Low testosterone is one of the most crippling conditions that effects men but is also unfortunately highly prevalent. According to ABC News, 24% of men over 30 have low testosterone. That’s near to a quarter of all men1. If you then look at the older population, this situation gets worse.
In fact, what we consider to be “normal testosterone” might even be insufficiently low. That’s because the average amount of testosterone has fallen significantly over the years. We now know that the average man today has 20% less testosterone than the average man two decades ago2!
This low testosterone is a result of people spending less time outdoors, of people being less physically active, and of the many chemicals that find their way into our water and into our foods.
So how can you tell if that’s what’s going wrong for you? And how can you boost your levels back to satisfactory amounts?
Signs of Low Testosterone
The inability to gain muscle is one key sign of low testosterone. Likewise, so too is weakness in the gym and general fatigue and tiredness. Those with low testosterone will find it hard to motivate themselves to get to the gym, will find it hard to work out effectively once they’re there and will generally struggle to pull themselves out of bed in the morning.
Often, this comes along with depression or at least low mood. This also carries over to the bedroom, where you might struggle to get aroused or to maintain an erection. If you do make it all the way, you may notice low fluid levels. You may even notice a slight numbness in the genitalia. And they might be smaller.
In particular, if you wake without an erection, this is a sign that you may have lost some of your virility and vigor due to low testosterone. Many men think this is a natural part of aging, but we now know that low testosterone is not inevitable as we get older!
What to do About Low Testosterone
If you suspect you might have low testosterone, then you should go and see a doctor. They will be able to give you a blood test and from there, you’ll be able to confirm your suspicions.
You may find that your doctor now offers you Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). This is certainly an option but you shouldn’t consider it until you’ve tried every alternative. Once you go onto HRT, chances are you’ll be dependent on it for the rest of your life.
Instead, try using natural methods to see if you can elevate your levels on your own. The remainder of this article will be focussed on using such strategies to restore your testosterone levels.
Getting lots of sleep is by far the most important way to increase your testosterone production. That’s because your body produces the most testosterone between the hours of 4-6am. If you’re not in a deep sleep during this time, then you’ll be missing out on this opportunity. Sleep is what we call an “anabolic state,” meaning that the body is focussed on building muscle, healing wounds, and generally recovering. It is during this time that not only T, but also growth hormone will peak.
What’s more, is that you need to fuel this window of opportunity. How? By consuming some form of fat before bed. That means natural, saturated fat and not trans fats. This is important because the body makes steroid hormones like testosterone out of cholesterol. That means you need to be fuelling the body with that raw material in order to allow the testes to produce as much as possible. Great sources of saturated fat include things like whole milk, eggs or even some nuts. Consume this before bed, and you may find that you produce more testosterone as you sleep.
In fact, one of the most effective things you can do to trigger a sudden, massive increase in testosterone, is to drink a large amount of milk. A practice known as GOMAD (Gallon Of Milk A Day) involves drinking an entire gallon of milk every single day. Do this for a while, and you can see changes to your physique that are comparable to steroid use. Of course, this can have a number of other unwanted side effects however, so it is not recommended for anyone.
Eat Nutritious Foods
At the same time, you also need to seek out nutritionally dense foods. That means things that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally, many of which will help to support the production of testosterone. If necessary, try a multivitamin supplement which can provide similar results.
For example, consuming foods with vitamin D can help to boost testosterone. So too can foods containing magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C3. The list goes on, but ultimately the best way to elevate the hormone is just to ensure that you are getting enough of every nutrient by eating a full and varied diet. Do this for long enough, and your body will have the raw materials it needs to handle a vast range of different processes within the body.
One of the most important factors of all for producing testosterone is vitamin D. Despite its name, vitamin D is not really a vitamin in the traditional sense and instead acts like a “master hormone” to control the release of all others in the body.
So how do you get more vitamin D? Simple: you spend more time outdoors in the sun which will stimulate the body to produce more of it. You’ll find that this is one of the most powerful things you can do to elevate your T, and that it is one of the biggest differences between modern men and men from 50 years ago!
Exercise can also drastically increase your natural testosterone production. This is a cumulative process over time, whereby being more active and improving your general health will support optimal testosterone production.
What is not the case, is that exercising using specific lifts such as the squat or bench press will elevate testosterone more in the short term or the long term4.
It has long been thought that these types of movement could lead to a greater peak in testosterone. Indeed, studies show that movements utilizing multiple muscle groups (so called “compound lifts”) lead to larger peaks in testosterone production. However, this testosterone is extremely acute and does not remain in the system long enough to contribute to strength gains or other health changes. Watching action films also boosts testosterone, but viewing John Wick back-to-back won’t turn you into an alpha male all on its own!
No-Fap is a popular online movement that involves abstinence from masturbation and potentially all forms of ejaculation. Is this really necessary for testosterone increases? No! But what it does do is very interesting.
When you abstain from masturbation, this might actually increase the density of androgen receptors within the brain. This means that the brain becomes more sensitive to testosterone, causing you to become more assertive, more driven, and more energetic. This may well be the reason that alpha males appear to behave in a slightly different manner to their counterparts4.
It’s not just about having higher levels of testosterone then, but also about being sensitive to that testosterone, such that it affects your brain and body.
There are other things you can do to increase your androgen receptors too: it has been suggested that being more successful during confrontations and avoiding ever “backing down” can likewise help you to gain more from elevated levels. This is referred to as the “winner effect,” and is based on research that shows animals that win encounters with rivals become more likely to winfuture bouts due to changes in hormones and behavior.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do in order to support testosterone production, is to ensure you maintain a caloric surplus. This means you should be eating more calories than you burn off during a day.
This is important, because a calorie deficit actually triggers a spike in cortisol (the stress hormone), which is associated with a dip in testosterone. Low blood sugar puts you into a catabolic state, which is the opposite of the muscle-building anabolic state. In fact, this even triggers an increase in a substance called myostatin, which breaks down muscle!
We’ve seen that consuming lots of fats and nutrients is important for testosterone production, but what’s also important is to get a lot of carbs. Low carbohydrate consumption is also associated with a massive dip in testosterone!
There are other things you can do to avoid cortisol too, which include avoiding any form of chronic stress. This is why I often liken boosting testosterone to “living like a lion.” Train hard and be assertive and competitive in the boardroom. But then, when you get home, kick your feet up, eat lots, chill out, and rest hard.
- 1 in 4 Men Over 30 Has Low Testosterone
- Testosterone Week: The Declining Virility of Men and the Importance of T
- The Best Way to Safely and Significantly Increase Testosterone Without Using Steroids
- Strongman Training Good For Testosterone
- The Testosterone Advantage – How to Tap Into the Effects of Testosterone in the Brain
- Carbohydrates and Testosterone: Non-Essential but Still Important