improve your T-levels naturally.
If you think you might have low testosterone, see your doctor for a personalized Low-T diagnosis and treatment plan.
The medical professionals at Priority Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health, including erectile dysfunction and low testosterone. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We treat the underlying issues that led to sexual dysfunctions such as Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.