Testosterone has benefits that both improve physical and emotional well-being. It’s typically touted as a male dominate hormone, but women also benefit from adequate amounts of the Big T. Men typically can have 10 times more Testosterone than women and produce approximately 10mg per day in their gonads. Testosterone is part of a somewhat complicated puzzle as it’s balanced with many other hormones that either compete or completely obliterate your chances of having the right amount of testosterone. Let’s check out some things you can do to increase your levels!
Benefits of Increased Testosterone
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Ability to increase lipolysis and burn fat better
- Build bones better with increased bone density
- Increased libido and sexual performance
- Increased drive and motivation
- Faster recovery after workouts
How to Naturally Boost Testosterone | 5 Ways to Make it Happen!
1. Eat the Right Foods for More T!
Cholesterol is the building block for testosterone. Technically, Pregnenolone is the mother of all hormones and this momma needs fat! It’s already been proven that cholesterol is not a factor in heart disease and in fact, cholesterol provides many anti-inflammatory benefits. Don’t be scared of fat! (source) (source)
Don’t cut the carbs!
If you want to make gains and boost your natural testosterone…eat carbs! Carbs help insulin, an anabolic hormone, and counteract the catabolic hormone cortisol, encouraging testosterone growth. Great sources of T-Boosting carbs are yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal (yes, oatmeal), sorghum, berries and certain pre-workout and post-workout supplements high in carbs that are timed around your workout. (source) (source) (source)
Eat Estrogen-Lowering Foods
In men especially, estrogen levels can crush testosterone levels. This is because Estrogen and Testosterone are competing for the same androgen receptors. Men need small amounts of estrogen, but unfortunately, most men have way too much! Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower have estrogen reducing properties. Berries contain Calcium D-Glucarate, which helps flush out excess estrogen. Estrogen can also get stuck in the body, so it needs to be chelated. Consuming “methylators” like beets, quinoa and spinach help to flush out this excess Estrogen. Adding lemon or lime to your water or meals can also help flush out excess Estrogen.
Fat and Cholesterol
Eggs (yolks mostly), unrefined extra virgin coconut oil/olive oil, grass-fed butter, organic bacon, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts and avocados are great sources of fat. Just watch out for overly processed, non-organic and non-grass fed meats.
Watch Out for Excess Fiber (huh?)
There seems to be some debate on this, as most of the studies on this subject have been performed with low-fat diets (and we already know fat is king when it comes to testosterone). Some studies indicate that excess fiber (over 30g per day) can lead to lower androgen levels, so keep an eye recent studies on this subject, and maybe keep your fiber in check just in case. (source)
There are so many options for supplements that could naturally boost testosterone levels. First and foremost, don’t expect supplements to magically transform you overnight, especially when your diet is crap. Let’s take a look at the main supplements that have been shown to affect your T levels:
- D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) – There has been a lot of hype around this supplement and a few studies have shown great results. However, other studies have shown the opposite. This particular supplement, along with a few other herbs can really help men who are struggling with hypogonadism. Since LH (luteinizing hormone) is a precursor to testosterone, certain supplements and herbs can be an indirect booster of T. (source) (source)
- Vitamin D – This beautiful little vitamin is really a hormone and has been shown to increase testosterone in those that are deficient. Statistically speaking, you’re most likely on the low side even if you get regular sunlight. Vitamin D is best taken with all other fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin K2 helps tell calcium where to go and because Vitamin D can boost calcium, you want calcium to go to places likes your bones, not your arteries. Everything in balance right? Vitamin D supplementation can deplete Vitamin A. So what do you do? Take all fat-soluble vitamins together like this! Get your levels checked and remember that even though the reference range falls between 30-80 ng/ml, for this little bad boy it’s recommended to be closer to 80 ng/ml for optimization. (source) (source)
- DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) – There are over 20 studies linking DHEA supplementation and testosterone. It’s best to consult your doctor on this one and make sure to get a blood test before supplementing. DHEA can also heavily be converted to estrogen, so it should be noted that transdermal creams and sublingual tablets are better to use as they bypass the liver (where aromatization happens). It should also be noted that this is a BANNED SUBSTANCE for tested athletes. (source)
- Zinc – This has been shown to naturally increase testosterone levels. It’s important to note that too much zinc can deplete copper, so taking copper with zinc can help adjust for this. Some supplements like Jarrow include both. (source) (source)
- Other Sources – Vitamin A, Vitamin K2, Magnesium, Calcium and Boron have all been associated with higher Testosterone levels. It’s important to note that the effect of these vitamins and minerals on hormone levels are depended on how low your levels are – the lower you are, the more impact supplementing could have.
- Creatine – This is a fairly well-documented supplement that has been shown to increase naturally occurring Testosterone. It’s usually stacked with other supplements like beta-alanine, which helps buffer lactic acid by buffering the hydrogen ion associated with the increase. (source) (source)
Similar to supplements, there are way too many herbal supplement options to list here. We’ll let you geek out on eastern medicine another time, but for now, we’ll keep this list targeted to those that are packed full of testosterone boosting benefits.
Tribulus Terrestris – This is likely one of the most common herbs used for testosterone and libido enhancements. In otherwise fertile and healthy males, it tends to be a weak testosterone booster, though. (source)
Stinging Nettle/Avena Sativa – Both of these herbs have been recommended for prostate issues as well as indirectly boosting natural testosterone levels by reducing high amounts of sex hormone binding globulin where much of your free testosterone is held hostage.
Mucuna Pruriens – It is unsure whether the increase in T associated with MP is only for infertile men, but this herb is a popular anti-prolactin substance. It works with the dopamine receptors in the brain, which has produced multiple mood benefits in subjects. (source) (source)
Ashwagandha – This is typically touted as a great herb to help with stress and anxiety, but it has also been shown to increase T in infertile men. It has also been shown to help control chronically elevated cortisol levels (which also inhibits T production). This herb is a great one to have in the cupboard. (multiple studies)
- Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia Jack) – One study showed a 46% increase in T amongst late onset hypogonadal men. Either by reducing SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), stimulating the leydig cells or by preventing aromatase inhibition, this herb is awesome. (source)
4. Best Types of Exercise
Resistance training, heavy weight lifting and HIIT (or high-intensity interval training) have all shown very promising results when it comes to boosting your naturally occurring Testosterone. If this isn’t part of your regimen, it should be. As prolonged endurance exercise can be catabolic (and thus suppressive of sex hormones), this is especially important if you’re doing substantial amounts of cardio or if you’re an endurance athlete. If you’re interested in reading how exercise can affect your liver enzymes, check out our article here.
- HIIT – Wikipedia says: “also called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), is a form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. (source) (source)
- Lift Heavy Weights – It’s been well documented that compound lifts and lifting heavy weight is a great way to boost your testosterone.
- Do Compound Movements – Bench press, Deadlift, Squat, Power Cleans, Hang Cleans, Push Press, Dips, etc.
Try to sleep more, rest more, incorporate more relaxing activities, meditate, blah, blah, blah.
Cortisol gets a bad rap most of the time, but in short bouts, it’s actually a good thing. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid and is responsible for things like blood pressure, blood sugar, the immune system and the regulation of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It’s also one of the key components to controlling inflammation in your body. The problem arises when you have chronically elevated cortisol from constant stressors. This type of stress hammers your testosterone down into the ground. Cortisol also uses cholesterol, which competes with testosterone as well. There’s too many to list, but keep a few of these things T-wreckers in check: (source) (source)
- Not enough sleep
- Caffeine all day long
- Work stress
- Poor Diet
- Lack of exercise
So start tackling all that stress!
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