Let me start by saying that I have depression and have been on anti-depressants for about 6 years. I knew something was wrong but did not know why I was always so emotional. Eventually I found out I was not only depressed but also had low testosterone. Not a great day for me, but at least I could start addressing the issues. So of course I wondered, will low testosterone cause depression? Are they related at all?
In this article I will answer these questions and much more.
What is Depression?
Depression, also called major depressive disorder is not an unusual diagnosis for many people. In fact, it is a very common and serious medical condition or illness can very negatively affect how you feel. It typically also affects how you think and even how you act. Depression causes feelings of extreme sadness and can eventually cause a loss of interest in doing the things you used to enjoy. It can lead to many other emotional issues and even progress to physical problems. Being unusually depressed will have an impact on your ability to function on a daily basis both at work and at home. The good news is, depression is very treatable. I can attest to that myself. And let me tell you, I am so glad it is. It made it possible for me to get my life back.
There are many symptoms of depression.
Depression symptoms can be really mild up to very severe and may include the following:
- You may be feeling very sad and/or having a consistently depressed mood.
- You have lost interest or enjoyment in the things you used to enjoy.
- Your appetite has changed and you are losing or gaining weight unintentionally.
- You can’t get to sleep at night or you may be sleeping way too much.
- You have no interest in getting up and going to work.
- You don’t seem to have the same energy as before and are chronically fatigued.
- You have feelings of being worthless.
- You feel guilty about things when you shouldn’t.
- You have trouble thinking clearly.
- It is difficult for you to focus and concentrate when you need to.
- You have a hard time making even simple decisions, that used to be easy.
- In really extreme depression, you even think about suicide and dying.
In general, to be diagnosed with depression, your symptoms need to have lasted for at least two weeks. There can be exceptions to this rule in extreme cases.
Depression is not the same as feeling sad do to a loss of life, a bad injury or other things in your daily life that just make you feel down. We all get down some times, but depression is a chronic problem that doesn’t go away on its own.
Be aware that there are some medical conditions that have symptoms like depression, so make sure your physician rules out any of those medical conditions prior to the declaration of depression.
According to the American Psychiatric Association,
“Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.”
What is Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone is a condition that happens, when a male is not producing enough testosterone. Testosterone is well known as the main sex hormone in men and is mainly produced by the testicles. It is responsible for male physical characteristics such as facial hair and muscle mass. Testosterone also helps men maintain their sex drive, sperm production, bone health and density. Women also have testosterone but in much smaller amounts.
The brain and pituitary gland control testosterone production by the testicles. Low testosterone can originate from testicular disease or failure, which is also known as primary hypogonadism. It can also be from disease or failure of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, which is called secondary hypogonadism.
There are several symptoms that come with having low testosterone.
Here are some symptoms are that are normally associated with Low Testosterone in Men:
- Lower than normal body and/or facial hair.
- Smaller than normal testicles.
- Sexual development that is delayed or not complete.
- Low sex drive.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Decreased spontaneous erections. No morning wood.
- Enlarged breasts. That’s right, the dreaded ‘man boobs’.
- Less lean muscle mass.
- Decreased bone density.
- Signs of depression and/or mood changes.
- Bouts of chronic fatigue.
- More body fat, especially belly fat. Low testosterone can cause more belly fat.
- Difficulty getting to sleep and getting a good nights sleep. Sleep Apnea is related to low testosterone.
To read even more about low testosterone in men, read my article on that subject by CLICKING HERE.
What are the Causes of Depression?
There is not a single cause for depression. It can be triggered for different reasons, and can vary from person to person. But there are some known risk factors or things that can trigger depression.
Some of these include the following:
- It has been shown that depression can run in families. Studies show that when the twin of a patient with depression is an identical twin and obviously shares 100% of the patient’s genes, that twin has a significantly greater chance of also having depression would a twin that is not identical.
- Events that can be very upsetting or may even be considered life changing are all potential triggers for depression. These could include one or more of the following: a death in the family, bankruptcy, a bitter divorce, long term illnesses, moving to another house, getting laid off or changing jobs, retirement, graduating from a school and financial issues.
- Social isolation or feelings of being deprived. Living alone
- Conflicts in relationships. Could be with a mate or even a superior at work.
- And these are big ones to me, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
- Depression after childbirth due to hormonal changes. Usually called postnatal depression. Untreated this can be devastating.
There are also individual cases where there is no specific cause or trigger for depression.
What are the Causes of Low Testosterone?
If you have read some of my other articles, you probably already know that testosterone levels in men start declining around age 30. It has been shown in many studies, that men after age 30 lose between 1 – 3% of their testosterone per year. Much of the time, this decrease in our testosterone doesn’t cause any problems that we are aware of. Low testosterone is not a disease. Lab testing of a male’s blood or self testing your saliva and additional investigation of all the signs and symptoms are important when diagnosing testosterone deficiency in men of all ages. By the time most men reach 80 years old, they will have lost at least half of their testosterone, compared to when they were in their teens.
Aging is not the only reason men stop producing the right amounts of testosterone. There are several other things that can contribute to low testosterone.
Obesity seems to just happen as we get older and that is a well known killer of testosterone, especially belly fat and the visceral fat around our organs.
Other causes are related to conditions that people are born with, like Klinefelter syndrome, but this is fairly rare.
Some other causes of low testosterone include the following:
- Chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, HIV, liver disease or kidney disease. This list is not all encompassing but you get the point.
- Injury or trauma to the testicles. That hurts just thinking about it!
- Removal of testicles to treat cancer.
- Chemotherapy or radiation.
- Use of medications such as antidepressants or narcotic pain medications. But wait, if I need antidepressants, I will have lower T? Yes, that is true of some anti-depressants, like Zoloft. I have first experience with that.
Can We Treat Low Testosterone and Depression With One Supplement?
Well, that is a really good question, and there isn’t a really good answer. We know we can treat low testosterone in many ways, including natural supplements. We know we can treat depression with medications and some natural supplements as well.
There are three supplements that will help increase low testosterone and also help with moodiness and depression. If you can take a supplement that contains all three, that would be the way to go. Lucky for us all, I have done research until I am blue in the face to find some supplements that are of high quality that meet these requirements. The three supplements are Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex (especially B6 and B3) and Zinc. You could add these to your supplement list individually or take one capsule that has them all.
Here is the only natural supplement that I recommend that include Vitamin D, Vitamin B and Zinc in the correct quantities:
Number 1 for sure. Contains awesome ingredients, including all three of the ones we need plus so much more:
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