Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced by the testicles in the male reproductive system. In women, the hormone is present too, but is available in very minimal amounts. The primary purpose of the hormone is to ensure the development of sexual characteristics in men. In addition to this function, it is also responsible for sustaining muscle bulk, ensuring the optimal production of red blood cells as well as an overall sense of well-being. In understanding these functions, it is also important to mention that as men age, usually after 30 years of age, the amount of testosterone in the body starts lowering as the years progress.
In addition to the natural process of aging, other risk factors associated with declining testosterone levels include abnormalities at the genetic level, inflammatory diseases that target hormone-producing glands as well as diabetes and other chronic conditions. Some of the symptoms of low testosterone production include erectile dysfunction, reduced bone density, predisposition to depression as well as general increase in the amount of body fat. To find out whether one is at risk of low testosterone, there are numerous tests that one can have done to keep the symptoms at bay. The good news is that there are several home remedies that one can use to increase the amount of testosterone in the body. Simple diet changes and lifestyle amendments can do a great deal of good for men with low testosterone levels.
1. Healthy Fats:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific food.
What You Need: Sources of healthy fat.
One of the most common risk factors associated with low testosterone levels is poor diet choices. This is where healthy fats come in handy. Junk food not only packs up empty calories, it also places men at risk of obesity, which in turn increases the chances of low production of testosterone. On the flip side, studies show that healthy fats have a profound effect in increasing testosterone levels in the body. In line with this, it is important to note that there are three classes of healthy fats. These include healthy saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids as well as monounsaturated fats. The benefits of each of the classes of fats are outlined below, alongside the foods that contain them in high amounts. All of these are recommended for increasing the amount of testosterone in the body.
Tips when using Healthy Fats:
- Healthy saturated fats are not only good for overall body health, they are also recommended for male sexual health. Sources in this category include coconut oil and fermented dairy products such as low-fat yogurt and kefir. In this regard, it is important to note that it is advisable to avoid high intake of conventional dairy products as these come in the way of testosterone production in the body.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent option for anyone who needs to increase their testosterone levels in the body. Excellent sources of these fats include walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
- Lastly, healthy monounsaturated fats such as those found in ripe avocado, almonds and olive oil are also known to boost testosterone levels naturally.
- It is important to remember that these healthy fats ought to be taken alongside dietary changes that involve the elimination of sugary and processed foods. This is because the latter are known to wreak havoc on the male hormonal system.
2. Healthy Weight Loss:
Time Required: Varies from one person to the other.
What You Need: Appropriate diet changes and exercise routines.
Studies show that there is a strong connection between obesity and hormonal imbalance, and in this case, amounts of testosterone in the male body. Typically, low levels of testosterone are associated with increased amount of body fat and vice versa. What’s more, high amounts of body fat increase the amount of testosterone converted to oestrogen, further compounding the condition. In order to reverse these effects and increase testosterone production, healthy weight loss is recommended. Additional benefits of healthy weight loss include easier management in diabetic patients as well as improved body health. Listed below are tips to incorporate healthy weight loss in order to increase the amount of testosterone in the body.
Weight Loss Tips:
- Start slow and gradually work out to a place where consistency is key. At the onset, set achievable goals and gradually readjust to lose fat and gain muscle.
- Secondly, choose workout routines that compliment your weight loss goals. You may consult a trained fitness instructor on the way forward.
- Try not to cut on calorie intake immediately as this may send the body into shock and make it harder to adjust. This is attributed to the fact that sudden caloric decrease sends the body into starvation mode and this triggers lower testosterone synthesis, which essentially counters all efforts made.
- In complimenting healthy weight loss, regular physical exercise and a balanced diet are highly recommended.
Time Required: Varies depending on specific routines.
What You Need: Varied exercise routines and appropriate work out gear.
While exercise routines have been mentioned above alongside healthy weight loss, this remedy focuses on the specific workout routines alongside their respective benefits. The primary reason why exercise in general is recommended for increasing testosterone production is because it allows for increased release of the hormone and more importantly, prevents a decrease in the hormonal levels. Additional benefits of exercise include increasing energy levels and boosting endurance. Below are select routines alongside their specific workouts for increasing testosterone production in the body.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the recommended exercise routines for increased testosterone production. Just as the name suggests, HIIT revolves around short bursts of very intense workout routines followed by simple less strenuous exercises for the purpose of recovery. Excellent forms of this exercise include sessions on the treadmill or an elliptical trainer. Swimming laps can also be an excellent form of HIIT routines.
- Cardio exercises, like the name suggests, are exercises that increase the heart rate and help burn extra calories. Such exercises are not only good for reducing weight loss, they also play a key role in maintaining testosterone production. Examples of cardio exercises include swimming, brisk walking, jogging, cycling and any other aerobic exercises.
- Weight lifting is the most effective workout for increasing testosterone production in the body. Ideally, lifting heavier weights for a shorter period has been shown to have far more improved results than the opposite. Excellent routines in this category include shoulder presses, squats and bench presses. Done for half an hour five times weekly, weight lifting records great progress and helps prevent a decline in the amount of testosterone in the body.
NOTE: While these exercise routines are highly encouraged, it is very important to ensure that you do not go overboard as this may actually counter the aforementioned benefits of exercising. Additionally, take adequate times of rest to recharge and recover in between workouts to prevent the body from burn out. Consequently, it is advisable to begin with a qualified trainer who will put the routines in perspective depending on your specific needs.
4. Lower Stress Levels:
Time Required: Varies
What You Need: Measures to reduce stress.
We live in days where stress levels are extremely high, whether due to increased pressure at the work place, balancing family life with studies or even living with a chronic disease. All of these factors predispose one to stress, which in turn makes it more likely to experience decreased testosterone production. This happens because stress always triggers the production of cortisol (often referred to as the stress hormone) and high levels of cortisol are known to increase belly fat. This excessive weight translates to lower levels of testosterone, making it imperative to find ways to manage stress levels. Listed below are simple tips to manage stress. Note that all the tips may not necessarily work out for everyone, which is why it is important to get professional medical help if the stress starts to show symptoms of depression.
Tips for handling High Stress Levels:
- Take some time to recharge, failure to which means there is increased risk of burnout. One of the simple ways to do this and incorporate into your daily routine is to perform breathing exercises. This not only help to refocus, they are also ideal for clearing the mind and helping with focusing.
- Take at least 5 minutes daily to meditate. This is an excellent way to center your thoughts and eliminate any stress-causing factors.
- Take time to enjoy hobbies and engage in activities that make you come alive. Whether this is in form of good music, painting, fishing or even knitting, the idea is to break away from the mundane and plug in activities that you like.
- Unplug and spend some time in the outdoors or with the people that matter. This is especially important in a world where social media has overtaken many people’s lives, and yet this is in fact one of the triggers for stress. Reducing one’s screen time is also a fundamental part of managing stress levels.
- Make use of a planner that will help you organize your day’s activities and help you feel less overwhelmed.
- Make sure you learn what your stressors are and find ways to deal with them. Stressors are elements which trigger stress, and these vary from one person to the other. If this is not possible to o on your own, seek the services of a professional counselor to walk with you.
- Use these measures to manage stress because, left unchecked, it has a key effect on testosterone levels in the body. A stress-free life on the other hand, increases the hormone’s production.
5. Increase Your Vitamin D Intake:
Time Required: Varies depending on the source of the vitamin.
What You Need: Exposure to the sun, foods rich in Vitamin D and supplements (optional).
Research has, over the years, identified the male reproductive system as one of the target tissues for Vitamin D usage in the body, providing a clear link between the vitamin and testosterone levels on the body. Consequently, decreased Vitamin D intake has been associated with lower levels of the hormone, and the reverse is true. A study conducted in 2011 showed that the administration of Vitamin D over a period of time actually resulted in increased testosterone production.
- Regular exposure to the sun is one of the simplest and cost-effective ways of getting more Vitamin D into the body. Soaking up in the morning sun or spending time in the evening glow for up to 20 minutes will allow for Vitamin D synthesis, which will in turn encourage testosterone production.
- In the absence of daily sunlight, it helps to eat foods that are rich in Vitamin D. These include fortified cereal and milk, liver, eggs and cheese.
- Alternatively, settle for Vitamin D supplements, but check with your doctor especially if you are taking other medication.
In addition to the remedies listed above, it is important to take plenty of zinc as this plays a key role in testosterone production. Excellent sources of zinc include oysters, milk, cheese and beans among others. Other helpful tips for increasing testosterone production include cutting down on alcohol intake and avoiding smoking. In case of any doubts, feel free to consult your doctor.