Testosterone is the “male hormone” that is responsible for a man’s sex drive, deep voice, body hair and muscles. After around age 30, many men experience a natural decrease in testosterone levels. In many cases, this dip causes unwanted side effects.
Testosterone is produced in the testicles and in smaller amounts in the adrenal glands. During puberty and early adulthood, testosterone helps develop primary and secondary sex characteristics in men. Even when a man’s reproductive ‘chapter’ has come to a close, testosterone plays important roles in maintaining body composition, sexual function, cognitive function, energy, and mood.
Many men consult their doctors about symptoms like low libido, weight gain, loss of energy or fuzzy memory – but the hidden symptoms of low testosterone are equally important, including the loss of bone density. If low testosterone is the culprit – as determined by a blood test – you have several options for supporting your body’s natural testosterone production.
8 proven ways to increase testosterone levels naturally
- Exercise and Lift Weights
Exercise prevents many lifestyle-related diseases. It can also boost your testosterone. Regular exercise boosts testosterone production, especially resistance training (weight lifting) and high intensity interval training.
- Eat Protein, Fat and Vegetables and Avoid Estrogen-like Compounds
You are what you eat… and what you eat has a major impact on testosterone as well as other hormone levels. Since obesity contributes to low testosterone, dieting may seem appealing.
However, constant dieting disrupts the hormonal system so it’s best to stick to a whole food diet that is rich in protein, fat, and vegetables, and avoid excessive carbohydrates. Avoid, soy products, and stay away from BPA plastics and parabens, which are known estrogenic compounds.
- Manage Stress
The dangers of long-term stress are very real. Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol not only reduces testosterone production, it also contributes to weight gain – and particularly belly fat. Laughter, meditation, exercise, and simplifying your life will help you manage stress and quickly regain normal cortisol levels.
- Get Some Sun or Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D has various health benefits, and is know to be a natural testosterone and energy booster. Most people are, however, deficient in vitamin D. A 12-month study found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%. If you’re not a fan of supplements, be sure to get daily exposure to sunlight.
- Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Although the benefits of multivitamins are hotly debated (do they work, or do they just result in expensive urine), specific vitamins and minerals may be beneficial to boosting testosterone. Zinc and vitamin B supplements increase sperm quality; vitamins A, C and E help balance sex hormone and testosterone levels.
- Get Plenty of High-Quality Sleep
Many people are chronically sleep-deprived, so making rest a priority can help the body restore its optimal functioning. The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, but according to one study, sleeping only 5 hours per night led to a 15% reduction in testosterone levels and another study found that 4 hours of sleep led to borderline deficient levels.
Other studies support this, and support the idea that for every additional hour of sleep you get, testosterone levels rise on average 15%. Research suggests around 7–10 hours of sleep per night is best for long-term health and testosterone levels.
- Natural Testosterone Boosters
While there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence, only a few natural testosterone boosters are supported by scientific studies. The herb ashwagandha is a natural booster (a 17% increase in testosterone, a 167% increase in sperm count, and a 25% decrease in cortisol).
- Do What Makes You Happy!
A healthy sex life plays an important role in regulating testosterone levels. Laughter, a good social life, and having goals that motivate you are ways to promote inner well being.
Healthy testosterone levels contribute to a good life. You are in charge and you can make the positive changes necessary to stimulate your body to produce more testosterone, which will support your success, sex life, interests and enjoyment of life.
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