Low testosterone (defined as lower than 220 to 350 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood serum) impacts quality of 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 (deep breath)—low testosterone should be treated.
Oftentimes, the best testosterone 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 as well, but have no proven benefit and oftentimes can cause harm.
So what about natural treatment options? If someone is struggling with low testosterone, and they don’t like the idea of medicine and don’t want to deal with cheap, low t centers, what can they do?
As always, Dr. Shaw and the Austin Urology Institute are readily available resources for anyone. And that doesn’t just mean Austin. If you’re looking for urologists in Waco, San Marcos, Temple, or anywhere in Texas or the United States for that matter, we want you to know we’re here for you. But until that time comes, here’s how you can enhance your testosterone levels in completely all-natural ways.
1. Exercise and Lift Weights
Exercise has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to boost your testosterone. It’s been demonstrated that people who exercise regularly have higher testosterone levels at all ages. More specifically, studies have found that weight lifting and resistance training is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone levels.
Keep in mind that training to build muscle mass elevates testosterone, and elevated testosterone helps build muscle mass, but moderation is essential. When trying to work out intensely with weights one can boost the stress hormone cortisol which has the opposite effect of testosterone.
When dealing with low testosterone, people often let their urge to find a solution overcome them. It’s why a lot of men end up at ineffective low t centers and testosterone therapy clinics that don’t really know what they’re doing. The key here is to keep your head and not to rush into anything without getting some prior information.
2. Keep the Weight Off
The benefits of weight loss are huge when it comes to preventing long term health issues and diseases. Low testosterone included. Studies show that obesity has a direct correlation with a decrease in low testosterone. In numbers, the incidence of low testosterone is 2.4 times higher for obese men than men within normal weight. But why?
The reason why obesity decreases testosterone levels is because fat cells metabolize testosterone into estrogen, which has opposite effects. 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 Zzz’s
Quality sleep plays an important role in increasing testosterone levels. 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. 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. So how do you decrease stress? Studies show that exercise, sleep, meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices, and other methods can generally decrease stress. Also, sex. Which is another reason why you might want to seek natural testosterone treatment options.
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 lead to low testosterone.
There is also some suspicion that chemicals 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. Something to stay wary about next time you go to the grocery store.
5. Enjoy a Sunny Day (Get a Dose of Vitamin D)
The sun can be a great way to boost your testosterone as it provides ample amounts of Vitamin D. But with poor weather, health risks surrounding sun exposure, and jobs that keep us indoors more than outdoors, nearly 50% of the US population is Vitamin D deficient. And 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 also a means to increase testosterone levels. 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 a 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 body, it’s 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 levels and whole grain carbs help with recovery in resistance training, something we mentioned can increase testosterone as well. Eat enough protein to help maintain healthy levels and avoid sugar, processed foods, fast food, and fried foods.
Finally, restricting calories in dieting or overeating can disrupt hormone levels as well. Which means that eating too little can also lead to low testosterone. If you are ever unsure about what the best diet would be to boost your testosterone, you can always contact us or your nutrition.
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 in those who had low zinc levels. Other studies show some possible link with other vitamins and supplements like A, C or E, but more research is needed.
Looking to the Future
In the near future, more natural options to boost your testosterone may emerge. Research is being conducted on herbal supplements such as ginger, ginger extract, ashwagandha, and other popular herbs demonstrating testosterone boosting and cortisol reducing capabilities. However, most are not large enough to prove true benefit.
Boosting testosterone naturally comes down to the basics of everyday health and diet. The problem emerges when people don’t exactly know how their health and diet will impact testosterone levels. That’s why we at the Austin Urology Institute have made ourselves available for men across Texas for whatever questions or inquiries they might have. Low testosterone affects more than your sex life. It affects your entire life. Stop letting it get in the way of yours.