Low levels of testosterone can come with glaring symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and reduced bone mass. Before opting for hormone replacement therapy and facing the risk of serious side effects, here are five science-backed ways to optimize your testosterone levels naturally
In the face of aging and the treatment’s increasing popularity, many men around the world immediately opt for testosterone replacement therapy. While significant results may manifest in no time, there can be serious consequences down the road, particularly if the underlying cause of low testosterone isn’t addressed properly. Here are five things that you can explore for a natural testosterone boost:
A deficiency in zinc, an essential dietary mineral, has long been associated with testicular suppression, including suppression of testosterone levels. A 1996 study found a significant reduction in the blood testosterone of healthy young men after 20 weeks of zinc restriction. It also revealed that six-month zinc supplementation in marginally deficient elderly men translated to a testosterone boost.
While research demonstrates that poor zinc levels in the diet can adversely affect testicular function, it is a reversible process and can be corrected via proper supplementation.
The exact mechanism behind how zinc deficiency exactly affects testosterone levels is yet to be fully understood, but the mineral may affect the cells in the testes that produce testosterone. Zinc helps your immune system function properly, plays a role in cell division and helps enzymes break down nutrients.
Studies have shown that magnesium intake affects testosterone and total insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The age-related decline in these anabolic hormones is deemed a strong predictor of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, as well as mortality in elderly men.
One proposed mechanism behind this mineral’s testosterone-enhancing role is its ability to inhibit the binding of testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), resulting in an enhancement of bioavailable testosterone.
3. Weight Management
Weight gain and related chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have been strongly tied to a reduction in testosterone, especially in middle-aged and elderly men. Here’s how it works: as you gain weight as fat, your testosterone production drops. However, this can be reversed through weight loss via adjustments in diet and lifestyle.
4. Vitamin D
A dose of sunshine can be a handy solution to low testosterone levels, with studies vouching for vitamin D‘s impact on regulating testosterone levels. Ideally, you would be able to get all the vitamin D your body needs through optimal sun exposure. This, however, may not be the case for those who live far from the equator, are dark skinned or spend most of their time indoors.
5. Adequate Quality Sleep
One of the insidious effects of regular lack of high-quality sleep is decreased testosterone production. A 2013 study probed the effects of 33 hours of sleep loss on endocrine function as well as reactive aggression in 24 young men and 25 women, and found that sleep deprivation lowered testosterone in the male subjects.
There’s a double whammy here, as sleeplessness also facilitates fat gain, which, as mentioned earlier, is linked to impaired testosterone production.
Scientific findings are quick to show that correcting a mineral or nutrient deficiency or insufficiency may raise low testosterone levels.