Think of testosterone and your mind conjures up images of strong, aggressive men. But did you know that there’s more to testosterone than what the media and internet have been telling us?
Testosterone plays a vital role in your overall health and well-being.
Read on to get the scoop on what happens if you have low levels of testosterone in your body.
What Is Testosterone and Why Do You Need It?
Testosterone is a male sex hormone primarily produced in the testicles, although adrenal glands also produce steroid hormones that can be converted into testosterone.
During puberty, it stimulates the development of male characteristics, such as a deeper voice, an increase in muscle strength and size, and the development of body and facial hair. Additionally, it can help maintain and develop adequate levels of red blood cells (RBCs), bone density, sperm production, sexual development and function, and promote a sense of well-being.
Sounds pretty essential, right?
Unfortunately, testosterone levels decline with age. Pair that with poor lifestyle choices, and there’s a strong chance for you to have low testosterone (Low-T) or testosterone deficiency syndrome (TD).
Symptoms of Low Levels of Testosterone
How low is too low?
According to the American Urology Association (AUA), a total testosterone level of less than 300 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter) is identified as low testosterone, although some healthcare providers believe the count should be considered 250 ng/dL.
Here are some symptoms of low testosterone in males:
- Decreased muscle endurance
- Difficulty sleeping
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased body fat
- Less energy
- Loss of armpit and pubic hair
- Poor sex drive
- Reduced lean muscle mass
- Shrinking testicles
In some cases, it could also cause moodiness and depression.
If you have any of these symptoms and suspect that they may be due to Low-T, see your doctor immediately.
How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
Healthy levels of testosterone are required to curb diseases, ensure sexual function, and maintain overall health. If you have low levels of the hormone in your body, these evidence-based strategies can boost testosterone levels.
1. Eliminate Stress
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it.
High cortisol levels can also cause acne, high blood pressure, and increase your food intake, leading to weight gain in certain parts of your body. This could make matters worse by decreasing testosterone levels owing to insulin resistance.
To avoid this, learn to manage stress to restore your overall health.
Practice deep breathing, take time to do things you enjoy, and indulge in self-care — basically, slow down. It’ll help relax your body and mind in more ways than one.
There are many physical and mental health benefits of exercise.
According to a 2015 study on overweight and obese men, exercise — when paired with a good diet — was shown to have a positive effect on testosterone levels.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation and restriction can decrease daytime testosterone levels by 10% to 15% in one week alone! This is because your body releases most of its testosterone during REM sleep, so you might say that there’s a cause-and-effect relationship between the two.
Try to sleep for up to 9.9 hours to increase testosterone. Note that dozing off for more than 9.9 hours nightly can lead to a decline in muscle mass and function.
Hence, it’s advised you get the recommended hours of sleep per day — even if that means tweaking your everyday routine and stepping out of your comfort zone.
4. Minimize Exposure to BPAs
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical contaminant often used to make food and beverage containers: Unfortunately, it can leach into food and water. Increased BPA can lower your testosterone levels. To make matters worse, it could also affect the transcripts of the StAR gene — a regulatory protein.
So, focus on reducing your exposure to BPA by opting for fresh foods and veggies, BPA-free products, and not heating your plastics in the microwave.
While science isn’t crystal clear on the relation between testosterone and BPAs, choosing glass over plastic certainly won’t hurt.
5. Quit Drinking Alcohol
Increased alcohol intake can reduce your testosterone levels and impair fertility; this is true for men of all ages. At times, it could also lead to testicular atrophy and reduced testicular function.
While more research is required to determine the age bracket when you’re most susceptible to alcohol-induced damage, it’s best to take a proactive approach to wellness and reduce or quit alcohol consumption. Of course, a drink now and then wouldn’t hurt. Just be sure not to overdo it.
6. Try Supplements
Not meeting your body’s nutritional needs could cause changes in testosterone concentrations. Male testosterone booster supplements can help you avoid that. From magnesium to vitamin D and zinc, various supplements can support healthy testosterone levels and improve sexual function.
If you want to ensure optimal health and wellness, check out our men’s health collection. These supplements can help you meet your body’s individual needs.* As always, we suggest you get expert advice before adding them to your routine to get maximum benefits.
7. Watch What You Eat
Your diet plays a crucial role in your testosterone levels. So, when you have dysregulated eating patterns like binge eating, overeating, and eating concerns, it could cause a dip in your testosterone concentrations. The same applies to a diet rich in saturated fats; it can do more harm than raising the amount of LDL in your blood.
To avoid these issues, focus on consuming fresh fruits and veggies. It’s good to incorporate food items like avocados, dark leafy greens, protein such as eggs, beef, and chicken, fatty fish rich in omega-3s, shellfish, and foods rich in flavonoids into your diet. Also, try to eat pomegranate now and then because it can lower cortisol levels which can boost your mood and testosterone levels.
If you're experiencing signs of low testosterone, remember that you're not alone. Talk to your doctor and make sure to get tested. Doing so is the only way to know if you really have low testosterone and, if so, to find out what kind of treatment you may need. Testosterone replacement therapy can be life-changing, but it's not the only option. Diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can help boost your testosterone levels too. Finding the right treatment and making lifestyle changes can get you back to feeling like your normal self in no time.