Did you know up to 40 percent of men older than 45 are affected by low testosterone, and low testosterone also plays a role in the increasing hormonal imbalance epidemic among women and men? Unfortunately, low testosterone is a major issue for many people.
Most people know testosterone as the “manly” hormone associated with strength and sex drive. Testosterone is more prevalent in men than women, and it does increase muscle mass while playing a large role in sexual activity by stimulating sexual desire, heightening arousal and increasing libido.
But you don’t only need testosterone for strength and sex. This vital hormone is also necessary to maintain healthy pain responses, sufficient levels of red blood cells, regular sleep patterns, optimal bone density, high energy levels, and muscle mass.
Why is this happening? As we age, our testosterone levels naturally decline. On top of that, things like chronic stress, insufficient nutrition, imbalanced microflora, low vitamin D levels, weight gain, inadequate exercise, and prescription drug use (especially statins), accelerate the decline of testosterone even more.
There is good news! You can boost your testosterone levels naturally without the need for risky hormone replacement therapy with these tips.
Intermittent fasting involves limiting your eating hours to a short window during the day—typically around six to eight hours—and then refraining from food the rest of the time. Short-term fasting can increase testosterone by significant margins.
To give intermittent fasting a try, skip breakfast and then eat your remaining meals closer together: one at noon, one at 3 p.m., and the last meal at 6 p.m. This lets your organs rest and helps balance hormone levels—including boosting testosterone.
Testosterone is important for muscle mass and strength, as we know, and that relationship is actually reciprocal. Gaining strength and muscle through heavy weight training and interval training can boost testosterone levels.
Some of the best workouts to boost testosterone levels include high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and burst training. Burst training involves exercising at 90 percent to 100 percent of your maximum effort for a short interval in order to burn your body’s stored sugar, followed by a period of low impact for recovery.
This helps your body burn fat longer, restores energy levels and boosts testosterone. It also helps lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure. Hitting the gym at least three days a week and lifting heavy weights on larger muscle groups like the chest, shoulders, back, hamstrings, and quads. Do this for 30 minutes to an hour to really boost those T levels.
When your body is stressed, it focuses on releasing cortisol, taxing the body’s release of other hormones, including testosterone. When cortisol is elevated, testosterone responds by elevating as well but soon after bottoms out at a much lower level than before the cortisol kicked in.
You really need to keep stress levels in check. Some of the best natural stress relievers include exercise and yoga, meditation, acupuncture, cognitive behavioural therapy, spending more time in nature, keeping a journal, and using adaptogen herbs and essential oils.
Improve Your Diet:
Many men with low testosterone eat too many carbs and junk food—a diet which can make boosting testosterone nearly impossible. Instead, I recommend consuming a healing diet that is rich in healthy fats (including avocado, coconut oil, and wild-caught salmon), which are shown to help build muscle and increase testosterone.
It’s also vital to get enough vitamin D, which also helps boost testosterone levels. And you definitely want to kick your sugar addiction, because sugar can throw off hormones, particularly testosterone.
Getting enough sleep, and sleeping at the right times, are two of the most effective, all-natural ways to raise testosterone. Getting a better night’s sleep will also help to reduce stress, give you the energy needed to work out, and make it easier to stick to a healthy diet—all of which can boost testosterone even more.
Most men should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, ideally getting to bed around 10 p.m. and waking up around 6 a.m. If you have trouble sleeping, try natural sleep aids like calcium and magnesium, essential oils, and supplements including passionflower, valerian root and St. John’s wort.