Type in the word “testosterone” into google and the first result reads “Low Testosterone”. Testosterone (or lack there of) has been the hot topic for quite some time. It is all for a good reason considering 40% of men over the age of 45 have low T-levels. The side effects in those with decreased testosterone levels can be anything from decreased libido to an increased risk of death compared to those who have balanced levels. In this article, I will uncover the myths about testosterone, reasoning for low testosterone from a holistic perspective, and ways to naturally boost testosterone levels.
When people think of testosterone they think this is a problem that is only related to men, but interestingly enough, women can be affected too. Testosterone is looked at as a hormone associated with muscle and manhood, but that certainly is not the case.
Women produce testosterone in much lower amounts than men do within the adrenals and ovaries. Men produce testosterone in higher levels within the adrenal glands and testes. Testosterone has many key functions it serves throughout the body. These key functions include:
- Increase libido
- Increased energy levels
- Muscle mass and strength
- Optimal sleep patterns
- Optimal bone density
- Red blood cell production
- Positive wellbeing
- Supports cognitive function and memory
As we age, it is a natural response for your body to start having a slow decline in testosterone levels. At the age of 30, men start to lose 1.5% of testosterone every year according to this study. Another study of 858 males over the age of 40 found that those with low testosterone levels had an 88% increase in the risk of death compared to those who had normal levels.
Do You Have Low Testosterone?
There are many symptoms of low testosterone that can make life challenging when your levels are lower than they should be. The symptoms of low levels of testosterone include but are not limited to:
- Poor concentration
- Low energy
- Increased body fat
- Poor sleep
- Night sweats
- Decreased sense of wellbeing
- Reduced muscle mass
- Decreased libido
Individuals who have decreased testosterone levels can naturally boost testosterone. Those who put in the effort report a huge change. But first…
Why do so many people have low testosterone levels?
When I look at health trends I always ask why. Why is it that testosterone was never an issue and now its one of the hottest topics? Why is it that small tribes in 3rd world countries don’t have these issues with testosterone? It has nothing to do with our ability to detect it as we have had this technology for decades.
The reason that testosterone has become a massive issue is because we as humans are not living in an environment that is congruent for optimal testosterone levels. Here are major contributors:
- Chronic stress
- Poor nutrition
- Poor relationships
- Unhealthy gut
- Little to no exercise
- Statin drugs
- Sedentary lifestyle
These are the major factors that have changed over the past couple decades. Our DNA has not changed one bit, but the above factors have increased tenfold. Reducing the above factors is not only going to allow you to increase your testosterone levels, but also reduce your risk of serious disease.
There are a multitude of studies that prove chronic stress hormones are associated to lowered testosterone levels. One study tells us that an enzyme in the testicles protects testosterone from being destroyed before it makes it in the blood stream. During times of chronic stress, cortisol inhibits this enzyme causing testosterone to be destroyed before it can be used. Another study tells us that stress can and will convert testosterone into stress hormones.
What about Hormone Replacement Therapy?
The natural route to boosting testosterone is always the best bet, as taking anything synthetic always comes with side effects. This study outlines potential risks associated with hormone replacement therapy that include altering your cholesterol and increasing your risk of stroke.
I have not met anyone who hasn’t had success in boosting testosterone naturally. It can be done successfully and the best part is that there are no negative side effects.
Top 8 Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone
1.) Hormone Boosting Exercise
The reason I say hormone boosting exercise is because not all exercise is created equal. There are forms of exercise that can further deplete testosterone and forms of exercise that can give you a massive boost.
Weight lifting is one sure way to boost your testosterone. In this study, it was found that testosterone and growth hormone release was induced by strength training in both the young and elderly subjects who participated. Another study by the University of Nebraska found that moderate level weight training boosted serum levels of testosterone giving the participants the natural solution to low testosterone they were looking for.
The other form of exercise that is incredible for boosting testosterone in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This form of exercise is a favorite of mine for many reasons. Not only does it boost testosterone, it also gives you a boost of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), 10x more fat burn, increased circulation in the brain, and great cardiovascular benefits. An example of HIIT would be running sprints for 20 minutes vs. running six miles in distance. One of my favorite aspects of this form of exercise is the time saving ability. Instead of exercising for an hour, you’re performing your daily exercise in its entirety within a 20 minute timeframe. For detailed instructions on how to get started with HIIT exercise, listen to this video.
2.) High Quality Nutrition
High quality nutrition is a must when boosting testosterone. Following the Heal Yourself Diet will have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body that allows for balance. Remember, if we are living according to what is required for our genetics, the body can self regulate and self heal. This diet is high in good fats, moderate in protein, low in carbohydrates, and low in sugar.
Key fatty acids are crucial for testosterone production, meaning you want to consume more high quality fats such as avocados, coconut oil, omega 3 fatty acids, and grass fed butter. In this study, it was demonstrated that those who ate higher levels of high quality fats had a higher level of testosterone levels in their serum compared to those who didn’t.
3.) Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal for boosting testosterone. Intermittent fasting is simply consuming all your meals within an 8 hour period, then fasting for 16 hours. Though it may sound daunting, it is one of the easiest forms of fasting. I’ve written in depth about this topic, so you can learn all the details here.
In this study, it was found that short-term fasting boosted testosterone all the way up to 200% in the subjects who participated. As your body takes a break from digesting food, it has a greater healing potential. This is why not only do we see the benefit of increased testosterone levels, but also increased growth hormone levels.
4.) Decrease Stress
Above we mentioned scientific explanations as to why stress reduces testosterone levels; now I want to give you some tools. Gratitude journaling, mindful meditation, prayer, and having a positive focus are all incredible ways to reduce stress on a daily basis. I personally try to identify areas of stress then ask better questions as to how I can change these scenarios or even my mindset around them so that I can reduce stress by any means possible.
5.) High Quality Sleep
I’m specific to high quality sleep simply because so many people lay in bed with the inability to sleep at night. In the e-book Sleep Your Way to Health, I outline how I used sleep trackers to discover that I was lying in bed for 8 hours at night, but only sleeping for about 5 of them. I show you all the sleep tactics I know so that you can live a better life through better sleep.
The timeframe between 10 pm and 2 am are the most valuable times for your body to rejuvenate and hormones to balance. In this study, it reveals that an adequate amount of sleep is the most powerful thing you can do for boosting testosterone. Though it can vary slightly from one individual to the next, it is recommended that between 7-8 hours a night are optimal for your body.
As our bodies become toxic, we lose the ability for our cells to communicate properly and self regulate. As your cells become toxic, they don’t communicate as they should because the receptors are blunted. Your liver can become very toxic during this time causing it to not work optimally, ultimately reducing testosterone. Removing toxins from our bodies will not only reduce the risk of chronic disease such as cancer, but also allow for a natural balance of hormones.
7.) Lose the fat
Those who have a high fat content are more likely to convert testosterone into estrogen through a process called aromatization. Not only would this lower your testosterone levels but also put you at risk for estrogen dominant cancers. Dr. Witter, who is the head of the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, says that weight loss is a very predictable relationship with increased testosterone.
8.) Optimize Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic proportions in the United States. This is largely due to the fact that people are spending less time outdoors and not getting the sun exposure required for their bodies to make adequate amounts of Vitamin D. This study found that men who supplemented with vitamin D had significantly higher amounts of testosterone after supplementing.
Other testosterone boosting strategies include:
- Supplementing with Zinc
- Adaptogenic Herbs
- Cold Thermogenesis
- Supplementing with branch chain amino acids
Let us know how your testosterone increases after using these strategies to naturally boost testosterone. If you have questions or need assistance getting started, you can schedule a complimentary consultation here.