Testosterone is an androgenic anabolic steroid hormone that is produced through a process of steroidogenesis from the substrate cholesterol. It is the principle male sex hormone responsible for the male sexual characteristics, development, and physique. It is produced throughout the lifetime of male humans.
Production of testosterone begins in utero, meaning during pregnancy. The hormone is the marker of what sexual organs form in the fetus. A fetus exposed to testosterone during pregnancy develops the testis and scrotum. Production then continues through early childhood into puberty. During puberty, the hormone is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics. It leads to the development of pubic hair and their distribution in the armpits face and genital areas. It is responsible for the deepening of the voice. All of these are the androgenic effects.
Other androgenic effects include increasing the size of the rib cage during puberty, the formation of a distinct Adam’s apple, enlargement of sexual organs, increased the frequency of erections and the growth spurt important at this age. In a nutshell, the hormone is responsible for males appearing male. It transitions boys into a man.
The steroid hormone also has anabolic effects during puberty which include broadening of the shoulders, the increased muscle bulk, and strength associated with puberty and the bone strength. The hormone does this by binding to its receptors. The hormone is also responsible for hair loss that may occur in certain individuals known as alopecia. Another unpleasant effect is the increased production of sebaceous gland leading to increased sebum production and finally acne. However, with adulthood, the production of sebum reduces, and the skin becomes clearer.
During the transition into adulthood, testosterone is needed for the general wellbeing of men. It is important in preventing depression and having a normal sleeping pattern. It keeps fatigue at bay while keeping optimal energy levels. It maintains the levels of high-density lipoproteins, the good cholesterol, in the body thereby reducing the development of cardiac disease.
Like other steroid hormones, the range and magnitude of its effects on humans are influenced by the genetics of the person, the levels of the body, some testosterone receptors and the responsiveness of the person to the hormone.
To answer the question is testosterone a steroid; one has to look at its organic structure and the synthetic pathway, and one comes to the conclusion that it is indeed an organic steroid.