The hormone testosterone is produced in the male tastes and is often associated with “manhood”. Women also produce testosterone but on a much lower scale to men. Testosterone plays a large role in a male’s sexuality and reproductive system, impacting on muscle mass, hair growth, maintaining bone density and levels of red blood cells within the body. As men begin to age their testosterone levels begin to drop.
If, as a man, you are experiencing any of the following symptoms then you may be suffering from low testosterone levels; depressed mood, erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, finding it hard to concentrate and loss of memory. If you are suffering from low testosterone levels then there are a number of synthetic and bioidentical testosterone products available that may be able to help increase your testosterone levels. A product called DHEA (an abundant androgen precursor prohormone in the human body) is also available and can be very effective in helping to increase testosterone levels and even oestrogen levels in women. However, before jumping in and investing in expensive supplements there are many strategies you can employ to try to boost your testosterone levels naturally, with no side effects.
One of the most common signs of low testosterone levels is being overweight, so to be able to increase your testosterone levels, losing a few pounds will work wonders. The best and easiest way to lose weight safely is to limit the amount of processed and refined carbohydrates in your diet, and eliminating as much sugar as possible, as this is the primary reason for obesity. It is recommended that your total fructose consumption should stay below 25 grams per day, including fruits. This is especially important if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or have high cholesterol.
As well as limiting fructose, try to limit grains and milk as these are also primary factors in weight gain. Refined carbohydrates and grains will raise your insulin levels and cause insulin resistance which can lead to many chronic diseases. Limiting milk is also important as milk contains the sugar lactose which has also been said to increase insulin resistance.
High intensity interval training combined with intermittent fasting has been shown to boost testosterone levels considerably. Intermittent fasting helps to increase testosterone levels by increasing, what we call our satiety hormones, which include insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), coleystokini (CKK) and melanocortins. All of these hormones are suggested to be able to help regulate healthy testosterone levels, increase libido and prevent ageing.
After completing a high intensity interval session, it is suggested that you should consume a whey protein meal/shake to help enhance and boost satiety hormones, and thus, testosterone.
Supplementing your diet with zinc has been shown to improve testosterone levels dramatically even after just six weeks. Research has proven that limiting zinc from within your diet can lead to a significant decrease in testosterone levels and can even lead to a reduction in testicle size.
Research suggests that around 45% of adults over 60 do not consume enough zinc within their diet and when dietary supplements of zinc were included into their diet, research suggests that still 20-25% of the participants were still deficient. There are many good dietary sources of zinc, for example, raw milk, raw cheese, yogurt and beans. If supplementing with zinc, a dose of 40 mg a day would be recommended, because if you consume too much zinc then this can lead to your body not being able to absorb certain minerals properly, such as copper, and can lead to nausea.
Carrying our intense strength training can also boost your testosterone levels as long as you use HEAVY weights over a short amount of repetitions. It is also important to focus primarily on exercises that work the larger muscle groups such as deadlifts and squats. If you want to progress your weight training even further then you can perform the same exercises but more slowly. In making the actions slower you are changing the exercise into a high-intensity exercise, making your muscles work even harder by activating maximal cross-bridge protein filaments within your muscles.
Next, is Vitamin D, a steroid hormone which is needed to help regulate and increase levels of testosterone and for a healthy development of each nucleus within each sperm cell. Studies have been carried out to verify that when participants have supplemented with vitamin D their testosterone levels increased.
As we do not spend enough time outside it is believed that the majority of us are vitamin D deficient, so we should supplement vitamin D into our diet. Researchers suggest that an adult should take 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day to enable them to elevate their levels to above 40 ng/ml, which has been suggested to be the minimum needed to prevent disease.
When we become stressed or are under a lot of pressure our body’s cortisol levels increase, which is not ideal as this will block the effects of testosterone. If you remain stressed over a long period of time this will subsequently keep you cortisol levels elevated, which is what you are trying to avoid. This suggests that banishing or reducing the stress within your life could benefit you and increase your testosterone levels.
Studies have suggested that raising the good fats within your diet, the mono and polyunsaturated fats, such as avocadoes and nuts, is very beneficial in building and raising testosterone levels. Further, studies suggest that diets that contain less that 40 percent of energy from fats have led to a decrease in testosterone.
Finally, research has suggested that combining Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplementation alongside resistance training can help to raise testosterone levels. BCAA supplements can be bought over the counter or in health food shops, but the richest source of BCAA is leucine which can be found in most dairy products.
In conclusion then, from all of the suggestions above, it is clear that you can boost your testosterone levels naturally without supplementing them into your diet. A few little changes within your lifestyle and diet could make all the difference and help you to boost your testosterone levels.