Testosterone is a hormone which plays an essential role in men’s health. For starters, it stimulates the optimal maintenance of muscle mass, bone density and also the sex drive. Testosterone deficit is called hypogonadism, and it can cause various unpleasant effects, therefore, such a health condition should be avoided in the first place.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone which is found in humans and animals. Men’s testicles primarily make testosterone, and women’s ovaries also produce the hormone, though in much smaller amounts. The production of testosterone starts to increase significantly during puberty, and it begins to decrease after approximately 30 years of age.
Testosterone is associated with sex drive and libido, and it plays an essential role in the production of sperm. The hormone also affects muscle and bone mass, the way that fat is stored in men’s bodies, and it also has a great importance in the red blood cell production. In the case of men, their testosterone levels can affect their mood.
Did you know that the average 100-year-old Okinawan male has much higher levels of testosterone than the average male from America who is 30 years younger?
Unfortunately, today, low testosterone in men is a health condition that is rapidly growing. Maintaining the optimal levels of testosterone can be quite tricky and we’re not only referring to men. A healthy woman can make up to 300 micrograms of testosterone in her ovaries and adrenal glands daily. Women with low testosterone levels will experience, just like men, symptoms that include: decreased libido, chronic fatigue and also a decreased state of well-being, apathy. Therefore, testosterone is a hormone we should all keep tabs on!
Testosterone Benefits for the Human Body
Testosterone is known as the sex hormone which is responsible for defining manhood, and this is very accurate. But, however, optimal levels of testosterone are very important also for stimulating sexual desire, for increasing the libido, for heightening the arousal and for ensuring sexual satisfaction in both women and men.
Proper levels of testosterone in the human body will also ensure the maintaining of the following:
- Sufficient levels of red blood cells
- A healthy pain response of the body
- Regular sleep patterns
- Muscle mass
- Proper bone density
- High energy levels
Causes of Low Testosterone Levels
As women and men age, their testosterone levels will naturally decline, but this process is accelerated faster than normal by the typical unhealthy lifestyle we all tend to have:
- Chronic stress
- Insufficient nutrition
- Low vitamin D levels
- Imbalanced microflora
- Weight gain
- Inadequate exercise
- Prescription drugs
Low levels of testosterone have become such an issue that affects up to 40% of men over 45 years old at the present time. The prevalence of women with low testosterone is not known at the moment, but an article from Wall Street Journal suggests that the pain epidemic many women struggle with, may be linked to imbalanced hormones, including testosterone.
Along with aging, the amount of testosterone in the body will naturally and gradually decrease and this process starts after the age of 30 and continues throughout our whole lives. Here are some other possible causes of low testosterone levels:
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
- Infection, injury or loss of the testicles
- Some genetic abnormalities (such as Klinefelter’s Syndrome – extra X chromosome)
- Dysfunctions of the pituitary gland (a gland that is located in the brain and which produces many essential hormones) or of the hypothalamus
- High levels of iron in the body (hemochromatosis)
- Medications and especially hormones which are used to treat prostate cancer and corticosteroid drugs
- Inflammatory diseases
- Chronic kidney failure
- Chronic illness
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Obesity (especial in the abdominal region)
- Type 2 diabetes
The bottom of a man’s normal total testosterone range is about 300 nanograms/deciliter (ng/dL) and the upper limit is approximately 800 ng / dL.
Low Testosterone Symptoms and Effects on the Human Body
The symptoms in case of low testosterone levels include the following:
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Feelings of depression
- Decreased sense of well-being
- Difficulty in concentrating
Low testosterone levels can cause the following physical changes in the body:
- Decreased muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Changes in cholesterol levels
- Decreased hemoglobin levels and mild anemia
- Osteoporosis (fragile bones)
- Decrease in body hair
- Changes in lipid levels
Diagnosing Low Testosterone
The only accurate way of detecting this health condition is to have a doctor measure the amount of testosterone in the blood. It is important to remember that testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, therefore, some measurements will need to be taken, in order to detect a deficiency of testosterone. It’s best to test the hormone’s levels early in the morning when testosterone levels are the highest.
Treatments for Low Testosterone
This health condition can be treated with hormone replacement therapy and with natural boosters of testosterone. We’ll have a look at both in order to learn their advantages and disadvantages.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone deficiency can be treated by:
- Testosterone gel applied to the skin or inside the nose
- Intramuscular injections
- Mucoadhesive material applied above the teeth twice a day
- Long-acting subcutaneous pellet
- Testosterone stick (applied similarly to underarm deodorants)
Each of these medical options will provide adequate levels of hormone replacement but it’s important to remember that they all have some pros and cons which you need to find out from your physician, in order to make the perfect choice for your body and to see which approach is best for you.
Who Shouldn’t Choose Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Men who suffer from the following health conditions should stay away from the treatments described above:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Severe urinary tract problems
- Untreated severe sleep apnea
- Uncontrolled heart failure
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
- Oily skin or acne
- Mild fluid retention
- Breast enlargement
- Increased risk of developing prostate cancer
- Stimulation of the prostate tissue with increased urination symptoms (decreased stream or lower frequency)
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Worsening of sleep apnea (the sleep disorder that results in frequent night time awakenings and also daytime sleepiness)
- Mood swings and increased aggression
- Decreased testicular size
- Increased risk for heart attacks and strokes
Some lab abnormalities which may occur during the hormone replacement therapy include the following:
- Changes in lipid and cholesterol levels
- Increased red blood cell count
- Decreased sperm count and also infertility
As you can see, hormone replacement therapy has a lot of side effects and anyone taking it will need regular follow-up appointments with the doctor.
Natural Testosterone Boosters
Add healthy fats to your diet as a natural way to boost your testosterone levels. Most people with low testosterone eat too much junk food and too many carbohydrates. It’s important that you get rid of all these empty calories and instead choose healthy fats.
A study which was published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry showed the effects of diet on sex hormones in healthy individuals. The results showed that when men decreased their intake of healthy fats, serum concentrations of testosterone and other hormones were also decreased. This indicated that low testosterone is a risk of low-fat diets.
There are 3 categories of healthy fats. The first one is represented by saturated fats. Saturated fat is beneficial to the human body if it is the proper kind. Such healthy saturated fats are found in coconut oil and raw, fermented dairy such as yogurt, goat milk kefir, sheep milk cheese. You must also avoid conventional dairy because it will damper your testosterone levels.
The second category of healthy fat is omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming salmon or adding a quality fish oil supplement to your diet is very beneficial. Flaxseeds, chia seeds and also walnuts are great to increase the levels of testosterone.
The last category of healthy saturated fats is represented by monounsaturated fats. For instance, eating an avocado every day, or olive oil and almonds will really help get the healthy fats which will naturally boost your testosterone levels.
An essential nutrient which helps you naturally boost your testosterone is vitamin D3. A study from 2011 published in the Journal Hormone and Metabolic Research showed that vitamin D supplementation can boost testosterone levels in overweight men by up to 30%. Vitamin D3 was also linked to the prevention and to the treatment of cancer.
If you suffer from vitamin D deficiency symptoms, this will crush the levels of your testosterone. Therefore it’s also important that you stay in the sun for 20-30 minutes every day in order to detoxify your body and to get the important vitamin D. If you can’t sit in direct sunlight, you will definitely need to supplement your diet with 5.000 IUs of vitamin D3. No matter what you do, if your vitamin D levels are too low, your testosterone levels will also stay low.
Men with hypogonadism (low testosterone levels) often have zinc deficiencies. Research suggests that zinc also plays an important role in regulating serum testosterone levels in healthy individuals. So, eating foods that are rich in zinc will definitely help. Red meat, oysters, and poultry are very rich in zinc, and other sources of this essential nutrient include the following: crab, nuts, beans, lobster and whole grains.
This herb has been used for centuries in foods and it was reported in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism to have reduced body fat and to have improved the levels of testosterone. It may also be helpful in case of weak sex drive because it can boost the libido. You can get fenugreek from curries (as it’s used to flavor them) and teas, or you can also find it as a supplement.
This herb contains very high amounts of furostanolic saponins which are chemicals that naturally boost testosterone levels.
Ginger’s health benefits are stronger than you’ve ever imagined. It has been shown to fight nausea, inflammation, and even cancer. According to a study in the Tikrit Medical Journal, ginger can significantly improve testosterone levels and semen quality in infertile men.
Even if it sounds like a creature from the movie Jurassic World, this plant is great for your libido and for the general health of your body. A study from 2012 showed that consuming 6 grams of Tribulus root for 60 days improved erections and also the frequency of sex in men with low sperm count and quality. It was also able to reduce sexual fatigue and to boost testosterone levels.
Damiana is a shrub also known by the name of Turnera diffusa and it comes from Mexico and Central and South America. Some research from the University of Mississippi discovered that damiana contains 2 active ingredients (acacetin and pinocembrin) which directly work to keep the testosterone levels high and they can also inhibit the estrogen production from the body.
D-Asparaginic Acid (D-Aspartic Acid)
This amino acid stimulates the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) which travels via the bloodstream to the testicles and there it causes a boost in the production of testosterone. Italian research showed that healthy men who supplement with D-aspartic acid have a 30% increase in their LH levels.
Meat lovers are free to rejoice because they don’t have to cut the steak out of their diet plans. On the contrary, consuming steak is encouraged for boosting the testosterone levels. However, when we choose our cut, we should try and opt for a grass fed over grain fed variety because this type of beef contains a much healthier fat profile which is essential for optimizing the testosterone levels.
Instead of using sugary sauces and condiments to add flavor to the foods you prepare, you should go natural with garlic, because it’s one of the healthiest ways for boosting taste and also for improving your health. People who eat garlic on a regular basis have noticed improved heart health and also increased testosterone levels.
Garlic should be left to sit for a few minutes after it is peeled and after that, it should be chopped and the great benefits will take full effect this way.
You should definitely start your day with an orange. Vitamin C is extremely important for lowering your overall cortisol levels and it also maintains higher levels of testosterone. Vitamin C is essential for fostering a stronger immunity and this means you’ll be able to put more effort into each one of your workouts. By eating an orange first thing after you wake up in the morning, you’ll get a strong daily dose of vitamin C. You could also consider swapping the regular lettuce from your chicken wrap for some spinach.
We have already noted the importance of getting enough zinc in your diet. One supplement that works along those lines is ZMA – zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 and this is best taken just before bedtime. It will not only help you fall asleep faster and achieve a greater quality of sleep but it will also help boost your testosterone levels.
You should consider trying herbal tea instead of coffee. It’s not a problem to start your day with a cup of coffee but you should definitely not be filling that cup 5 times a day! Too much caffeine will lead to increased cortisol levels and this will cause a higher risk for muscle mass loss and also decreased levels of testosterone. If you choose herbal tea instead you’ll find more health benefits and you’ll also notice that you will be able to sleep better if you cut your coffee from the afternoon.
Celery with Peanut Butter
Nut butter and celery are great for boosting the testosterone levels. Celery contains 2 powerful androgens (androstenol and androstenone) which help assist with the production of testosterone and they’ll naturally elevate the levels of this hormone.
You should consider supplementing with Resveratrol because this supplement has been catching on in popularity because of its health-boosting properties. You can find it in grapes but in order to get the most benefits for your health, it should be consumed in very large doses. Supplements with resveratrol in their composition will make it easier for you and they’ll boost your testosterone levels.
Try sprinkling berries on your morning oatmeal. Berries are some of the best fruits because they contain less sugar than pineapples or bananas while containing important antioxidants which help you protect your body from free radicals. They can help lower your risk of developing cancer because of oxidation. The substances which are found in berries’ composition will also help to reduce the levels of estrogen from the body and they’ll boost the testosterone levels instead.
One of the most efficient veggie for boosting testosterone levels is broccoli and another of its benefits is the fact that it can lower the amount of estrogen which is being produced in the body.
Another beneficial supplement is forskolin, a herb which has been known to naturally elevate the levels of testosterone in men when it’s used for an ongoing period of time. It can also enhance the overall well-being including the energy levels and mood.
Once in a while having a bite or two of some delicious dark chocolate is a very wise choice. It contains antioxidants and biochemical compounds which help to boost the testosterone and also provide a lot of minerals and vitamins to your body.
Try sautéing some onions with your steak because it seems that this vegetable has the ability to help optimize the levels of your testosterone.
It was believed that salty diets can put you at risk for high blood pressure and various heart diseases. However, it has been found that the type of salt you consume is very important as salt intake is related to potassium levels. You must choose healthy salts such as Himalayan crystal salt or sea salts and you will definitely be helping your body’s health. These salts are not processed and they’re healthy for the body, also promoting optimal levels of testosterone.
Have a grapefruit for dessert to finish your meal, because adding citrus fruits to your day will help lower total estrogen levels and instead they’ll promote healthy levels of testosterone. This fruit is also low in carbs and sugar.
This is another herb that has been associated with higher testosterone levels and you should make sure you use a quality source in order to be able to experience its optimal effectiveness. This herb can also combat stress and improve the body’s overall energy.
Shilajit is a mineral-dense amazing ingredient which is found in the Himalayan Mountains and it can also boost testosterone levels in a natural way, therefore it’s beneficial to consume supplements which contain it in their composition.
20 Ways of Naturally Balancing Your Testosterone Levels
Next, we’ve prepared some great advice which can also be seen as natural ways of boosting the testosterone levels.
Consider Intermittent Fasting
One of the essential natural testosterone boosters is intermittent fasting and it has been shown that testosterone is increased by almost 200% or even up to 400% by using this method, making it extremely beneficial. A study from the University of Virginia Medical School showed that growth hormone levels increased dramatically over the baseline in individuals who ate no calories for 24 hours. Growth hormone levels are correlated with testosterone.
Intermittent fasting means that you skip breakfast and you eat all the other meals closer together. You must eat three meals per day: one at noon, another at 3 p.m. and the last one around 6 p.m. This way, your organs will have plenty of time to rest, especially your liver. This is vital for naturally balancing hormones, especially testosterone.
Exercising: Heavy Weight Training and Interval Training
Combining weight training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT workout) is the perfect solution to naturally boost the levels of testosterone from your body. You should go to the gym at least 3 times per week and there you should lift heavy weights. Lifting heavy weights 6-12 reps with large muscle groups such as hamstrings, quadriceps, back, shoulders and chest will help your body pack on the max amount of muscles. Lifting between 30 to 60 minutes will also be very beneficial for optimal testosterone levels.
The researchers at Ball State University found that strength training is able to induce the production of growth hormone and testosterone release. A study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center analyzed the acute effects of weight training over the serum testosterone levels. The results showed that even moderate and light weight lifting can increase testosterone production in the body.
Combining weight training with interval training seems to be the best combo to increase testosterone levels. Burst training will keep your testosterone levels high and will also prevent their decline. This involves exercising at 90-100% of your maximum effort for a short period of time in order to burn stored sugars; this must be followed by a period of low impact for recovery.
This way your body will be able to burn fat for the next 36 hours in order to replace the vital energy stores. All of these will not only boost testosterone levels, but they’ll also lower your heart’s resting rate, lower blood pressure, increase circulation in the brain and promote detoxification by stimulating the lymphatic system.
Detoxify Your Liver!
You must definitely embark on a liver cleanse because this organ is crucial for testosterone levels in the body. When it fails to function optimally, it will affect your testosterone output. The reason is that the liver holds an enzyme that conjugates testosterone.
A study which was published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology showed that testosterone is reduced by 90% in men who suffer from cirrhosis and the levels of the hormone will keep falling as the disease advances. This shows how vital the liver’s health is to testosterone levels in the body.
In the case of individuals with low testosterone, struggling with frustration, anger, unforgiveness, these will all drop the hormone levels even more over time. This is just one of the many ways in which chronic stress is killing the quality of life.
On the other hand, physical and mental stress can also be therapeutic and beneficial for the human body, but the problem appears when you become chronically stressed and the body remains stuck in a state where it’s continuously pumping out cortisol. A study which was published in the journal Hormones and Behavior showed that when cortisol levels become too elevated, testosterone responds to this by elevating as well, but soon after bottoms out at a lower level than the one before the cortisol kicked in. So, you will want to bust stress in order to keep your hormone levels elevated.
Take care of all your emotional issues, especially anger, frustration, resentment, unforgiveness, and you’ll soon start to detoxify in a spiritual way and this is also going to promote your optimal testosterone levels.
Lose the Sugar
If you want to naturally optimize the levels of testosterone from the body you should consider kicking the sugar habit immediately. Sugar has been linked to depleted testosterone levels in many ways.
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetics are twice as likely to also develop low testosterone levels. Once the disease develops the body is not able to produce the right levels of testosterone so the patients with diabetes should get their testosterone levels checked periodically.
Get Some Quality Good Night’s Sleep
An article published in the journal Current Opinion of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity, getting enough sleep and also at the right times is an effective way to raise naturally your testosterone levels. It’s important to sleep at least 7 hours every night, and you should also go to bed around 10 p.m. because of the 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. window which has great healing effects on the body while also maintaining an optimal hormonal balance.
Loose the Excessive Weight
Some research published in the European Journal of Endocrinology confirms the fact that losing some weight will help boost the testosterone levels. Men who are obese or overweight also have much lower testosterone levels unlike individuals with normal weight. Of course, you don’t have keep crash diets and the best way to achieve and to maintain an optimal weight is regular exercise and sensible diets.
Review Your Medication
There are some medicines which can cause your testosterone levels to drop, and these include the following:
- Opioid drugs
- Glucocorticoid drugs
- Anabolic steroids (used for building muscles and for improving athletic performance)
If you are concerned about testosterone levels in your organism, you should discuss with your doctor your medications in order to make sure that they’re not the cause for your imbalanced hormones and to be able to make adjustments to your treatments if needed.
When you’re selecting your protein powder, choose anything but soy. Also do your best to keep soy out of your daily diet, because it tends to promote the production of estrogen in the body which is not going to help in boosting the testosterone levels.
Stay Away From Excessive Alcohol Consumption
It’s best to avoid consuming too much alcohol if you’re aiming at elevating your testosterone levels naturally. It would be best to avoid alcohol altogether for best results, of course. But, this doesn’t seem very reasonable, especially for men, therefore you should consider at least cutting back on the liquor. If you want to have a drink, you’re advised to drink something else than beer, because beer has hops in its composition and these form estrogen in the body, suppressing testosterone levels.
Limit Canned Tuna Consumption
As we already said before, salmon is great to eat multiple times per week but it’s best if you don’t go overboard when it comes to canned tuna, and we’re referring especially to the albacore variety. This type of fish, unfortunately, contains a high dose of mercury and in time this will have a negative impact on your testosterone levels. Make sure to stay aware of the mercury content in any other fish varieties and keep them as low as possible!
Don’t Overeat Fiber
Even if this advice might seem strange, as usually people are told to eat as many fibers as they possibly can in order to help them with weight loss, to regulate blood sugar or to combat diabetes, in this case, you shouldn’t overdo it. A high level of fiber will cause a decrease in testosterone levels and will make it harder to build lean muscle mass. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should avoid fiber completely because many foods which are rich in fiber are very effective testosterone boosters. Approximately 30 grams of fiber per day will do the trick.
Avoid Plastic Containers
You should stop storing food in plastic containers because they contain phthalates and these can increase the levels of estrogen from the body. Use glass as it’s a safer option.
Don’t Go Vegetarian
You should definitely say NO to vegetarianism, unless, of course, you don’t have extremely strong personal beliefs that you cannot shake. If you want to boost your testosterone, you shouldn’t choose vegetarian diets as they’re high in fiber and rich in soy, the 2 key elements you should avoid. Meat is essential for naturally boosting your testosterone levels.
Choose organic foods as often as you can when you find yourself at the supermarket. The harmful chemicals will not help your testosterone levels in any way and they may actually raise the risks for cancer and other severe diseases.
Choose a Slow and Steady Diet
As we said before, excess weight will hinder your testosterone release and the same thing happens in the case of very low-calorie diets. Don’t take your fat too low and maintain your calorie intake at moderate levels, even if this means a slower weight loss process.
Spice Up Your Bedroom
A great and nice way to boost your testosterone levels naturally is to also boost your sex life. Men who have more sex on a regular basis tend to also have more testosterone.
Run a Thyroid Test
As a man, you should be having some tests done every year and these include a thyroid one, especially if you’re over 40-50 years. If you suffer from hypothyroidism (a condition in which your thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones in order to maintain your metabolic functions strong) this could have a powerful influence on your natural testosterone production.
But, don’t worry, because this can be fixed with just one dose of daily medication. Thyroid problems can not only impact your testosterone levels, but they can also have some negative effects on your everyday functioning.
If you picture meditation as something that only lonely monks are doing, then you’d probably want to reconsider. Meditation is a great way of relieving stress and this will boost your testosterone levels for sure.
Don’t Neglect Your Rest Days
Getting enough physical exercise is very beneficial for your overall health and also for boosting the testosterone levels in a natural way. But remember that excessive exercising won’t do you any good in these directions. Rest days are crucial because too much exercise can push you in the stage of overtraining and the effect will be that your entire hormonal balance will shift for the worse, including your testosterone levels.
As you can see, there are plenty of natural ways of boosting your testosterone levels, and even more foods/natural substances which can lead to this, so don’t avoid them, as they’re full of benefits and have almost no adverse effects.