Table of Contents
- What is Testosterone?
- Benefits of Testosterone
- Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Natural Ways to Boost Your Testosterone
What is Testosterone?
Men and women can both suffer from lack of testosterone, and low testosterone is not dependent on your age.
Because decreased testosterone is a problem affecting more people than ever, learning how to boost this critical hormone naturally can be essential for health and vitality.
Our guide helps you understand the causes of lowered testosterone, and natural strategies for increasing your hormones.
Everyone needs testosterone, not just men.
Women produce as much as 300 micrograms of testosterone each day through normal metabolic processes.
Men and women with low testosterone levels can experience many adverse symptoms, including lowered libido, chronic fatigue, and decreased self-esteem.
Understanding how testosterone affects you, and how to maintain healthy levels, is essential for supporting a healthy body in everyone (1).
If you are a man, low testosterone can create many complications.
Natural treatments that boost your testosterone quickly are safe and effective methods for producing better hormonal balance.
Benefits of Testosterone
Testosterone is an essential hormone for both men and women, but men typically have much higher levels than their female counterparts.
Testosterone plays a key role in sexual desire, heightened arousal, and sexual satisfaction for men and women.
In addition to playing an important role in sex, testosterone also helps maintain a sufficient supply of red blood cells, a healthy response to pain, typical sleep patterns, healthy bone density, high levels of energy, and appropriate muscle mass.
Testosterone, or T-cells, naturally decline with age.
Many factors can accelerate this rate of decline, and many of these are common in the Western lifestyle.
Risk factors for low testosterone include:
- Poor nutrition
- Digestive issues caused by microflora imbalances
- Chronic stress
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of exercise
- Vitamin D insufficiency
- Some medications, particularly statins
Many of these risk factors are similar for other diseases and chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and insulin resistance.
These risk factors keep your immune system from functioning properly and encourage hormone imbalances.
Correcting these risk factors will help your body produce proper amounts of testosterone, and leave you feeling better.
Nearly half of all men over the age of 45 are affected by low levels of testosterone (2).
There is less evidence of the prevalence of testosterone imbalance in women, but recent research has suggested a link between imbalanced hormones and the recent pain epidemic affecting women in the US (3).
The increase in the incidence of lowered testosterone has many looking for treatments that can help them regain their vitality and feel better.
While there are traditional treatments like hormone replacement therapy, these remedies have serious side effects that leave many questioning their effectiveness.
Understanding the causes of low testosterone, the side effects of hormone replacement and natural ways to boost your T-cell levels can help you find ways to feel better quickly on your own.
Side Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Natural and synthetic hormone replacement products are generally marketed toward men and are touted to boost sex drive, enhance mood, and provide mental stimulation.
Testosterone therapy, while somewhat commonplace, has risks.
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Synthetic hormone treatments have been linked to lowered levels of HDL (the good cholesterol), increased risk of stroke, and other serious health problems (4).
Choosing to treat low levels of testosterone with natural therapies comes with fewer risks, more control over your side effects, and a more holistic focus on overall health and wellness.
Below, we list our favorite natural treatments for boosting your testosterone levels.
Natural Ways to Boost Your Testosterone
Using natural treatments to enhance your testosterone levels can help you feel better without the negative side effects of medications or testosterone supplements.
Here are twelve diet, lifestyle, and activity changes you can make that will naturally enhance your body’s testosterone levels.
The use of intermittent fasting is effective at boosting your testosterone levels.
Human growth hormone and testosterone are two different hormones that work in synergy to regulate a number of important metabolic functions.
When you fast for 24 hours, your body begins to produce growth hormone, which is strongly correlated with testosterone levels.
Growth hormone increase can stimulate testosterone production (5).
Besides skipping eating for a full day, you can use an alternate method for fasting, whereby you skip breakfast and group your meals together into a short period and stop eating by early evening.
Eating three meals at noon, mid-afternoon, and early evening provides you with nutrition but allows your metabolic functions to rest for up to eighteen hours, which can help balance your hormone levels.
Eat More Healthy Fats
When you consume too many unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates, you encourage hormone imbalances and inflammation in your body.
Most men with low testosterone also have very low levels of healthy fats in their diet.
By changing your diet to include more healthy fats and fewer empty calories, you can boost your natural testosterone production.
Healthy fat intake promotes the production of free testosterone, testosterone, and androstenedione (6).
Unhealthy fats include certain types of saturated fats, mainly those found in conventional dairy and meat products like butter, cheese, and red meats.
These can raise your levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, which inhibits hormone balance.
The healthier saturated fats found in coconut oil, and raw, fermented dairy products are better options.
Products like raw sheep or goat milk cheese, yogurt from raw milk, and goat milk kefir can provide you with healthier fats and promote testosterone production.
Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds are also essential for regulating your hormone levels (7).
If your diet is lacking these sources of omega-3s, consider taking a fish or primrose oil supplement to boost your levels.
Women with hormonal imbalances caused by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can also benefit from omega-3 supplementation (8).
Another type of healthy fat is monounsaturated fat.
Avocados, olive oil, and almonds are excellent sources of these healthy fats which help regulate testosterone.
Exercise and lifting weights are very useful ways to increase your testosterone levels naturally.
Combining high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with weight training has been shown to boost hormone production.
While light and moderate weight lifting increases your serum testosterone levels, lifting heavy weights with your large muscle groups is the most effective exercise for promoting testosterone production.
Aim to lift weights at least three days per week, using 6-12 reps per muscle group.
Alternate focus on your chest, shoulders, back, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Your workout sessions should last at least 30 minutes for optimal effectiveness (9).
Other exercises known to increase your levels of human growth hormone (HGH) and promote testosterone production include interval training.
HIIT works your body with high-intensity movements for short intervals, with periods of rest in between.
This promotes the use of stored sugars for energy and recovery periods.
High-intensity intervals at least three days per week, combined with weight training, can be effective at not only raising testosterone levels but also keeping them at higher levels than before exercise.
This type of exercise regimen is not only effective at boosting testosterone, but also at reducing overall body fat and helping you control your weight.
These long-term benefits can generate others, including the improved health of your cardiovascular and endocrine systems.
Lower Your Stress
Stress, and in particular chronic stress, could be responsible for your lowered testosterone levels.
Stress triggers the release of cortisol from your endocrine system.
Cortisol, along with adrenaline, is responsible for your fight-or-flight instincts, as well as telling your body what to do in response to stress and other stimuli.
When cortisol is released, your body also releases testosterone.
Even when your cortisol level returns to normal, though, your testosterone level does not.
It actually dips far below the pre-stress level (10).
Reducing stress will help you maintain hormonal balance and encourage a healthier system overall, in addition to maintaining appropriate testosterone levels.
Consider all the sources of stress in your life, and find ways to eliminate as many as possible.
Consider counseling if you have severe emotional issues that you are incapable of coping with on your own.
Constant frustration, anger, and resentment can all elevate cortisol, as an emotional trauma and other mental health issues.
Find ways to eliminate these from or decrease these in your life.
Detoxify Your Liver
Your liver plays a role in testosterone production, so when it is not working optimally, your testosterone levels will be decreased (11).
Consider a liver cleanse, and changing your diet and lifestyle to support better liver health.
Those with liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, are likely to have low testosterone levels (12).
The liver regulates many metabolic functions, as well, so keeping your liver healthy is vital to your health and wellness.
These, combined with a diet rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and little or no processed or packaged foods will help your liver work properly at all times.
Monitor Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for many bodily functions, and it plays a critical role in the production of testosterone.
Without these two essential functions, your testosterone levels can decrease.
Your skin makes Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but if you live in a cloudy climate or do not spend much time in the sun, you could be deficient in this vital nutrient.
Keeping your levels of Vitamin D above 50 IUs is essential for your health, and if you are fighting any kind of disease or disorder, it should be even higher.
Supplemental Vitamin D may be necessary to raise your levels sufficiently, and you will likely notice a difference in how you feel once you start taking these supplements.
Get Enough Sleep
Just like too much stress can lower your testosterone, so can too little sleep.
When you sleep at night, your body resets its natural circadian time clock, releasing hormones that regulate metabolic functions, including your testosterone levels.
Without the right restful sleep during these important hours between 10 at night and two in the morning, your body remains alert and does not reset, creating a chain reaction in your endocrine system (14).
Getting at least seven hours of sleep will benefit your overall health and wellness and help you manage stress, and sleeping during these critical “reset” hours will help you maintain healthier levels of testosterone.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Eating too much sugar has several effects on your body and overall health that can lower your testosterone levels.
First, eating too much sugar can cause insulin resistance and, over time, Type 2 diabetes.
Those with diabetes are twice as likely to have low levels of testosterone (15).
Reducing your sugar intake, eating a heart-healthy diet, getting more regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol can all help you manage your blood glucose levels and boost your testosterone.
Reduce Your Weight
The more you weigh, the more likely you are to have low testosterone levels.
Conversely, if you are overweight, the more weight you lose, the higher your testosterone levels are likely to be.
Those who are overweight are more likely to have insulin resistance or diabetes, are more likely to have trouble sleeping, and are more likely to eat too many unhealthy fats.
All of these, as we now know, is linked to lowered testosterone levels.
Losing weight can improve many of your metabolic functions, including your testosterone production.
There are herbal supplements that have positive effects on your health, boosting your testosterone levels.
Each works differently and can yield different results. The most popular herbal supplements for boosting testosterone include:
- Ginseng – Ginseng can naturally lower your cortisol levels, which helps you produce more testosterone. Ginseng has also been shown to increase testosterone levels in animal trials, so it holds promise for helping humans, as well (16).
- Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha has frequently been studied for its effects on male testosterone production. In a study of infertile men, this herb was shown to increase testosterone as well as sperm count (17). Ashwagandha also lowers cortisol, which can raise your T-cell levels, too (18).
- Ginger – The use of ginger extract may also boost your testosterone levels. There has been extensive research on ginger’s effects on animal testosterone, and recent research indicates it is highly effective at enhancing human levels of this hormone, as well (19).
- Other herbs that are being studied to see how they impact testosterone levels include Mucuna pruriens, horny goat weed, Tongkat Ali, and shilajit.
Get Enough Zinc
Zinc, like Vitamin D, is extremely important in the production of testosterone.
When your diet is low in zinc, this has been shown to lower your testosterone levels significantly (20).
Taking zinc supplements for as little as six weeks can raise your testosterone levels dramatically (21).
Nearly half of all adults in the US over 60 are deficient in zinc.
Zinc plays many roles in keeping you healthy, including supporting your immune system.
Zinc is needed to help you make DNA and proteins, and it is necessary for the production of testosterone (22).
Eating the right foods is the best way to get enough zinc.
Zinc is present in many animal sources, including lean meats, raw dairy products, and beans.
Vegetarians are more likely to be deficient in zinc because plant sources of protein often interfere with the absorption of this important nutrient.
Taking a daily multivitamin is an excellent way to ensure you are getting enough zinc in your diet.
In addition to the many negative effects that smoking can have on your heart, lungs, and cardiovascular system, smoking also lowers your levels of testosterone.
Smoking inhibits your ability to build and maintain muscle mass, which is a critical factor in hormone regulation.
If you smoke, you should quit for many reasons, and improving your testosterone level is one important benefit you will enjoy when you do so for good.
Eating foods raw or only slightly cooked is the best way to ensure zinc remains in your food.
Overcooking can quickly deplete the zinc contained in natural foods.
Men and women, particularly in Western countries like the US, are experiencing higher than ever rates of decreased testosterone.
Contributing to this problem are factors such as increased body weight, diabetes, chronic stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.
Testosterone replacement and supplement therapy come with many risks, including increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Using natural methods to boost your testosterone and improve your hormonal balance can give you the energy and vitality for which you have been looking.
Testosterone controls many important functions, including sex drive, which is why it is so concerning for many when their levels are lower than they would like.
Getting more sleep, decreasing stress, eating a healthy diet rich in good fats, cutting out sugar, quitting smoking, and using herbal supplements are all ways you can naturally boost your levels of testosterone.
The most important factor that affects testosterone production is overall good health.
Engaging in healthy habits, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercises will help you regulate your natural metabolic functions and maintain healthy levels of all your important hormones, including testosterone.
Taking care of your liver, your digestive system, your heart, and your endocrine system will ensure all systems are working properly, and your body is producing the testosterone you need.
Both men and women naturally lose testosterone as they age, but using natural remedies and treatments can help offset that natural loss, and keep your levels higher longer.