Testosterone is well-known as the main male sex hormone but it does much more than drive your libido. Testosterone plays an important role in your overall health; it helps increase bone strength, stimulates the development of muscle mass and strength and levels of red blood cells, and improves your sense of well-being.
Testosterone kicks in during puberty and is one of the main drivers of those obvious male physical changes; bigger muscles, a deeper voice and sprouting hair.
However, as you age, it is natural for testosterone levels to decline leading to symptoms like reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, depression and even difficulties with concentration and memory.
In adults, and during old age, optimal levels of testosterone are important for general health, well-being, body structure and sexual function, so here are eight effective ways you can boost testosterone naturally through exercise, diet and supplementation.
1. Pump some iron
There’s no denying exercise is good for your overall health and well-being, so it’s no surprise that exercise can also boost your testosterone levels.
Resistance training, or weight lifting, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), are the best type of exercises to boost testosterone levels.
Weightlifting should involve the three main powerlifts; squats, bench press, deadlift, as well as shoulder press to work large muscle groups.
HIIT is all about alternating short bursts of intense exercise, (even sprinting), with a less intense recovery (gasping for breath) period.
But don’t overdo it; too much exercise can have the adverse effect and may cause your testosterone levels to drop.
2. Get more sleep
How easy is this step? Too easy…. But it’s proven that more peaceful, restful sleep equals increased testosterone levels.
Head off to bed earlier or lie in a bit longer to max out on some sleep. We need around eight hours of sleep for our physical and emotional well-being.
Quality sleep is just as important. Turn your mobile device off and resist caffeine drinks in the evening and try having a relaxing warm shower before climbing between the sheets.
3. Get more sun rays (or take Vitamin D)
Research has shown that Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin” has various health benefits, and may also work as a natural testosterone booster.
While exposure to the sun is the best way to increase your Vitamin D levels, here in New Zealand that increases your risk for skin cancers. Most of us are wisely slathered in sun screens and covered up which can mean you’re not getting enough sun exposure. Without this, you may have a Vitamin D3 deficiency, which contributes to low testosterone levels.
The most effective solution is a Vitamin D3 supplement, as only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of the vitamin.
4. Relax and manage your stress
When you're under a lot of stress, your body will create the stress hormone cortisol, which means it will be less able to create testosterone. Elevated cortisol negatively impacts testosterone. When cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels are low and vice versa.
So, managing your stress levels is vitally important for keeping your testosterone levels up.
Stress busters include meditation and yoga or listening to your favourite music, or having a laugh with friends.
5. Get it on romantically
It’s a chicken and egg situation; healthy sex boosts your testosterone levels while healthy levels of testosterone helps sexual functionality.
Where to start? But the bottom line is more sex equals better sex. And as a bonus sex helps to reduce stress and can help you sleep better.
6. Try natural testosterone boosters
Testosterone boosters are natural supplements that can increase your testosterone levels by directly increasing testosterone or related hormones.
Many of these supplements have been scientifically studied.
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral vital to many chemical processes within the body. As with Vitamin D, zinc levels have been closely associated with testosterone levels. A number of studies show men with low testosterone levels have a marked improvement with zinc supplementation. Interestingly, research has shown that restricting dietary sources of zinc leads to a significant decrease in testosterone. Foods rich in zinc include meat, legumes, and seeds like pumpkin seeds.
Other natural testosterone (and libido) boosters include;
- Tribulus terrestris
- Horny Goat Weed
7. Eat well
Eating healthily is essential to maintaining testosterone levels and overall health.
By healthy, this means a balanced diet of fat, protein and carbs. Saturated fats are essential for building testosterone, so include fats like butter, coconut oil and egg yolks in your diet.
Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar so keep your sweet tooth in check.
Abuse of alcohol and drugs (medicated or recreational) have been linked to lower testosterone levels, so reduce your alcohol intake and check with your doctor if you’re concerned about your prescribed medications.
8. Avoid hormone disruptors
Avoid chemicals that imitate estrogen in the body, like xenoestrogen, which drops testosterone levels significantly.
To avoid these chemicals;
- use natural grooming and skincare products,
- eat organic fruit, vegetables and meats,
- stay clear of pesticides,
- don’t heat or store food in plastics.
In a nutshell
Eat better, exercise smarter, get more sleep, take supplements and de-stress to boost your testosterone levels and enjoy better health, increased libido and enhanced well-being.