Testosterone is a hormone produced in the male testes. During a boy's pubescent years (ages 9 to 14), there is an increase in production that leads to male secondary sexual characteristics such as a deeper voice, more muscle mass, facial hair growth and enlargement of the Adam's apple (among others). Some teenage boys experience these puberty changes at later ages than others. The timing of puberty is often genetically determined (through heredity), but other factors can play a role in delaying it, such as poor nutrition, physical trauma and certain diseases. Stimulating testosterone production naturally is possible in teen boys, although in rare cases hormone therapy may be needed to trigger and complete puberty.
A recent study at Wayne State University explored the outcome of two groups of men competing to win the attention of an attractive female. Researchers found that men with the highest testosterone levels in the study were more assertive, took more control of the conversation with the women and generally were more successful with females.
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On the flip side, a deficiency in the major male sex hormone—a condition that burdens some million American men over the age of 45, according to US census data—is, well, far from sexy. Side effects of “Low-T” include low libido, limp erections, hair thinning, muscle loss, fat gain, depression … In fact, one study found that that the lower a man’s testosterone levels, the higher his risk of death from any cause—heart disease in particular. Adding insult to injury, the Food and Drug Administration says there's little evidence that testosterone drugs are beneficial. ( Did we mention depression? ) The good news is you can boost your testosterone naturally, and diet plays a key role. So grab a pen, jot down a grocery list of these Eat This, Not That! -approved, T-boosting foods and get ready to unleash your hard-wired alpha male.