There’s a point in our lives when we realize we’re not physically the same person we once were.
A lack of energy and a lack of sex drive are two areas that affect many people with age. And, for men, low testosterone levels could be the culprit.
These are common symptoms of having lower-than-normal testosterone levels. While a drop in T levels can be caused by a natural decline, there are certain medical conditions that can play a part in the process.
Low testosterone levels affect around four to five million men in the US. Testosterone is an essential hormone in your body, but an aging male can expect a reduced production of around 1% per year after the age of 30. About 35% of older men have low T levels and will have noticed the various accompanying symptoms.
So, what are normal testosterone levels? Men aged between 19 and 39 in decent health can expect their testosterone levels to range between 264 and 916 nanograms per deciliters (ng/dL).
You can check to see if your own testosterone level is within the normal range by consulting a medical professional if you are unsure.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone—often called the sex hormone—plays a crucial role in many of our physical characteristics, including muscle strength and sexual development.
It’s produced in the testes in males and in the ovaries in women. Testosterone is an androgen as it stimulates male characteristics. Men have a much greater level of testosterone in their bodies—and it’s essential for the male reproductive system. Without it, there would be no sperm production, which is why some men with low T experience infertility.
Most of the testosterone in your body attaches itself to two proteins: albumin and sex hormone-binding globulin. Some of the testosterone in your system is free. This means it is not bound to any proteins. Free testosterone and albumin-bound testosterone are also known as bioavailable testosterone.
Testosterone plays an important role in making new blood cells, as well as keeping your bones and muscles healthy. It also increases sex drive. With such an important role to play in our overall health, it can come as no surprise that your health will start to decline when your levels of testosterone are low.
The most common symptoms of low testosterone
As testosterone is an essential hormone, it affects many of our bodily functions. And, low T levels can have a range of side effects.
It’s a good idea to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Men with low testosterone can experience…
What are the main causes of low testosterone?
One of the most common causes of low testosterone is the natural aging process. From the age of 30, men lose around 1% of their T levels each year, but this increases greatly if certain other factors are involved.
There are certain health factors which put your T levels at risk, which can then cause additional side effects and a rapid decline in health if not addressed.
You must know what to look out for if you want to keep on top of your testosterone and overall health.
Let’s take a look
Excess body fat is one of the main contributors to low T, and being excessively overweight means your hormone production will be seriously affected.
Fat cells metabolize testosterone to estrogen, which means less testosterone in your body. Being overweight also comes with additional risks like heart disease and breathing difficulties.
Keeping check of your body weight is essential if you want to keep your levels up—and losing weight when you need to is essential if you don’t want your T to drop through the floor.
Getting mumps in adulthood can cause damage to the testicles. And, in turn, this can have a negative effect on testosterone production.
Hemochromatosis is a genetic condition where iron levels build up in your body over time. Having too much iron in the blood can cause testicular or pituitary gland dysfunction, which can seriously affect testosterone production.
Testosterone deficiency syndrome
This is known as late-onset hypogonadism. It’s a biochemical syndrome that can occur in men as they age.
The condition is characterized by deficient testicular production of testosterone.
Liver or kidney disease
Those suffering from liver or kidney disease are likely to have low testosterone levels. Reduction in clearance of prolactin can lead to hyperprolactinemia—which will lead to a decrease in testosterone production.
Injury to the testicles
Any injury to the testes is likely to reduce the amount of testosterone produced, although both testicles would need to be injured to affect the production of the hormone.
Type 2 diabetes
Men with type 2 diabetes tend to have low testosterone levels. A recent report suggests that around 16% of males who have the condition also have low testosterone levels, and 24% have levels very close to the border of low T..
Prostate cancer and cancer treatment
Those undergoing treatment for cancer issues, such as chemotherapy or radiation, can find that their testosterone levels fall.
This is especially true when it comes to testicular cancer, as this level of treatment can damage the testes.
Stress of any kind can affect the production of hormones. Still, severe stress is likely to reduce the production of testosterone in your system dramatically and can even cause sexual dysfunction.
Can testosterone replacement therapy help?
One way to treat low testosterone levels is through a process called testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Your doctor can prescribe this if your t levels are deficient due to age or medical issues. Hormone therapy can also be used to help specific issues which occur as a result of low T levels.
With the right course of treatment, TRT can…
There are several methods of administering testosterone replacement therapy, including oral medications, injections, patches, testosterone gel and creams.
Each one has one main aim—to increase the testosterone levels in your body. If you’re considering TRT, it’s essential that you talk to a medical professional to be sure that it’s right for you.
It’s also important to be aware of the many potential side effects and risk factors associated with testosterone replacement therapy.
While it might seem like a reasonable option to consider testosterone therapy, with the number of health risks associated with it, you might end up taking a backward step with your health.
So, a better way to raise your T levels is through living a better quality and healthier lifestyle.
Healthy lifestyle changes you can make to combat testosterone deficiency
With so many health conditions linked to testosterone deficiency, you must adopt a healthy lifestyle if you want to maintain a decent level of the hormone in your system.
This doesn’t mean going ‘all out’ and a complete revamp of your entire life. But it does mean making minor changes here and there to enable you to turn the tide and get things moving in the right direction for you.
Eat testosterone-boosting foods
You are what you eat—and if you want to get your T levels moving in the right direction— the best place to start is through nutrition.
Ditching lousy eating habits and bringing in the new is a positive first step towards turning the tide.
The more excess fat you have, the less testosterone you’re likely to have in your system. So maintaining a healthy diet—and weight—should be the foundation of your T-boosting efforts.
Pack in the protein to raise your hormone levels—beef, chicken, and fish are a good place to start.
For non-meat-eaters, nuts, seeds, and tofu are great choices. Around six ounces of protein per day is ideal, but you might choose to take more if you’re an active person.
If you don’t get enough protein into your diet, your T levels will likely drop. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are high in vitamin D and omega acids—they’re also vital for hormone production.
Flavonoid-rich foods are often described as superfoods because of their health-boosting properties.
Plant-based foods, fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, onions and garlic should be on your shopping list.
Food containing flavonoids has been shown to produce a better quality of sperm production in males, which leads to higher testosterone.
There’s a good reason oysters are known for being aphrodisiacs, as they contain a high amount of zinc, which is an active testosterone production. Other zinc-rich foods include beans, dairy products, eggs and fish.
Eggs are high in protein, vitamin D, and omega-3’s—the triple threat for testosterone production as well as muscle building.
You can cook them in so many ways, too. So there’s no danger of you getting bored of them any time soon.
There are plenty of essential B vitamins packed into porridge oats, including the powerful vitamin b6, which helps to suppress estrogen and increase testosterone.
Starting the day with a bowl of porridge is a great way to kick-start your testosterone production each day.
Swapping a sugary snack for fruit is a great way to help keep the excess fat off. But there are two fruit choices which are particularly high testo-boosters and well worth a close look.
Bananas are full of bromelain, which will not only help with T levels, but boost your energy too.
Lemons might not be a snack choice. But including them in recipes is a great idea, as they help to lower cortisol levels, allowing more testosterone to be produced. Lemons also contain high levels of vitamin A- a known testo booster.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol regularly will reduce your testosterone levels, and it can also cause additional health issues.
If you drink too heavily, you may have issues with your sexual health. So, reducing your alcohol intake is a good idea if you want to stay fit and healthy.
Taking supplements (in addition to eating a healthy, nutritious diet) means that you’re effectively topping up the essentials in order to maximize your testosterone boost.
This will guarantee that you’re taking in the very best nutrients to top up levels and will help you achieve it far more quickly.
Here are some essential supplements to incorporate into your daily health routine.
Vitamin D is perfect for helping to tackle some of the side effects of testosterone deficiency. These include regulating mood, boosting bone strength, and helping with your immune system. Vitamin D has often been described as an ‘age-reverser’ due to its ability to revitalize the body.
As mentioned, a healthy diet with zinc thrown into the mix will go a long way to reversing the side effects of testosterone deficiency. Why? Well, because it can reduce estrogen in the system and make testosterone more available. Zinc is also great for improving energy and strength.
Vitamins B5 and B6
Vitamin B5, in the form of calcium pantothenate, is known to help with the conversion of fat into energy while supporting healthy T levels for improved weight loss.
Countless studies show vitamin B6 can help support and maintain normal, healthy testosterone levels for increased energy, a reduction in fatigue, and a clear head.
This is a root which has been used to treat ailments for centuries, as it’s a powerful antioxidant that can help boost energy levels, reinvigorate your sex drive, and fight symptoms of fatigue.
Ashwagandha is being used more than ever for supporting testosterone, as more studies show its tremendous potential.
It’s also great for improving energy, reducing weight, digestion, cognitive ability, and muscle gains.
Green tea is becoming increasingly popular as researchers have discovered its treasure trove of health benefits.
It’s excellent for digestion and helps maintain T levels by blocking the breakdown process of testosterone into harmful DHT.
Studies show natural garlic can have a significant overall increase in testosterone, and in turn, may help support a healthy metabolism. Garlic contains a chemical called diallyl disulfide that helps in the production of testosterone.
How to work with your body to get T levels up
If you want your body to produce testosterone in greater amounts, you need to let your body and mind know.
So many people give in to the natural process of aging and accept low levels of the hormone and all of its side effects as ‘inevitable’, without realizing there’s something they can do about it.
The phrase to remember is ‘use it or lose it’. If you want to maintain your vitality and health, you’ll need to train your mind and body to let them know that you’re not ready to give in. You’ll also need to show that you’re still as active mentally and physically as you once were.
Here are some of the ‘essentials’ which you’ll need to act on if you’re serious about getting back in the driving seat.
One of the most essential rules for staying healthy is to keep active. This rule also applies to those looking to increase testosterone in their body, as it covers many potential issues.
A European Journal of Applied Physiology study discovered that the more active an individual is, the more testosterone they will have.
Getting your heart rate up during more intense exercise will also help, as it will increase oxygen flow around your body.
But, be careful not to burn yourself out. Make sure you’re in control at all times. Keep yourself adequately hydrated, and eat plenty of energy-boosting foods.
Make sure you get enough sleep
Disruptive sleep patterns can lead to stress, which will have a knock-on effect on your hormone levels.
You can certainly expect your t levels to drop if you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep each night.
Try to get at least eight hours of quality sleep each night to ensure you’re getting the right quota.
This won’t apply to everyone, but if you need to lose weight, now’s the time. Any excess fat will be a stumbling block to raising your hormone levels.
If you’re unsure, you can get your BMI checked by a health expert, who will advise you on how much you ideally need to lose and the best way to go about it based on your medical history. A reduced calorie intake and plenty of movement are good places to start.
Reduce your stress levels
With a busy life, taking the time to reduce your stress levels actively can be easier said than done. But the more stress you experience, the less testosterone you’re likely to have.
Plus, long-term stress can be highly damaging both mentally and physically. When you’re stressed, you’ll have more hormone cortisol in your system, which means less testosterone.
Medical conditions and T levels: final thoughts
Certain medical conditions can certainly lower testosterone levels, and the science is there to prove it.
If you’re worried that a medical condition might be causing your low testosterone levels, it’s best to check with a medical professional to be sure. A medical pro will diagnose low testosterone and advise you on the best course of action.
But, the most likely causes of testosterone deficiency are the natural process of aging and bad lifestyle choices. You can’t turn the clock back and make you young again, but you can do something about your health. And as this is such an important factor when it comes to the levels of testosterone in your system—it’s time to sit up and take note.
As you get older, you have two choices. You can either tell yourself to give in to the natural process of aging, and all of the ailments that come with it. Or you can take action.
Follow the T-boosting tips we’ve covered in this guide and you’ll stand the best possible chance of keeping your testosterone levels in the green. You’ve got this.
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