Testosterone is a steroid hormone mainly secreted by a man’s testicles. Women have testosterone, too, but in very small amounts fat burners.
This hormone is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics. Testosterone is also important for maintaining muscle mass, an adequate level of red blood cells, a sense of well-being, and sexual function.
With age, usually after the age of 30, the amount of testosterone in the body decreases.
Other causes of low testosterone levels include injury or infection, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, genetic abnormalities, hemochromatosis (iron overload), pituitary gland dysfunction, Inflammatory diseases that impact the pituitary gland, stress, alcoholism and obesity and some medications. It is also associated with some nutritional deficiencies.
A low level of testosterone can affect your quality of life and your health. It can cause fatigue, erectile dysfunction, depression and other emotional problems, insomnia, lack of concentration, decreased bone density, and increased body fat.
To know their testosterone levels, men can opt for a blood test. In case the test shows a low level of testosterone and you experience the signs and symptoms for the same, do not worry. Some simple lifestyle and dietary changes can help increase your testosterone level naturally.
Here are the top 10 ways to increase your testosterone level naturally.
- Lose weight
There is a close link between weight gain and hormonal imbalance. Low testosterone levels tend to increase body fat which in turn creates a worsening of hormonal imbalance by increasing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
A 2012 study by researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Vaud University Hospital in Switzerland found that losing weight can help middle-aged men with pre-diabetes to reduce their prevalence of low levels of testosterone by almost 50%.
Relieving the excess pounds will help increase your testosterone level. The best approach is to work at losing 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week. Do not stop or reduce your caloric intake suddenly while trying to lose body fat. If your body goes into starvation or survival mode, it will stop doing testosterone.
The healthiest way to maintain a healthy weight is through a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.
- The exercise
Regular exercise helps increase testosterone in men with low levels. It also boosts energy and stamina and will help you sleep better. Plus, it decreases your chances of being overweight, which helps to lower testosterone levels.
Bodybuilding is the most effective form of exercise to boost testosterone levels. For best results, lift heavier weights with fewer repetitions. Do weightlifting exercises for 30 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week.
– High Intensity Interval Training is another form of exercise that can actively increase testosterone levels. This involves exercise in short, intense bursts, followed by easier exercises and recovery exercises. You can do this type of exercise on the treadmill, the elliptical bike or in the pool, for example.
– Incorporate cardio workouts into your exercise routine a few times a week. Running, swimming, spinning or other aerobic exercises are useful for losing weight. Do not over train as it can cause a drop in your testosterone level.
To reap the benefits of exercise, give your body the time to recover between workouts. Otherwise, your exercise regimen could have a negative effect on your testosterone level. It is best to work with a coach to learn the appropriate forms of exercise and develop a plan that suits your lifestyle and morphology.
- Get enough sleep
According to a study published in “Journal of the American Medical Association” in 2011, the reduction on sleep dramatically reduces the testosterone level of a young man in good health.
The study found that testosterone levels in young men who slept less than 5 hours a night for a week had a 10 to 15% decrease in their testosterone levels compared to those who had the sleep of a full night.
In addition to decreased testosterone production, lack of sleep increases the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone), and high levels of cortisol also have an impact on testosterone levels.
So, get a quality sleep every night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adult males usually need between 7 and 9 hours per night.
To improve the quality of your sleep, turn off all computers and electronics 1 hour before bed, avoid caffeinated drinks late in the evening, do some meditation before going to bed, take a hot shower before to lie down and maintain a regular bedtime. If you have difficulty getting a good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor.
- Reduce stress
High stress is also associated with low levels of testosterone. It also affects your sleep which in turn affects your testosterone levels. Plus, cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you gain belly fat and being overweight, means less testosterone.
If stress is the reason for your low testosterone level, the only solution is to stop the stress before it stops you. There are many ways to tame your stress and keep it at bay.
– Perform deep breathing exercises.
– Do meditation and yoga for 20 minutes a day.
– Take time for music, art or other hobbies that you like.
– Learn to identify stressors and avoid them.
– Organize your daily activities in a systematic and realistic way to manage your time wisely.
– Keep a positive, realistic attitude.
– Spend time with the people you love.
If you can not handle your stress, talk with a counselor or take a stress management class.
- Eat healthy fats
Just like vitamins and other minerals, your body needs healthy fats for optimal function. A study published in “Journal of Steroid Biochemistry” found that a diet with less than 40% of energy in the form of fat leads to a decrease in testosterone.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that can help increase your testosterone level. You can find them in nuts , avocados , unheated walnut oil , fish , egg yolks , olives and olive oil . Monounsaturated fats have a direct effect on your testosterone level. Peanuts, peanut butter, palm oil and canola oil contain this type of fat.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels
People with low testosterone often have vitamin D deficiency. A study in 2011 found that overweight, healthy men involved in a weight reduction program experienced a boost in their testosterone levels after receiving vitamin D every day for a year.
Regular exposure to the sun is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels. Absorb early in the morning from sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes a day. This will facilitate the process of vitamin D production.
In addition, eat foods that are rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish, enriched milk, fortified cereals, cheese, liver and eggs. You can also take a vitamin D supplement to boost your testosterone level. Before starting a supplement, consult your doctor.
- Consume a lot of Zinc
Mineral zinc is important for testosterone production, and zinc deficiency can lead to lower testosterone levels. A healthy diet is the best way to increase your zinc intake. Eat foods like red meat, fish, oysters, crab, milk, cheese, beans, nuts and yogurt or kefir.
If you decide to use a zinc supplement, choose a dose less than 40 mg per day, which is the recommended upper limit for an adult.
According to the dietary guidelines of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements, an adult male should get 11 mg of zinc a day. Always consult a doctor before taking a supplement. Zinc zinc intake can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb other minerals, especially copper.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages
An article published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism researches the effects of alcohol consumption on the part of the endocrine system involved in male reproduction.
This review concluded that the adverse effects of alcohol on reproduction are mediated at all three levels of the male reproductive unit: the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and testes. At the same time, excessive alcohol consumption has a direct impact on key hormones, including testosterone.