What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a primary male hormone produced by the testicles. Although testosterone is commonly associated with men, the hormone is also present in women, but in small quantities. It is considered the epitome of manhood, and not without good reason. It is also a steroid hormone for those such as bodybuilders. Testosterone is the most commonly sought hormone by most men as it plays a crucial role in their health and wellbeing.
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Why do we need Testosterone?
Testosterone is responsible for the following:
- It keeps confidence levels at an all-time high.
- It maintains high levels of libido and also in sperm production and function.
- Maintaining bone density.
- Maintaining red blood cell count.
- Responsible for building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
- Affects how the body stores body fat; keeps unwanted fat off the midsection.
Testosterone is generally responsible for the wellbeing and normal functioning of a man’s body, which is why its levels need to be kept in check at all times.
What are the Effects of Low Testosterone Levels?
We have established that testosterone is a vital requirement in a man's body. Low testosterone levels would result in many body functions losing their functionality; also, recent research shows that there are certain diseases that one becomes more susceptible to because of low testosterone levels.
A man’s body naturally produces testosterone mostly between puberty and in your twenties. As you approach age 30, your body begins to produce lesser and lesser testosterone. As you progress in age, your testosterone levels go even lower and adversely affect your wellbeing. Here are some of the risks of low levels of this hormone:
- Low sex drive.
- Increased moodiness.
- Loss of muscle mass and bone density.
- Low energy levels.
- Increased risk of prostate cancer, heart disease, and high cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels. (More research is being carried out to determine whether low testosterone increases chances of suffering these diseases.)
- Increased risk of osteoporosis due to the weakening of bones.
If you begin to notice these symptoms or even worry about your testosterone levels, you should get checked out by a doctor rather than diagnosing yourself.
How You Can Boost Your Testosterone Levels
Experiencing low levels of testosterone is certainly bad news. Fortunately, the hormone can be boosted and restored to high levels. It can be boosted naturally, using DHEA (the most abundant androgen precursor prohormone in the human body) or with the help of synthetic and bioidentical testosterone products. Below are some ways to get your testosterone levels back on track:
1. Lose excess weight
Being overweight is one of the likely contributors to low testosterone levels as presented at the Endocrine Society meeting held in 2012. The process of weight loss includes healthy dietary eating and regular intense workout sessions. You should restrict yourself from processed foods that are full of unbeneficial components and rather focus on unprocessed whole foods. Your workout should be focused on shedding fat and building lean muscle. A comprehensive eating and workout plan will ultimately provide a favorable environment for the production of testosterone.
2. High-intensity, short-burst-type exercises coupled with alternating fasting
Short, intense workout exercises are proven to increase the production of testosterone and maintain these levels. Alternating fasting also triggers the expression of satiety hormones such as adiponectin, leptin, and insulin among others. These hormones are known to boost testosterone activity and maintain high levels of the hormone. Fill up on whey protein after a 20-minute intense workout to also trigger your satiety hormones and hence promote testosterone production.
3. Experience the benefits of Zinc
Zinc is a mineral that plays a paramount role in the production of testosterone. Recent research has shown that including zinc for six months or longer in your diet plan will considerably increase levels of testosterone in men. Also, eliminating the mineral from your diet will result in a decrease in testosterone levels. Getting the right amount of zinc from your diet can be slightly difficult in that it is dependent on the type of food you include and how you prepare it. One of the ways to boost the zinc component in your meals is by not overcooking your meals and wherever possible, not cooking it at all; zinc and other nutrients in food are depleted due to cooking, and especially over-cooking. Zinc supplements at a dosage less than 40g would also help you get the recommended amount of the nutrient that will boost your levels of testosterone.
4. Build Your Muscle and Strength
Strength training is known to boost the production of testosterone. To get the most out of this training, you will need to increase the weight while reducing the number of reps for each exercise. Lifting weights regularly, preferably twice or thrice a week will boost your free testosterone levels. One way to get more out of your intense strength training is by going slower, that is, slowing down your movement to allow your muscles to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that facilitate movement in the muscles.
5. The Bar is a No-Go Zone
Alcohol does not play well with your testosterone levels. Heavy intake of alcoholic substances leads to even lower levels of testosterone, not to mention the age factor that is already contributing. Numerous studies have proven a direct link between alcohol consumption and low testosterone levels. It was found that alcohol affects the endocrine system in men and damages testes ability to produce testosterone. It may cause any of the symptoms of low testosterone including erectile dysfunction. By limiting your drinking to less than one or two glasses of wine or beer a night, you will lower your chances of experiencing a large drop in testosterone levels. You can also avoid alcohol altogether for even better results.
6. Avoid stress
If you are always under stress, then your testosterone levels are likely under stress too. Stress causes a surge in naturally-occurring cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and this suppresses the testes ability to produces testosterone and the body's ability to utilize the testosterone within tissues. Find various stress management tools to manage your emotional baggage and painlessly. Some of the methods for de-stressing and relaxing include meditation, laughter, yoga, praying, acupuncture, and massage therapy among many others; Find the best-suited technique for you and use it as your ticket to boosted testosterone levels.
7. Kick your Sweet Habit
Eating sugar may be one of the reasons for low levels of testosterone; it could also be that sugar leads to high levels of insulin which then affects testosterone levels. Although we love sugar and anything that has sugar, we are not thrilled by what it does to our bodies. Try to avoid foods that contain added sugars and fructose. Grain foods like pasta and bread too should be consumed minimally.
8. Eat Protein, Fats, and Carbs
Your long-term calorie intake and diet strategy have a major impact on your levels of testosterone. High protein intake will help in maintaining healthy levels and will also aid in fat loss. Incorporating enough carbohydrates in your diet has also been proven to improve testosterone levels. You should have ample monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and also saturated fats in your daily diet. You can get these in avocados, nuts, olive and coconut oils, and grass-fed animal sources just to name a few.
9. Get some Sun, or Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D is rapidly becoming a popular remedy all over the world. Among its vast uses is naturally boosting testosterone levels. As much as it is a vital requirement for wellbeing, almost half of the US population has a vitamin D deficiency. A daily dose of come sunlight or measured quantity of vitamin D supplements will raise your testosterone levels and reduce any risk of falling.
10.Take Mineral and Vitamin Supplements
Although debatable, there are some specific minerals and vitamins that can be beneficial to your testosterone levels. Zinc and Vitamin D, as already discussed are one of these minerals and vitamins respectively. Some others that would boost your testosterone levels include vitamin B which increases the quality of sperm and vitamins A, B, C, and E that increase the performance of sex hormones and more specifically, testosterone hormone production. Vitamin D and zinc present the best results in boosting testosterone levels compared to these other supplements.
11.Try some Natural Testosterone Booster Herbs
If you are looking for an option other than lab-prepared supplement and hormones, you can opt for the natural testosterone boosters such as ashwagandha, an herb that has been studied religiously and found to have a 17% increase in testosterone levels in infertile men, and increases sperm count by 167%. The same herb in normal men was found to increase testosterone levels by 15%. Ginger extract has also shown evidence of boosting testosterone levels. The effects of these herbs on already-healthy testosterone are slightly unclear, but the herbs are still worth the try.
It is necessary to take charge of your testosterone levels especially around age 25-30 when a man’s testosterone levels begin to decline naturally. The above tips are just a few of the many necessary steps that will help you restore and maintain good health and wellbeing through higher testosterone levels.