8 Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone
In continued honour of men's health month, I thought it fitting to talk about testosterone in today's blog post (and in our local paper, the Times Colonist - this was printed as an article there, as well!).
It’s quite often that I see male patients (as well as female) suffering from low testosterone. The shocker is that testosterone depletion is happening in a much younger population, too!
Studies have shown that the average man’s testosterone in today’s society is nearly 25 percent lower than in the 1980s. In fact, men with low testosterone are 52.4% more likely to be obese; 50% more likely to develop diabetes; 42.4% more likely to have high blood pressure and 40.4% more likely to have high cholesterol.
Testosterone, a hormone produced primarily by the testicles, plays a large role in male sexuality and reproduction. It impacts so much: sexual and reproductive function, muscle mass, hair growth, and more. Testosterone is also important for maintaining bone density, levels of red blood cells and a sense of well-being and vitality.
Unfortunately, around the age of 30 a man’s testosterone levels naturally begin to decline, and continue to do so as he ages. There is a wide range of factors that contribute to this decline in testosterone, including prescribed drugs (statins), and many environmental pollutants such as estrogen-mimicking compounds found in food, water, personal hygiene products, plastics etc.
Luckily, there are also lots of ways to naturally boost your testosterone levels - including these 8!
8 Tips to Naturally Boost Testosterone Levels
1. Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight, losing the excess pounds may help to increase your testosterone levels according to the research.
Overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with due to the fact that the adipose tissue (fat tissue) contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. So, if you want healthy testosterone levels, drop the body fat.
2. Minimize the BPA and other environmental pollutants
BPA may be a large culprit to the declining levels of testosterone. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical often found in various plastic containers that leach out as it is heated. Studies have shown that when exposed to BPA, it resulted in lower levels of testosterone in men. The bottom line is that you should avoid drinking from plastic bottles or storing food in plastic and use glass or stainless steel whenever possible.
3. Reduce your stress
When you are under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone, which suppresses libido and healthy competitive drive. Stress supportive nutrients such as B vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Holy Basil, Rhodiola, Siberian ginseng and Ashwagandha are essential for maintaining healthy adrenal function during fluctuating hormone levels.
4. Eat healthy fats
Research shows that a diet with less than 40 percent of energy as fat lead to a decrease in testosterone levels.
Healthy fats include:
- butter made from grass-fed organic milk
- organic eggs
- grass-fed meats
- unheated organic nut oils
5. Watch those sugars
Testosterone levels decline after you eat sugar, probably due to the increase in insulin leading to low testosterone. Based on USDA estimates, the average American consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, which equals to about TWO TONS of sugar during a lifetime. So kick the sugar habit!
6. Optimize Vitamin D levels
Vitamin D, a steroid hormone, is essential for the healthy development of the nucleus of the sperm cell, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido. In one study, overweight men who were given vitamin D supplements had a significant increase in testosterone levels after one year.
The mineral zinc is important for testosterone production. Research shows that restricting dietary sources of zinc leads to a significant decrease in testosterone, while zinc supplementation increases it.
Foods rich in zinc include:
- organic, grass-fed yogurt
- beef and lamb
- sesame and pumpkin seeds
8. Other helpful supplements to consider
Also known as Malaysian ginseng, Tongkat ali has well documented aphrodisiac and testosterone enhancing effects. Studies in humans have supported these findings. In one study, supplementation with 200mg per day of Tongkat ali significantly increased testosterone levels and improved various symptoms of male ageing including libido, sexual performance and general fatigue. It has also shown potential for improving male fertility.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw Palmetto is the fat-soluble extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto tree and has been shown to significantly diminish the signs and symptoms of BPH by blocking the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT (the stronger and more potent form of testosterone).
Chrysin helps to increase natural testosterone levels by blocking its conversion into estrogen and therefore leading to the production of more testosterone in the body.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), Calcium-d-glucarate and Sulforaphane
All contain three supplements contain specific nutrients that help reduce the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and therefore reduce estrogen dominance in men and women.
Tribulus terrestris leaf extract
Tribulus terrestris leaf extract may gently stimulate the normal production of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland. This may lead the body to maintain testosterone at healthy levels.
Maca root is found growing in the Andean highlander zones of Peru at altitudes of 14,000 ft. It functions as an adaptogen, helping the body withstand stress by supporting healthy adrenal gland function. It also helps to boost libido and has hormone-balancing properties.