Testosterone is an essential hormone for muscle growth, strength, and endurance. It positively impacts energy levels, mood, libido, and quality of life.
The usual range of testosterone in the blood is large, ranging from 300 to 1,000 ng/dL for males and 15 to 70 ng/dL for females. Unfortunately, health professionals often do not take complaints of low sex drive and negative mood seriously enough, despite evidence that these symptoms indicate hormone imbalance.
Many people who fall below the normal range for testosterone often begin a life-long journey of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Compounds like prohormones, anabolic steroids (AAS), and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) can increase testosterone levels but often have several unwanted side effects. Many banned compounds are used in sports, which often leads to a hefty fine.
Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase testosterone levels. Still, several other safe and practical steps can be taken to improve your testosterone levels naturally.
This article will discuss optimizing your natural testosterone levels by changing your lifestyle and diet. Some safe and effective supplements you can take to boost your testosterone levels are also discussed.
#1 – Drop Extra Fat
Some people who have maintained six-pack abdominals in their college or high school years may find that they now have a protrusion of excess skin over the past few years or decades. This is often due to lower testosterone levels, which can significantly impact your overall health. Although you may believe that a power belly gives you an edge on the lifting platform or sports field, numerous studies have confirmed that obese individuals have significantly reduced testosterone levels.
Obesity can have a negative impact on sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which in turn increases insulin resistance and decreases testosterone. As a result, losing fat and gaining muscle may be more challenging, leading to an unhealthy cycle of weight gain.
Obesity is a problem that can be solved with a straightforward action – losing weight. The human body burns fat nearly twice as quickly as it builds muscle, so even severely obese individuals won’t have to be on a low-calorie diet forever. Clean up your diet by consuming healthy fats, lean protein, and carbohydrates only when you exercise.
Regularly engaging in moderate and vigorous physical cardiovascular and resistance training activities multiple times per week will help you lose weight, improve your health, and increase your libido and testosterone levels. By keeping a log of these factors, you will see the impact this type of exercise has on your body.
#2 – Have Plenty of Sex
High sexual activity relative to an individual’s age group is associated with high testosterone levels. This should not surprise you, as sex is essential for overall health and well-being.
Having personal time with every person you find attractive won’t add slabs of muscle or hundreds of pounds to your Big 3 total, but suppressed or ignored sexual desire can lower your testosterone levels.
Testosterone levels significantly increased in both males and females during evenings with intercourse but decreased as a result of evenings without any nighttime activities activity.
Sexual activity that is safe and healthy can help raise testosterone levels, which can improve your quality of life.
#3 – Keep Stress In-Check
The body’s response to stress, whether physical or psychological, can increase the production of cortisol. This hormone is associated with the “fight-or-flight” response and is known to have adverse effects on mood and hormone function.
One study found that cortisol levels are significantly elevated following moderate-intensity post-cardiovascular exercise, leading to a decrease in testosterone levels. Elevated cortisol levels can have significant consequences over time if not addressed.
There is no evidence that physical activity decreases testosterone levels in healthy men. Resistance training has a strong positive effect on serum testosterone levels, so I encourage you to identify and manage your chronic stressors appropriately; that may involve regular meditation, breathing exercises, sound sleep every night, engaging in fun low-stress activities, or even taking a vacation/staycation you’ve been meaning to take.
#4 – Limit Alcohol Consumption
If you frequently drink beer or light beer, you’re reducing your natural testosterone levels. Acute and chronic alcohol consumption can suppress testosterone levels, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
While alcohol consumption can temporarily spike testosterone levels, they usually fall back to their original level relatively quickly for people who drink moderately. Heavy drinkers who consume multiple drinks daily may experience significant decreases in testosterone levels after just five days of drinking, as well as a slew of reproductive and other major health complications if they continue to drink large quantities regularly.
If you are looking to enjoy a long and healthy life, avoid drinking alcohol. It may not be the best way to achieve your goals.
#5 – Eat Enough Dietary Cholesterol and Fat
At a time in fitness, fat was looked at as an enemy. Recent scientific evidence suggests that cholesterol-rich foods like eggs and saturated fat sources like butter and coconut oil can positively impact hormone levels and testosterone production.
One study found that a diet high in saturated fat increased testosterone levels by 15%, while another study found that consuming a low-fat diet decreased testosterone levels by 12%. Consuming at least 0.4 to 0.5 grams of fat per pound of body weight daily will ensure normal hormonal function.
Cholesterol is an essential part of the body’s nervous, reproductive, and digestive systems. One of the hormones it helps to produce is testosterone. While your body produces cholesterol on its own, dietary cholesterol won’t significantly impact your blood cholesterol levels. Moderate intake in healthy individuals without a history of high blood cholesterol has little effect on their blood levels.
If you want to maintain healthy hormones, you must not shy away from high-quality sources of cholesterol and fat in your diet. Your body will naturally produce less cholesterol as you consume more nutrients.
#6 – Dose D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)
One of the most popular all-natural testosterone-boosting ingredients today is D-Aspartic Acid (DAA). Moderate supplementation of 2 to 3 grams per day not only increases testosterone in athletes and infertile men but also causes the body to release more luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and growth hormone (GH).
The testosterone-boosting effects of DAA are not long-term in healthy individuals. A daily DAA consumption of 3 grams for 12 consecutive days, followed by seven days without DAA, led to a statistically significant but minor increase in testosterone above the natural baseline. A daily dose of 2.5 grams for 90 days significantly increased sperm concentration, quality, and motility without side effects.
The most common DAA cycle is to take a three-gram daily dose for four weeks, followed by four weeks without DAA. Taking DAA is safe and can increase testosterone levels above baseline, leading to enhanced gym performance and nighttime bedroom activities.
#7 – Increase Your Vitamin D
If your vitamin D blood levels are suboptimal, this may be robbing you of muscle mass and strength gains. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient produced when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, or it can be found in fish, eggs, and enriched dairy products. Most people who work indoors all day long and eat a standard American diet (SAD) don’t get enough sunlight exposure, so they’re unable to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D – which could lead to less muscle mass and strength gains.
If your vitamin D blood levels are below 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL, your natural testosterone levels may be suppressed. If you fall below these values, supplementation is an inexpensive and effective way to get out of the danger zone and boost your natural testosterone levels.
Taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement of 3,332 international units (IUs) increased the total bioactive and free testosterone levels by up to 28%. However, once these subjects’ vitamin D levels reached a healthy range, their testosterone levels stopped increasing.
The safe upper limit of daily vitamin D supplementation is 10,000 IU/day. If you are not getting enough sunlight, taking a supplement may be an excellent way to get your recommended dose of vitamin D. Insufficient vitamin D levels may lead to difficulty building muscle, dropping fat, and improving endurance.
#8 – Replenish Your Zinc Levels
Zinc is an essential nutrient expelled in significant quantities during moderate and intense physical activity. A zinc deficiency can also lower your natural testosterone levels.
If you’re an athlete and your testosterone levels are below normal, taking a 30mg daily dose of zinc can help to increase both zinc and testosterone levels.
Supplementing with zinc may help to optimize testosterone levels, but it is not necessary for those who naturally have high levels. However, regularly taking zinc at 3mg/kg/day may help ensure that your body deals with exhaustive exercise more effectively, which could lead to a dip in testosterone and thyroid levels below their natural baseline.
If you choose to supplement zinc, select a chelated variety, which is more readily absorbed by the body.
#9 – Fenugreek is Your Friend
Fenugreek is an herb commonly used in traditional Indian and Arabic medicine for its libido-enhancing effects. There are a number of studies that have found the effect to be more than just a placebo. A 500mg daily dose of fenugreek paired with a 4-day-per-week weightlifting program increased body fat percentage and total testosterone levels, while weightlifting only decreased body fat percentage.
Taking 600mg of the Fenugreek extract Testofen daily for six weeks significantly improved self-reported strength, energy, well-being, and sex drive without significantly impacting prolactin levels. High prolactin levels are a serious condition that may indicate a sluggish thyroid (hypothyroidism), liver, or kidney disease.
Fenugreek has a characteristic, syrupy aroma that regular users often report. The scent is most noticeable during intense physical activity and in urine. It can be found at your local grocery store or ethnic market if you’d like to purchase ground Fenugreek.