Testosterone 101 – Can You Boost It Naturally?
Lately, you’ve been feeling like a shadow of your former self. You’re not as strong as you used to be, and you’re definitely not as energetic. Well, if that’s the case, it’s possible that you might be going through the so-called “andropause.” The andropause is the male equivalent of the menopause, whereas testosterone levels are significantly lower. That brings about a variety of unwanted effects, such as decreased energy, cognitive function, muscle mass, and sometimes even depression.
The best way to determine whether or not you have low T levels is by doing a blood test, as we mentioned in part 1 of this article series. If you’ve done it and are not ready yet to hop on a testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), worry not![Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]There might be a more natural, holistic solution to get you back to normal levels of testosterone.
So before you panic and run off to the doctor, keep reading as we give you a few tips on how you can do just that!
The Natural Decline
In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In both males and females, it plays a key role in health and well-being as well as the development of reproductive tissues and certain gender traits.
Testosterone also aids in fat distribution around the body, as well as the growth and maintenance of muscle and bone mass. In males, the significant production of testosterone begins during puberty, and it continues to be produced throughout life. However, after the age of 30, the natural production of testosterone starts declining naturally.
Because of that, many males report a decrease in sex drive, physical and mental energy, strength, as well as cognitive sharpness, and muscle mass. Granted, for optimal physical and mental health, maintaining normal testosterone levels is a must during the older years. But before you resort to TRT (which we’ll talk about in part 3), let’s, have a look at the natural ways you can positively impact your testosterone.
So, How Do You Boost It?
As mentioned, there is much more to take care of before you even think of resolving low internal testosterone with exogenous such. Those are major things related to lifestyle choices.
So let’s have a look at the things that have a negative impact on testosterone levels and reverse them for the better!
It is common knowledge that exercising can be one of the best preventative measures for a myriad of diseases.
Even more so, resistance training like lifting weights has been shown to also boost testosterone levels and well have an overall positive effect on your hormonal system. To add up on this claim, a fairly recent study from 2012 shows concrete evidence that active, elderly men have higher levels of testosterone, as well as better semen parameters and cognitive function.
This leads us to believe that resistance training is without a doubt the best way to tell your body, “it’s time to produce some testosterone!” And this makes sense because weightlifting implies intense, short bouts of muscular activity. These demand testosterone to be mobilized for both energy release and recovery afterward!
So here’s for a key takeaway: If you want to naturally boost your testosterone levels, lift some heavy ass weights! Focus on squats, presses and deadlifts.
Besides training activity, what you eat afterwards also has a major impact on your hormone levels. With this in mind, we can say that the more you age, the more essential it is for you to track your calories, and macronutrients. The most important nutrients for testosterone levels are protein and fats, as shown by certain studies. (2), (3)
Besides protein and fats, which are essential for the body, one must consider consuming an adequate amount of carbs, as means of optimizing training performance. When improved, training performance will greatly influence natural testosterone production.
Key Message: Combining heavy training with proper nutrition is key for testosterone production!
#3 Stress Management
One of the most prominent and impactful factors that have a negative impact on testosterone levels and health, is without a doubt chronic stress.
Chronic stress leads to excessive production of cortisol (one of the main stress hormones). And well, cortisol has been shown to have a major impact on the production of testosterone – As cortisol goes up, testosterone goes down and vice versa. (4) This is in fact, one of the more important factors here, as chronic stress can impact everything else on this list so far.
With this in mind, here’s the key message: Stay aware of your reactions and emotions throughout the day and don’t give in to stress factors that are not worth your time and energy!
#4 Sun Exposure
Contrary to common knowledge, sun exposure allows the production of vitamin D by the body, whereas the organism converts cholesterol to vitamin D.
This natural production offers a variety of health benefit and surprisingly, it may also be effective in the natural production of testosterone. (5) Now, granted, getting enough sun exposure may be a difficult task nowadays, as many people have a sedentary office job for the bigger part of the day.
Nevertheless, try and get some consistent sun exposure and if you have done blood tests that show suboptimal vitamin D levels, consider supplementing vitamin D.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of how you recover, feel and how much testosterone your body produces, is the amount and quality of sleep that you get every night.
Sleep is like the link between everything else (exercise & food). Granted, the amount of sleep needed depends on a variety of factors, but as a general rule of thumb, we can say that at least 6 hours of sleep per night is needed for optimal recovery.
Here are some tips to improve your ability to fall and stay asleep, as well as get the best quality of sleep possible:
- Create a sleeping schedule – Go to bed at roughly the same time
- Avoid eating right before bed
- Avoid screen lights in the last 2 hours before bedtime
- Avoid going to bed in the late AM (tune in to the day-night cycle of the Earth)
- Let all your thoughts go before you fall asleep
Low testosterone levels are a result of a variety of factors, including but not limited to age, eating habits & levels of physical activity. The latter can be emphasized on when the goal is to boost your testosterone levels naturally.
If we had to summarize the main points of this article in a couple of bulletpoints, it’d look like this:
- Lift weights
- Eat nutritious foods
- Sleep well
- Get sun exposure
- Manage stress
- Avoid alcohol/drugs
Once you have all that in place, the fundamental change is completed! From then on, depending on what you want from your body, you can consider testosoterone replacement therapy (TRT). If you want to go that route, read part 3 of this article series, where we go through all the details regarding TRT.
See you there!