Testosterone is mainly associated with sex drive but this vital hormone plays a crucial role in multiple body functions. This means that maintaining healthy levels of testosterone in the body is important for your overall health.
Although testosterone is naturally produced in the body, some factors including age can reduce testosterone levels.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to boost your T levels naturally and reap the benefits of this important male sex hormone.
Why Is Testosterone Important?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. This hormone is produced in the testicles in men and is responsible for the development of male sex characteristics. Testosterone is also produced in the ovaries in women but in much smaller quantities.
Overall, testosterone plays a key role in men’s health in the following functions.
Development of Male Sex Characteristics
Male sexual characteristics such as penis size, growth of facial hair, muscle enlargement, and change in voice are all initiated by testosterone. These characteristics start to appear in adolescence when the production of testosterone in the body is at its peak.
After adolescence, T levels continue to play an important role in male virility and reproductive health. This includes regulating sperm production, libido, and fertility.
Development of Muscle Mass and Strength
Testosterone plays a vital role in the development of muscle bulk. This hormone enhances tissue growth and promotes protein synthesis resulting in muscle growth.
Testosterone also increases the levels of the growth hormone in the body which also contributes to muscle mass and strength.
Healthy T levels are important in maintaining bone health. Testosterone naturally boosts bone mineral density which results in stronger bones.
When T levels start to decrease the risk of fractures and conditions such as osteoarthritis increases due to the resulting decline in bone mineral density.
Testosterone boosts the formation of lean muscle mass in the body which in turn increases metabolism and reduces fat in the body. This means that having healthy T-levels is important in maintaining a healthy body weight.
The more lean muscle mass you have the lower the body fat and this means a healthier body.
Testosterone plays a key role in the production of red blood cells in the body. This makes it an important hormone when it comes to heart health. The heart’s efficiency in pumping blood is dependent on the presence of red blood cells to transport oxygen to different parts of the body.
Low T-levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other conditions such as stroke.
What Can Affect Testosterone Levels?
Testosterone is naturally produced in the body. However, some factors can impact T levels in the body including:
Age is one of the most common reasons for a decline in T levels. In males, the production of testosterone peaks in adolescence and naturally starts to decline in middle age.
In most men, T levels gradually start to decline between the age of 30 and 40 as a natural part of the aging process.
Physical injury or trauma to the testicles can interfere with the normal production of testosterone resulting in low T levels.
The production of testosterone is under the control of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. This means that any illness that interferes with the proper function of the hypothalamus may result in a decline in T levels.
These illnesses include:
- Pituitary disorders caused by cancer, kidney failure, or other conditions
- Kallmann syndrome
- Inflammatory diseases including sarcoidosis, and tuberculosis.
- Immunodeficiencies such as HIV
The presence of hormones such as estrogen and prolactin in excess can interfere with testosterone levels.
Some medications including opioids and steroids may interfere with the normal production of testosterone resulting in low T levels.
High levels of body fat are not just bad for your health but can also impair the production of testosterone in the body. This is because excess body fat interferes with normal hormone production.
High levels of stress levels can cause low T levels. Stress can reduce T levels by causing hormonal imbalances and interfering with normal body functions.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Since testosterone plays such an important role in male health, low T levels usually manifest in a variety of ways. Here are the symptoms you need to watch out for.
Low Sex drive and Fertility Issues
A decrease in libido is one of the symptoms of low T levels. Testosterone is the key driver of male libido and once this hormone reduces in the body, the sex drive also decreases.
Low T levels also impair sperm production resulting in low sperm count which can result in infertility.
Difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection is an indicator of low levels of testosterone. Testosterone stimulates the brain to produce nitric oxide which helps in getting and erecting an erection. Without this stimulation, the levels of nitric oxide produced are not enough to sustain an erection.
Decrease in Muscle Mass
Low T levels make it difficult for the body to build muscle mass. People with low testosterone will find it difficult to gain muscle even if they work out regularly.
An additional downside to a decrease in muscle mass is the resulting increase in body fat. This makes it difficult to lose weight.
Fatigue and Mood Swings
Low T levels can result in chronic fatigue and mood swings. This is because testosterone is a necessary component in male vitality and vigor.
Hair loss or balding is a common symptom of declining testosterone levels. Low T levels can cause balding in men regardless of age.
Top 10 Foods to Boost Testosterone Naturally
If you have some of the symptoms of low T levels, there are several ways you can boost your testosterone naturally. One way is through testosterone supplementation and the other is through diet.
So, what are the best foods to boost testosterone naturally?
Oysters are not just great aphrodisiacs. Oysters are also rich in zinc which is a crucial component in the production of testosterone. Eating oysters regularly is a great way to boost T-levels.
2. Lean Protein
Proteins are a healthy source of zinc and vitamin D. These two nutrients play a vital role in testosterone production and keeping T levels high. Lean beef and beans are great sources of healthy protein that will help you to naturally boost your T levels.
Starting your day off with some pomegranate juice may be just the boost your T levels need. This healthy fruit helps to lower stress levels and inhibit the production of hormones such as cortisol. Lower cortisol levels make it possible for your body to produce more testosterone.
4. Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Spinach is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium. Magnesium naturally prevents other proteins from binding to testosterone. This helps in boosting T levels in the blood naturally.
The omega fatty acids in fish are beneficial in boosting testosterone levels in the body. Eating fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, or trout twice or thrice a week is, therefore, a healthy way to boost T levels naturally.
Ginger has been found to have a significant positive impact on T levels. This healthy spice is great for male fertility and boosting sperm health.
7. Onions and Garlic
Both onions and garlic can help to stimulate the production of testosterone in the body. Onions increase the production of the luteinizing hormone. This hormone stimulates the production of testosterone resulting in increased T levels.
Eggs are rich in both vitamin D and healthy protein. These nutrients are vital in the production of testosterone and keeping T levels healthy.
9. Skim Milk
Milk is not just a healthy source of protein, vitamin D, and calcium, but it also helps to boost the production of anabolic hormones such as testosterone.
10. Olive Oil
Olive oil can help to boost T levels naturally especially when taken regularly. Replace your regular cooking oil with olive oil if you want to naturally boost your testosterone levels.
Eating the right foods is important but so is timing your foods. Nutrient timing involves eating foods at strategic times to optimize nutrient absorption.
In the sports and bodybuilding world, the anabolic window is used as the most ideal time for nutrient intake. This means that timing your foods to the anabolic window can help in boosting your health and increasing your T levels naturally.
To optimize your nutrients and their benefits to the body, the anabolic window involves timing your nutrients as follows.
- Carb replenishment. High carb foods should be consumed during and after exercise, for up to 3 hours. This helps in replenishing energy and ensuring faster recovery times. Your body also burns carbs more efficiently during this period.
- Protein intake. During exercise, the body breaks down protein so it is important to take proteins after a workout. Protein helps in protein repair and growth by stimulating protein synthesis.
Foods to Avoid That Destroy Testosterone Levels
Taking care of your T levels also involves knowing what to avoid.
The high amount of trans fats in most processed foods can decrease testosterone production leading to low T levels. Eliminate processed foods from your diet as much as possible and replace them with healthy organic options.
Alcohol especially when consumed excessively has a detrimental effect on T levels. This can affect male fertility leading to issues such as erectile dysfunction and low sperm count.
Some studies have found that soy may suppress testosterone production leading to low T levels.
Sugar is not just bad for your health overall but it can also be detrimental to your T levels. Cutting out sugars is good for your reproductive health.
Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone. Its impact on health, emotional and mental well-being means that it pays to pay attention to your T levels. Fortunately, with a few diet and lifestyle changes, it is possible to boost your body’s production of testosterone naturally.