Does cholesterol affect healthy testosterone production in men? The answer is still unclear, but the causes of high cholesterol may have more to do with Low T symptoms than you may think.
Before we explore the relationship between these two conditions, let’s first define what cholesterol is, and what we mean when we say good vs. bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance made by your liver. We all produce cholesterol naturally and need it to build cells, make vitamins, and produce important hormones.
When people hear the term “cholesterol”, they immediately assume it’s bad news, but your body produces different types of cholesterol:
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) Cholesterol: This is what’s known as “bad” cholesterol—as it can build up in your blood vessels as plaque and increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) Cholesterol: This is the “good” cholesterol that may protect against heart attack or stroke—as it helps your body remove cholesterol away from the arteries and returns it to your liver.
When cholesterol levels are too high, they can create buildup in the blood vessels, resulting in a narrowing of blood vessels. This may lead to increased blood pressure or cardiovascular disease.
The Link between Cholesterol & Testosterone
Cholesterol circulates in the blood and is found in every cell of the body: “Cholesterol also is needed to make vitamin D, hormones (including testosterone and estrogen), and fat-dissolving bile acids,” (Harvard Health Publishing).
We need cholesterol to thrive, but too much of this waxy substance can lead to serious health issues down the road.
WHAT CAUSES HIGH CHOLESTEROL?
High cholesterol may be hereditary. Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), for example, is an inherited gene mutation that causes an individual to produce too much cholesterol in the blood: “Men with FH get coronary heart disease up to 10 to 20 years earlier. Half of men with untreated FH will have a heart attack or angina before they turn 50,” (American Heart Association).
A person may also experience high cholesterol due to unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices. In fact, a diet high in saturated fats and low in physical activity can contribute to spikes in cholesterol levels. Smoking can also raise high LDL cholesterol and lower HDL. It’s suggested that quitting smoking may have the reverse effect.
Other contributing factors that may lead to high levels of cholesterol include:
Stress: Remember, when our bodies feel stressed, we experience changes in our hormones and blood pressure—which may cause cholesterol levels to rise.
Certain Medications : Certain medications may cause individuals to experience side effects that can include higher levels of cholesterol.
Excessive Weight Gain: Weight gain and obesity can lead to higher cholesterol and triglycerides—a fat that’s typically caused by certain foods we eat and can increase your risk of heart disease.
Though scientists continue to investigate whether high cholesterol can affect a man’s testosterone production or vice versa, the data is still insufficient. However, men can experience low T symptoms and high cholesterol simultaneously—and if you’re familiar with Low T then you can already see that the causes and symptoms of each condition share many similarities.
What we do know is that making certain lifestyle improvements to your physical activity and eating habits can have a tremendous impact on both conditions.
Focusing on Men’s Health & Wellness
If high cholesterol runs in your family, or you’re experiencing symptoms of low energy, depression, rapid weight gain, etc., our team of medical providers can help.
When you schedule an appointment at one of our three locations, our team will evaluate your cholesterol levels and look into your Total Cholesterol. That means we’ll assess the ratio of HDL/LDL cholesterol and complete a cardiovascular risk calculation.
After reviewing this data, one of our men’s health experts will recommend a medication management or lifestyle improvement program that may include increased fitness and improved nutrition. We’ll work with you individually to ensure you feel supported and receive professional guidance as you embark on this new journey.
If you’re ready to start treating your high cholesterol and low T symptoms, schedule an appointment with EveresT Men’s Health today!