12 Ways to Raise your Testosterone Levels Naturally
I’ve been giving this issue of hugely declining levels of testosterone as we age some serious thought since I first read that females testosterone levels plummet by half by the time we reach forty.
Male testosterone peaks in adolescence or early twenties- and decreases 1% a year starting in their thirties. By age 40, that’s a 10% decrease in testosterone for men.
Males, famously have 10 times the testosterone we females have. Many men take it seriously enough- that they are making trips to the doctor with the first signs of declining testosterone- which include decreasing sex drive, energy, vitality, muscle-mass and strength, and bone density. Low testosterone can also contribute to a decrease in motivation and self-confidence. And low testosterone is linked to higher morbidity from sudden death.
But what about us women? Wouldn’t the same symptoms affect us too?
Men produce their testosterone in their testes. Women produce their testosterone in their ovaries. So women entering their forties are affected. Women in their 50′s who have gone through menopause would be hugely affected.
Often, women don’t give it any thought- and doctors routinely don’t even screen for it. Women who go through menopause are routinely given female hormones- estrogen and progesterone-but it seems testosterone is usually ignored.
As someone who works out for strength and stamina, I want to maximize my testosterone levels naturally to avoid what seems to be the most commonly witnessed signs of lowering testosterone levels in woman- which include an increasing proportion of body-fat and in particular in the belly area and decreasing strength and muscle mass, as well as decreased energy, vitality and sex-drive.
Have you noticed that many women in their twenties gain more in their hips and legs but women over forty- even when they are in good shape- start to gain in their middle? That has a lot to do with the decreasing level of testosterone in comparison to estrogen.
So what can you do about it? Well, obviously- you can visit your doctor to measure your hormone levels and consult with him about options that are available to you if you are affected. Women in menopause are sometimes prescribed a low dose testosterone cream which is often mixed with estrogen and progesterone.
Short of supplementation, there is much you can do to elevate your testosterone level naturally. So, hear are the best options- for both women and men.
1.) Lift Heavy Weights
Resistance training is a potent stimulant of testosterone production, so be sure to lift heavy weights at least once a week. Think less than 8 reps. A Finish study showed that the 5 reps produced the highest testosterone response. That’s 85% of your 1 rep max. The bulk of your workout should involve “compound” weight-lifting exercises that train several large muscle groups, and not just one or two smaller muscles. Think “all over body exercises” like squats, leg press, bench presses or back rows which increases testosterone more than doing biceps curls or triceps pushdowns. This is why doing squats could help you build bigger biceps! Beyond that- the rest intervals between sets can stimulate different hormonal responses. Resting 90 seconds between squat and bench press sets was shown to boost post-workout testosterone levels the most, followed by rest periods of 120 seconds. Resting 60 seconds increased growth hormone the most and testosterone the least.
2.) Go Sprint
In young men, a short six-second bout of sprinting was shown to increased serum total testosterone levels. Levels remained elevated during recovery. Interestingly, testosterone was also correlated with lactate levels in the blood. Plus, we know sprints have a superior epoch effect- (calorie and fat-burning after the fact) than slow steady state cardio. So put on your running shoes!
3.) Avoid Excessive Cortisol
Cortisol antagonizes and reduces free testosterone levels. So the more cortisol- the more negatively your testosterone levels are affected. Stress promotes the release of cortisol, so avoiding stress is crucial for maintaining or boosting T levels. Make sure you get a good 8hours sleep every night (which in and of itself increases testosterone levels). Avoid overtraining, especially excessive cardio , which may negatively affect T levels and reproductive function. And be sure to take time to relax (read a book, take a yoga class, get a massage, go for a walk).
4.) Get Some Sun
Vitamin D is positively associated with bone and muscular strength, and also correlates positively with testosterone levels. The best way to raise your vitamin D levels is get a minimum 15 minutes of sun each day. If you don’t get in the sun, you may very well be deficient, so consider supplementing to get your vitamin D.
5.) Avoid Dioxins- Go for Pastured or Grass-fed Animal Products
Toxic substances called dioxins interfere with the male reproductive system, including production of testosterone. Most dioxins accumulate in the tissues and especially fats of conventionally raised animal products and dairy. If you’re going to be eating fatty cuts of meat or using dairy, try to go for pastured, grass-fed animals to reduce your exposure and lessen the negative impact on your testosterone levels.
6.) Eat Saturated and Monounsaturated Fat
A look at male athletes found that both saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and cholesterol intakes were positively correlated with resting testosterone levels. PUFA intake was barely associated with increased levels. A low-fat, high-fiber diet reduced serum and free testosterone levels in middle-aged men. T usage wasn’t affected, but T production was reduced. If you want to raise your testosterone, eat a diet that includes about 30 percent fat, and not much less. Your body needs dietary fat to produce testosterone, so eating a vegetarian diet low fat diet will cause your testosterone levels to drop.
7.) Avoid Excess Sugar and High Glycemic Carbs
Researchers found that 75 grams of pure glucose – and the resultant spike in blood sugar – was enough to drop testosterone levels by as much as 25% in a random grouping of healthy, prediabetic, and diabetic men. Now keep in mind how rapidly many SAD carb choices (pasta, cereal, bread, etc) convert to glucose upon digestion…
8.) Get Enough Zinc
9.) Lose Body Fat
Carrying excess body fat elevates your estrogen levels, and that may cause your testosterone levels to sink, says Joseph Zmuda, an epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh. Carrying two or three extra pounds won’t cause this hormonal shift; it occurs once you’re 30 percent over your ideal body which accounts for a large number of Americans.
10.) Don’t lose More than One Pound a Week
When you want to trim down quickly, many people starve themselves while exercising like a mad. One of the many reasons this stops working in your 30s, when your natural testosterone levels start dropping, is simple: Cutting your calorie intake by more than 15 percent makes your brain think you’re starving, so it shuts down testosterone production to wait out the famine. There’s no need to reproduce if you’re starving. At the same time, this dive in circulating testosterone stops you from burning body fat efficiently, so you’re actually defeating your hard efforts.
11.) Have Morning Sex
For men at least- just having an erection causes their circulating testosterone to rise significantly — and having one in the morning can bump your natural post-dawn testosterone surge. Does it apply to women? Not sure on this one. But give it a shot.
12.) Make Nuts your Go To Snack
Research has shown that men who ate diets rich in monounsaturated fat — the kind found in peanuts — had the highest testosterone levels. It’s not known why this occurs, but some scientists believe that monounsaturated fats have a direct effect on the testes. Nuts, olive oil, guacamole and peanut butter are good sources of monounsaturated fat.
All in all, testosterone is an incredibly important hormone for health, longevity, and vitality – in both men and women. Eating whole natural foods, eliminating processed and sugary foods and dioxins, eliminating excessive stress, and incorporating heavy intense workouts, adequate sleep and rest, healthy animal and monounsaturated fats and plenty of vitamin D, should be enough to promote adequate amounts of testosterone for most healthy individuals.