Testosterone is a significant hormone, playing a key role in several important physical processes. In men, this chemical dictates the progress of their sexual development. For instance, it first spurs the growth of male sexual organs (genitalia). Testosterone also contributes to individual sperm count and sex drive. Altered levels of testosterone impact these functions by altering the body’s capability of producing sperm that can live to maturity and negatively impacting their libido.
Though many might men might not know it, testosterone also impacts other important bodily functions. It influences muscle mass and strength. This is the main reason why professional bodybuilders utilize illicit injections of the chemical. Finding the “perfect” range of testosterone allows individuals to grow muscles that their natural testosterone levels cannot produce.
Testosterone also impacts bone density and red blood cell count. These two functions are linked, as blood cells are produced within bone marrow. However, this aspect of testosterone functioning is more indirect than sexual development/muscle growth. Testosterone impacts bone density because a majority of the chemical designated to bone density is converted to estrogen, which builds bone mass. Bones that are not dense enough are consequently not capable of producing enough red blood cells – one of the scary impacts of inadequate testosterone levels.
In women, testosterone plays a much more muted role. It is involved in kick-starting puberty, although it does not play as big a role as it does in men. Interestingly, testosterone potentially helps females, especially as they age, providing protection against ailments like Alzheimer’s disease.