The endocrine system is responsible for secreting a variety of vital hormones, or chemical messengers, which are essential for supporting significant bodily processes like growth, metabolization, and sexual development.

Hormones require feedback signals to activate and then bind to specific receptors all over the body. Testosterone (T) binds to androgen receptors and is the primary male sex hormone. It’s one of the most influential hormones in males, but it can decline with time, resulting in numerous medical complications. 

Testosterone and You

There are actually two distinct versions of testosterone within the body. Bound testosterone makes about around 98% of the T men produce. Bound testosterone attaches itself to proteins and is unavailable for use while free testosterone floats throughout the bloodstream. Once free testosterone binds to the receptors on cells for absorption, it becomes functional.

Diseases that attack the pituitary glands and hypothalamus or cause chronic inflammation can cause T levels to drop below 300 ng/dL, causing low T. 

Direct trauma to the hypothalamus, testes or pituitary glands also causes a temporary or permanent decline in T production. Almost 80% of men with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), are also diagnosed with low T. 

While stress can feel unavoidable for most adult American males, doctors suggest limiting stress levels to avoid several serious medical conditions, including low T. Stress triggers the fight-or-flight response, causing a rapid increase in cortisol, the steroid hormone. Excess cortisol can temporarily slow or pause testosterone production.

Testosterone and exercise have a complex relationship. Moderate to high-intensity exercise has been proven to both increase T production and maintain healthy T levels in adult males. However, researchers found that training too hard can cause T levels to drop. Overtraining syndrome (OTS) occurs when men over-exert themselves during workouts or don’t include adequate rest or recovery periods and is another cause of low T.

High Body Mass Index (BMI) and obesity also lower T levels overtime. Adipose tissue, or fat cells, absorb free testosterone and create hormone imbalances. They also transform testosterone into a form of estrogen called estradiol, which only exacerbates the symptoms of low T in men. 

The Effects of Low T

Low Energy

Testosterone turns food into energy. Men with low T notice a decrease in their overall energy or motivation to perform simple tasks. 


One of the most common psychological effects of testosterone depletion is inexplicable changes in mood and depression. Researchers are still uncovering the mental link between T levels and mood, but they have found low T causes anxiety, depression, and irritability in men. The physical manifestations of depression include headaches and back pain.

Brain Fog

Scientists at Harvard Medical School found that older men with low T had a harder time concentrating on tasks and difficulty with memory in comparison to men with normal T levels.

Difficulty Sleeping

The circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour sleep and wakeful cycle and relies on hormones like testosterone to remain balanced. Researchers found a link between abnormally low T levels and difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

Testosterone also mimics the effects of estrogen in women. In low levels, men can experience hot flashes or night sweats like menopausal women. 

Decreased Muscle Mass

The body uses testosterone to transform food into muscle-building protein. The lower T levels drop, the harder it is to rebuild muscles after resistance training and weight lifting. Muscles contain androgen receptors. Testosterone attaches to receptors to maintain muscle fibers; otherwise, they will shrink.

Increased Fat Mass

Low T not only lowers muscle mass, but it also increases body fat percentage. Muscles burn more calories than fat tissues; testosterone suppresses fat gain by inhibiting lipid uptake and decreasing the production of fat mass.

Get Solid Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Durham, NC

Durham is an integral part of the Research Triangle Region and is most known for its tech companies and prestigious higher ed institutions. There are over 260,000 residents, making it the 4th largest city in the state. There are over 80 testosterone replacement therapy clinics for men over 30 in the area, including Renew Vitality.

Narrow your options by searching for clinics that have highly-qualified physicians. Call clinics nearby and ask if their physicians are board-certified and specialize in TRT. 

Maintain Your Vigor with Renew Vitality

Renew Vitality is the first choice for several Durham residents because we offer individualized treatment plans. Our physicians know there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to TRT. That’s why we work with our clients one-on-one to identify the root cause of their issues and identify their short and long term goals.

While some clinics only offer medications at Renew Vitality, we take a comprehensive approach to optimizing male virility and longevity. We design a multi-faceted wellness program that incorporates the latest innovations in nutrition, exercise science, and hormone replacement therapy to create long-lasting results.