What is testosterone?
Testosterone is considered to be the “male hormone” that’s produced in men by the testes.
Although women’s ovaries produce some testosterone.
The hormone is produced in much higher concentrations in men and it is responsible for many of the secondary sex characteristics seen in men such as a deeper voice and hair on the chest.
In addition to contributing to a healthy libido, building muscle mass, and maintaining energy levels.
The problems associated with high testosterone levels are infrequent and rare in middle-aged and elderly men who are not receiving testosterone or other steroid treatments.
When the testosterone level becomes out of balance, it usually becomes too low rather than too elevated.
What Problems Result From Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone has been correlated with unwanted changes in body composition such as increased abdominal fat and decreased muscle mass.
Unfortunately, abdominal fat affects organs like the heart, liver and kidneys more adversely than fat anywhere else, in terms of cardiovascular risk.
Unsurprisingly, low testosterone levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems, such as diabetes.
Low testosterone can also cause erectile dysfunction, depression, mood changes, and low bone density.
Are there natural ways to boost testosterone?
A cursory search of the internet will throw up all manner of natural ways to boost your testosterone naturally.
Unfortunately, they are unlikely to be backed up by a reliable body of evidence.
There are many theories of how to increase your testosterone levels. However, there is no proper scientific evidence that these things work in the long term.
The good news is that treatment options are available to boost your levels. They include supplements, testosterone injections, patches or gels.
Or a pellet which is inserted under the skin and slowly releases testosterone into the body.
If you’re concerned, speak to your GP or an endocrinologist or andrologist, who will be able to develop a safe treatment plan for you.
One thing that could help with the symptoms of low testosterone is a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is always a solid choice, to be honest.
Although there is no solid evidence to suggest that exercise and a healthy diet can increase your testosterone levels.
It can help alleviate the symptoms, such as tiredness, mood and muscle loss.
Natural Ways To Increase Testosterone
1. Exercise and Lift Weights
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent many lifestyle-related diseases. Interestingly, it can also boost your testosterone.
A large review study found that people who exercised regularly had higher testosterone levels. In the elderly, exercise increases testosterone levels, fitness and reaction time.
New research in obese men suggests that increased physical activity was even more beneficial than a weight loss diet for increasing testosterone levels.
Resistance training, such as weight lifting, is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone in both the short- and long-term.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also be very effective, although all types of exercise should work to some extent.
Taking caffeine and creatine monohydrate as supplements may further boost your levels when combined with a training program.
2. Vitamin D
Everyone knows that vitamin D is a nutrient we do not need to consume in our diets as we obtain it via sunlight right?
For the modern man living in a temperate climate, spending most of the day in an office, and with most of his body covered up, how much sun do you think he will get?
Last time I checked there weren’t too many heat waves in the middle of a British winter leading to an outbreak of skin cancer because everyone is baked alive in the heat.
Hell, given the British summer is about as warm as the heart of your average banker. People need to clock on to the fact that relying on sunlight is a foolish endeavour.
There is an abundance of data supporting vitamin D’s critical importance in testosterone production as well as in many other pathways critical for increasing muscle mass.
The research is so overwhelming that anyone not supplementing with vitamin D is severely limiting their athletic potential.
3. Healthy Fats
Step three is to add a lot of healthy fats in your diet. Most men with low testosterone consume too much junk food and too many carbohydrates.
You have to get rid of those empty calories and load up on healthy fat.
A study published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry studied the effects of diet on serum sex hormones in healthy men.
Results showed that when men decreased their healthy fat intake, serum concentrations of androstenedione, testosterone and free testosterone also decreased. This indicates you can add low testosterone to the list of low-fat diet risks.
There are three categories of healthy fat. Number one is healthy saturated fat. The truth about saturated fat is it’s actually good for you if it’s the proper kind.
Healthy saturated fat is found in coconut oil and raw, fermented dairy products like goat milk kefir, yogurt, or raw goat or sheep milk cheese.
However, avoid conventional dairy because it will actually damper your testosterone.
Finally, monounsaturated fats can be natural testosterone boosters.
One of the funniest things I have observed over two decades is how fats have been first vilified and then idolised nearly in bodybuilding circles.
Furthermore over the same time span I have seen many fats become very popular such as flaxseed oil, fish oils, olive oil, MCT’s, saturated fats, coconut oil to name a few with some going in and out of fashion.
The subject of fats is quite complicated and was covered well in our article on essential fats.
While essential fats are important for many bodily processes there is still conjecture on other fats and their role in the body.
Rather than go through each in detail let’s take a look at what research shows us: Bodyfat is something which many people do not really consider but it is very important when it comes to an environment which maximises natural testosterone levels.
High bodyfat levels are associated with lowered testosterone with a greater propensity for estrogen formation.
This fact alone makes it unwise to allow bodyfat levels to become too high.
By now most people will be aware of the use of zinc before bedtime in the form of ZMA to encourage deeper sleep which, as we saw earlier, helps our bodies to maximise our natural testosterone levels.
In addition to this, zinc is critical in the body’s ability to produce testosterone in the testis and impaired zinc status is associated with lower testosterone levels.
5. Eat Protein, Fat and Carbs
What you eat has a major impact on testosterone as well as other hormone levels.
Therefore, you must pay attention to your long-term calorie intake and diet strategy.
Constant dieting or overeating may disrupt your testosterone levels.
Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss. Which is also associated with your testosterone.
Carb intake also plays a role, with research showing carbs can help optimize testosterone levels during resistance training.
However, research demonstrates that sufficient healthy fats are also beneficial for testosterone and health.
A diet based mainly on whole foods is best, with a healthy balance of fat, protein and carbs. This can optimize both hormone levels and long-term health.
6. Lose Weight
If you’re overweight, shedding the excess pounds may increase your testosterone levels, according to research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 meeting.
Overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with. So this is an important trick to increase your body’s testosterone production when you need it most.
If you are serious about losing weight, you have got to strictly limit the amount of processed sugar in your diet, as evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary driving factor in the obesity epidemic.
So cutting soda from your diet is essential, as is limiting fructose found in processed foods, fruit juice, excessive fruit and so-called “healthy” sweeteners like agave.
Ideally you should keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day and this includes fruits.
This is especially true if you have insulin resistance and are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
In addition to eliminating or severely limiting fructose.
It will be vital to eliminate all grains and milk (even raw) in your diet. Milk has a sugar called lactose.
Which has been shown to increase insulin resistance so it will be wise to avoid it if you are seeking to lose weight.
Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods also quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance.
Which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.
As you cut these dietary troublemakers from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy substitutes like vegetables and healthy fats (including natural saturated fats!).
Your body prefers the carbohydrates in micronutrient-dense vegetables rather than grains and sugars because it slows the conversion to simple sugars like glucose, and decreases your insulin level.
When you cut grains and sugar from your meals. You typically will need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat.
As well as make sure you are also consuming protein and healthy fats regularly.