Testosterone is a steroid hormone secreted by the male testicles, female ovaries, and adrenal glands of both genders. Secretion from the testicles in men declines in middle age making the adrenal gland system of greater importance to overall vitality and hormone balance. This shift from testicular production to adrenal gland production is called andropause.
Taking testosterone is becoming a popular treatment strategy to address low testosterone levels. This approach offers short term benefits with long term damage to the hormone system. Negative Feedback describes the closed loop to the brain where the body registers all hormone production and adjusts the body based on needs. Supplying the body with an outside hormone confuses the brain resulting in the brain further shutting down the gland that was already in trouble. Negative Feedback is also seen in healthy males taking steroids for performance (the urban legend of testicular shrinkage from taking steroids holds some truth).
A better approach is to first treat the glands themselves to make sure the highest level of normal production is achieved. Herbs, vitamins, minerals, and acupuncture can be used to improve function. Clinically, I have found these approaches to be enough to normalize and improve function the majority of the time. If there is still a medical need for prescription hormones then at least the amount can be minimal and Negative Feedback reduced since Functional Medicine was applied first.
Video Describing Hormones, Homeostasis, and Negative Feedback
Holistic & Integrative Medicine