Testosterone is responsible for many physical and emotional male characteristics, such as sperm count, sexual function, metabolism, muscle development, bone mass, mental health, sleep quality, and hair growth.
Needless to say, maintaining healthy testosterone is critical for health and happiness in men.
It’s a common misconception that low testosterone is simply a result of ageing. While it’s true that testosterone levels deplete with age, men under 30 can also experience a deficiency.
Living with symptoms of low testosterone can be draining, frustrating, and embarrassing, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s look at the most common causes and natural treatments for low testosterone and get your body functioning optimally again.
What causes low testosterone?
There are many causes of low testosterone, many of which are directly linked to lifestyle. Are you going through a time of high stress? Drinking a little too much? Perhaps your diet has taken a turn for the worse. These factors, along with many others, can significantly impact your testosterone levels.
Stress is the culprit for many issues, and low testosterone is just one of the body’s many responses to stress.
Recent studies show that testosterone reduces during times of physical and psychological stress. Why? Because cortisol, the stress hormone, inhibits testosterone production.
However, cortisol and testosterone have an inverse relationship, meaning the two hormones can fight each other off. Getting your testosterone to healthy levels will reduce your body’s stress response and make it easier to manage stress altogether.
It’s no secret that excessive alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on our health. Testosterone production is the first function to take a hit. Studies show that men who drink heavily have a 60-70% chance of suffering from sexual dysfunction, a common symptom of low testosterone.
Long-term and heavy use of alcohol can raise cortisol levels and cause testosterone to convert to estrogen. Alcohol also contains ethanol which reduces the coenzymes responsible for healthy testosterone production. Clearly, alcohol is a major testosterone destroyer, so limit your consumption as much as possible.
A nutritious diet and healthy weight are key contributors to optimal testosterone production.
After all, we are what we eat.
Research shows that high glucose intake causes a dramatic decrease in testosterone in males. A mere 75grams of sugar resulted in a 25% loss of testosterone for around two hours. Regular intake of high quantities of sugar can significantly decrease testosterone levels long-term.
Lack of specific vitamins and minerals
Many vitamins and minerals are attributed to healthy testosterone production; zinc, selenium, and vitamin D3, to name a few.
We get most of our nutrition from foods such as lean meats, leafy greens, fruit, brown rice, and nuts, which are high in testosterone-boosting vitamins and minerals.
How to treat testosterone, naturally
Addressing the common causes of low testosterone helps to pinpoint areas in your diet or lifestyle that may need to change. It can be challenging to break bad habits, and making a noticeable change will take time. But the end goal is so worth it. Just imagine never having to deal with the symptoms of low testosterone again!
You have the power to change your situation. Here’s how.
If stress has become a consistent part of your life, it will be affecting your testosterone levels. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not, managing stress is essential for a healthy and happy lifestyle.
It’s not always easy to eliminate the cause of your stress, especially if it’s job-related. If this is the case, introduce stress-management techniques such as regular exercise, a fulfilling hobby, or meditation. Teach yourself not to sweat the small stuff and minimize the burden of stress in any way you can.
Testosterone levels increase after exercise, especially in weight and endurance training. Frequent and sustainable exercise fights testosterone destroyers such as excess body fat and helps to maintain healthy hormone production long-term.
Exercise can be hard to introduce if it’s never been a part of your lifestyle. It’s ok to start slow. Even a daily walk can be hugely beneficial for your health and hormones.
Try testosterone-boosting supplements
Before you run to your doctor asking for medication, try testosterone-boosting supplements. Sometimes, our bodies just need a little extra nutritional boost to retain as many nutrients as possible.
Supplements like fenugreek, vitamin D3, zinc, selenium, ashwagandha, horny goat weed and Korean ginseng will support your testosterone levels and help with many other functions such as immune defence, stress and cardiovascular health. If you’re not too keen to pop multiple pills, plenty of natural testosterone boosting supplements incorporate all the necessary vitamins and minerals in a single dose.
Switch processed food for whole food
Fruits and vegetables are packed with all the nutritional qualities we need to keep our bodies functioning optimally. Switching processed foods with whole foods is a great place to start improving your diet and consuming more essential vitamins and minerals.
So, what magical testosterone-boosting foods should you eat more of?
- Lean meat
- Fatty fish
- Brazil nuts
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy greens
- Olive oil
Be sure to minimize alcohol consumption to ensure your change in diet is as effective as possible. Alcohol can counteract a healthy diet, making all your hard work go to waste.
Get more sleep
Healthy sleep patterns are associated with reduced stress and healthy testosterone levels. Testosterone production is highly active during sleep, so the more sleep you get, the better it is for your testosterone levels. And the better your testosterone levels, the more sleep you’ll get.
That’s the kind of cycle you want to get into!
You can achieve a better night’s sleep by introducing a healthy bedtime routine, starting an hour or two before you nod off. Whether you have some quiet time to yourself or you read a good book, an effective nightly routine can do wonders for a good night’s sleep.
Do I have low testosterone? Signs and symptoms to look out for
The symptoms of low testosterone can range from subtle to severe. However, the longer testosterone levels remain low, the more severe the symptoms will be.
The most common symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Increased body fat
- Low sperm count
- Hair loss
- Mood swings
- Decreased muscle mass
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, simple lifestyle changes can significantly impact your hormone production. It’s time to take control of your health and enjoy the many benefits of healthy testosterone levels.