One of man's biggest fears – and this includes women as well, to some extent – is low testosterone. It is a hormone that has been called the holy grail of male hormones, and it's no wonder why. Testosterone not only gives men their sense of vitality, it fuels their sex drive, without which quality of life can become one big question mark – a question mark that becomes more prominent as a man ages and testosterone levels drop. A drop in testosterone levels can produce a number of worrisome yet natural symptoms, such as brain fog, low libido, low sperm production, and reduced hair growth and bone/muscle mass. Per jpost.com, low testosterone is becoming a more frequent occurrence among men, and even younger men are susceptible to this condition. Men as young as 30 years old are reporting issues, and that likely doesn't count males in their 20s too embarrassed to even report it. Note, too, that the gradual decline in testosterone levels, especially after age 30, can put you at higher probability of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, impaired sexual function, less muscle mass, and reduced physical performance, per bodybuilding.com.
Women Are Affected, TooWomen also have some of the hormone testosterone in their bodies, although about 10 percent of the amount that men have. Women's levels peak in their 20s and then it starts a gradual decline as they age, just as it does for men, per bodybuilding.com. This drop affects women, as a depletion of testosterone can be a detriment affecting the balance between testosterone and estrogen, leading to increased body fat, a slowed metabolism, lowered strength and bone mineral density, and making it a struggle to add muscle.
12 Natural Means to Improve Testosterone LevelsPrescription drugs are available to help you boost your testosterone level, but it's worth considering using natural methods to raise your T level. This is so you don't have to rely on drugs that might produce unwanted side effects. Even without using drugs, though, with the intent on going all-natural, you are advised to consult with your physician first before you try to enact a testosterone-boosting regimen all on your own. Here are a dozen natural means (to include over-the-counter products) to consider as you push ahead in ramping up your T levels:
- Get Plenty of Sleep. And do whatever you can to make it good sleep. Your body will appreciate this as it is conditioned to work to crank up your testosterone level while you are asleep. Shoot for seven to eight hours nightly. Getting only, say, five hours can reduce your testosterone levels by 15 percent, per webmd.com.
- Honey. Honey is rich in nitric oxide, which can help open up the blood vessels key to getting erections, per jpost.com. Four teaspoons of honey can increase nitric oxide levels by 50 percent.
- Garlic. We gave you sweetener with honey; now we go in the other direction in giving you garlic breath. Per jpost.com, garlic contains a substance known as allicin, which experts say can reduce your body's level of cortisol. That's a good thing, because cortisol competes with testosterone within your muscles. So, get cortisol out of the way – thanks to garlic – and your testosterone levels are free to increase.
- D-Aspartic acid (DAA). Per bodybuilding.com, this is an amino acid found in your neuroendocrine tissues. It has been identified as capable of influencing hormone levels by bolstering testosterone production.
- Eat plenty of protein. You have plenty of options here, per webmd.com, starting with lean beef, chicken, fish (tuna is a great choice), and eggs. Tofu, nuts, and seeds also provide protein, so they should make good snacks in this regard. If you don't eat enough protein-rich foods, you risk a situation in which your body produces a substance that, in binding with testosterone, leaves you T deficient.
- Magnesium. This particular mineral can prevent a protein from binding with testosterone, which frees up more testosterone to flow through your blood, per webmd.com. Spinach is good in this regard; so are almonds, cashews, and peanuts.
- Testofen. This extract of fenugreek is believed to bolster testosterone levels, increase muscle mass, and ramp up sexual drive in men.
- Zinc. Zinc is an essential nutrient that assists in a person's development during puberty, and oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc, per jpost.com. If you body has a zinc deficiency, you probably will have an accompanying low level of testosterone.
- Minimize beer consumption. Per webmd.com, it takes only five days of regular beer drinking to drop your testosterone level. Over time that can mean shrunken testes, thinner chest and beard hair, and ramped-up levels of the female hormone estrogen.
- Vitamin D. This is a nutrient, per jpost.com, that helps the body in absorbing calcium, which is crucial for the health of bones, your immune system and an assortment of other bodily functions that also can be affected by lowered T levels. Egg yolks are a good source of D. Low-fat milk goes good with vitamin D.
- Start lifting. We're talking weights here; think barbells, dumbbells, and whatever else looks useful in the weight room. Make sure you get instruction from a trainer in proper techniques for lifting, and don't overdo it. Working on your muscles thusly should stimulate your T levels.
- Eat Fat. This might go against every impulse you have, but dietary fat – there is such a thing as good fat – can be effective in stimulating natural testosterone production, per bodybuilding.com. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that diets laced with more monounsaturated and saturated fats than usual showed bolstered testosterone levels.