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You might have heard in the news the idea that our generation’s testosterone is much lower than the levels of our grandfathers.
Testosterone has been on a consistent decline for the last 60 years and nobody knows exactly why. There are lots of factors that go into influencing the bodies hormonal levels. Addressing them on a societal level has far too many components.
However, we can each address our own concerns. That is what we will do in this post.
Why is testosterone important?
In men, testosterone is the number one hormone linked with a long lifespan and good health. Low testosterone goes alongside increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Whether it is correlation or causation is up for debate, but to me, it makes sense to put everything possible in place to live a long, healthy life.
Beyond just disease prevention, low testosterone is implicated in low-energy, weight gain, brain fog, lack of drive and motivation, low libido, and much more.
In other words, testosterone also has a huge impact on the quality of your life. Raising your testosterone levels could improve your health, work performance, relationships, and every other part of your life.
How do we naturally raise testosterone?
Below is a large, but not completely exhaustive list of things you can easily do to improve your testosterone levels.
Carrying excess fat increases the aromatization of testosterone into estrogen. Simply by losing weight and getting down to a healthy body weight, your testosterone levels will start to go up. This, in turn, will make it easier to lose more weight and you get into a positive cycle that feeds on itself.
Poor sleep quality will tank testosterone levels very quickly. Hormones work on a circadian rhythm – that means they’re controlled by sleep and wake, or light and dark cycles. Throwing your circadian rhythm out of line with poor sleep quality will affect multiple hormones, directly and indirectly.
Not only will it lower your testosterone, it also increases stress, and makes you more likely to store fat; further adding to the problem.
To maximize the quality of your sleep, try to go to bed and wake at regular times, get 7-9 hours of sleep in a pitch-black room (no lights, no electronics).
The stress hormone – cortisol – is made from the same base structure as testosterone. The two hormones oppose each other. When stress is high, testosterone is depressed. That means stress management is an important factor in increasing testosterone levels. While high testosterone makes you better able to handle stress.
Lose weight, improve diet and sleep quality, and practice stress management techniques; including exercise, journaling, meditating, and generally do things that you enjoy, to lower stress and raise testosterone.
Drink more pure water
You’d be amazed how many people are constantly dehydrated. This has a huge impact on your health, energy levels, and happiness, and most don’t even realize it.
Aside from increased stress and hunger cravings, a lack of hydration makes everything in the bodywork sub-optimally. Every single one of our cells need water.
Bottled or reverse-osmosis filtered water is best, but any water is better than none. Other drinks like fruit juice, coffee, and fizzy cola are not a replacement for pure water.
Working out will spike your testosterone levels, improve posture, and build muscle mass – all of which raise testosterone. It also lowers stress and helps to lose weight. You can see how the whole body works in a cyclic, systematic way.
Doing multiple things right accumulates into a lot of forwarding momentum.
A mixture of weight training and cardiovascular work are best for a healthy exercise regime.
Eat healthier foods
What are you, if not the foods that you eat?
Food is literally the building block of your body. You really do become what you eat. A healthy diet that has sufficient amount of all the macronutrients, micronutrients and other trace nutrients is good for every possible system in your body – including your hormones.
You need enough protein and fat, these are what your body is made of. Carbohydrates provide energy; while all the micronutrients are used in reactions throughout the body.
Some of the most important for testosterone specifically are zinc, magnesium, and the B vitamins. A balanced diet of organic vegetables and free-range animal products provides the best balance.
Eat saturated fats
For a long time, people have been scared to eat saturated fat, as it was wrongly implicated as a cause of heart disease.
The truth is, saturated fat or cholesterol, is what hormones are made from. A lack of saturated fat, from healthy animal/dairy products, means you lack enough cholesterol to produce testosterone. Without the bricks, it’s difficult to build a house.
A further vitamin which is very strongly correlated with testosterone, and general good health, is vitamin D.
You can get small amounts of vitamin D from food, but it is mostly synthesized from sunlight. Regular sun exposure is important to maintain high levels of vitamin D, and balance the circadian rhythm mentioned earlier.
If you live in a cold climate or work inside all day, you will want to consider supplemental vitamin D.
Supplements are a point of great contention in the health and fitness world. My opinion is; supplements are exactly as the name suggests – they are to supplement what you cannot get elsewhere. You would hope they are not your primary source of whatever nutrient we are looking at.
That said, modern food practices have depleted the number of nutrients present in the soil, and food is simply not as nutritious as it once was.
The most common supplements you want to consider are vitamin D as already mentioned, zinc, magnesium, B-vitamins (especially if you’re vegetarian/vegan) all of which can normally be found in a quality multi-vitamin, and omega-3 oils.
These are the most commonly lacking nutrients from our diets that will have a positive impact on your health and testosterone levels. However, the primary focus should be on eating a varied diet that is rich in all the nutrients you need. Look at supplements as a backup to cover all of your bases.
If you start to naturally raise your testosterone you can expect to lose weight, increase muscle mass, and have more energy. You might have clearer thinking, more decisiveness, and greater drive.
The benefits of raising testosterone – especially when it is low – cannot be understated. I urge every male reading this to get their levels checked and look at what they can do to naturally increase their levels as much as possible.
Be aware that the reference ranges on tests are based on population average, and have been lowered repeatedly over past decades. In other words, what is considered normal now would have been considered low in your grandfather’s time.
Aiming for the high end of the normal range is generally the best bet. Consider that doctors primarily deal with prevention of sickness, as opposed to optimization of good health, and act accordingly.