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Testosterone is the holy grail of hormones. If you aren’t sure of this, take a look at the symptoms of testosterone deficiency in men. They include infertility, loss of libido, loss of muscle, increase in body fat, decrease in bone density, hair loss, fatigue, and depression. Certainly no one wants to experience any of these […]
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They include infertility, loss of libido, loss of muscle, increase in body fat, decrease in bone density, hair loss, fatigue, and depression. Certainly no one wants to experience any of these symptoms related to low testosterone, so it makes sense that many men want to increase their levels as much as possible. However, there are serious health risks associated with taking large amounts of synthetic testosterone. Luckily there are ways to increase your levels naturally.
You can increase your testosterone levels by eating foods that help promote production of the hormone. Vitamin D has a large role in synthesizing testosterone. Multiple studies show Vitamin D deficiency correlates strongly with low testosterone levels. So make sure to get exposure to the sun and eat foods rich in Vitamin D. Some of the best food sources are: wild salmon, tuna, beef liver, eggs, certain mushrooms, and cod liver oil. Vitamin A is also essential for testosterone production as well, and can be obtained from organ meats, citrus fruits, kale, sweet potatoes, and squash.
Cholesterol and healthy fats are essentially the building blocks of testosterone synthesis, so to prevent your testosterone levels from being lower than optimal, you must consume a healthy amount. Studies have shown that diets low in fat and cholesterol tend to lower testosterone when compared to higher fat diets. So include lots of whole eggs, grass- fed beef, butter, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and raw nuts.
Mineral deficiencies, zinc, and magnesium, in particular, can also hamper production of testosterone. Oysters provide the highest amount of zinc by far, but raw nuts, shellfish, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and red meats are also good sources. Spinach and raisins provide high amounts of magnesium as do fatty fish, nuts and dark chocolate.
High levels of cortisol and estrogen can also cause testosterone levels to plummet. Garlic, cabbage, and citrus fruits all have cortisol lowering effects and should be a regular part of your diet. Foods that lower estrogen levels and should be included are brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. These foods contain indoles, a compound that prevents the aromatase enzyme from converting free testosterone to estrogen leading to a boost in testosterone levels.
This trend of men wanting to increase their testosterone and libido is nothing new. In fact, ancient cultures have been using various herbs for thousands of years to provide them with a natural boost. There is a wide array of natural supplements on the market that could provide some benefits.
Some of the best options available include the following:
These oils decrease levels of a protein known as the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which decreases free testosterone. They also have a very favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio that helps lower cortisol levels (remember when cortisol is high, testosterone is low). There are large amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin D in cod liver oil, which makes it a good choice for increasing testosterone.
This is a blend of zinc, magnesium, and B-vitamins. However, while some research has demonstrated positive feedback, ZMA may not provide benefits unless you are already deficient in zinc or magnesium. If your diet doesn’t provide a large amount of these minerals, then it would be beneficial to add this to your supplement stack.
This supplement is similar to ZMA. If you are deficient in it, you will certainly see an increase in testosterone levels. However, it’s not clear if there is a benefit if you are already getting a sufficient amount through exposure to sunlight and diet. But because most people lack sufficient Vitamin D, supplementation is recommended.
DHEA and cholesterol are precursors for testosterone. Unlike cholesterol, DHEA is not obtained directly through diet. As you age, levels of DHEA drop, so it’s a good idea to include this if you are over 50.
DAA made headlines when a study showed large increases in luteinizing hormone and testosterone. The luteinizing hormone works to stimulate production of testosterone. While it’s been shown subsequently that levels normalize after 4-6 weeks, DAA could be beneficial if used in a cyclical manner, like 6 weeks on, 4 weeks off.
This is the most popular supplement on the market right now when it comes to natural test boosters. There has been a mix of positive and negative studies in regards to its ability to increase levels of the hormone. It has, however, been shown to increase libido and decrease cortisol levels, which helps increase testosterone levels marginally.
This herb has been used for thousands of years in China as a natural aphrodisiac and contains a compound called icariin. Icariin has been shown to increase testosterone levels, decrease cortisol levels and is a potent libido booster. There’s a good reason this herb has been used a long time, and it is a great addition for anyone looking for an increase in either libido or testosterone.
This herb boosts testosterone through a number of mechanisms. It lowers the SHGB protein mentioned earlier, increases enzymatic activity leading to more efficient conversion of cholesterol to testosterone, and lowers cortisol levels. This is one of the best supplements out there that naturally boosts libido and testosterone.
As mentioned earlier, there are compounds called indoles in many green vegetables that have been shown to lower estrogen levels, which allows for more testosterone production. DIM is a component of the indoles that is formed through the digestive process and works the same way. If you aren’t eating your veggies, this is a vital supplement.
Discover two different compound formulas that will increase testosterone and libido, thanks to Sheer Strength Labs. Try their Sheer Testosterone to optimize your hormone levels. It contains ZMA, DIM, tongkat ali, and other beneficial ingredients. Sheer Alpha Testosterone includes tribulus terrestris, DHEA, horny goat weed, tongkat ali, and even more libido boosting compounds, like maca. If you’re looking to simply increase testosterone levels, Sheer Testosterone is a great option. Try Sheer Alpha Testosterone if you’re also looking to increase your libido, as it has plenty of libido enhancing ingredients.
Working out with weights is another well-known way to increase growth hormone and testosterone. While any weight lifting will be beneficial in some way, there are certain variables that can be manipulated to induce a more anabolic response.
Research has shown that higher volume programs with rest periods of 1-2 minutes lead to higher testosterone levels. The weight should be heavy to the point of near failure, only reaching full failure a few times the whole workout. The exercises incorporated should be compound multi-joint movements using free weights instead of machines. These force a much larger degree of muscle activity, which promotes testosterone production.
HIIT can also provide a hormonal boost when incorporated into a balanced program. HIIT is intense outbursts of exercise for short periods of time proceeded by a “rest” interval. It can be done through sprinting, swimming, biking, jump rope, kettlebells, battle ropes, basically any movement that increases cardio. The duration of this type of training is only about 20 minutes. It’s very important to avoid overtraining, as that spikes cortisol levels and causes testosterone levels to drop.
There are many lifestyle factors that can greatly impact one’s hormones. Stress is something everyone must manage in their life, and the better you do it, the more testosterone you will have to show for it. Stress causes cortisol levels to spike, which we don’t want. We want cortisol to get spiked through our intense workouts, not through daily living. So if you feel extremely stressed, take some time out and go for a walk or meditate, giving yourself a chance to “unload.”
Sleep is another huge factor. Not only does getting 7-9 hours of sleep help lower cortisol, it allows for optimal production of testosterone. During sleep your body produces the highest levels, so if you aren’t getting enough, studies show you will suffer from a deficit. The quality of your sleep also matters, so sleep with no lights or LED’s on and consider consuming some carbohydrates an hour before going to sleep.
Exposure to chemicals that lower testosterone or increase estrogen should also be limited. These can be found in many plastic food containers, soap, grooming products, gasoline, industrial animal products, pesticides and BPA in canned food. Try to store your food in glass containers and consider using more natural cosmetic products.
When looking to optimize testosterone naturally, every little bit matters. Make sure your diet is rich in healthy fats and cholesterol and consume plenty of green vegetables, citrus fruits, garlic, wild fish, grass-fed beef, and eggs. Make sure the food quality is high and as minimally processed as possible, and avoid meats with added hormones.
In addition to eating quality food, use supplements to fill the gaps. Incorporate some cod liver oil and vitamin D and consider adding a quality natural testosterone booster.
Want a proven formula that includes some of the most well-studied herbs known to increase testosterone?
Your workouts should consist of compound movements like squats, deadlifts, presses, and pull ups. Focus on 2-3 muscle groups per workout with a high amount of volume, achieving at least 20 sets during one workout. Avoid too much intensity with high volume workouts, so don’t take it to failure every single set. Incorporate some HIIT on off days, 1-2 times a week, to shed some body fat and provide a hormonal boost.
Finally, manage your lifestyle in a way that is beneficial for your goals. You don’t want to be working hard and doing everything else right only to sabotage yourself by making poor lifestyle choices. Don’t drink excessively and party all night, get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Manage your stress better by practicing meditation, yoga, going for walks, or talking to someone who can help alleviate your stress. Also, avoid direct exposure to gasoline, pesticides, and other chemicals found in many plastic containers and cosmetic products.
When you put it all together, you will notice increased energy levels, more libido, more muscle, and less body fat. Testosterone levels ARE going to drop every year after you turn 25, and there is nothing you can (naturally) do about it. But you can help slow it down and give yourself every opportunity to maximize testosterone naturally by following these steps.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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