Testosterone are considered male’s hormones (although women do produce a small quantity of that), which was produced from the men’s testicles. It is mainly responsible for the sperm production, affecting a man’s sex drive and help to build muscles and maintain bones mass. It also helps to improve your mood, sleep, energy, overall health, and quality of life.
Starting from around age of 30, testosterone production starts to decline, and will continue to do so as men age. Low testosterone is associated with metabolic syndrome (abdominal fat, high sugar level, high blood pressure, low HDL (good cholesterol) level, and high blood fats level) which is related to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, as well as bone fractures. In 2013 The American Diabetes Association estimated that around 13 million men suffered from low testosterone. This issue projected to cost approximately $190 -$525 billion in the US in the next 20 years. Many studies have also shown that the lower the testosterone level can expose a man to a higher risk of death, especially death from heart disease.
The testosterone hormone is considered as low when it falls below a normal range of 300- 1000 ng/dL (based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration). You need take a blood test (called serum testosterone level) in order to determine your testosterone level.
Symptoms of low testosterone:
- Fatigue & lack of energy
- Loss in muscle mass, which can lead to reduction in strength & endurance
- Loss in bone mass (osteoporosis)
- Increase in body fat
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Infertility & lower sperm count
- Hair loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes of mood: more likely to experience depression, lack of self confidence, irritably or lack of memory or concentration
- Increase in cholesterol level
There are a wide range of chemical exposures that can also contribute to the low testosterone level:
- Statin drugs or cholesterol-lowering drugs have an adverse impact on the testosterone production in men.
- Xenoestrogens (synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogen properties, such as those found in pesticides) that are found in processed food, water and environmental pollutants can lower testosterone levels.
- Phthalates and parabens found in personal care products like lotions and shaving creams, and BPA in plastic bottles and on store receipts. These chemicals are anti-androgens, meaning they disrupt the production and function of hormones including testosterone. It is preferable to use stainless-steel or glass water bottles, and avoid taking the paper receipts at stores to avoid these chemicals.
11 Ways to Boost Testosterone Naturally
- Eat good (healthy) fat : testosterone is a steroid hormone, made of cholesterol. As your testosterone level gets lower, your LDL (bad cholesterol) level goes up, and therefore it only makes sense to consume lots of good fats/cholesterol to boost testosterone production. The recommendation is to get 50-70% fat in your diet, with 1/2 of those coming from saturated fat. Saturated fats help to create cell membranes and allow the testosterone hormone to reach the cells. Sources include: avocado, coconut oil, walnut, olive and olive oil, nuts & seeds, organic butter, organic pastured egg yolks, grass-fed meat, poultry, and fish (especially like salmon where it is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids). Eating more fish oil will support the production of healthy cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Fish oil also lowers sex-hormone binding globulin, the protein that carries testosterone around the body, so that more testosterone is free and available. Please note that all these fat sources EXCLUDE fried foods. Fried food are considered unhealthy because the high heat destroys the enzyme and contaminates the good fat. testosterone
- Lose body fat & keep the body lean: Men who are overweight or obese tend to have low testosterone. Lose the belly fat by cutting out all refined sugars and starches. So cutting out soft drinks, fruit juices, processed food (many contains fructose, that contribute to increased weight). Ideally you should keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day (including fruits). This is especially true if you have insulin resistance, are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods also need to be reduced, because they quickly break down to sugar, and increase your insulin levels. Eat only complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, lentils, and get most of your carbohydrate intake from vegetables. Carbohydrates should only contribute 30-40% of your total diet. Too much carbs and not using it properly will be converted into fat.
- Limit or eliminate sugar from your diet: sugar leads to higher insulin level, which causes a drop in testosterone production. You need to cut down on your overall sugar (including artificial sweeteners) intake in order to increase your testosterone production.
- Avoid stress : stress triggers the stress hormone called cortisol, and disrupts the other hormones including testosterone production. While testosterone is considered an anabolic hormone (builds tissue), cortisol is a catabolic hormone (breaks down tissue). You should try to control your stress by for example cutting back on long working hours to 10 hours or less, or spend a couple of hours on activities that are not work related, such as reading, or listening to music. You can also take a walk, relax and take a deep breath, do some yoga, tai qi, qi gong, or meditation to ease the mind and let go of the stress.
- testosterone Have enough sleep : the body needs enough sleep in order to maintain the testosterone production. When you lack of sleep, your testosterone level also suffers. Make sure you have 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Having adequate, good quality ensure sufficient testosterone production, which are mostly produced in the morning.
- Zinc : is an important mineral to contribute to testosterone production. Too much zinc can lower your copper levels, so it is best to get zinc from your natural diet. Zinc be found in meat and fish, raw milk, raw cheese, beans, and yogurt. Make sure to eat organic grass fed meats and dairy products to avoid chemical fertilizers and pesticides which can contaminate nutrients like zinc.
- vitamin D deficiency is currently a big issue in the US and many other parts of the world, because many people do not spend enough time under the sun to get the vitamin D necessary for their body. To know whether you have enough level is by use of the 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) test. The optimal recommended level is 50-70 ng/ml. The easiest, free way is to get it directly from the sun. You need to spend at least 15-20 minutes of sunbathing (ie 80% of your skin exposed with no sunscreen used) to make enough Vitamin D for your daily needs. Otherwise, you can always take vitamin D3 supplement to include in your diet. a The recommended dosage is 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day in order to raise the level to 40 ng/ml (the minimum level for disease prevention).
- Stay physically active : when you spend most of the time sitting down or lying on the couch, your brain thinks that you do not need as much testosterone hormone to boost your muscles and bones. However, if you are physically active, your brain will send the signal for more hormone to be produced. Just a little exercise like daily brisk walking for 10-20 minutes a day would be good.
- High intensity exercise : short intense exercise has been shown to effectively boost testosterone. The exercise looks like this: (1) Warm up for 3 minutes; (2) Run as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds, until you feel you are running out of breath. You should feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds; (3) Recover at a slow to moderate pace for 90 seconds; (4) Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery process for 7 more times.
The entire workout is only 20 minutes, which within those 20 minutes, 75% of that time is warming up, recovering or cooling down. Your real intense work out is only 4 minutes. You can use any type of equipment (a treadmill, elliptical machine, swimming, or just outdoor running), as long as you make sure you are pushing as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Make sure you stretch properly to avoid injury. For those who are out of shape or first timer, you may want to start slowly with 2-3 reps and gradually increase the frequency. Besides promoting testosterone level, this exercise is beneficial for cardiovascular health, weight loss, as well as stamina and endurance.
- Strength training: weight lifting (high-intensity weight training) can stimulate an increase in testosterone production. The muscle you stimulate, the more testosterone you’ll produce. Multi-joint exercises like squats, bench presses, pull up, and deadlifts, are examples that will work a large number of muscles, which can significantly help to boost testosterone levels. You’ll want to focus on increasing the weight and lower your number of reps and increase your muscle endurance (and also your testosterone) by going slower. Make sure you do not over-exercise or the cortisol hormone will start to kick in. You should let your body rest and the muscles to repair themselves.
- Cold therapy: taking daily cold showers. A 1993 study conducted by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England found that testosterone levels increased after taking a cold shower. Besides increasing circulation, energy and relieving depression, the cold shower also improves your testosterone and fertility (as sperm counts decrease when the temperature of a man’s testes increases). Also make sure that you do not put the laptop on your lap, mobile phones or any electrical device in your pocket (because of heat & radiation), and preferably wear loose/boxer shorts when at home.