Suffering from fatigue, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat, or reduced muscle mass?
Low testosterone levels might be the cause.
If you’ve been looking for ways to bring your testosterone levels to a healthier range and keep them stable, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn all about why testosterone levels drop, the effect of low testosterone levels, and how to keep testosterone levels in check.
Why Do Testosterone Levels Drop?
The most common reason for a drop in testosterone levels is old age. Since the main functions of testosterone revolve around fetal development, puberty, and adulthood, it is natural for levels to drop as we age.
But if you’re below 40 and are still seeing a drop in testosterone, it may involve one or more of the following:
What Happens if Testosterone Levels Are Too Low?
Having optimal levels of testosterone is crucial for the smooth functioning of the body. But when its levels drop too low, it can hamper more than your daily functioning.
One of the biggest effects of low testosterone levels is changes in body composition. Testosterone levels typically result in lower muscle mass and strength.
Extremely low testosterone also affects sexual function. Low testosterone is linked to a lower sex drive and erectile dysfunction in men. However, low testosterone doesn’t hamper sexual function in itself. In a majority of cases, reduced sexual function is accompanied by stress, sleep deprivation, depression, and many more underlying causes.
Low testosterone and the stress it causes can also have an adverse effect on mental health. Men with low testosterone may experience sleep disorders, mood swings, a lack of focus, and depressed moods.
Other effects of low testosterone include low energy levels, loss of armpit and pubic hair, fatigue, shrinking testicles, hot flashes, low sperm count, etc.
How your testosterone levels affect you depends on factors like age, underlying health conditions, and your level of deficiency.
What Improves Testosterone levels
Improving testosterone levels isn’t difficult or inaccessible, as we have a variety of options available today. However, natural solutions work best in the long run and are less likely to cause side effects.
Here are some natural and simple ways to improve your testosterone levels, especially if your symptoms are making it difficult to make more drastic lifestyle changes.
From burning calories to improving strength and building muscle mass, exercise helps the body in many ways. Plus, it also boosts testosterone.
While all types of exercises help promote testosterone, some work better than others. Two of the most impactful exercise routines are:
HIIT, especially when done in one or two-minute intervals, shows the highest increase in testosterone levels.
Resistance training includes weightlifting activities. These activities are known to provide short-term testosterone boosts directly after training.
You can schedule weightlifting activities from 30 to 45 minutes 2 to 3 times a week. On your days off, you can do some HIIT or cardiovascular exercises.
If you want to boost testosterone levels even further, we recommend scheduling your exercise in the afternoon.
If you’re also trying to improve your metabolism, schedule a session in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning session can be allotted for cardio training, while your afternoon session can be reserved for weight training.
In addition to improving your testosterone levels, exercise keeps your weight in check and thus prevents testosterone depletion. The slow increase in muscle mass due to long-term exercise also results in increased testosterone release.
A healthy diet promotes weight loss while maintaining proper body weight. It also prevents blood sugar spikes. A healthy diet can, thus, boost testosterone in direct and indirect ways.
Maintaining a healthy diet involves eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, etc. It also requires you to stay away from refined food, caffeine, sugars, etc.
Here are some of the best food items for a testosterone boost:
3. Healthy Sleep Patterns
Your body releases the highest amount of testosterone when you’re asleep. So, the fewer hours you sleep, the less testosterone gets released, and vice versa.
If you think that compromising a couple of hours of shuteye once in a while won’t affect testosterone, then think again. Research suggests just one week of sleep deprivation can lower testosterone by up to 15 percent.
The adequate amount of sleep you need to maintain healthy testosterone levels is 8 hours. Make sure you get that much sleep daily.
Interestingly, sleeping more than 9.9 hours has been linked to lower testosterone levels too. So, make sure only to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and not more.
4. Lose Weight If You Have Extra Pounds
Excess abdominal fat can increase aromatase production, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. This conversion means less free testosterone and more estrogen in the body.
The higher the estrogen concentration, the more fat is deposited in the breasts, hips, and thighs. It also increases the risk of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.
Obesity, therefore, is another factor that can cause you to produce less testosterone.
Thankfully, keeping your weight in check can improve testosterone levels until old age. Every little pound you lose makes a big difference.
5. Regular Sex
Indulging in regular sex is another way of keeping your testosterone levels in check.
One study found an increase in testosterone levels in males when exposed to sexual stimuli at a sex club. The same study also revealed that testosterone levels were much higher in participants compared to observers.
While such studies are few, they do suggest a positive correlation between sexual activity and testosterone levels. However, there is no information on whether the elevation in testosterone levels is for the short or long term.
6. Get More Vitamin D
Vitamin D has an important role in the production of testosterone. One study suggests that vitamin D supplementation increases testosterone levels, although the exact mechanism for the phenomenon hasn’t been traced.
Vitamin D also benefits the body by reducing inflammation, controlling infections, and more.
If you want to improve your testosterone levels, remember that 15 minutes of direct sunlight every day can help keep vitamin D deficiencies at bay.
Additionally, you can also try and incorporate food items high in vitamin D. These include fatty fish like salmon, fortified milk, and cereal products.
If you’re severely deficient in vitamin D, consult a physician about taking vitamin D3 supplements.
Factors That Reduce Testosterone Levels
Engaging in certain activities that seem harmless at first can reduce testosterone levels in the body via direct or indirect mechanisms.
While you’re working on boosting testosterone levels, make sure to also avoid the following testosterone-reducing activities:
Research suggests sitting in front of the television might negatively impact testosterone levels and can give you a lower sperm count. However, the same isn’t true for time spent sitting in front of a computer.
Sitting in front of the television also causes an increase in scrotal temperature, which is known for disrupting spermatogenesis.
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of disease and obesity. These may further disrupt the healthy production of testosterone.
Drugs And Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol can adversely affect your testosterone levels.
Alcohol is known to impact a range of glands and hormones in males that are responsible for reproductive health. Research suggests a drop in testosterone can happen as quickly as 30 minutes after consuming alcohol.
Alcohol can also result in cell damage and cause hormonal reactions.
Drugs can lower testosterone levels directly by reducing testosterone production. Indirectly, it can hamper testosterone by inducing oxidative stress in testicular tissue.
One study found a strong correlation between weekly marijuana consumption, lower sperm count, and poor semen quality. Additionally, the combined use of marijuana and other recreational drugs more than once a week could reduce sperm concentration by up to 52%.
While it is the person’s responsibility to control their alcohol intake, drugs may not always be avoidable, especially if medications have been prescribed for other health conditions.
If you must take medications or drugs for any underlying health issues and want to improve your testosterone level, it’s best that you speak to your doctor about it.
While most types of exercises increase testosterone in the short and long term, some might lower their levels. This is due to the cortisol-raising effects of these exercises, which directly lower testosterone.
Chronic endurance exercises such as cycling, running, dancing, biking, or jogging for hours are major culprits.
This doesn’t mean you need to skip doing these activities altogether — only that you should engage in them in moderation.
Stress is a huge contributor to low testosterone levels. Stress may also stem from low testosterone levels.
Every time your body undergoes stress, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is produced in response to stress and helps your body prepare and respond to the stressor. It returns to normal levels once the stressor is removed.
However, prolonged stress causes a constant release of cortisol in the body which reduces testosterone levels. So, the higher the cortisol, the lower the testosterone.
For those who need to improve their testosterone production, combating stress in everyday life should be a priority.
One of the best suggestions for reducing stress is to do things you enjoy. Other ways include:
Getting your testosterone levels back into the healthy range requires a lot of patience, especially if you’re doing it the natural way.
We suggest you start by reducing activities that lower testosterone levels first and slowly add testosterone-boosting activities to your lifestyle.
The great thing about these natural activities is you can continue doing them even after your levels are back to normal. They won’t cause an increase in testosterone unless you drastically increase your activities.
Though it may entail effort and a period of adjustment, boosting your testosterone will help you increase your libido, energy, and muscle mass. You’ll also enjoy a sharper memory and an overall improved quality of life.