Men: you’ve seen the ads. You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve encountered products that promise to boost your testosterone (T) levels. But what’s the big deal? What will an increase in testosterone actually do for you?
Testosterone is a hormone produced naturally by men (and by women, in small amounts). It is an anabolic steroid as well as the primary male sex hormone. This important growth hormone helps build reproductive tissues and is key in other masculine characterizes such as hair growth, muscle mass, and bone mass.
Testosterone is key for a man’s health and well-being. During puberty, testosterone is responsible for important changes including the lowering of the voice and the growth of the penis and testes. However, as we get older, our natural levels of T start to decline…
There’s more to T than bigger muscles. Giving your body a boost of this all-important hormone can result in increased libido and more energy plus your body will burn fat more efficiently. More importantly, a T deficiency can lead to low energy, low sex drive, depression, hair loss, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and osteoporosis!
Did you know that your diet plays a huge role in your T levels? Paying special attention to what you eat – and what you don’t eat – is one of the easiest and safest ways to increase your T levels.
Do not fear protein! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, men who ate meals high in protein (we’re talking 85 grams) had less fat and more muscle than men who ate the same amount of protein split between several meals.
Have you ever heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day?” That advice can do more harm than good if taken the wrong way. If you’re not hungry in the morning, don’t eat. Wait until you’re hungry. Skipping breakfast or pushing it back a couple hours has actually been shown to boost T levels.
Foods that replace testosterone naturally:
- Tuna – one serving of tuna contains your daily amount of Vitamin D
- Milk fortified with Vitamin D (choose 1% or skim)
- Egg yolks – no more than one per day, especially if you’re watching your cholesterol
- Oysters – full of Zinc, which helps to keep male hormones in check
- Beef liver, ground beef, and chuck roast (choose lean cuts only and try not to eat beef every day)
- Beans – kidney, white, and black
Herbs, Vitamins, & Supplements
In addition to testosterone boosting foods, you can also try vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and aids the immune system. Studies show Vitamin D to be linked to longevity and T production.
Men have also turned to natural testosterone supplements such as:
- Malaysian Ginseng – a plant from Southeast Asia that eases sexual dysfunction and acts as an aphrodisiac.
- Puncturevine – a tropical plant historically used to boost T levels
- Ashwagandha – a traditional Indian medicine used by Ayurvedic doctors to treat infertility and sexual dysfunction
- Yohimbe – an extract created using the bark of an African tree
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) – a hormone that is widely available as a supplement
- Saw Palmetto – long used to increase sperm production and boost sex drive
- Chrysin – found in the blue passionflower, this flavonoid extract was used by early Europeans and Americans to treat anxiety
- Korean Red Ginseng
- Pine Bark Extract
- Amino Acids:
- D-AA (D-aspartic Acid) – an amino acid found in foods and produced by the human body
Doctors advise that while supplements are a good part of your overall plan to increase T levels, they will have little effect if you don’t follow the diet and lifestyle advice listed below.
Foods that decrease T level:
If you’re trying to boost your T, there are a few foods you will want to avoid. There’s an enzyme called aromatase, which actually converts testosterone into the female hormone estrogen! The following foods increase aromatase’s activity: chocolate, cheese, pasta, bread, rice, yogurt, cheese, and unfortunately alcohol. We don’t recommend cutting these foods out of your diet, just try to keep them at a minimum.
The following have also been linked to a decrease in T levels:
- Soy products
- Mint products (like tea)
- High-PUFA vegetable oil (use olive oil or coconut oil instead)
- Flaxseed products
Obesity can lead to a decrease in T level, therefore exercise is also recommended as a method of testosterone replacement. Even better, as your T levels increase, your body will build muscle and burn fat more efficiently.
According to doctors, maintaining a healthy weight and staying active can really help to bring a low T level back up. Experts particularly recommend strength training and high-intensity workouts. Particular exercises we like include: deadlifts, sprints, and prowler pushing.
If you’re starting from scratch, visit a personal trainer or start slow. We suggest 10-20 minutes of quick walking each day for a person who isn’t used to any type of exercise.
Don’t consider testosterone therapy in isolation without considering lifestyle.
Just as I would recommend for nearly every single improvement in a person’s life, it is important to get enough sleep; more than 7 hours per night, to be exact. According to George Yu, MD the single most important component in boosting testosterone is sleep. As a bonus, going to bed earlier cuts down the risk of late night snacking, one of the quickest ways for a person to gain weight.
Try to keep your stress at a minimum. This might mean cutting down on work hours and increasing your “me” time. This includes romance. Having more sex can actually increase your desire for sex. If you don’t want sex, you may be suffering from a testosterone deficiency. Click here to learn about the signs.
Did you know that falling in love decreases a man’s T level while increasing a woman’s levels of the same hormone? Thankfully this odd effect wears off after the “honeymoon phase.”
Finally, if you’re worried about your T level, get checked. The only way to know for sure is to visit a doctor. Once you find out where your level is, it will be much easier to fix the problem using the natural methods described above. No pills, no drugs, no BS.
Learn more about testosterone supplementation and the best testosterone boosters in this article.