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Causes for Decline
As men age, testosterone levels naturally decline. There are several reasons for this, but one of them is an increase in something called SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) – this binds testosterone and keeps it from being active. (If you’ve ever had your testosterone levels tested, this is the difference between Total and Free Testosterone – the free number is the one to watch.)
Another reason involves the obesity epidemic. (Men, if you need still more motivation to lose weight, here it is!) Your fat cells (adipose tissue) contain an enzyme called aromitase. Aromitase converts testosterone into its cousin steroid hormone: estrogen. Not only does having a beer belly lower testosterone levels, then; it actually increases estrogen levels at the same time (which can also cause breast tissue to develop in men – the technical term for this is gynecomastia.)
Low Testosterone in Young Men
But these days, it’s not uncommon for even younger men to have low testosterone levels. Controlling for age and other factors, testosterone levels have declined across the population over the past two decades by about 20%. This means that a 50 year old man now will have 20% less testosterone than a similarly healthy 50 year old did in 1993.
There as been much speculation regarding the cause of this decline. One of them involves environmental toxins. Many commonly used chemicals have an endocrine-disrupting effect (i.e. they screw up your hormones), including phthalates, parabens, diethanolamine, triethanolamine, monoethanolamine, and toluene, to name a few.
Another possibility is the obsession with lowering cholesterol. Testosterone is a cholesterol-based hormone; you must have sufficient cholesterol in order to make it. Conventional wisdom tells us to avoid cholesterol, and very common cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) stop the liver from producing cholesterol altogether, which means that everything downstream doesn’t get produced either. This includes bile salts (which help us digest fat – where we also get our fat soluble vitamins), vitamin D (the darling of the nutritional world at the moment), healthy cell membranes (VITAL for your health), and steroid hormones (such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA, among others). An estimated 32 million Americans are on statins – so this could certainly account for part of the testosterone decline.
There’s also a great deal of debate surrounding phytoestrogens, such as soy. This is too big a topic to cover here – stay tuned for more info. But the bottom line is, while there are numerous health benefits from the isoflavones in soy, probably everyone (not just men) should avoid GMO soy – which most of it is – just to be on the safe side.
What does testosterone do for you, anyway?
The two most commonly known effects of testosterone are sexual virility and increased muscle mass – so this means that lower testosterone can also lead to sexual dysfunction and/or lowered muscle mass (with a corresponding increase in body fat). But low testosterone can also manifest as depression, low bone mineral density, low energy, and anemia.
How do you increase testosterone levels?
There are some simple things you can do. They’re the same things I try to get my patients to do for other reasons, but I’ve discovered that when I couch it in terms of testosterone levels, my male patients are a lot more likely to comply.
. Get enough sleep. If you read my article last week, sleep helps you lose weight (see #2), decreases your stress levels (see #6), and increases the secretion of testosterone as well as Growth Hormone, both of which help to build and repair muscle mass.
. Lose Weight. This doesn’t mean what you probably think it means though – losing weight does NOT mean eating a low fat diet, it means eating a low sugar diet. (See here for more details on this.) On the contrary: as a cholesterol-based hormone, eating animal products (where cholesterol is found) actually boosts your testosterone levels. (Perhaps there’s a reason why men stereotypically love steak! The caveat to this, though: make sure you’re eating clean, grass-fed meat when at all possible. And increase your intake of healthy fats.)
. Don’t eat crap. This goes along with the previous point, but it’s a slightly different angle. Your liver has several jobs, but the most important is to detoxify foreign chemicals. If you eat a bunch of processed crap, your liver doesn’t recognize those chemicals any more than you do. This means it’s too busy detoxing to perform its other jobs effectively – such as breaking down complex molecules (like estrogen) so they can be eliminated from your body, or breaking down fat (where aromitase is stored, converting testosterone to estrogen). …Along these lines, it’s also important to eat your serving of veggies, especially cruciferous veggies: these are great for helping your liver perform more efficiently.
. EXERCISE! Cardio is good, but resistance training (to build muscle) is better; training large muscles like your quadriceps and hamstrings is best of all for boosting testosterone. IF you’re already in pretty good shape, you should focus on muscle building (as opposed to toning), which involves higher weight and lower repetitions. If you’re not already in good shape, start where you are and go from there.
. Chill out. Stress (particularly feeling trapped or helpless) decreases your testosterone levels. I suggest you check out this article, pick a few stress management techniques that appeal to you, and give them a try.
Avoid the toxins on the list above, especially in your toiletry items. Anything that comes in contact with your skin will hit your bloodstream in about 28 seconds!
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Contrary to popular belief – fat is not all bad.
You need fat in your diet. For one thing, your brain is almost entirely made of fat, as are the sheaths around your nerve cells. Fat protects your internal organs, it’s a great energy source, and it’s necessary to get your fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K). It’s necessary for healthy cell membranes, so that good stuff (nutrients, oxygen, cell signals) can get in and bad stuff (waste) can get out.
Without enough fat in their diets, patients usually feel fatigued, depressed, and more prone to illness (many fats are highly antimicrobial).
Unfortunately, the “fat free” craze has led to near elimination of good fats primarily, replacing it with sugar and “bad fats.” Here’s how to tell the difference.
1) Trans fats, aka Partially Hydrogenated Oils. Both of these are terms from chemistry, describing both the number and the orientation of hydrogens on the carbon backbone of the fats. Trans fats start out as unsaturated vegetable oils (see #2), but then they’re thrown in a metal vat, with nickel, pressure, and hydrogen ions (H+). The unsaturated oil ends up “partially saturated” with hydrogen atoms, and by the time the process is over, there are no nutrients or antioxidants left.
- Found in: margarine, shortening, processed and fried foods of all kinds.
- Reason they’re bad: Highly associated with most Western diseases (including cancer and heart disease), they increase the “bad” cholesterol (LDL), lower “good” cholesterol (HDL), interfere with healthy cell membrane function (decreasing cell detoxification and increases insulin resistance), and lower immune system functioning.
2) Polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These are commonly used in processed and fast foods (at which point they become trans fats.)
- Found in: canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower and sunflower oil.
- Reason they’re bad: they are loaded with omega 6 fatty acids, which are necessary in your diet in moderation, but too many O6′s leads to chronic inflammation and high cholesterol.
1) Saturated Fats (believe it or not!). These get a bad rap because too much saturated fat necessarily means too few essential fatty acids (see #3), which leads to inflammation. But if you eat them in moderation, you reap the benefits (below), and your body can convert the excess to EFAs if it needs them.
- Found in: coconut oil, avocados, nuts, butter, ghee, palm oil, animal fats (grass fed and/or free range!) and eggs (free range!).
- Reason they’re good: These make up 50% of your cell membranes (and healthy cell membranes means good stuff can in, and bad stuff can get out). They are the preferred food for your heart, antimicrobial, support immune function, are necessary for your blood to clot and for your lungs to work properly, are easily absorbed for quick energy, and are necessary for infant brain development.
2) Monounsaturated Fats: make sure it’s “organic” and “extra virgin” – this means it’s unprocessed, and therefore still high in antioxidants.
- Found in: famously, olive oil.
- Reason they’re good: lowers inflammatory omega 6, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and maintains healthy nerve function.
3) Polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): These do everything! And it’s VERY likely you’re not getting enough of them, if you’re eating a Standard American Diet.
- Found in: veggie oils (such as flax seed and hemp seed), nut oils (macadamia, peanut), plant oils (pumpkin seed, grape seed, sesame, rice bran, borage, black currant, evening primrose), grass fed meat and dairy, and fish or marine oils.
- Reason they’re good: these are anti-inflammatory, support the mucus lining in your stomach, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, decrease allergic responses, keep cell walls healthy, and are also necessary for brain development.
One last thing…
Oils For Cooking:
Some fats go rancid with heat (forming free radicals), and some are relatively stable. These are the ones you should have on hand, depending on the purpose:
- For high heat cooking, use animal fats, butter or ghee, coconut oil, or palm oil.
- For light cooking, use olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut, peanut, sesame, or rice bran oil.
- For dressings: use flax, grape seed, hemp, or pumpkin oils.
The take-home message: EAT FATS!
(But eat those found in whole foods, NOT in fast or processed foods.)
14 ways to naturally Increase your testosterone
1. Get more Zinc
Zinc is very important for the production of natural testosterone
because Zinc prevents testosterone from being converted into estrogen (the female hormone) by making the enzyme aromatase not work (look at #3 below) plus…
Zinc itself turns estrogen into testosterone and Zinc helps produce healthier sperm and higher sperm counts so actually… Low levels of zinc can cause low testosterone levels.
Foods high in Zinc include oysters (a natural aphrodisiac), liver, seafood, poultry, nuts & seeds or you can supplement with at least 50-to-100mg of Zinc daily
2. Eat more healthy fats
You can naturally raise your testosterone levels by adding more healthy fats by eating more nuts & seeds, fatty fish like salmon & tuna, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and natural peanut butter and…
Eating a very low-fat diet can actually lead to lowered testosterone levels because your body needs healthy fats in order to produce testosterone but…
This doesn’t mean you need to eat a REAL HIGH fat diet – Just make sure at least 20-to-30% of your total daily calories comes from healthy fats.
3. Lose body fat
The more overweight you are or the higher your body fat percentage is = The higher your estrogen levels will be because body fat contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts your ‘manly’ testosterone into ‘womanly’ estrogen making your testosterone levels drop so…
Look at these fat burning workouts to lower body fat, reduce estrogen and increase testosterone and…
Try not to Diet or cut too many calories when trying to lose body fat because you don’t want your body going into starvation or survival mode which will cause your body to stop making testosterone so whenever you’re trying to lose fat & increase testosterone at the same time…
4. Get rid of excess estrogen
To get rid of excess estrogen that makes you fatter & weaker so your body can naturally produce more testosterone…
- You can eat more RAW cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower because cruciferous vegetables contain a chemical called diindolylmethane (or DIM) that helps your body get rid of excess estrogen and… You can supplement with DIM to flush out excess estrogen or eat these other sources of cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, bok choi, radishes, turnips, collard greens, and kale and…
- You can Eat more fiber to naturally cleanse your body and flush out toxins that cause you to have excess estrogen (like the xenoestrogens from #5 below) – Most fruits & vegetables, nuts & beans are all high in fiber and…
- You can also supplement with Red grape skin extract (resveratrol) to help your liver remove excess estrogen.
5. Try to avoid Xenoestrogens
Xenoestrogens are man-made estrogens that are found in things like pesticides, artificial growth hormones & steroids, air fresheners and plastic containers and these xenoestrogens will increase your levels of the female hormone estrogen while lowering testosterone so…
- Eat more organic fruits & vegetables that are free of pesticides and if you do buy your fruits & vegetables at a regular grocery store… Make sure you wash them to lower your chances of consuming any xenoestrogens and…
- Eat more naturally raised meats instead of eating beef, chicken, pork and even milk that was raised using artificial growth hormones and steroids and…
- Use glass products to store food & water instead of plastic since plastic products tend to produce xenoestrogens that’ll get into your water & food especially when heated and… Even some canned foods contain plastic coatings that contain xenoestrogens and…
- Don’t use any perfumes, colognes, or air fresheners that have parabens listed as one of the ingredients. Parabens are xenoestrogens.
Please note: It’ll be fairly hard for you to 100% completely avoid all xenoestrogens but if you follow the other tips on this page (especially tips #3 & #4) – You’ll still be able to naturally increase your testosterone while getting rid of excess estrogen without having to worry so much about trying to avoid xenoestrogens and…
Also note: Since most xenoestrogens accumulate in your body fat – your best defense against xenoestrogens is to lose body fat (look at #3 again)
6. Get at least 6-to-8 hours of Sleep every night
A university of Chicago study showed that men who got little sleep had way lower testosterone levels than men who got 6-to-8 hours of sleep and… According to a University of North Carolina study… Your testosterone levels can drop down by as much as 40 PERCENT when you don’t get enough sleep and generally…
Your testosterone levels are 30% higher in the morning than in the evening and this is why you may be more horny in the mornings and as a matter of fact…
A loss of morning erections or loss of sexual desire in the morning could be a sign that your testosterone is declining so you need to get 6-to-8 hours of sleep every night because while you’re sleeping…
Your body produces the most testosterone and the better you sleep the more testosterone your body will produce while you sleep so if you’re having trouble getting 6-to-8 hours of good quality ‘testosterone producing’ sleep every night – Look at 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep
7. Stress Less
When you get stressed out – your body releases a “stress” hormone called cortisol that shuts down testosterone production…
Research led by Population Council endocrinologist Matthew Hardy found that stress hormones like cortisol overpower the enzymes responsible for ensuring that cells in the testes produce testosterone
You need to stop worrying about the little things, avoid overtraining, control your temper and look at these 100 ways to lower stress and Being more positive can reduce your stress levels and increase Testosterone…
A recent study found that fans of a losing team had 50 percent lower levels of testosterone after their team lost and fans had up to 100% higher levels of testosterone after their team won.
Taking a natural supplement like Ashwagandha can also help reduce cortisol.
8. Take 1000-to-1500mg of Vitamin C per day
Now if you have a hard time avoiding stress – you want to start taking 1000-to-1500mg of Vitamin C per day because…
- Vitamin C has been shown to lower cortisol levels allowing your body to make more Testosterone and like Zinc…
- Vitamin C reduces the armostase enzyme that converts your Testosterone into Estrogen.
9. Workout like a man
You can force your body to produce a lot of testosterone when you…
- Do Compound exercises that train several large muscle groups like Power Cleans, Squats, Bench presses, Deadlifts, Chin-ups, Dips, and Military presses and you can still do isolation exercises like triceps extensions, bicep curls or chest flyes for definition but if trying to boost your Testosterone and build more muscle quickly – stick with compound exercises and…
- According to a Swedish study… To get the biggest boost in testosterone when you do your compound exercises… Make sure you use heavy weights that will allow you to only do about 3-to-5 reps per set and you want to do about 5-to-8 sets of each compound exercise you do but…
- You also want to limit your workout time on those compound exercises to 1-to-2 hours so just do only 1-to-2 compound exercises followed by a few optional isolation exercises twice a week (Mon. & Thur. for example) and as for burning fat…
- Avoid ‘sissy cardio’ where you walk or run for long periods of time and start doing Manly Cardio workouts like Hill sprints and intervals 3-to-4 times a week and limit your long duration sissy cardio workouts to only 2 times a week and…
- Make extra sure that you rest harder than you work out because overtraining leads to more cortisol and lower testosterone (see #7 again) and you may need to get 8+ hours of sleep to allow your body to recuperate and produce more testosterone after you workout like a man (see #6 again) and…
10. Try to get Sexually Stimulated as much as possible
If you’re not getting sexual stimulated or sexual aroused very much right now (especially if you’re over 40)… You can dramatically boost your testosterone levels by getting sexually stimulated more often so basically…
You need to start doing almost anything you can to get a sexually stimulating ‘Viagra free’ erection and German scientists even found that simply having an erection causes your levels of circulating testosterone to rise significantly and look at how these other 3 studies prove how much your testosterone can rise after getting sexual stimulated…
In a study done by Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology in Vienna… 10 men viewed a 15 minute pornographic film and the men’s testosterone levels increased 100 percent afterwards.
Another study published by Psychoneuroendocrinology used sexually arousing films on 9 males and testosterone levels increased within 10 minutes of sexually arousal.
In a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior… Testosterone was measured every 15 min for 3 hours in 8 men before, during, and after the showing of a sexually explicit movie and there was an average increase of 35% in testosterone so…
Not getting sexual stimulated or aroused for long periods of time can actually decrease your testosterone levels so if you find it hard to get sexually stimulated… You can do all the other 12 things on this page to increase your testosterone which will increase your sex drive or libido making you get sexually stimulated much easier and/or…
You can take a supplement like Horny Goat Weed to make you get sexually stimulated more easier to ramp up your testosterone levels.
11. Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin A, B & E
Vitamins A , B & E (along with Vitamin C & zinc) are all essential in the production of testosterone and not getting enough A, B, & E Vitamins will lead to lower testosterone levels but… If you’re eating plenty of fruits & veggies, lean meats and nuts then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about supplementing with any extra A, B, & E Vitamins.
12. Don’t overheat your testicles (your balls)
Your testicles need to be 94-to-96 degrees or about 2 degrees cooler than your body temperature to function at it’s best and produce the most testosterone so…
If you’re wearing tight underwear, tight pants, take long HOT baths or do anything thing else to overheat your testicles… You may inhibit your testosterone production so it’s best to wear looser clothes like boxers to prevent overheating your balls and did you also know that…
Carrying around excess fat also overheats your testicles so look at #3 again for how to burn fat.
13. Don’t Drink any Alcohol & Don’t eat any Grapefruit
Even if you had only 2 drinks a day… Alcohol makes it hard for your liver to breakdown estrogen making you have more estrogen & less testosterone which will cause you to become more woman-like by making you loose facial & pubic hair, get man boobs and become impotent and…
Alcohol decrease zinc levels in your body (look at #1 again) an just like alcohol – Grapefruits can also make it hard for your liver to breakdown estrogen.
14. Boost Testosterone 40% with D-Aspartate
D-Aspartate is an amino acid that’s produced in your pituitary gland and your testicles (or your balls) and it boosts the production of testosterone plus…
D-Aspartate also increases sperm production and the Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology reported that men taking 3 grams of D-Aspartate every morning increased their testosterone by 40%
9 Body Hacks To Naturally Increase Testosterone
Recently by Joseph Mercola: Top Ten Reasons To Avoid Your Doctor
- Beginning around age 30, a man’s testosterone levels begin to decline, and continue to do so as he ages, leading to symptoms such as decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depressed mood, and difficulties with concentration and memory
- Dietary and exercise changes, particularly limiting sugar/fructose, eating healthy saturated fats and engaging in high-intensity exercises and strength training, can be very effective at boosting testosterone levels naturally
- Other strategies to boost testosterone include optimizing your vitamin D levels and reducing stress
Testosterone, a hormone produced primarily by the testicles, is often associated with the epitome of “manhood” (although women have testosterone, too).
Indeed, it does play a large role in male sexuality and reproduction, impacting such factors as sexual and reproductive function, muscle mass, and hair growth, but also has some less “flashy,” albeit equally important, roles like maintaining bone density, levels of red blood cells and a sense of well-being.
Beginning around age 30, a man’s testosterone levels begin to decline, and continue to do so as he ages.
A wide range of chemical exposures included prescribed drugs like statins, adversely impact testosterone production in men. At the same time, estrogen levels typically increase due to widespread exposures to estrogen-mimicking compounds in food, water and environmental pollutants.
What are Your Options for Replacement?
If you’re a man who’s experiencing symptoms such as decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depressed mood, and difficulties with concentration and memory, and you think low testosterone may be to blame, you can have your levels tested. Since testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, you’ll probably need more than a blood test to get a true picture of your levels.
If your levels are indeed low, there are a number of synthetic and bioidentical testosterone products on the market, as well as DHEA, which is the most abundant androgen precursor prohormone in the human body, meaning that it is the largest raw material your body uses to produce other vital hormones, including testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
I only recommend using bioidentical hormones, and only then under the guidance of a holistic doctor who can monitor your hormone levels to ensure you need supplementation.
But, before you opt for this route, there are numerous strategies you can try to boost your testosterone levels naturally. These are appropriate for virtually anyone, as they carry only beneficial “side effects.”
9 Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone Levels
1. Lose Weight
If you’re overweight, shedding the excess pounds may increase your testosterone levels, according to research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 meeting. Overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with, so this is an important trick to increase your body’s testosterone production when you need it most.
If you are serious about losing weight, you have got to strictly limit the amount of processed sugar in your diet, as evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary driving factor in the obesity epidemic. So cutting soda from your diet is essential, as is limiting fructose found in processed foods, fruit juice, excessive fruit and so-called “healthy” sweeteners like agave.
Ideally you should keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day and this includes fruits. This is especially true if you have insulin resistance and are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
In addition to eliminating or severely limiting fructose, it will be vital to eliminate all grains and milk (even raw) in your diet. Milk has a sugar called lactose, which has been shown to increase insulin resistance so it will be wise to avoid it if you are seeking to lose weight.
Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods also quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.
As you cut these dietary troublemakers from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy substitutes like vegetables and healthy fats (including natural saturated fats!). Your body prefers the carbohydrates in micronutrient-dense vegetables rather than grains and sugars because it slows the conversion to simple sugars like glucose, and decreases your insulin level. When you cut grains and sugar from your meals, you typically will need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat, as well as make sure you are also consuming protein and healthy fats regularly.
I’ve detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying to lose weight.
The foods you choose to eat will be the driving force behind successfully achieving your weight loss goals – high-intensity, short-burst-type exercises, such as my Peak Fitness Program, two to three times per week, combined with a comprehensive fitness plan, is important too, and has an additional benefit as well (see below)!
2. High-Intensity Exercise like Peak Fitness (Especially Combined with Intermittent Fasting)
Both intermittent fasting and short intense exercise have been shown to boost testosterone. Short intense exercise has a proven positive effect on increasing testosterone levels and preventing its decline. That’s unlike aerobics or prolonged moderate exercise, which have shown to have negative or no effect on testosterone levels.
Intermittent fasting boosts testosterone by increasing the expression of satiety hormones including insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), colecystokinin (CKK) and melanocortins, all of which are known to potentiate healthy testosterone actions, increase libido and prevent age-related testosterone decline.
Having a whey protein meal after exercise can further enhance the satiety/testosterone-boosting impact (hunger hormones cause the opposite effect on your testosterone and libido). Here’s a summary of what a typical high-intensity Peak Fitness routine might look like:
- Warm up for three minutes
- Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should feel like you couldn’t possibly go on another few seconds
- Recover at a slow to moderate pace for 90 seconds
- Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery 7 more times
As you can see, the entire workout is only 20 minutes. Twenty minutes! That really is a beautiful thing. And within those 20 minutes, 75 percent of that time is warming up, recovering or cooling down. You’re really only working out intensely for four minutes. It’s hard to believe if you have never done this that you can actually get that much benefit from four minutes of exercise. That’s all it is.
Keep in mind that you can use virtually any type of equipment you want for this – an elliptical machine, a treadmill, swimming, even sprinting outdoors (although you will need to do this very carefully to avoid injury) – as long as you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can for 30 seconds. But do be sure to stretch properly and start slowly to avoid injury. Start with two or three repetitions and work your way up, don’t expect to do all eight repetitions the first time you try this, especially if you are out of shape.
You can find more information about this in an article previously written on intermittent fasting.
3. Consume Plenty of Zinc
The mineral zinc is important for testosterone production, and supplementing your diet for as little as six weeks has been shown to cause a marked improvement in testosterone among men with low levels.1 Likewise, research has shown that restricting dietary sources of zinc leads to a significant decrease in testosterone, while zinc supplementation increases it2 – and even protects men from exercised-induced reductions in testosterone levels.3
It’s estimated that up to 45 percent of adults over the age of 60 may have lower than recommended zinc intakes; even when dietary supplements were added in, an estimated 20-25 percent of older adults still had inadequate zinc intakes, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.4
Your diet is the best source of zinc; along with protein-rich foods like meats and fish, other good dietary sources of zinc include raw milk, raw cheese, beans, and yogurt or kefir made from raw milk. It can be difficult to obtain enough dietary zinc if you’re a vegetarian, and also for meat-eaters as well, largely because of conventional farming methods that rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals deplete the soil of nutrients … nutrients like zinc that must be absorbed by plants in order to be passed on to you.
In many cases, you may further deplete the nutrients in your food by the way you prepare it. For most food, cooking it will drastically reduce its levels of nutrients like zinc … particularly over-cooking, which many people do.
If you decide to use a zinc supplement, stick to a dosage of less than 40 mg a day, as this is the recommended adult upper limit. Taking too much zinc can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb other minerals, especially copper, and may cause nausea as a side effect.
4. Strength Training
In addition to Peak Fitness, strength training is also known to boost testosterone levels, provided you are doing so intensely enough. When strength training to boost testosterone, you’ll want to increase the weight and lower your number of reps, and then focus on exercises that work a large number of muscles, such as dead lifts or squats.
You can “turbo-charge” your weight training by going slower. By slowing down your movement, you’re actually turning it into a high-intensity exercise. Super Slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle.
5. Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D, a steroid hormone, is essential for the healthy development of the nucleus of the sperm cell, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido. In one study, overweight men who were given vitamin D supplements had a significant increase in testosterone levels after one year.5
Vitamin D deficiency is currently at epidemic proportions in the United States and many other regions around the world, largely because people do not spend enough time in the sun to facilitate this important process of vitamin D production.
So the first step to ensuring you are receiving all the benefits of vitamin D is to find out what your levels are using a 25(OH)D test, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
A few years back, the recommended level was between 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), but more recently the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml.
To get your levels into the healthy range, sun exposure is the BEST way to optimize your vitamin D levels; exposing a large amount of your skin until it turns the lightest shade of pink, as near to solar noon as possible, is typically necessary to achieve adequate vitamin D production. If sun exposure is not an option, a safe tanning bed (with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields) can be used.
As a last resort, a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally, but research suggests the average adult needs to take 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which is the absolute minimum for disease prevention.
6. Reduce Stress
When you’re under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone,6 presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the “fight or flight” response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).
In the modern world, chronic stress, and subsequently elevated levels of cortisol, could mean that testosterone’s effects are blocked in the long term, which is what you want to avoid.
My favorite overall tool to manage stress is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which is like acupuncture without the needles. It’s a handy, free tool for unloading emotional baggage quickly and painlessly, and so easy that even children can learn it. Other common stress-reduction tools with a high success rate include prayer, meditation, laughter and yoga, for example. Learning relaxation skills, such as deep breathing and positive visualization, which is the “language” of the subconscious.
When you create a visual image of how you’d like to feel, your subconscious will understand and begin to help you by making the needed biochemical and neurological changes.
7. Limit or Eliminate Sugar from Your Diet
Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar, which is likely because the sugar leads to a high insulin level, another factor leading to low testosterone.7
Based on USDA estimates, the average American consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, which equates to about TWO TONS of sugar during a lifetime. Why we eat this much sugar is not difficult to understand – it tastes good, and it gives us pleasure by triggering an innate process in your brain via dopamine and opioid signals.
What it is doing to us on both a physical and emotional level is another story entirely, and most people stand to reap major improvements in their health by cutting back on, or eliminating, sugar altogether from their diets. Remember foods that contain added sugar and fructose, as well as grains like bread and pasta, should all be limited.
If you’re struggling with sugar addiction and having trouble dealing with cravings, I highly recommend trying an energy psychology technique called Turbo Tapping, which has helped many “soda addicts” kick their sweet habit, and it should work for any type of sweet craving you may have.
8. Eat Healthy Fats
By healthy, this means not only mon- and polyunsaturated fats, like that found in avocadoes and nuts, but also saturated, as these are essential for building testosterone. Research shows that a diet with less than 40 percent of energy as fat (and that mainly from animal sources, i.e. saturated) lead to a decrease in testosterone levels.8
My personal diet is about 60-70 percent healthy fat, and other experts agree that the ideal diet includes somewhere between 50-70 percent fat.
It’s important to understand that your body requires saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) for optimal functioning, and if you neglect this important food group in favor of sugar, grains and other starchy carbs, your health and weight are almost guaranteed to suffer. Examples of healthy fats you can eat more of to give your testosterone levels a boost include:
|Olives and Olive oil||Coconuts and coconut oil||Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk|
|Raw nuts, such as, almonds or pecans||Organic pastured egg yolks||Avocados|
|Grass-fed meats||Palm oil||Unheated organic nut oils|
9. Boost Your Intake of Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) from Foods Like Whey Protein
Research suggests that BCAAs result in higher testosterone levels, particularly when taken along with resistance training.9 While BCAAs are available in supplement form, you’ll find the highest concentrations of BCAAs like leucine in dairy products – especially quality cheeses and whey protein.
Even when getting leucine from your natural food supply, it’s often wasted or used as a building block instead of an anabolic agent. So to create the correct anabolic environment, you need to boost leucine consumption way beyond mere maintenance levels.
That said, keep in mind that using leucine as a free form amino acid can be highly counterproductive as when free form amino acids are artificially administrated, they rapidly enter your circulation while disrupting insulin function, and impairing your body’s glycemic control. Food-based leucine is really the ideal form that can benefit your muscles without side effects.
References: See All References
Boost Testosterone Naturally
Increase your “T” levels with this root.
by Jason Ferruggia
Are there any supplements I can take to naturally increase my testosterone levels?
Maca is your best bet. Grown in Peru, this plant contains compounds called sterols that may block the body’s production of estrogen while boosting testosterone levels. Try mixing three to six tablespoons of whole maca root powder into a drink daily (extracts and capsules are not as effective). Stick with it for at least four weeks — some guys report that it makes them hornier as well as stronger.
Zinc is another good option. Several studies have shown that taking 50 mg of zinc citrate per day increases testosterone. In general, though, your training will have the biggest impact on your “T” levels, so keep doing heavy, compound exercises and be careful not to over-train. The more testosterone in your system, the stronger you’ll get.
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