Testosterone replacement therapy is exploding in popularity for men. Many who take it report more energy, a better sex drive, higher quality sleep, and a more positive outlook on life.
But you don’t have to use an expensive testosterone patch, gel or injection to raise your T-levels or risk side effects such as acne, breast swelling and tenderness as well as higher than normal red blood cell counts.
There are a number of natural techniques to give your testosterone a boost safely and affordably.
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, though females have small amounts. For men, it’s produced in the testicles, and for women—yes, women have some, too—it’s produced in the ovaries. Your adrenal glands also produce small amounts.
Testosterone is one of the major drivers in puberty for boys when it comes to deepening of the voice, hair growth, and increased muscle. But even as men age, testosterone plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy body, primarily by influencing energy levels, muscle and fat distribution, and sexual function – though testosterone is also a function of just about every other aspect of good health.
This is why I want to share the best ways to naturally elevate your own testosterone production.
#1. Try resistance training
Weightlifting and other types of resistance training have been proven to be the best sources of exercise-induced testosterone increases. In a study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology, participants who went through a weight-lifting program lost less testosterone than they did before beginning the program. High-intensity interval training is also very effective in increasing testosterone levels. In addition, dropping as little as ten to fifteen pounds of weight can also give you a testosterone boost.
#2. Take “Indian ginseng”
The herb with the most research behind it as a natural testosterone booster is ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng. In a study from the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 46 men diagnosed with infertility took ashwagandha for three months and experienced on average a 17 percent increase in testosterone levels. In healthy men, this herb increased levels by 15 percent. And interestingly, ashwagandha also lowered cortisol by around 25 percent. This is important because cortisol lowers your testosterone levels.
#3. Remain at a healthy weight
Obesity can negatively affect testosterone levels, but so can chronically gaining and losing weight. That means the best approach is to not only lose the weight for good, but to keep it off by adopting a healthy eating lifestyle.
A healthy diet includes large amounts of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grains. When it comes to meat, don’t go overboard and consider limiting yourself to eating meat only two to four times per week.
Carbohydrate intake is also important to your testosterone level, so getting off of keto and paleo diets could help to optimize your levels over the long term. Perhaps most important, avoid processed foods rich in sugar. Sugar can affect your circadian rhythm, which plays a major role in sleep quality, and poor sleep in turn affects testosterone production.
#4. Pile on the protein
Aim for around five to six ounces of protein per day, ideally from tofu, nuts, and seeds. You can also get healthy amounts of protein from lean chicken, fish, and eggs. When you don’t eat enough protein, your body makes more of a substance that binds with testosterone and steals it away.
#5. Enjoy pomegranate juice
A glass a day of pomegranate juice is ten times better than a glass a day of orange juice. This seedy fruit can lower your cortisol levels, which in turn helps raise your testosterone. It also helps lower blood pressure and puts you in a better mood overall.
#6. Get rooted
Onions and garlic are the two root vegetables you’ll want to enjoy on a daily basis. Both have been shown to raise levels of a hormone that triggers your body to make testosterone.
Having your cortisol elevated – or in other words, being super stressed-out – is another factor in lower testosterone. It’s like a seesaw – when cortisol goes up, testosterone goes down, and vice versa.
Is it easy to get rid of stress in your life, particularly when a pandemic is gripping the world? No, but there are some things you can do to mitigate it. Laughing more is one. So instead of watching a crime thriller at night, opt for a comedy. Or call up a friend and reminisce on past adventures.
Avoiding repetitive stressful situations in your life can also help optimize your testosterone levels, because it cuts through the steady stream of cortisol that stress triggers in your body. Make a list of the things that most stress you out and then see what you can do to either eliminate them from your life (like switching jobs) or lessen the effect they have on you (like cutting back on watching the news).
#8. Have fun-in-the-sun
Along with its various other health benefits, vitamin D may also be a natural testosterone booster. But interestingly, almost half of the U.S. population is vitamin D-deficient, or has lower-than-ideal levels.
Regular exposure to sunlight helps, but too much puts you at risk for skin cancer. A supplement is the better route. Aim for around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 every day. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are also rich in vitamin D.
#9. Take your vitamins and minerals
Both folic acid and zinc helped increase sperm levels and testosterone levels in men, according to a study from the journal, Fertility and Sterility. And in a report published by the journal Neuro Endocrinology Letters, four weeks of oral zinc supplementation helped prevent loss of testosterone in extreme athletes.
If you prefer food, oysters have almost five times your recommended daily dose of zinc.
Magnesium is the other top contender here. Whole grains and dark, leafy greens will go a long way toward boosting your magnesium intake and subsequently your testosterone. The reason it helps is because magnesium blocks certain proteins from binding with testosterone, which leaves more of the hormone to work in your body. Spinach, almonds, cashews, and peanuts are all excellent sources of magnesium.
#10. Sleep it off
A consistent good night’s sleep is important for just about all physiological processes, but especially so for sex hormones like testosterone levels.
And while the ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, if you’re getting less than five hours a night then you’re at risk for a 15 percent testosterone loss, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Less than four hours per night puts you at borderline deficient levels.
Here’s a better way to look at it: For every additional hour of sleep you get, testosterone levels go up 15 percent on average. So, seven to ten hours of sleep per night should be your long-term nightly goal, as it’s best for long-term health and testosterone levels.
#11. Ditch the pint
Five days of regular drinking can cause your testosterone levels to drop because alcohol throws off so many parts of your body’s hormone system. Opt for kombuchainstead, which helps balance your body’s hormone levels.
#12. Establish healthy at-home habits
A healthy sex life appears to aid in regulating your testosterone levels. It’s also likely to increase your dopamine levels, triggering a healthy domino-effect throughout your brain.
In contrast, steer clear of estrogen-like chemicals such as BPA, parabens, and most chemicals found in plastics. They’ve all been linked to decreased testosterone. In other words, use glass, not plastic in your home or office.
Whether you’ve never thought about your testosterone level before, or you’re not interested in supplementing with testosterone, taking these natural steps will not only boost your levels but can help you in multiple other areas of your health as well.
- “4 Ways To Naturally Boost Testosterone.” Interview with Dr. James Hotaling.https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_ldqovnn1
- “8 Proven Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally.” by Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN on May 20, 2016. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone
- “Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withaniasomnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study.” By Vijay R. Ambiye, et al.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:571420. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24371462/
- “Effects of folic acid and zinc sulfate on male factor subfertility: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.”By Wai Yee Wong, et al, FertilSteril. 2002 Mar;77(3):491-8.
- “How do you boost testosterone naturally?” By Lana Barhum on July 18, 2018 for Medical News Today.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322508#natural-ways-to-maintain-testosterone
- “Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone.”Reviewed by NayanaAmbardekar, MD on November 09, 2019.https://www.webmd.com/men/ss/slideshow-low-testosterone-natural-boost
- “The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc.” By Mehmet Kilic, et al. NeuroEndocrinolLett. Feb-Apr 2006;27(1-2):247-52. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16648789/
- “Variations in urine excretion of steroid hormones after an acute session and after a 4-week programme of strength training.” By Rafael Andrada, et al. Eur J ApplPhysiol, 2007 Jan; 99(1):65-71. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17051372/