Testosterone is a hormone that has wide ranging effects throughout the body. It is found in both females and males, but women have much smaller amounts than men.
In men, the release of testosterone is associated with increased muscle mass, strength and more body hair. It is also associated with influencing the expression of certain behaviors such as physical aggression, anger, and taking risks.
Low levels of testosterone is usually referred to as hypogonadism. “Hypo” refers to “low”, while “gonadism” refers to decreased functionality of the gonads, in this case the testes.
For both males and females, low testosterone levels have been associated with reduced sex drive, weight gain, loss of body hair and lean mass as well as fatigue. For this reason, taking steps to naturally boost your testosterone levels may help.
Below are 5 of the best ways to boost your testosterone without any medication!
1. Get Your Beauty Sleep
In one study, The Journal of the American Medical Association investigated the effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. Results showed that lack of sleep can greatly influence testosterone levels, as testosterone levels were much lower after sleep restriction in comparison to the rested condition.
The exact amount of sleep that you will need depends on many factors. However, although it varies from person to person, most adults need between 7-9 hours to function optimally.
2. Avoid Overeating or Undereating
Overeating and undereating come with dangerous side effects. Among many symptoms including fatigue and hairlessness as well as very low testosterone levels.
Consuming too many calories leads to fat gain, which can decrease testosterone levels. On the other hand, consuming too little can increase cortisol, your stress hormone in the body which raises testosterone levels.
In many observational studies, it was revealed that diabetes is associated with low testosterone levels. For this reason, many men who suffer from insulin resistance have a greater risk of lower estrogen levels as well as hypogonadism.
Likewise, much research has shown that long-term calorie restriction, even with adequate protein and micronutrient intake, is associated with low testosterone, independent of body fat mass.
Also, when you restrict calories, you will not be consuming adequate amounts of all the macronutrient groups, including carbohydrates and fats. The Journal of Urology published a study that examined the relationship between popular diets, such as low fat and low carb diets, and testosterone levels among 3,128 men between the ages of 18 and 80 from a nationwide health study.
It was found that men who had adhered to low fat and low carb diets had lower serum testosterone levels despite being at a normal body weight.
3. Consume Adequate Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates
Eating a well balanced diet is important to ensure your hormones are balanced, including testosterone.
Fat is responsible for supporting cell growth and producing hormones. Aim to include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in your diet. This includes olive oil, salmon, avocados, olives, and nuts.
One of the primary functions of carbohydrates is to provide your body with energy. Scientists found out that there is a strong link between high carbohydrate consumption and testosterone levels. In their study, the consumption of a high-carb diet generated higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol than a low-carb diet over the span of ten days.
Examples of good whole carbohydrates include fruits, potatoes, brown rice, and legumes such as beans.
Finally, it is well known that protein deficiency leads to a decreased production of testosterone. To ensure optimal production of testosterone, getting at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, as recommended by the RDA is important.
For these reasons, it is important to consume a well balanced diet that incorporates adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
4. Get Enough Sun or Vitamin D
There has been much evidence demonstrating the relationship between vitamin D and testosterone levels.
While a high vitamin D intake did not show any positive effects as a result of greater testosterone levels, a lower vitamin D intake did show the negative consequences.
In fact, in one study, healthy men with low vitamin D had a lower ratio of testosterone to LH in the blood. This suggests that insufficient vitamin D can have a negative impact on our hormones, especially testosterone.
However, before you reach out for supplements, it is always better to consume your vitamins directly from food first. This includes oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.
Also, sun exposure is a primary source of vitamin D. Aiming for 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight each day can help you reach the recommended levels of at least 600 IU/day for both men and women. If you are unable to, then you can opt for supplements.
5. Do Strength Training
Exercise can help improve your sex drive and mood, which are characteristics of high levels of testosterone. However, doing strength training has been shown to be the best form of exercise to increase testosterone.
Particularly focusing on the big lifts such as the squat, deadlift and push press can help recruit more muscles and thereby increase overall muscle mass more effectively than single-joint exercises. Muscle mass and testosterone provides a positive feedback loop in your body.
More muscle mass has been shown to increase the production of testosterone and the higher your testosterone levels you have the more muscle you will be able to build.
Overall, your lifestyle has a significant impact on your testosterone levels. If you suffer from low testosterone, making these healthy lifestyle changes before you seek testosterone replacement therapy may help.
Testosterone therapy comes with potential side effects including increased acne, fluid retention and increased aggressive behavior. However, even on therapy, a healthy lifestyle and well balanced diet is important to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.
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This blog was written by Yara Mersi