After seeing numerous commercials on TV to help people fix their low testosterone and reading other research studies and articles coming out about testosterone replacement therapy, I thought I would spend some time giving you some tips on the natural ways to raise testosterone in ones body. I have been researching this topic for a while now and there are SO MANY different ideas out there. Good ones, weird ones and some that are downright scams. My husband tried sending me an article from NPR but it kept getting rejected by my email system for spam. That pretty much explains the topic I am about to give you some insight into.
Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a vital role in both men and women, although it is a higher concentration in men.
It’s the predominant male sex hormone which helps with muscle mass, higher energy levels, improved cognition, bone density, increases libido and provides better insulin management. In women, it also aids in sexual function, maintains bone density, muscle mass and a healthy energy level. According to the National Institute of Health, 5 million men have low “T” levels which is why we have so many commercials and advertisements for testosterone therapy. And they are quite enticing, until you hear the laundry list of side-effects. Testosterone may sound like the ultimate anti-aging formula, yet the risks of testosterone therapy cannot be left out.
The number of testosterone prescriptions written in the U.S. has more than tripled in the last decade. This heavy flow of synthetic testosterone – officially a controlled substance – has raised concerns among doctors who specialize in hormonal problems. A recent study of more than 55,000 men found that the heart-attack risk among older men who used testosterone doubled. Younger men also had a higher rate of heart disease and incidence of non-fatal heart attacks. Plus, it may cause acne or other skin reactions, stimulate noncancerous growth of the prostate and growth of existing prostate cancer, enlarge breasts, limit sperm production or cause testicle shrinkage. Sounds promising doesn’t it?
What is causing this sharp increase in people living with low “T” levels and how do we fix it?
A wide range of chemical exposures including prescription drugs like statins, adversely impact testosterone production in men. At the same time, estrogen levels typically increase due to widespread exposure to estrogen-mimicking compounds in food, water and environmental pollutants. Our lifestyles are crucial. What we eat, how we live and how we exercise all play an important role in “T” levels.
Here are TEN ways to naturally increase testosterone levels:
1. Get lean and stay lean – The more body fat you have the more likely your hormones are going to be out of whack (1).
2. Get 7-9 hours a sleep each night – This should be high on your priority list if you are serious about correcting your low testosterone levels. In a study published by the University of Chicago, researchers showed that men who averaged just five hourse of sleep or less experienced a drop in testosterone levels of 10-15% (2).
3. Consume adequate intakes of healthy fats – Coconut oil, unheated olive oil, nuts, avocados, fish oil and healthy animal sources are great examples. This will ensure that there are high enough levels of cholesterol to support proper testosterone production functioning. Cholesterol is the building blocks of testosterone. EAT UP (3)!
4. Reduce your exposure to environmental estrogens – These are found in our plastics, toothpaste, on our food, shopping bags, cleaning products and even our water. They are estrogen mimicking compounds.
5. Control your carbohydrate intake – There is a temporary drop in testosterone levels after eating a carbohydrate dominant meal. While this drop is temporary, if you are eating 3-4+ carb-dominated meals per day, this will lead to lower testosterone levels overall (4)). This does includes alcohol consumption, particularly beer.
6. Eat lots of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables – These include vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These have been shown to remove bad estrogens from our body, help support alkalinity and keep inflammation down. All of which help promote lean body mass as well as overall good health (5).
7. Watch out for stress – Stress releases cortisol in our body which is an antagonist hormone. When cortisol goes up, testosterone comes down (6).
8. Don’t restrict calories – Low calorie diets are not only bad because they can drive you insane and make you feel sluggish but they can also lower your testosterone levels and increase your cortisol levels (7).
9. High-Intensity-Interval-Training – As opposed to long bouts of consistent exercise, HIIT workouts have been shown to increase testosterone by decreasing body fat stores and increasing lean body mass (8).
10. Consume plenty of zinc and optimize your vitamin D levels – Zinc is important for testosterone production. Studies have found that supplementing your diet for as little as six weeks has been show to cause a marked improvement in testosterone among men with low levels (9). Vitamin D is one that we all need and we are all deficient in it. It’s one of the supplements I recommend everyone take (10).
The short story, men with low testosterone counts often present symptoms ranging from emotional problems such as irritability, depression and a lack of confidence to physical problems such as difficulty falling asleep, low energy levels, sleep apnea, loss of strength and higher fat storage. All of which will disappear once testosterone levels are normalized.
If your a guy (or a girl) you don’t want low testosterone levels or if you think your “T” levels are sluggish, it’s time to do something about it! For more information on how to regulate your hormone levels check out my Nutrition Bootcamp Course which is actually designed to help regulate your internal bodies hormones and get everything working as they should or schedule an online or in-person consultation. It not only matters what you eat, but how you eat and at what times and I would love to help you get these in check.