Boost testosterone levels naturally
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays an instrumental role in the modulation of adult male reproductive health, sexual function, bone health, fat metabolism, muscle mass and muscle strength. In males, low testosterone has been associated with poor sexual desire.
Middle-aged and older males start to see testosterone levels decrease as rapidly as 0.4–2% annually after age 30.
Total serum testosterone levels also decrease with age, but the greatest decrease is seen with bioavailable testosterone, which can be reduced by 50% by age 75. This fall in bioavailable testosterone is due to rising SHBG (sex-hormone binding globulin) levels with aging, which explains the disproportion between total and bioavailable testosterone levels.
Main Causes of low testosterone
The main causes of low testosterone: Central obesity, high triglycerides, low high -density lipid cholesterol, hypertension, or insulin resistance. This can cause a suppression of the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) synthesis.
In fact, a recent meta-analysis including four prospective studies demonstrated that low testosterone is associated with a three- to four-fold increased risk of diabetes mellitus, which is a known predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Testosterone and diet-induced obesity independently and cooperatively regulate neuroinflammation in central and peripheral nervous systems, which may contribute to observed impairments in neural health. Together, findings suggest that low testosterone and obesity are interactive regulators of neuroinflammation.
To sustain optimal testosterone levels naturally it’s important to prioritize quality of sleep, physical activity, weight management, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D.
Being overweight is the number one risk factor for a man having low testosterone levels. This causes testosterone to fall for several reasons. First, testosterone is converted to the female hormone estrogen in fat tissues, and when there is too much fat there is a high rate of this conversion. Secondly, obesity is thought to suppress testicular function. Lastly, testosterone is a fat-soluble hormone and is stored in fat tissue, so in an overweight man there may be too little testosterone in the blood because higher-than-normal percentage is being stored in body fat. Low testosterone and high estrogen equals weight gain. The good news is that all of these issues can be reversed with fat loss and muscle strength.
Alterations in testosterone levels occur habitually during sleep, in both men and women. Testosterone levels rise during sleep and decline during the waking hours. Grounding research has shown that peak levels of testosterone happing during REM sleep (our restorative sleep). Lack of sleep or interrupted sleep reduces our REM sleep contributing to low testosterone levels.
Start off by practicing good sleeping habits to help boost your testosterone levels to where they need to be.
A study in the European journal of applied physiology found that physically active men have a more anabolic hormone environment and a healthier semen production compared to men who lived a sedentary lifestyle.
In fact, another study out of the European journal of applied physiology suggested physical activity may be more beneficial than weight loss.
Vitamins and Supplementation
Specific vitamins and minerals may be beneficial in boosting testosterone levels. Research has shown that zinc, vitamin d and vitamin b supplements increased sperm quality by over 70%. Zinc has shown to help boost testosterone levels in athletes.
Ashwagandha is shown to have the most research behind boosting testosterone levels. One study tested the effects of this herb on men with fertility issues and found a 17% increase in testosterone levels and a 167% increase in sperm count.
In men who were healthy, ashwagandha increased levels by 15%. Another study found it lowered cortisol by around 25%, which may also contribute to the boost in testosterone levels.
In aging men who present with signs or symptoms of hypogonadism (testosterone deficiency), the diagnosis must be confirmed with laboratory testing. Initial testing should include a total serum testosterone level drawn between 7 am and 11 am, due to diurnal variation.
- McBride JA, Carson CC 3rd, Coward RM. Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. Ther Adv Urol. 2016;8(1):47–60. doi:10.1177/1756287215612961
- Jayaraman A, Lent-Schochet D, Pike CJ. Diet-induced obesity and low testosterone increase neuroinflammation and impair neural function. J Neuroinflammation. 2014;11:162. Published 2014 Sep 16. doi:10.1186/s12974-014-0162-y
- Ambiye, Vijay R et al. “Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2013 (2013): 571420. doi:10.1155/2013/571420.
- Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12, 43. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9