Seven Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone
July 25, 2021
Low testosterone (defined as lower than 220 to 350 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood serum) impacts quality life dramatically. From low libido,
fatigue, loss of energy, depression, mood changes, erectile dysfunction, infertility, difficulty with weight loss, decrease in muscle mass, lack of motivation, decrease in mental clarity and sleep disturbances to the longer term physical repercussions such as bone density and cardiovascular health—low testosterone
should be treated.
Often the best treatment options are prescription medications that “boost” your natural production of testosterone (endogenous testosterone) or “replace” your body’s natural production of testosterone by providing testosterone itself (exogenous testosterone). Over the counter and commercially available testosterone supplements are readily available too, but have no proven benefit and oftentimes can cause harm. But what about natural treatment options?
Here are seven proven ways that testosterone can be naturally produced:
1. Exercise and Lift Weights
Exercise is proven to be one of the most effective ways to boost testosterone. People who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels at all ages. Studies have found that weight lifting and resistance training is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone levels. Training to build muscle mass elevates testosterone and elevated testosterone helps build muscle mass, but moderation is key. When trying to work out intensely with weights one can boost the stress hormone cortisol which has the opposite effect (see below).
2. Keep the Weight Off
The benefits of weight loss are huge when it comes to preventing long term health issues and diseases, but with testosterone specifically, obesity can actually decrease testosterone levels. The incidence of low testosterone is 2.4 times higher for obese men than men within normal weight. Why? Fat cells metabolize testosterone to estrogen, lowering testosterone levels. Also, obesity reduces levels of a protein that carries testosterone in the blood meaning there’s less testosterone available to be used.
3. Catch some Zzzzsss
Quality sleep plays an important role in testosterone. While the exact amount of sleep each person needs is variable, most need generally seven to ten hours of sleep a night for good health and to keep testosterone in range. Studies have found that sleeping only five hours per night was linked to a 15% reduction in testosterone levels. Another study demonstrated that those who slept only four hours per night had borderline deficient levels. Additionally, another concluded that for every additional hour of sleep, testosterone levels rise on average by 15%.
3. Stop Stressing Out
The stress hormone, cortisol, is often elevated when chronically stressed. Elevation in cortisol can reduce testosterone as cortisol and testosterone work in opposition to each other – as one goes up, the other comes down. Additionally, stress and high cortisol levels can lead to weight gain due to an increase in food intake, and fitness and testosterone go hand-and-hand. How do you decrease stress? Studies show that exercise, sleep, mediation, yoga, mindfulness practices and other methods can generally decrease stress.
4. Be Aware
Knowing how to boost your testosterone naturally is helpful, but it’s equally as important to know what factors might cause testosterone to dip. Medications such as steroids, alcohol, narcotics and opioids lower testosterone. There is some suspicion that chemicals also play a role in declining testosterone levels. BPA (bisphenol A) commonly found in plastic food and drink containers may have a link to lowering testosterone.
5. Enjoy a Sunny Day (Get a Dose of Vitamin D)
The sun can be our friend as it provides ample amounts of Vitamin D. But with sunscreen, poor weather, health risks surrounding sun exposure and jobs that keep us indoors more than outdoors nearly 50% of the the US population is Vitamin D deficient. A higher percentage of the population has borderline low levels. Vitamin D has become a popular vitamin with research demonstrating health benefits in mood, bone health, immune system enhancements and it may be a natural testosterone booster too. A 12-month study found that supplementing with approximately 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%. So go out and get some sun, or take a daily supplement if blood tests show deficiency.
6. Eat Well
You are what you eat and in this case, it’s true. What you eat impacts hormone levels including testosterone. But don’t just pay attention to what’s going into your mouth, it’s the calorie intake or restriction that plays a role in healthy eating as well. The basics are consistently eating proportioned whole foods daily, with a healthy balance of fat, protein and carbs. Healthy fats are beneficial for testosterone and whole grain carbs help with recovery in resistance training. Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss. Avoid sugar, processed foods, fast food and fried foods. Finally, restricting calories in dieting or overeating can disrupt hormone levels, including testosterone.
7. Take a Look at Your Daily Multivitamin
Taking a daily multivitamin helps support the deficiencies in our diet. But double check your multivitamin to ensure it has a few key components that may help naturally produce testosterone. A study found that zinc and vitamin B supplements helped to increase sperm quality by 74%. It was also found in a separate study that zinc helped to boost testosterone in athletes and those with low zinc levels. Other studies show some possible link with other vitamins and supplements like A, C or E, but more research is needed.
More natural options may be available in the near future. Research is out there on herbal supplements such as ginger, ginger extract, ashwagandha and other popular herbs demonstrating benefits in boosting testosterone or lowering cortisol levels. However, most are not large enough studies to prove true benefit. Boosting testosterone naturally comes down to the basics of maintaining a healthy lifestyles.
If you’re interested in learning about more ways to naturally increase your testosterone and treatment options, Austin Urology Institute has an in-house nutritionist you can work with, in addition to medical providers. Contact the office at 512.694.888 to schedule a consultation.
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