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Low testosterone is a common problem for both men and women, especially as we age. Around 30-35, testosterone levels naturally decrease which may set the stage for the stuff we don’t want like weight gain, depression, and a low desire to keep things interesting in the bedroom.
You may be wondering how to naturally increase testosterone levels. Thankfully, there are many ways to naturally boost your testosterone levels to help you feel strong and healthy for years to come.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone found in both men and women which plays an important role in the health of your body and mind.
For men, testosterone is the major sex hormone responsible for muscle size and strength, bone mass, red blood cell production, sex drive, sperm production, and fat distribution. During puberty, testosterone fuels the development of male features like body and facial hair, deeper voice, and increased muscle strength in boys. But it doesn’t stop benefiting you once you grow out of adolescence.
Testosterone is not a dude-bro enhancement hormone that makes men aggressive and act out the stereotype of the jock or bully in every teenage movie of the 1980’s. When it comes to behavior and testosterone, testosterone plays a significant role in male mental health. Low testosterone tends to lead to depression and low motivation.
You may think of testosterone as a male sex hormone, but both men and women require a certain quantity. While men certainly have more testosterone in circulation than women, testosterone is also produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands of women. The hormone plays a role in ovarian function, bone mass and strength, and sex drive.
The proper balance between testosterone and other hormones like estrogen is imperative for the ovaries to function optimally. Among women, one of the most common causes of high testosterone is polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS.
PCOS is a common condition affecting 4%–20% of women of reproductive age worldwide. Symptoms include reduced fertility, irregular periods, excess facial hair, weight gain, male-patterned baldness, anxiety, and depression.
What Are Optimal Testosterone Levels?
You may be wondering if you have low testosterone and how to boost testosterone naturally. A simple test measuring the amount of testosterone in your blood will determine if your testosterone levels are optimal for you.
It will often take at least two measurements to assess your testosterone levels as blood levels often change throughout the day. For example, your highest levels are typically in the morning and then tend to taper throughout the day.
According to the American Urology Association (AUA) optimal testosterone levels in healthy men will range from 300 to 1050 ng/dL. Testosterone levels will peak in the late teens and early 20s and will begin to decline 1-2% per year after the age of 30 in men. Low testosterone in men is defined as less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Get to know what the normal testosterone levels in men are by age so you can get a better grasp of where you need to be.
According to one 2021 study, the prevalence of testosterone deficiency is approximately 20% among young adults aged 15-39 years old and roughly 40% among men after the age of 40.
In recent years, researchers have focused on the effects and symptoms of low testosterone, especially among men. If you have low testosterone, you may experience a wide range of symptoms including:
Low sex drive
Reduced erectile functioning
Loss of body hair
Increase in body fat
Loss of lean muscle mass
Loss of muscle strength
Thinning of bones
In women, optimal testosterone levels can range from 15 to 46 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
Around the time of menopause, women may experience low levels of testosterone as the ovaries are producing a reduced amount of hormones. Symptoms that may accompany low levels of testosterone in women include low sex drive, fatigue, muscle weakness, and depression.
Interestingly, low levels of testosterone in women may also compromise heart health. One 2022 study found that a lower concentration of testosterone in the blood was linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in older women.
How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
If you have low testosterone you may be wondering how to boost testosterone naturally. While there are medicines designed to increase testosterone levels, you may first consider making some lifestyle changes that can naturally increase testosterone.
If you’re looking for tips on how to naturally increase testosterone, we recommend the following lifestyle changes:
Method #1: Adequate Sleep
While sometimes easier said than done, getting adequate sleep can help naturally balance your hormones including your testosterone levels. While you sleep, your body is generating testosterone. If you’re missing out on the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you may also be missing important testosterone production time.
A 2015 study examining the effects of “catch-up” sleep on the body found that testosterone levels will naturally increase soon after you add more hours of deep and restful sleep.
To improve sleep quality and duration, the National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool, avoiding screen time an hour before going to bed, limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and exercising every day.
Method #2: Increase Exercise, Especially Weight Training
Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally increase testosterone. Resistance training, like lifting weights, is one of the best types of exercise to help boost testosterone levels.
Research suggests that regular resistance training can increase testosterone immediately after a workout and over time particularly when you minimize periods of rest. Researchers recommend using more muscle groups versus just singular muscle groups, for example, push-ups versus bicep curls, and lifting heavier weights rather than many reps of lighter weights.
Method #3: Eat a Balanced Diet
What you eat can play a major role in balancing your hormone levels and increase testosterone. For example, research has shown that your testosterone levels are strongly influenced by your eating habits.
One 2018 study found that people who follow a Standardized American Diet (SAD) consisting of many processed carbohydrates and very few fresh vegetables are more likely to have an unhealthy body composition and low testosterone levels.
Having a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat is ideal for optimal testosterone levels. Try to steer clear from highly-processed foods like snack foods and sweets and focus on whole foods like fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains like quinoa and oats, beans, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil.
Method #4: Reduce Stress and Cortisol Levels
While experiencing some stress is a natural part of life, persistent long-term stress can wreak havoc on your hormones, significantly reducing testosterone levels. During times of stress, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which allows you to stay on high alert and respond quickly to threats. Cortisol also increases your blood sugar which provides an energy boost during stressful times.
While this process can be helpful for fleeing a harmful situation, modern-day stressors can be chronic in nature, not allowing the stress response to “turn off”. Cortisol and testosterone are closely linked in a seesaw pattern: when cortisol is always elevated, testosterone is lowered.
Reducing your stressors and creating a healthy response to stress can help your body turn down the knob and keep things level, across the board. Breathe. No Really, take a few deep breaths when you are feeling stressed. Create a meditation practice. Or simply take a 10 minute walk outside to help your body recalibrate back to normal.
Method #5: Consider Losing Weight
In addition to lowering testosterone production, chronically elevated cortisol levels can increase food intake, lead to weight gain, and increased belly fat. Consequently, these physiological changes can also further decrease your testosterone levels.
Before resorting to testosterone therapy, you may consider shedding a few pounds to help increase your testosterone levels naturally. We know that low testosterone levels are common in overweight men, but one study examined whether losing weight can increase the body's production of testosterone. Researchers found that weight loss can indeed reduce the prevalence of low testosterone levels in overweight men by a whopping 50%.
Method #6: Limit Alcohol Intake
Over-consuming alcohol can affect your body’s hormones including testosterone. Heavy drinking, defined as more than 15 drinks per week or more for men and 8 or more drinks per week for women, can disrupt testosterone production, leading to lower amounts.
Research has shown that alcohol can damage the Leydig cells in the testes which produce and secrete testosterone. Moreover, alcohol can increase cortisol levels in the body which, once again, can lead to decreased testosterone production.
Method #7: Using Supplements to Increase Testosterone
While changing your diet and lifestyle can positively impact your testosterone levels, evidence suggests that the use of certain supplements may help balance your hormones and support healthy testosterone production.
Studies show that supplements may act as natural testosterone boosters. For example, emerging research on the herb ashwagandha has not only shown promise in enhancing mood and minimizing anxiety, but this popular supplement may also play a role in men’s health.
One 2019 16-week, randomized, double-blind study found that men aged 40-70 years old who took ashwagandha, had a 14.7% rise in testosterone versus the placebo group.
It is also widely known that zinc deficiency can interfere with testosterone production. Studies have shown that both zinc and magnesium supplementation can increase levels of testosterone in men.
The Rebalance Men’s or Women’s System may help support hormonal balance by restoring testosterone production and bringing it to a level suitable for you. Our unique system utilizes the power of evidenced-based supplements including ashwagandha and fenugreek, and important minerals like zinc and magnesium to help deliver the results you’re looking for.
Balancing Your Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is an important hormone for a healthy and strong body. It is responsible for muscle size and strength, bone mass, fat distribution, red blood cell production, and sex drive. If you have low testosterone levels, you may be wondering how to naturally increase testosterone without the use of medication.
By making some lifestyle changes, including your diet, sleep schedule, and exercise regime, you may be able to naturally boost your testosterone levels. Additionally, you may consider supplements to increase testosterone levels which may in turn, also improve your overall health and wellbeing.