Low testosterone – it could be your worst fear, or something you’ve never really thought about. Regardless of how you feel, there’s no denying that as we age, our testosterone production starts to diminish. For men, this begins at around 30, and decreases at a rate of about 1 – 2 % per year afterwards.12 While this decline may not be enough to send you into below normal levels, it can be enough to notice a difference in your lean muscle to body fat ratio, and make it harder to replace the fat with muscle when you try.1
The market is flooded with products that promise to raise your testo levels and ads that tell you to visit your doctor to see what the king of hormones can do for you. While maintaining normal levels of testosterone is important to the healthy function of many systems in your body and general health, testosterone therapy may not be the answer for you.2 So, how do you fight the seemingly inevitable changes of age, and increase your testosterone?
How to Increase Testosterone in Men
Unfortunately, the best way to significantly increase testosterone levels is by introducing synthetic testosterone to the body. Common testosterone therapy administrations include needle injection, a capsule placed under the skin to dissolve, and topical gels, patches and creams. Testosterone replacement therapy can help improve the symptoms of low testosterone, like reduced sexual function, depression, and difficulty focusing, but it doesn’t work the same for everybody, and at the moment there are no long-term study results available to properly assess the long term risks.3 Additionally, testosterone replacement therapy is advised to only be prescribed to men who test with clinical levels of low testosterone.6 While testosterone therapy may be the answer for how to increase testosterone levels in older men, results are unclear if its beneficial for those just reading low-normal.3
However, just because you don’t fall into the low testosterone group doesn’t mean you can’t reap any benefits from helping maintain your natural testosterone production. Here, we’ll discuss how you can naturally maintain your testosterone levels to continue feeling youthful and full of life.
How to Increase Testosterone Naturally
While the most effective way to increase testosterone may be to add more to the body, there are many things you can do to help bolster your own natural production.
Men who are overweight tend to have lower testosterone levels than their healthy-weight counterparts. Fat inhibits testosterone production, and a sedentary lifestyle signals to the brain that you don’t need much testosterone to get your regular activities done.7 So, one of the simplest ways to boost your production to get you out of the low-normal and into the middle-normal testosterone range is to get up, and get moving. Losing weight and becoming active has been seen to improve testosterone levels in overweight men.7
If you’re starting from very little activity, keep it simple. Start with brisk walks every day, and start getting familiar with weight training. Weight training and other resistance training will be the kind of exercise you’ll want to do to boost your testosterone levels.
When you’re ready, or if you’re already leading an active lifestyle but could use a little testo surge to help you pack on more muscle, hit the weights with big, compound movements like barbell squats, bench press, and deadlifts. When lifting high-volume weights with low-to-medium intensity (low reps), the body has a bigger hormonal response and releases more testosterone than low-volume, high intensity exercise.8
Another lifestyle change that will help to boost your testo levels from low-normal to the medium-normal range is eating habits and proper nutrition. Lack of exercise and poor eating habits lead to an excess of fat, which inhibits your testosterone production. Being more mindful of what you’re fueling your body with, and making sure to eat a healthy balance of carbs, proteins and good fats will go a long way in correcting your hormonal balance.1
While it’s important to eat well, it can be hard to get all the nutrition we need from our diets alone. Since low levels of testosterone are the concern here, think about supplementing with Vitamin D and zinc. Americans have been found to be deficient in both, and studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D and zinc have been correlated to lower testosterone levels. Increasing Vitamin D and zinc levels also showed an increase in testosterone levels.9, 10 How much zinc should I take to increase testosterone? One study saw improvements with 30mg doses of zinc per day.9 For Vitamin D, study results have seen improvements with 83ug per day.10 There are lots of supplements available made to meet these needs, including HF Labs Delta Prime. Try adding one of these supplements to your daily routine to help support your natural testosterone production.
How to Increase Testosterone in Women
Even though it’s the male sex hormone, women still need to maintain adequate levels of testosterone, and face a decline in production while ageing as well. Many of the same methods discussed above will also help women increase low-normal testosterone levels. A balanced diet of proteins, carbs, and good fats, along with exercise and zinc and Vitamin D supplementation will help women’s bodies produce the hormones they need to maintain strong bones, muscle mass, and their sex drive.11
Male or female, if you’re concerned about your testosterone levels, it’s best to talk to your doctor and get tested. From here, you and your doctor can decide the best course of action, as well as discuss any other related causes or symptoms.
- 1 Examine.com (n.d.). Increasing Testosterone – Information & Supplements. Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://examine.com/stacks/increasing-testosterone/. View link.
- 2 Mawer, R. 8 Proven Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally. Healthline. Retreived May 7, 2018 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone. View link.
- 3 Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Testosterone Therapy: Potential benefits and rsiks as you age. Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/testosterone-therapy/art-20045728. View link.
- 5 Smith, L. (2018, January 29). How long does it take to build muscle? Medical News Today. Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320769.php. View link.
- 6 Urology Care Foundation. (n.d.) Testosterone Therapy (TT). Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/low-testosterone/treatment. View link.
- 7 Metcalf, E. (n.d.). Can You Boost Low Testosterone Naturally? Web MD. Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/men/features/can-you-boost-testosterone-naturally#1. View link.
- 8 Odebunmi, O. (2017, September 11). Squats to Increase Tesosterone. LiveStrong.Com. Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://www.livestrong.com/article/366650-squats-to-increase-testosterone/. View link.
- 9 Prasad, A. S., Mantzoros, C. S., Beck, F. W., Hess, J. W., & Brewer, G. J. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12(5), 344-348. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0899-9007(96)80058-X
- 10 Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., … & Zittermann, A. (2011). Effect of Vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43(3), 223. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1055/s-0030-1269854
- 11 Simpson, J. (2017, August 14). How to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally in Women. LiveStrong.Com. Retrieved on May 7, 2018 from https://www.livestrong.com/article/21635-increase-testosterone-levels-naturally-women/. View link.
- 12Matsumoto, A. M. (2002). Andropause: clinical implications of the decline in serum testosterone levels with aging in men. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 57(2), M76-M99. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/57.2.M76