Testosterone is an important hormone found in all humans. While mostly thought of as a male hormone, it is actually found and needed (in different levels) in everyone. However, hormones can get unbalanced, and you may be looking to augment your testosterone levels. Though testosterone shots are available, and right for some people (under doctor supervision), there are plenty of natural ways to increase testosterone.
So what is testosterone, and why do we need it? Well, testosterone is a steroid hormone, secreted by testicles in males, and ovaries in women, plus small amounts are released by the adrenal glands.
Testosterone promotes muscle increase, bone mass, sexual arousal, and body hair growth. Testosterone is needed to prevent osteoporosis. In fact, bone fractures are more common with low testosterone levels. Testosterone levels naturally rise post-fracture as the body is trying to heal the bone, and improve bone density.
Testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissue, and fertility. It is also used during puberty in females and results in bone maturation, clitoral growth, and more.
The male metabolism uses testosterone at a far higher rate than females. Men produce about 20x the amount of testosterone, and have approximately 7x at much of the hormone in their body. Females are far more sensitive to the hormone and therefore need significantly less.
Natural Ways To Increase Testosterone
Fasting has been shown to naturally increase testosterone levels in men. Intermittent fasting has many health benefits, including weight loss. One study found that short-term fasting increased testosterone levels by 67% in men with an average body mass, and by 180% in obese men. While body mass clearly affects the increase of the testosterone boost, there is still significant gain found in all participants.
Another study, conducted by the University of Virginia Medical School, found that fasting had a direct effect on testosterone levels.
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that weight lifting releases this hormone. The body is producing more testosterone to support muscle growth. Both light and moderate weight lifting result in significant increases in serum testosterone.
Supplementing pre or post workout isn’t going to boost testosterone levels anymore. A study found that nutritional variables played no effect on the testosterone increase seen from resistance training.
Time in the Sun
If you’re looking for natural ways to increase testosterone, you may not have to look further than getting outdoors on a sunny day. We’re talking about the health benefits of vitamin D. This sunshine vitamin has been shown to increase this important hormone. This isn’t as significant of an increase as fasting or weight lifting, but vitamin D is already so important you should be making sure you’re getting adequate levels every day. So get outside, and have some fun in the sun every chance you get! This is also very important for your bone health, and can have positive effects on mental health.
Ginseng is a powerful herb full of health benefits. One of these benefits is its effect on the libido. This plant, often used for tea, helps increase and promote healthy levels of testosterone. If you’re looking to naturally increase your testosterone levels and sex drive, try adding ginseng to your diet.
Eat Plenty of Good Fat
A low-fat, high fibre diet is a recipe for low testosterone. To mirror those findings, a diet rich in good fats showed increased levels of testosterone. Fatty fish like salmon, fermented dairy products like kefir and whole yogurt, and avocados are all great examples of good fats you should be getting plenty of in your diet. All of these healthy fat sources have many additional health benefits including weight loss, enhanced cognitive performance, and gut health.
It is also important to note that testosterone levels naturally change throughout life. Testosterone levels lower in men, and increase in women, when they become romantically involved. Again they drop in men when they become fathers. This is nature’s way of adjusting hormones to match the environmental need.
There are plenty of reasons for low testosterone levels, many of which can be serious. Cirrhosis of the liver can cause low levels, as well as issues with any of the glands in your endocrine system, causing hormonal imbalances. Diabetes can also cause these hormone imbalances. If you’re experiencing mood swings, low energy, low sex drive, depression, or erectile dysfunction, you should consult a doctor because these are all signs of low testosterone and a hormonal imbalance.
Disclaimer: Though you may be trying to bio-hack your body, tinkering with hormones can be dangerous. Always consult a doctor if you are concerned about hormone imbalances, or before you significantly boost your testosterone levels. Your physician may refer you to an endocrinologist to help regulate your hormone levels.