Although also known as the male hormone, testosterone is also produced in both men and women. From adding stacks of shredded muscle to improved libido and keeping your mood swings under control, healthy testosterone levels play a crucial role in male physiology.
The normal range of testosterone for adult men is between 250 and 1100 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). For adult females though it is much lower between 8 and 60 ng/dL
Much like other bodily functions, age takes its toll on testosterone production thus negatively affecting all the above factors including many others. In men testosterone levels naturally decline on average 1% after the age of 30.
Signs to look for:
There are some telltale signs that indicate a clear reduction in testosterone levels in men.
- Sexual dysfunction
“Morning wood” is often associated with healthy T-levels and overall good health. Reduced morning and even nocturnal erections are one of the first noticeable signs of less than optimal T-levels. Other sexual signs include erectile dysfunction (ED), delayed ejaculation, and reduced semen volume as explained by this 2013 research paper1
- Mood Swings
Testosterone levels have a profound effect on many physiological and even psychological processes. Men with erratic testosterone peaks and valleys are much more likely to experience nasty mood swings, irritation and even hypertension in some cases as explained by this 2013 research paper1.
- Loss of muscle mass and bone thinning
Other key areas that are affected by low T-levels are loss of muscle and increase in fat levels. Since testosterone is also known to help in production and strengthening of bone tissue. Lower T-levels can cause bone thinning especially in older males.
Ways To Effectively Elevate Your Testosterone:
Some of the best ways to boost your T-levels are surprisingly easy and doable by everyone regardless of age.
- Lift Weights
Apart from torching that nagging muffin top to boosting your self-confidence, working out regularly has countless benefits that continue their efficacy way beyond your youth. These beneficial effects become even more pronounced in our middle age and twilight years.
This 2004 study2 explains that regular workout can bring marked improvements in old age in key parameters such as testosterone levels, growth hormone and mental reaction time.
- Don’t Run Away From Fat
Ironic no? Just after discussing the muffin top, I tell you to embrace fat. There’s a catch here though; I’m not at all giving you a license to gorge on a giant pizza. The idea is to consume “good fats”, which have been shown to play a crucial role in naturally elevating testosterone levels.
This 1997 study3 shows that diets with higher amounts of monounsaturated and saturated fats can help bump up testosterone levels.
Another 2005 study4 shows men who adopted a diet low in saturated fat (5%) in favor of a high saturated fat diet (13%) experienced a decrease in their testosterone levels.
Here are some foods that provide plenty of good fats. Olive oil, almonds, avocados, peanut butter, red meat, coconut oil, egg yolks, cheese, salmon etc.
- Incorporate “Good” Cholesterol
There’s HDL and LDL. HDL is the good cholesterol that our body requires for various purposes, one of which is to elevate the levels of “free” testosterone. This 1983 study5 demonstrates that adequate levels of HDL can lead to higher levels of free testosterone.
Some good sources for HDL are whole eggs, beans, legumes, olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon and sea foods such as shrimp, lobster, squid etc.
- Get Adequate, Quality Sleep
Sleep deprivation is not only catastrophic for your productivity and overall health but it will severely hit your testosterone levels. If you are getting no more than 5 hours of sleep per night, then most likely you will experience a 15% reduction n T-levels. Any less and you will be heading towards testosterone deficiency as explained by this 20076 study.
Try and get anywhere between 7-9 hours of continuous sleep. The important thing to note here is that the quality of sleep is just as important as the number of hours. Simple things such as turning off gadgets, ensuring proper temperature and darkness can make a huge impact on your sleep quality and its patterns.
- Optimize Your Training
How you choose to approach your training is just as important as all the factors explained above. It has been shown many times over how strength training with adequate volume and intensity can elevate testosterone levels.
Try and utilize multipoint movements such deadlifts, barbell squats, bench presses etc. The logic; the more muscle you stimulate the better hormonal response you will get. This 20147 study compared the effects of barbell squats and leg presses and concluded that barbell squats helped release more testosterone than leg presses.
So there you have it; an easy to follow to blueprint to jack up your testosterone levels naturally. The important thing to understand is that it’s small consistent steps that make the most impact. You most definitely don’t need to travel through Amazon to find a magic herb to elevate your T-levels.
- Tsujimura A. The Relationship between Testosterone Deficiency and Men’s Health. The World Journal of Men’s Health. 2013;31(2):126-135. doi:10.5534/wjmh.2013.31.2.126.
- Ari Z, Kutlu N, Uyanik BS, Taneli F, Buyukyazi G, Tavli T. (2004), Serum testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, mental reaction time, and maximal aerobic exercise in sedentary and long-term physically trained elderly males.
- Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Bush JA, Incledon T, Boetes M. (1997) Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise
- Wang C, Catlin DH, Starcevic B, Heber D, Ambler C, Berman N, Lucas G, Leung A, Schramm K, Lee
PW, Hull L, Swerdloff RS. (2005) Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men
- Heller RF, Wheeler MJ, Micallef J, Miller NE, Lewis B. (1983) Relationship of high density lipoprotein cholesterol with total and free testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin.
- Penev PD (2007) Association between sleep and morning testosterone levels in older men.
- Shaner AA, Vingren JL, Hatfield DL, Budnar RG Jr, Duplanty AA, Hill DW. (2014) The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise.