Q: What is the role of testosterone among women?

Testosterone is a male hormone but women have it too. The normal testosterone range in women is much lower than that in men. Testosterone is important in women for building bones, supporting brain health, improving energy, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping depression at bay.

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When testosterone is low in women, you feel tired all the time, low emotionally, experience reduced libido and joint pains. But elevated testosterone can cause acne, oily skin, hair loss, facial hair and increased aggressiveness. These symptoms can be experienced by women on daily DHEA pills (DHEA helps produce male and female sex hormones in the body).

Keeping testosterone in an optimal range will improve bone health, vitality, emotional health, and metabolically active muscle. You can get the following lab tests done to check testosterone levels: Total Testosterone; Free Testosterone; Sex Hormone Binding Globulin DHEA.

Here are some ways for women to restore testosterone naturally:

1. Weight training and resistance workouts like pilates, weightlifting, crossfit and body resistance-based exercises. Aim for 20-30 minutes at 3-5 days per week. Start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase the time. 

2. Foods rich in zinc (cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, egg yolk, red meat, oysters). A 50mg zinc supplement every day is beneficial to boost testosterone as well as thyroid health.

3. Eat protein at every meal. This will support blood sugar balance, which improves insulin levels and testosterone. Elevated insulin can lead to higher levels of testosterone secretion. Elevated testosterone is common in PCOS due to insulin dysregulation.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.