Some people may not know it, but they could be suffering from below-average testosterone levels — and they could be women just as easily as they could be men. Both men and women need the hormone testosterone, although men’s bodies require (and thus, ideally, produce) more of it. Due to increased awareness of the role hormones play in health, more people are waking up to the possibility of their bodies being inefficient at producing hormones of this type. And so more people than ever are getting testosterone level testing.
If your lab results do end up showing below-average testosterone levels, there are a lot of steps you can take to boost the amount of viable testosterone in your body. Below we shall go over some of the most often recommended by physicians.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Also often referred to as TRT, this is a method that most doctors say you should think about carefully before taking. It involves the introduction of extraneously-manufactured testosterone into the body via injection. While generally safe in the short term (although there are, in fact, some side effects possible), it is not generally advised for long term use.
This is because there is a tendency for people undergoing it to end up becoming totally dependent on the injections for the hormone. The body seems to end up adapting to the injections by abandoning testosterone production altogether.
To be clear, it CAN recover the ability to produce testosterone by itself. It will simply take some time to do so — and for the person who has just halted TRT, this waiting period can be unbearable.
Diminished Sugar Intake
Lowering or completely cutting out the sugary foods from your meals can actually help you get your testosterone levels up. This is because testosterone levels have been observed to drop after sugar consumption. Experts say it is probably due to the resultant spike in insulin levels. Insulin, of course, is a hormone that tends to lower testosterone levels in the body.
When trying to do this, keep in mind that sugar does not always come in the form of sweets. There are other types of sugars, like the ones you find in pasta and bread. You have to look out for these as well.
Take in High-quality Fats
It sounds counter to what we have been hearing for years, but fat can be very good for you. There are all sorts of fats that have great benefits on the body, from the ones found in fish to the monounsaturated fats in healthy oils like safflower and olive. The bonus is, these fats are also good for testosterone production.
A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that increasing the amount of fat in a diet can lead to increased testosterone production. Other studies have backed this up. If you do want to eat fat for a testosterone boost, though, keep this in mind: it is still something very loaded with calories. Do not gorge too much or you may end up with a different body issue on your hands if you insist on consuming too much too often. While both the saturated and unsaturated fats can boost testosterone production, you also want to focus more on the latter, as they are better for your overall health.
Take in More Vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial for boosting testosterone. Many studies have shown that lower vitamin D levels tend to go hand in hand with lower testosterone levels — and conversely, that higher vitamin D levels are often seen with higher testosterone levels.
Chad Howse, the author of a testosterone-boosting diet called “The Man Diet”, claims that this is because the vitamin is what unbinds the protein-bound testosterone in our bodies. Without the vitamin, that testosterone is not freed up for the body’s use.
There are many ways to ensure that you get enough vitamin D. A bit of time outdoors in the mornings could help — although you do have to consider the possibility of skin cancer, so do not aim to cook yourself. Dietary vitamin D is also a good option, and it is fairly easy to add foods containing the nutrient to a meal plan. Finally, you can consider getting vitamin D capsules or supplements.
Watch Your Weight
People with unhealthy weights often have low testosterone, likely because their bodies are operating at sub-optimal efficiency under the stress. Keep in mind that unhealthy weights can be either over or under the healthy range for your height and frame, by the way. This means that both thin and obese people should consider dieting to resolve their body sizes in this case — one could try to put on weight with a “gaining” diet and the other could try to lose it through a “dropping” diet.
Reconsider Your Meds
This part is something you can only do with your physician, of course, so do not imagine you can make decisions here all by yourself. The fact is, testosterone levels can drop because of certain medicaments. Some of them are prescription drugs, others are not. In most cases, you can safely drop non-prescription medicaments, especially if you only chose to take them without your doctor’s knowledge. This would be the case when it comes to anabolic steroids, certainly.
However, other medicaments might have been given to you by your doctor for some medical issue or another. If you are taking opioids or glucocorticoids, you may want to talk to your doctor about the possibility of alternatives in case your testosterone levels are being affected negatively by the drugs. Again, this is not a decision you should make by yourself since it could affect your health on a deeper level.
Try Supplementing With Zinc
Zinc deficiency is pretty common in the US. Unfortunately, it also leads to low testosterone levels for those affected. Zinc seems to modulate the testosterone levels in healthy adults. It may be because it helps in the restriction of estrogen production by blocking one of estrogen’s harbingers: aromatase. Without zinc, this blocking action does not take place, and more estrogen is produced instead of testosterone.