It is entirely possible to boost your T levels without resorting to testosterone replacement therapy by learning which natural testosterone treatments work and applying them on a consistent basis. All of the recommendations provided here have the backing of scientific studies to show that it’s possible to raise your hormones if you are consistent and dedicated to following them.
Do you need to adopt every one of these tips? Ideally, yes, if you want results. Each of the ten recommendations are doable and will not only help raise testosterone but also your overall health and quality of life. You may choose to get a buddy and the two of you work on them at the same time, keeping each other honest. Hopefully you can enlist help and encouragement — even participation — from your family or other loved ones.
Here are 10 natural testosterone treatments that work with an explanation as to why they are effective…
- Lose the belly fat.Belly fat is where testosterone and another male hormone, androstenedione, get converted into the female hormone estradiol. The formula is simple: the more belly fat you have, the more testosterone get transformed to estradiol and the more your T levels drop. At the same time, the higher your estradiol levels rise, the more likely you are to accumulate excess fat around the middle and elsewhere. When you lose the belly fat, you can begin to enjoy higher T levels.
One study found that obese men who lost seventeen pounds showed a 15 percent increase in their testosterone levels. A 2016 Australian study also reported that obese men who lost weight on either a high-carb or high-protein calorie restricted diet experienced a rise in testosterone. Yet one more study noted that among prediabetic men older than 40 who lost weight, the incidence of low T declined by 50 percent.
- Reduce and manage stress.While a healthy amount of stress keeps your mind sharp and engaged and you feel a sense of purpose, vitality, and adventure, chronic stress can do the opposite—and also reduce your testosterone levels. That’s because prolonged, unmanaged stress is accompanied by high amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn depletes the body of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is an essential ingredient for producing testosterone. Therefore, the higher your cortisol levels, the lower your T. Try meditation, yoga, or tai chi to help reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
- Exercise right: with fast, brief cardio.If you don’t have an hour or more per day to run on a treadmill, bike 20 miles, swim laps, or jog around the neighborhood, that’s okay. The best exercise for raising T levels is fast, brief cardio, which includes high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Briefly, HIIT involves working full-out for 30 seconds, going at a moderate pace for 90 seconds, then repeating the sequence 7 more times. The entire exercise session takes about 20 minutes. You can use any cardio activity you want for HIIT; for example, rowing, running, cycling, jumping rope, treadmill or an elliptical machine.
A new study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology reported that levels of testosterone rose immediately as well as 30 minutes after young athletes engaged in HIIT. Another research effort showed that men who participated in HIIT showed a significant increase in testosterone and an improvement in their testosterone-to-cortisol ration when they completed exercise. An Italian study found that adding resistance exercise to HIIT also resulted in an increase in testosterone with a corresponding rise in cortisol.
- Choose supplements wisely.Late-night TV commercials, banner spots on the internet, and magazines are popular territories for ads hawking products that promise to increase your testosterone levels and erase all the symptoms associated with low T. However, there are only a few supplements for testosterone that have been adequately studied scientifically and in clinical trials to support these claims.
When choosing these supplements, be sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer and one that can verify the purity and potency of their products. Supplements with evidence of T-boosting abilities include beta-sitosterol, branched-chain amino acids, fenugreek, green tea extract, magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc.
- Get adequate sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep per night are needed to replenish your testosterone levels. Any less and your T numbers can drop. For example, a University of Chicago Medical Center study found that young men (average age, 24) who slept just five hours per night experienced a 10 to 15 percent decline in their testosterone levels. The older you are, the more likely you are to suffer from this drop in T levels.
- Select clean healthy foods.Few men realize the direct impact food choices can have on your T levels. Men who feel the need to have a burger or steak on occasions should limit their choices to grass-fed, organically produced meats, because conventionally produced products can harbor hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and dioxins (from the pesticides in animal feed) that can lower T and have a negative effect on reproductive health as well.
The same is true for dairy products; choose those made from organically raised animals only and stick with limited amounts, since high intake of calcium is associated with prostate cancer risk. Organic dairy foods also contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which have been shown to help boost T levels when combined with strength training.
Sugar (glucose) consumption can result in a 25 percent decline in total and free testosterone levels in men, according to a Massachusetts General Hospital study. Processed foods also should be suspect, as most contain lots of hidden sugars.
- Eat more cruciferous vegetables.The vegetables in this category (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, among others) are unique because they contain significant amounts of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to diindolylmethane (DIM). This combination of plant nutrients (phytonutrients) helps manage estradiol levels, which lower testosterone.
- Avoid xenoestrogens.These compounds are also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and they are very much a part of our everyday lives. Once they are ingested or otherwise taken into the body, they can boost your estradiol levels and reduce your testosterone levels. Among the xenoestrogens that have been the subject of significant research for their impact on human health in general and hormone disruption in particular are phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA).
An April 2016 report in the American Journal of Men’s Health, for example, noted that “phthalates are endocrine-disrupting compounds…linked with reduced levels of serum testosterone.” A subsequent study from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta, Georgia, reported that exposure to BPA and benzophenone-3, another common environmental xenoestrogen, was associated with significantly lower levels of total testosterone in adolescent males.
- Engage in sexual activity as much as possible.Engaging in sexual activity can boost your testosterone levels quite high. But sometimes sexual activity itself isn’t necessary for T to rise. A study appearing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that male students (18-24 years) who spoke with physically attractive women for five minutes experienced a 14 percent increase in their T levels and a 48 percent increase in their stress hormone, cortisol.
- Socialize more.Men have a tendency to be lone wolves, but having a few good, close friends and family members with whom you can share your innermost thoughts and feelings is important for testosterone. How? Research shows that people who slip into loneliness have elevated stress hormones, which can also reduce cognitive and motor functions. In fact, experts concluded that being lonely is twice as harmful as being obese or as bad as not engaging in physical exercise.
Socializing is a powerful stress reliever and also boosts levels of oxytocin, the empathy hormone, and is associated with greater feelings of connection. Socialize more… and your body will respond in healthy ways.