The primary male sex hormone or androgen, testosterone plays a critical role in male health and development, according to Seekwellness.com. It also plays a lesser role in female development. Maintaining an adequate level of testosterone through proper diet, exercise and weight management provides a wide variety of benefits for men.
A significant increase in the production of testosterone in males triggers the onset of puberty, when the body begins to develop toward physical and sexual maturity. Testosterone allows the body to increase bone density and overall muscle mass during this period, reports Seekwellness.com. It also causes the maturation of the sexual organs.
Libido and Heart Health
The Mayo Clinic reports that the decline in testosterone production as men age contributes to the decline in libido, as well as the development of infertility. Maintaining higher levels of testosterone can help men to keep the libido active and retain the ability to perform sexually, thereby reducing the likelihood of infertility with aging. Having an active sex life also helps to boost testosterone, making one somewhat interrelated with the other. However, while not a direct effect of testosterone, the active sex life that can occur as an indirect effect of higher testosterone levels does help to prevent strokes and heart attacks, according to a March 9, 2008, article at ABCNews.com.
Testosterone also contributes to a man's overall energy levels. An Aug. 10, 2009, article appearing on ABCNews.com reports that up to 25 percent of men suffering with lower testosterone levels experience lethargy or feeling of tiredness. Normal levels of testosterone help to keep men feeling energetic and active. A related benefit of testosterone is that it plays a role in maintaining a regular sleep pattern, which can also improve overall energy levels.
Testosterone assists the body in controlling fat levels. When testosterone levels fall, according to the Mayo Clinic, body fat levels tend to rise, while muscle mass and strength tend to lessen. Testosterone alone cannot control body fat levels, though. High fat diets and high alcohol consumption can cause weight gain, which reduces testosterone levels.
Higher levels of testosterone lead to greater feelings of confidence and drive. According to an April 2010 article in "Men's Health," testosterone increases drive and ambition, in part, by stimulating the amygdala, which helps to control feelings of aggression. While too much aggression can have counterproductive effects, too little testosterone driven aggression can leave a man feeling listless.