This One's for the Fellas: How (and Why) to Boost Your Testosterone
I often see many of my male patients (as well as female) suffering from low testosterone. The shocker is that it's happening more frequently, and in a much younger population.
Studies have shown that the average man’s testosterone in today’s society is nearly 25 percent lower than in the 1980s.
A real men's health issue
Research has shown that men with low testosterone are:
- 52.4 per cent more likely to be obese
- 50 per cent more likely to develop diabetes
- 42.4 per cent more likely to have high blood pressure
- 40.4 per cent more likely to have high cholesterol
So, clearly, this is an issue that shouldn't be ignored.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily by the testicles, and it plays a large role in male sexuality and reproduction. It impacts factors sexual and reproductive function, muscle mass, and hair growth. Testosterone is also important for maintaining bone density, levels of red blood cells and a sense of well-being and vitality.
Why does testosterone decline as men age?
Unfortunately, around the age of 30 a man’s testosterone levels 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 natural ways to boost your testosterone level as you age.
Tips to naturally boost testosterone levels
1. Maintain a healthy weight
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. 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 exposure to BPA resulted in lower levels of testosterone in men. Bottom line: 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 and 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% of energy from fat led to a decrease in testosterone levels.
Healthy fats include:
- unheated olive oil
- coconut oil
- 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. 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.
7. Include zinc in your diet
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: beans, organic, grass-fed yogurt, cheese, beef and lamb, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Simple diet and lifestyle choices (most of which will have a positive effect on quality of life, regardless) can help men increase their testosterone levels and live long, healthy lives.