Understanding The Function Of Testosterone: How It Works In Your Body
Most of us know what the function of testosterone is and how it benefits us, but how it actually works within our bodies, particularly at cellular level is more of a mystery to us.
This is a shame, as once you fully understand about testosterone and its hormonal processes, the easier it is to use its powerful effects to our advantage.
In this article I uncover and describe the effects of testosterone and how it functions within our cells.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Understanding The Function Of Testosterone: How It Works In Your Body
What Is The Function Of Testosterone
Testosterone is a natural anabolic steroid hormone, it plays a key role in the development of our masculine characteristics.
It is responsible for the development and maintenance of our sexual and reproductive system, controlling the manufacture of and the release of sperm.
Testosterone is also responsible for the stimulation of our muscle mass, strength, bone strength, body hair, our deeper voices and to a certain degree our assertiveness and personality traits.
Testosterone is the end result of quite a complex series of hormonal events which start in the hypothalamus in the brain.
This Is Called The Hypothalamic Pituitary Gonadal Axis (HPG)
The Hypothalamus is a small gland in the base of the brain, when testosterone is required it releases a hormone called gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH).
This hormone is then sent to another gland just below the hypothalamus known as the Pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland is then triggered to produce and release 2 other hormones called Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
LH travels down to the Leydig cells in the testes, this encourages them to start to produce testosterone. From there it is passed into the blood stream, where it gets to work.
This system of events is like a relay race, should one part fail, the entire process comes to a stop and testosterone stops being produced.
Testosterone Is A Steroid Hormone
Hormones are all generally classified by their structure, as an example, peptide hormones such as Insulin and Growth Hormone (GH) are made from chains of amino acids.
Steroid hormones (such as testosterone, estrogen, glucocorticoids and progestins) on the other hand are made from lipids, these come directly from cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a crucial precursor to testosterone, and it goes through a complex change inside the testes before it is turned into testosterone.
First it is changed into pregnenolone by an enzyme known as cytochrome p450, it then is converted into androstenedione before ending up being released as testosterone.
Androgen Receptor Cell Function and Testosterone
As the primary male hormone it has a direct influence over cellular events, it acts as a chemical messenger to the cells.
A fact to remember is that while testosterone can reach every cell in the body, it can only have any effect on those with androgen receptors. These are proteins that catch testosterone and take into the cell. The full name of this process is steroid-hormone-activated-transcription-factor
These Androgen receptors are found in various tissue cells within our body. These include our liver, prostate, skeletal muscle and our central nervous system
Once Testosterone enters into the blood stream, it is grabbed by Androgen receptors, once within the cell, testosterone gets to work by binding with the androgen receptor protein, it then enters the nucleus and triggers specific genes.
Testosterone Works Hand In Hand With Your DNA
Testosterone cannot function properly unless it can connect with the DNA, it has the somewhat ability to change its shape to enable it to get into the nucleus of the particular cell.
Once inside the nucleus it binds to your DNA in a sequence called a hormone response element. This process allows it to make and regulate changes to your genes.
This means that Testosterone can make specific changes to your cells, triggering events such as hair growth, increased muscle mass, and improvements in sexual responses, and even moods and behaviour.
To Sum Up
The function of Testosterone is far reaching, responsible for everything masculine, our deep voices, body and facial hair, our muscles, strength, our sexual responses, moods and overall behaviour.
However, it could not do any of this without certain androgen receptors allowing it to get into our cells, and from there, deep into our genes where it can influence and change our DNA.
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MEET THE AUTHOR: My name is Paul Gardner – I am the editor, main researcher and writer for testojunction.com.
I am 59 years old and currently live in the outskirts of London.
Sport and fitness has been a massive part of my life, as a younger man I used to swim competitively. Representing the county at events both home and abroad.
I have also been an avid squash and tennis player too, and have been a keen gym goer all through my life.
I have a CPD accreditation in Sports Nutrition, and have studied and have been writing about nutrition, hormones, natural ingredients and sports supplements for over 12 years and have had articles published in many popular publications.
One area that I have a particular interest in is how hormones play a massive part in our development, fitness, muscularity, strength and of course our sexual development.