Testosterone is the main male sex hormone. It is produced in men’s testicles and in smaller amounts, in the adrenals. It is one of the main drivers of physical changes related to becoming a man including increased muscle mass, a deeper voice and body hair growth. Testosterone is responsible for a man’s sex drive; and outside of its sexual functions, it assists with body composition (more muscle/less fat), energy levels, mood, confidence, strength and stamina, high-level mental functioning, and concentration.
What is Normal?
As men age, the body starts to produce less testosterone. After reaching their “testosterone peak” in their late teens, testosterone levels hold steady until the 30s, when levels start to decline. Normal testosterone levels in healthy men are between 1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to 300 ng/dL.
As part of the normal aging process, testosterone production declines by about 1-2% each year. That’s not a huge change – at least, not big enough to be the sole cause of the main problems normally associated with low testosterone: decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction (ED).
For example, Joe’s testosterone level at age 39 is 788. He’s healthy, at his optimal weight, and takes great care of himself. As he ages, Joe can expect a steady decline in his testosterone levels. By the time he is 69, his levels are still well within the normal range, at 434 assuming a 1.5% annual decline.
However, Joe is in the minority, as more and more men consult their doctors about symptoms related to low testosterone.
Unfortunately, rather than immediately treating the underlying cause of low testosterone, some doctors jump straight into prescribing testosterone replacement therapy.
In many cases, this is unnecessary. testosterone levels can be raised naturally (as the first course of action) or with supplements like we describe on this page. Then, if these measures fail, testosterone replacement can be considered.
Ways to Boost Testosterone Naturally
Lifestyle changes can be considered your “secret weapon” in increasing testosterone levels.
- Resistance training and interval training
Frequent exercise is one of the most effective ways to ‘cure’ or prevent most lifestyle-related ailments. A good mix of exercise types will help you shed excess weight and restore normal hormonal balances. This mix includes:
- Cardio (running, walking, cycling, swimming)
- Resistance training (weights, body weight exercises, yoga)
- High-intensity training (intervals of hard effort/recovery/repeat) including racquet and ball sports. More info here: dietpillreviews.com/hiit-workout-routines
When it comes to testosterone, resistance and interval training is most effective at delivering a quick testosterone boost. This effect is not permanent, but if done regularly, it can effectively increase your overall testosterone levels.
- Caffeine and creatine supplements, when taken during exercise, appear to increase testosterone production.
- A better diet. Focus on increased leafy green vegetables, protein, fat, and carbohydrates within a whole food diet. Avoid dieting or overeating, as these negatively impact testosterone and other hormonal levels. Leafy green vegetables are truly superfoods, as they are packed with macro- and micro-nutrients that support hormonal health. In particular, they are rich in zinc which is one of the minerals necessary for healthy testosterone levels. Eating more protein helps you feel more energetic and aids in fat loss, which elevates testosterone levels. Fat has had a bad reputation; however, eating fat will not make you fat! Fat is the most effective fuel source and helps in maintaining healthy hormonal balance. Carbohydrates have been shown to optimize testosterone levels during resistance training and intense exercise.
- Manage your stress. Chronic stress is the leading cause or contributing factor to a wide range of ailments including those that directly contribute to low testosterone. Therefore, reducing stress (through meditation, a healthy social life, and exercise) can be one of the most powerful ways to elevate your testosterone levels. Being under constant stress also increases cortisol levels, which can lead to weight gain and the storage of unhealthy visceral fat around the organs.
- Boost your zinc, B-vitamins, and vitamin D. Get enough Vitamin D through spending more time outside or through supplements. Many people are vitamin D deficient, especially if they are sedentary and spend a lot of time indoors. Testosterone levels can be increased by up to 25% by taking 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Zinc and the B vitamins play an important role in preventing or treating low testosterone. Two of our top choices when it comes to testosterone boosting supplements can be found below:
- Get more sleep. Americans are chronically sleep deprived, and those who slumber less than 5 hours per night exhibit a dramatic 15% reduction in testosterone levels. You can boost your testosterone levels by ensuring that you shut the TV off several hours before sleep… avoid caffeine and other stimulants after lunchtime… and meditate to reduce stress (just 10 minutes a day of focusing on your breath can calm your racing thoughts and promote restful sleep).
- Avoid estrogen-like compounds (including soy), BPA plastics.
- Cut back on the drinking. Not only does excess alcohol lead to weight gain, it can also interfere with hormonal balances.
- Laugh more! Spend time with people who make you happy. Not only will a healthy social life combat depression (a cause and an effect of low testosterone) but it will improve the quality of your life.
- Try herbal supplements. Not all herbal supplements have been heavily researched; however, a few stand out:
- Ashwagandha root has the most research-backed testosterone-boosting qualities. Ashwagandha also lowers the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol, which can result in a quick boost in energy, libido, mental clarity – and promote weight loss.
- Ginger root has been shown to increase the levels of sex hormones.
- Try testosterone replacement (as a last resort). If the above measures don’t raise your testosterone levels adequately, talk to your doctor about testosterone replacement. This is not a decision to be made lightly, as testosterone therapy can come with adverse side effects including a reduction in your body’s ability to produce testosterone; therefore, it’s a lifelong commitment. It is effective, there is no doubt, but it is healthier to address the root cause(s) of low testosterone than to treat the symptom itself.
Healthy testosterone levels are essential to your overall health. Therefore, taking the necessary steps to up-level your lifestyle, can quickly boost your testosterone levels and improve the quality of your life.