Low testosterone in men is most closely associated with diminished sexual performance in the bedroom. That's the first thing that gets talked about when the subject of low-T counts comes up, just as we discussed in a recent article about testosterone that appeared on this website. Other low-T symptoms can include muscle mass atrophy, fatigue, weight gain, changes in sleep habits, depression and hair loss. So, the next question you might ask: what causes a drop in the level of the sex hormone testosterone, other than the aging process? Health experts say the gradual drop begins around age 30 for men and continues at a rate of roughly 10 percent per decade for most males. Other causes of lowered testosterone can include an injury to the testicles, treatment for cancer, disorders of the pituitary gland, HIV/AIDS, diseases related to inflammation (such as tuberculosis) and testicular tumors, per healthline.com.
Other Reasons for Low Sex DriveDon't assume that just because one's sex drive is down that it is related to testosterone levels. A decreased appetite for sex, not to mention sexual performance, can be related to a chronic illness, being overweight or being on prescription drugs such as beta-blockers or antidepressants, among other factors. Better to be administered a blood test checking for testosterone levels than assume you have low T and rush out and buy a bunch of stuff you think you need. For those with verifiable low testosterone levels (also referred to in medical terms as male hypogonadism ), though, various therapies and treatments are available, under a physician's care and supervision. However, they may come at a cost, and not just what you fork over in terms of monetary disbursements. For example, as pointed out by Cleveland Clinic, the effects of substances used in low-T therapy can run the gamut from sleep apnea and breakout of acne to enlarged breasts and shrinkage of the testicles. Are you prepared to pay the price?
Natural Remedies for Low TLook a little harder and you can find natural remedies for boosting testosterone without need of a doctor's prescription or any sort of clinical treatment. A variety of supplements and vitamins have been shown to be effective in raising testosterone levels – perhaps not in terms of increasing T numbers in healthy men, but at least returning T levels to baseline levels, and, for many men, that's all they need to be pleased as punch. Here are some supplements that have been shown to work in helping to either increase libido and sexual performance and/or reverse lowered testosterone:
- Fenugreek. It is considered a testosterone elevator, albeit a modest one at that. Per artofmanliness.com, it contains 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which prevent testosterone from being turned into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This in turn can bump up testosterone somewhat, while at the same time increasing libido by reducing DHT.
- Tongkat ali. This herb, found in Malaysia, has been shown to produce a mild testosterone lift when used by infertile people, but it has been found effective in improving libido.
- Vitamin D. That's right – go outside and catch some of the sun's rays, which are a rich source of vitamin D. Work on that tan and help your sex drive in the process. One study has shown that vitamin D for overweight men boosted their T levels.
- Zinc/Magnesium. Taking either of these in supplement form probably won't increase testosterone levels in healthy men, but they can help restore testosterone to baseline levels for those who have a deficiency.
- Ginger. Not only has ginger demonstrated an ability to fight off nausea and inflammation, it can also have a marked effect in increasing testosterone and semen quality in infertile men, per a 2012 study published in the Tikrit Medical Journal, cited at mensfitness.com.
- Tribulus terrestris. Per mensfitness.com, a 2012 study utilizing tribulus root (yes, it's a plant) found that men with low sperm counts taking six grams of the root each day for 60 days showed improved erections and an increase in their frequency of sex.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These are fats, but they are healthy fats, so you have that going for you. Omega-3's can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, as well as in flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. So, what does this have to do with T levels? Per draxe.com, a published study has shown that when men decreased their healthy fat intake, serum concentrations of androstenedione, testosterone and free testosterone also decreased. Maybe healthy fat won't increase testosterone levels, but it should help in preventing a decrease.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). This hormone is manufactured by our adrenal glands, per webmd.com, which are located near the kidneys. Supplements can be made from wild yam or soy. Manmade DHEA is a precursor to both male and female sex hormones, meaning it is a substance that the body converts, in the case of men, to testosterone.