Are you feeling a little different lately? Have you grown a little older and started to feel a little less like yourself?
If this sounds like the beginning of an infomercial, there’s no need to worry – I’m not about to sell you anything.
It may seem embarrassing at first, but you don’t have to feel like the only one – millions of people are dealing with low testosterone.
And if you keep reading, you’ll learn how you can naturally raise your testosterone levels. But first, let’s figure out exactly what testosterone is, and what it does for the body.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the key male sex hormone. It’s also present in small amounts in females.
During puberty, testosterone is one of the main forces behind physical changes like increased muscle, hair growth and a deeper voice. But it’s also crucial to your health far beyond puberty for a number of reasons.
When you reach the age of 25 to 30, your testosterone levels naturally start to decline. It’s just a fact of life.
As men age, they become much more likely to experience symptoms like lack of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, lethargy, depression, and diminished physical performance.
These may not seem life threatening at first, but the real problem with this is that low testosterone can mean a greater chance of obesity, which comes with an increased risk of disease and premature death.
And low testosterone doesn’t only affect men. Healthy testosterone levels are also important for women, along with other hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
So, everyone should do what they can to ensure they have the right amount of testosterone in their bodies if they want to improve and maintain their bodies.
1. Exercise and Weight Lifting
One of the big reasons why people want more testosterone is so they can be in better shape – and get into better shape more easily.
But what they might not realize is that it’s part of a cycle. The fitter you are, the fitter you can become.
There have been quite a few studies that show that losing weight through exercise can create significant hormonal differences. One study showed that testosterone levels can increase by an incredible 50 percent with weight loss.
There have also been a number of studies showing that higher fat percentage leads to lower testosterone count. So, when you put these studies together, you can only come to one conclusion:
The leaner you are, the more likely you are to have more testosterone in your body.
And honestly, you should be working towards lowering your body fat and getting in better shape anyway. The more physically active you are, the healthier you’ll be – both in body and mind.
2. Get More Zinc
A zinc deficiency can lead to something called testicular suppression, which includes the suppression of testosterone levels.
The reason for this has a lot to do with the male prostate, which has one of the highest concentrations of zinc in the body. Zinc has been found to protect the testicles against DNA damage from heavy metals like cadmium, and can even improve erectile dysfunction.
However, you should keep in mind that too much zinc can lead to its own set of problems. You could suffer from nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, low copper levels, and a weakened immune system overall if you supplement too heavily.
To get more zinc in your diet, focus on eating foods like cheese, yogurt, and legumes. Supplementation is still a natural way to get zinc into your diet to improve your testosterone count, but consult with a doctor or specialist before you do.
3. Eat the Right Fats
Fats have gotten a bad rap over the past few decades in the health and nutrition fields, and some for good reason. But it turns out, adding more fat to your diet can have numerous health benefits that include raising your testosterone levels.
Fats help your body absorb nutrients from your food, strengthen your nervous system, maintain cell structures, regulate hormones, and more.
Studies have shown that men whose diets are rich in healthy fats have significantly higher testosterone levels than men whose diets are lacking.
However, stay away from trans fats at all cost. These are fats that have been scientifically modified to give foods longer shelf lives, and they’ve also been associated with various diseases and health complications.
The fats you want are the more natural saturated and unsaturated fats that are the densest energy sources available to your body. If you get a good amount of these fats from fish and other healthy sources, you’ll ensure your body is ready for the workout.
4. Stay Hydrated
I know it’s flavorless and boring to some. But that’s what makes it water!
Water is extremely important to your health for a number of reasons, but many people still take it for granted. Instead of drinking the amount they need on a daily basis, they overlook it completely or drink other liquids that are bad for their health.
The same goes for when people work out. All they have to do is fill up a bottle and take it with them on a jog, or use a water fountain, but no – they’d rather deprive themselves of crucial hydration.
When you exercise, your need for water is increased dramatically. Even mild hydration can suppress the exercise induced rise in testosterone and growth hormone, all while increasing the secretion of cortisol.
So please, keep your body hydrated.
5. Stop Eating So Much Sugar
As you get older, you might feel like you’ve developed a more refined sweet tooth that doesn’t involve candy or any of the other terribly unhealthy treats you ate as a child.
But you might still be eating too much sugar – especially if you’re trying to maintain or raise your testosterone levels.
Foods like bread, pasta, pastries, and soda can cause rapid increases in your blood sugar. This makes your testosterone levels drop in an instant. Some studies have found that one sugar-rich meal can make your testosterone levels drop by as much as 25 percent.
And if you’re eating this stuff regularly, you’ll end up with chronically low testosterone. So whenever you have that crazy craving for carbs, look to foods that won’t cause rapid increases in blood sugar.
6. Reduce Your Stress
Cutting stress out of your life can be a serious challenge – one that can actually add more stress to your life if you aren’t careful.
However, it’s a challenge worth taking on, because lower stress means higher testosterone levels.
Chronic stress results in chronically elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s principal stress hormone that suppresses testosterone levels, among other things.
It’s true that you need cortisol for a lot of good reasons. For instance, you probably wouldn’t be able to get up and walk in the morning without it. But too much of it can lead to a break down in muscle mass and other oxidative damage in your body.
It can literally destroy your free testosterone molecules inside your testicles and in the bloodstream. No joke.
So, do everything you can to reduce your stress levels. Fortunately, this next tip is uniquely qualified to help you with that.
7. Get Plenty of Quality Sleep
I get it — when you get home from work and the gym, you want to make some extra time for yourself to wind down at night. Unfortunately, you might be cutting into your body’s testosterone production.
Research now shows that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re reducing your testosterone levels. The study in question found that young, healthy men who got only 5 hours of sleep per night had a daytime testosterone decrease of 10 to 15 percent.
Aside from a direct link to lower testosterone, not getting enough sleep also makes losing weight more difficult and causes you to actually lose muscle when cutting calories.
So, make sure you’re getting lots of good sleep. I’m not talking about just laying in bed and staring at your phone, either. You need to be sound asleep for 7 to 9 hours per night.
8. Consume More Vitamin D
Vitamin D is already well known for increasing bone density, decreasing your risk of certain cancers, and strengthening your immune system. But now, there’s evidence that vitamin D supplementation can increase your testosterone levels!
One study showed that vitamin D supplementation for a full year leads to a 25 percent higher testosterone level in healthy male subjects.
If you live in a super sunny area, it’s easy to get enough sun naturally by simply spending 10 minutes or more outside. But if you live in a colder climate, it’s easy to become vitamin D deficient.
In fact, despite its importance to your overall health, nearly half the US population is deficient in vitamin D, and even more have “sub-optimal” levels!
So, look into vitamin D supplementation or foods that are naturally high in vitamin D to get all its benefits.
See, it’s not that hard to keep your natural hormones pumping the way they should.
And sure, some might say that it’s just a part of aging for your testosterone levels to decrease. They might say it’s the natural order of things, that you should age the way everyone else does.
But I think if you have a choice in the matter, you should do everything you can to keep yourself healthy and fit. You’ll feel better, look better, and probably even live longer because of it.