8 ways to boost your testosterone levels

Are you experiencing any of the following:

  • Reduced sexual desire

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Fewer spontaneous erections — such as during sleep — and infertility.

  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, or increased sleepiness.

  • Increased body fat.

  • Reduced muscle bulk and strength.

  • Decreased bone density.

  • Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia).

  • Loss of body hair.

  • Hot flashes and have less energy.

  • A decrease in motivation or self-confidence.

  • Depression.

  • Trouble concentrating.

  • Trouble remembering things.

It could be low testosterone levels.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is the main male sex hormone. It is a steroid hormone, produced in men’s testicles and women’s ovaries. During puberty in boys, testosterone drives physical changes like increased muscle, deeper voice and hair growth. In men, it's thought to regulate sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells (which carries oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues and carbon dioxide, as a waste product, from the body tissues to the lungs) and sperm cells.

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Falling testosterone levels at 50plus.

For most men, a fall in the level of testosterone in their body is a natural part of the ageing cycle. Normally it's a gradual process of 1-2% per year after the age of 30, but this still means that by the time you get to 50 your testosterone levels can have dropped by up to 40%. This drop off in your testosterone can be increased by lifestyle factors such as stress.

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Here are 8 natural ways that you can boost your testosterone levels:

  • Getting enough sleep?: Research has shown that a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your level of testosterone. How

much sleep you need changes from person to person but one study completed by The University of Chicago (2011) found that somebody who would normally sleep 8hrs per night suffered a 15% drop in their day time levels of testosterone if they had sleep restricted to 5hrs per night over a 7 night period. Making sleep a priority may help maintain testosterone levels. You should aim to sleep at least 7 to 8 hours each night. Bottom line: Make sure you get plenty of high-quality sleep to maintain healthy testosterone levels and optimise your long-term health.

  • Maintain a balanced diet: Eating well is essential to maintaining testosterone levels and overall health. The best diets are ones that include mostly whole foods and offer a healthy balanced diet including fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Eating a nutritious diet can help keep hormone levels balanced and promote optimal long-term health. Bottom Line: Try to eat balanced amounts of carbs, fats and protein.

  • Lose weight: If you're carrying a few extra pounds around the middle then it's going to have a negative effect on your testosterone levels. We're not talking about crash dieting here we're talking more of that healthy eating. Men who carry more weight have lower levels of testosterone. One study in the journal Clinical Endocrinology (2012) reported that some obese males between the ages of 14 and 20 have up to 50 per cent less testosterone than those who are not overweight. Bottom Line: Try and keep your weight at a reasonable level.

  • Stay active: A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (2012 found that the more active you are, the more testosterone you will have. Resistance training, such as weight lifting, is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone in both the short- and long-term To get the most bang for your buck focus on the big muscle groups so if you can look to build your testosterone boosting training sessions around the deadlift, squats, and the clean and jerk.

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  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also be very effective, although all types of exercise should work to some extent. Watch out if you’re a long distance runner as this has been shown to suppress testosterone levels. Bottom line: Most forms of exercise may increase your testosterone levels. Weight lifting and high-intensity interval training are the most effective. Gyms not open - "lockdown" means we may have to stay at home; it can be difficult to stay active at the moment. Check our blog post on getting fit for tips on easy but effective exercises you can do at home, without any equipment.

  • Stress reduction: Managing stress may help to increase testosterone levels. Long-term and chronic stress is dangerous and can lead to many issues in the body. Stress elevates the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for managing a variety of processes, including immune response and metabolism. Elevated cortisol, negatively impacts testosterone. These hormones work in a seesaw-like manner: as one goes up, the other comes down Stress and high cortisol can also increase food intake, weight gain and the storage of harmful body fat around your organs. In turn, these changes may negatively impact your testosterone levels. So for both optimal health and hormone levels, you should try to reduce repetitive stressful situations in your life. Bottom line: High levels of stress are bad for your long-term health and can reduce your testosterone levels. Reducing stress levels right now isn't easy but check out our blog Coping with self-isolation for some tips on reducing stress during this difficult time.

  • Sunlight or take a Vitamin D Supplement : Vitamin D is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular vitamins. Research has shown that it has various health benefits, and may also work as a natural testosterone booster. Despite its importance, many of us are deficient in vitamin D. A 12-month study (2011) found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25% . To boost testosterone and reap the other benefits of vitamin D, try to get regular exposure to sunlight or take around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 supplement daily. Getting at least 15 minutes of direct sunshine each day can also keep vitamin D levels managed. Food sources high in vitamin D include salmon and other fatty fishes or fortified milk and cereal products. Bottom line: Vitamin D3 supplements may boost testosterone levels, but a good dose of sunshine can be just as helpful. With most of us having to spend much longer indoors at the moment it’s not always easy to get that 15 mins of sunshine, so Vitamin D3 supplements might be a good idea.

  • Review medications: While prescription medications can help manage a variety of health conditions, they are one of the most common reasons for low testosterone. According to a report in BMC Medicine (2013), statins, which are medications that lower cholesterol, may partially operate by reducing testosterone. Anyone who suspects low testosterone is due to prescribed medications should bring these concerns to their doctor’s attention. Bottom Line: Check your meds, but talk to your doctor before you do anything.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol abuse: Abuse of drugs and alcohol has been linked to lower testosterone. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol use affects the glands and hormones involved in male reproductive health. Further, alcohol can cause low testosterone levels due to the effects it has on the body, including causing hormonal reactions and cell damage. Bottom Line: Drugs and alcohol abuse won’t help.

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