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Hey there! Are you feeling a little sluggish? A little grumpy? Maybe you’re not as interested in sex as you used to be…? Or, worse, perhaps you have lost your interest altogether. Well, before you assume anything, it might be a good idea to take a look at your testosterone levels.
If all of the above hits home, the chances are good that they’re dropping – and that’s not something that just affects older men. As a matter of fact, testosterone levels start declining when we reach our late 20s, and by the time we hit our golden years, they can be dangerously low.
But don’t worry – there are ways to boost and maintain those levels so you can enjoy your innate masculinity, cognitive sharpness, recovery, and muscle tone!
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is an essential hormone that serves various functions in both the male and the female bodies. It is in higher concentrations in men, which is perhaps why it is referred to as the “male hormone.”Testosterone is produced primarily by the testicles in the male body, while in females, the ovaries and adrenal glands play on that part!
Functions Of Testosterone
Testosterone is the primary androgenic hormone, or in other words, a hormone that vastly contributes to growth and reproduction. In addition, it is involved in developing the male genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics.
The hormone has an anabolic effect in both sexes and has also been shown to affect behavior! The main functions of testosterone include but are not limited to:
- Libido regulation
- Development of male traits
- Bone mass
- Fat distribution
- Strength development
- Muscle mass development
- Red blood cell production
- Sperm production
Low Testosterone Symptoms In Men
Low testosterone is also known as Hypogonadism or Andropause and naturally occurs as we age. Without a doubt, the best way to determine if you have suboptimal levels of testosterone is to get a blood test done.
Nevertheless, certain symptoms can make low testosterone quite obvious. The symptoms can include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight gain
- Lack of sex drive
- Decreased muscle mass
- Decreased cognitive function
If you’re struggling with these symptoms, it might be a good idea to get tested for low testosterone levels to confirm your suspicions.
Normal Levels Of Testosterone
The normal, healthy levels of testosterone may vary from male to female because testosterone is an essential hormone in both genders, which is produced in different amounts by the body. Specifically, in men, a healthy baseline of testosterone is considered:
For women, those numbers go from 15-70 ng/Dl & 0.5-5 pg/Ml, for total & free testosterone, respectively. So, generally speaking, the closer you are to the upper end of that range, the better it is for you!
Nevertheless, if you have been diagnosed as having low testosterone, it could be caused by a variety of factors, including, but not limited to:
- Eating habits
- Activity levels
- Toxic habits
- Sleeping patterns
- Stress management
Can You Boost It Naturally?
In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In both males and females, it plays a key role in health and well-being and the development of reproductive tissues and certain gender traits.
Testosterone also aids in fat distribution around the body and muscle and bone mass growth and maintenance. In males, the significant production of testosterone begins during puberty, and it continues to be produced throughout life.
However, after the age of 30, the natural production of testosterone starts declining naturally. Because of that, many males report a decrease in sex drive, physical and mental energy, strength, cognitive sharpness, and muscle mass.
Granted, for optimal physical and mental health, maintaining normal testosterone levels is a must during the older years. But before you resort to TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy), let’s, have a look at the natural ways you can positively impact your testosterone.
So, How Do You Boost It?
As mentioned, there is much more to take care of before you even think of resolving low internal testosterone with exogenous such. Those are major things related to lifestyle choices.
So let’s have a look at the things that have a negative impact on testosterone levels and reverse them for the better!
It is common knowledge that exercising can be one of the best preventative measures for a myriad of diseases. Even more so, resistance training like lifting weights has been shown to boost testosterone levels and have an overall positive effect on your hormonal system.
To add up on this claim, a relatively recent study from 2012 shows concrete evidence that active, older adults have higher levels of testosterone, as well as better semen parameters and cognitive function. This leads us to believe that resistance training is without a doubt the best way to tell your body, “it’s time to produce some testosterone!”
And this makes sense because weightlifting implies intense, short bouts of muscular activity. These demand testosterone to be mobilized for both energy release and recovery afterward! So here’s a key takeaway: If you want to boost your testosterone levels naturally, lift some heavy-ass weights! Focus on squats, presses, and deadlifts.
Besides training activity, what you eat afterward also has a major impact on your hormone levels. With this in mind, we can say that the more you age, the more essential it is for you to track your calories and macronutrients.
The most important nutrients for testosterone levels are protein and fats, as shown by certain studies. (2), (3)Besides protein and fats, which are essential for the body, one must consider consuming an adequate amount of carbs to optimize training performance.
When improved, training performance will greatly influence natural testosterone production. Key Message: Combining heavy training with proper nutrition is key for testosterone production!
#3 Stress Management
One of the most prominent and impactful factors that negatively impact testosterone levels and health is, without a doubt, chronic stress. Chronic stress leads to the excessive production of cortisol (one of the main stress hormones).
And well, cortisol has been shown to have a significant impact on the production of testosterone – As cortisol goes up, testosterone goes down and vice versa. (4)This is one of the more important factors here, as chronic stress can impact everything else on this list so far.
With this in mind, here’s the key message: Stay aware of your reactions and emotions throughout the day, and don’t give in to stress factors that are not worth your time and energy!
#4 Sun Exposure
Contrary to common knowledge, sun exposure allows the production of vitamin D by the body, whereas the organism converts cholesterol to vitamin D.This natural production offers a variety of health benefits, and surprisingly, it may also be effective in the natural production of testosterone. (5)
Now, granted, getting enough sun exposure may be a difficult task nowadays, as many people have a sedentary office job for the bigger part of the day. Nevertheless, try and get some consistent sun exposure and if you have done blood tests that show suboptimal vitamin D levels, consider supplementing vitamin D.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of how you recover, feel, and how much testosterone your body produces is the amount and quality of sleep you get every night. Sleep is like the link between everything else (exercise & food).
Granted, the amount of sleep needed depends on various factors, but as a general rule of thumb, we can say that at least 6 hours of sleep per night is needed for optimal recovery. Here are some tips to improve your ability to fall and stay asleep, as well as get the best quality of sleep possible:
- Create a sleeping schedule – Go to bed at roughly the same time
- Avoid eating right before bed
- Avoid screen lights in the last 2 hours before bedtime
- Avoid going to bed in the late AM (tune in to the day-night cycle of the Earth)
- Let all your thoughts go before you fall asleep
Low testosterone levels result from a variety of factors, including but not limited to age, eating habits & levels of physical activity. Boosting testosterone levels naturally would benefit from emphasizing the latter. If we had to summarize the main points of this article in a couple of bullet points, it’d look like this:
- Lift weights
- Eat nutritious foods
- Sleep well
- Get sun exposure
- Manage stress
- Avoid alcohol/drugs
The fundamental change is complete as soon as you have implemented all these measures! From then on, depending on what you want from your body, you can consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).