Testosterone is a naturally occurring reproductive hormone that plays a vital role in both men and women – its concentration in men is higher than that of women. As a predominant male sex hormone mainly produced in the testicles, it plays a significant role in men including higher muscle mass, higher energy level, improved cognition, improved bone mass, increased libido, improved erection, and better insulin management.
On the opposite side, however, if testosterone level is low, one will experience a completely different set of characteristic, including muscle wasting, osteoporosis, lack of focus, fatigue, depression, insomnia, low libido, erectile dysfunction, irritability, and prone to gain weight with higher fat storage.
The best way to determine whether or not one is experiencing low testosterone is by getting levels of testosterone tested by allopathic doctors. Experiencing one or more symptoms sometimes not necessarily reflect signs of low testosterone levels as many other factors may create similar symptoms.
There several ways of increasing testosterone levels naturally. Keep lean and stay lean all the time throughout life is one of the natural ways to maintain normal testosterone levels. A research found that 40 percent of obese non-diabetic men and 50 percents of obese diabetic men aged 45 or more have subnormal testosterone levels.
In the conclusion section of the study, authors state that obesity is most frequently associated with subnormal free testosterone concentrations in males. Furthermore, the concomitant presence of diabetes is associated with an additional increase in the prevalence of subnormal free testosterone concentrations.
In obese individuals, enzyme aromatase that converts testosterone to estradiol is said increases with the increased of adipose tissue – leads to decreased testosterone levels. Hyperinsulinemia caused by insulin resistance experienced by diabetics is believed to be a mechanism for low testosterone levels. This is believed to be responsible for decreased testosterone levels too.
A research found that the sugar ingestion decreased blood levels of testosterone by as much as 25 percent, regardless of whether the men had diabetes, prediabetes or normal glucose tolerance. Reducing sugar intake especially ultra-processed carbs and taking more servings of vegetables rather than sweet-taste-fruits on daily basis as sugar replacement is a smart move towards boosting testosterone levels.
Overweight and obese may be resolved by making some lifestyle changes including not to overeating, avoid being a couch potato, and exercising regularly.
It is a fact that chronic and prolonged emotional stress increase cortisol. As cortisol levels are inversely proportional to testosterone levels, one who experience prolonged emotional stress should prioritize stress management as the first step towards overcoming low libido.
Overtraining such as intense training exceeding 45 minutes is said to elevate cortisol and lead to a reduction of testosterone levels. However, many individuals who are used to overtraining even by doing the not so intense training close to bed time is said to experience much better libido. In my opinion, this phenomenon is similar to those men experiencing better libido and penile sensitivity to touch after drinking coffee just before having sex. Better blood circulation and higher levels of nitric oxide due to polyphenols might be the best explanation for both phenomena.
According to a study, working out in the gym can worsen the effects of already elevated cortisol levels. If you are training a lot and start to lose the morning erection (morning wood) it may be a sign of overtraining and plummeting testosterone.
According to a study, a mug of tea contains about half as much caffeine as a mug of coffee. Unless you are so addicted to coffee, why not try sipping some black tea for its cortisol lowering benefit. In a study, subjects were asked to complete a stressful task, then sip some black tea. Results demonstrated that the black tea drinkers experienced decreased cortisol levels by 47% while the non-tea drinkers only experienced a decrease of 27%.
Getting adequate intake of healthy fats, including coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, fish oil, nuts, avocado, and animal meat may be helpful in boosting testosterone levels. Some people still treat fats as taboo to talk and think about. However, there is a significant correlation between consuming diet higher in healthy fats and testosterone production.
Get enough sleep
Research showed that men who sleep just 5 hours or less experienced decreased testosterone levels of 10 – 15 percents. The study suggests that adequate sleep is needed every night in order to have optimal testosterone levels. So, how much sound sleep you need each night? Getting at least 6 hours of sound sleep might be adequate. However, 7-8 hours seems to be optimal. Try to take a nap during the day if possible as napping may relieve stress, subsequently, decreases cortisol and leads to better testosterone levels.
Make some effort to limit alcohol consumption as studies demonstrated ethanol, a component of alcohol produced by fermentation reduces testosterone levels. A study found that short-term alcohol consumption will not affect testosterone levels too much, however, smarter choice is probably to minimize the intake as much as possible.
Be mindful of xenoestrogen. Being chemicals mimicking estrogen originating from outside of the body as it is said to increase total free circulating estrogen and leads to testosterone-estrogen imbalance.
Herbal intervention by taking adaptogens on a regular basis such as Ashwagandha, Gotu Kola, Tongkat Ali, Tribulus, Siberian Ginseng or Horny Goat Weed may help harmonize the production of reproductive hormones including testosterone by regulating cortisol levels.
Adrenal fatigue that occurs due to prolonged stress may decrease cortisol levels significantly. This, in turn, may cause many symptoms including low libido. Cortisol and two other stress hormones namely epinephrine and norepinephrine are needed in sufficient amount so that our body will physiologically be able to carry out its function optimally. Whether one experiences adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion (a worse version of adrenal fatigue), taking adaptogen herbs regularly is believed to boost the functions of adrenal glands responsible for the production of stress hormones.
A study conducted by Harvard scientists found that standing in a dominant pose with wide legs and arms straight out in the air for just two minutes and performed as daily routine may decrease cortisol levels by 25% while raising testosterone levels by 20%.
These foods offer individual benefits towards reducing cortisol as they are stress busting, which include wild salmon, oats, dark chocolate, olive oils, garlic, oysters, berries, and chamomile tea, among others.
Eating meat especially grass fed lamb regularly is said to improve libido. The positive effect is attributed to carnitine which is beneficial in increasing the amount of the active androgen receptors in muscle as well as improving blood circulation.