14 Tips To Naturally Increase Your Testosterone Levels

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Disclaimer – While I do have a good base level of knowledge about this topic, I’m not a doctor or medical expert. What I’m about to share shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for qualified medical advice. Before you take on any advice, I do strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor first*

 

muscle gainTestosterone has gotten a bit of a bad name in recent times. Most people seem associate it with the stuff that is considered bad – such as an overly aggressive nature, steroids, anger, violence and even general acts of douche-baggery.

Now, while some men who happen to have high testosterone levels may exhibit these characteristics, this really has to be attributed to the fact that they are, in no uncertain terms, arseholes, rather than due to them having high testosterone levels.

In fact, exciting new research is now showing us that anybody has the ability to be an arsehole, regardless of what their hormonal profile looks like**.

It’s kind of like me saying that all NFL players are mentally unstable all because Plaxico Burress went and shot himself in the foot in a night club.

So let me preface this article by saying that having high testosterone levels, or seeking to increase your testosterone levels, doesn’t make you a bad human being – in fact, it would probably make you a better one.

This is because men with low testosterone counts often present with symptoms ranging from emotional problems such as irritability (having a short fuse), depression, a lack of confidence, to physical problems such as difficulty in falling asleep, low energy levels, loss of strength, higher fat storage, and perhaps the worst of all, a loss of sex drive – all symptoms that seem to disappear once testosterone levels are normalised.

In short, if you’re a guy (or a girl for that matter), you don’t want low testosterone levels!

Now, before we go on, I should make it clear that our testosterone levels naturally decline steadily from the age of 27, and then more rapidly after the age of 35. So if you’re over the age of 35, you in particular need to pay attention to the natural fixes contained within this article.

What Is Testosterone, & Why Should I Care?

Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a vital role in both men and women – although it does present itself in higher concentrations in men.

It’s the predominant male sex hormone, and also plays a significant role in optimizing a number of sought-after traits, or qualities, of the modern-day man, including –

  • Higher muscle mass
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved cognition
  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased libido
  • Better insulin management

Sounds pretty fucking cool, right?

On the flip side, however, if your testosterone levels aren’t optimized (or are low), you get the privilege of rocking a completely different set of characteristics, including, but not limited to –

  • Lack of confidence
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Low energy levels
  • Loss of desire to have sex
  • Higher fat storage

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Well now that I’ve got your attention, let’s get into the crux of this article.

testosterone

 So How Do You Find Out If You’ve Got Low Testosterone?

Well, it seems simple, but you get them checked by a doctor. There really is no other way around it. You can display the symptoms of low testosterone, yet have levels that are completely normal, and have it be that those symptoms are being caused by something completely different.

In fact, I feel so strongly about the need for testing, and diagnosing, low testosterone levels that I think that everyone reading this, if you haven’t already done recently, should get their levels tested.

Normal levels of testosterone in men are between 230-1000 ng/dL, although some parties (myself included), seem to think that if even if you’re within the norm ranges, but on the low end (below 350 ng/dL), then you still need to shift your focus to getting that number up.

If you’re within the medium to high end of the ‘normal’ ranges then there is no need to start implementing the ideas below, because you’re sweet (and with hormones, being overly active is just as bad as being underactive).

If your levels are on the low-normal, or below the norms, however, you need to start making changes to your lifestyle – stat!

14 Ways To Naturally Increase Your Testosterone Levels

1) Get lean and stay lean, because the more body fat that you have, the more likely that your hormones are going to be out of whack. In fact, there has actually been a lot of research done in this area, with many studies showing that the more fat you carry, the lower your testosterone levels will be.

So it’s definitely worth getting your eating under wraps, and starting an exercise program aimed at burning through some of that excess fat.

2) Get 7-8 hours of sleep each and every night, and try to nap during the day if you can. Getting adequate sleep has a strong correlation to optimal testosterone levels, and should be high on your priority list if you’re serious about correcting them.

In fact, a study published in the University of Chicago showed that men who averaged just 5 hours of sleep or less experienced a drop in testosterone levels of 10-15 percent.

So your goal is to get at least 6 hours a night of solid sleep, but 7-8 seems to be what’s optimal.

sleep

3) Ensure that you’re getting an adequate intake of healthy fats such as fats from coconut oil, raw olive oil, nuts, avocado, fish oil and lean animal meats. This will ensure that there are high enough levels of cholesterol to support proper testosterone production functioning.

But wait – fats and cholesterol?

Yep, that isn’t a typo. There is actually a strong correlation between consuming a diet that is higher in healthy fats, and testosterone production. So eat up!

4) Limit your intake of alcohol (especially beer) as alcohol consumption definitely has a negative impact on testosterone levels, not to mention your waistline.

Now, while it’s true that short-term alcohol consumption probably won’t affect your testosterone levels too much, I’m of the opinion that you’re better safe than sorry, and trying to minimize drinking as much as possible (that’s not to say that you can’t enjoy a drink or two every once in a while).

5) Reduce your exposure to environmental estrogens. Xenoestrogen is a chemical that imitates estrogen in the body. When we are exposed to too much of this estrogen-imitating chemical, our testosterone levels can drop significantly.

The scary part of this is that Xenoestrogens are everywhere – in our plastic, toothpaste, on our foods (that’s why it’s important to eat organic wherever possible), shopping bags, cleaning products, and even in our water.

Now, while reducing our exposure to these may sound like a huge task, you can start by following the advice outlined in THIS article.

6) Start your day with a high protein/medium fat/low carbohydrate meal like eggs or steak, along with some green vegetables and avocado/nuts. Most people who I’ve seen switch from a carbohydrate-dominant breakfast, to a high protein/moderate fat breakfast immediately report increases in energy, satiety (the feeling of fullness), and almost always end up leaner from that one change.

As you’re about to find out (in the next point), carbohydrates temporarily drop our testosterone levels, and seeing as our testosterone levels are at their highest in the mornings, we don’t want to disrupt that by eating some carbs.

7) Control your carbohydrate intake because immediately following any high-carbohydrate meal there is a temporary drop in testosterone levels.

While this drop is only temporary, if you are eating 3-4+ carb-dominant meals per day, this will lead to lower testosterone levels overall.

In order to control your carbohydrate intake all I want you to do is to limit your consumption of starchy or simple carbohydrates to the 2-3 hour window after your training session for the day. This will ensure that your body is adept at handling the insulin spike a little better, and will also limit your consumption of these types of carbs to one meal per day – leading to better testosterone levels.

8) Eat lots of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Cruciferous vegetables contain indoles, which have been shown to remove the bad estrogens from our body.

In general, vegetables also help to support alkalinity, and keep inflammation down (kale and spinach are great for this, as are blueberries), which will help promote a lean body, as well as overall health – both of which can indirectly help with testosterone levels.

cruciferous vegetables

9) Keep your training sessions to 45-minutes, or less, of intense work, such as the ones in THIS program. Once you start getting beyond 45-minutes of intense training, you cortisol levels start to elevate significantly, causing there to be a decrease in testosterone.

Beyond that, you’re a busy father, and if you’re taking longer than 45-minutes to get through your sessions, then you’re probably not optimizing your time as best as you can be.

10) Make sure you do your big, compound lifts frequently – squats, deadlifts, rows, bench presses, chin ups, shoulder presses and lunges have been staples in many successful programs for decades for a reason.

It’s because exercises that are associated with larger muscle groups have been shown to result in increases in testosterone.

11) Be mindful of your stress, and be sure not to let it get out of control.  A high level of stress increases cortisol (sometimes chronically), and when cortisol is high, then testosterone is low.

Putting some stress-management processes in place will help you keep this under wrap, as well as improve your mental focus and well-being – because no matter how ripped or muscular you are, nobody likes a crazy son of a bitch – am I right?

As a side note, although it probably won’t be a problem, overtraining has been showing to severely decrease testosterone levels.

12) Have sex more often, preferably with a partner. This one goes without saying, right? More sex = more testosterone.

Beyond that, having sex more often will lead to an increase in confidence, as well as a decrease in stress. The combination of these factors can mean that having more sex becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in that the more sex you have, the more sex that you want to have.

13) Keep your conditioning (fitness) work to higher intensity stuff, such as interval sprints, strongman training, or cardio finishers.

HIIT style training has been shown to have a positive correlation to testosterone levels, at least according to a study contained within the British Journal Of Sports Medicine.

14) Don’t restrict calories by too much (no more than 20% below base needs) when trying to lose fat. Yes, your low calorie diet is not only bad because it’s driving you insane, and making you feel like crap everyday, but it can also be lowering your testosterone levels.

By ensuring that you don’t cut calories too far from your maintenance levels, you can be sure that you don’t suffer from the side effects of low testosterone (and other hormones, for that matter).

[Bonus] 5 Supplements That Can Boost Testosterone Levels

fish oilWhile I’ve done my fair share of research when it comes to supplements, I have to do my due diligence in saying that if you want to really delve into this subject, then do yourself a favour and head over to my friend Sol Orwell’s site, Examine.com, for what is the best database of summarized research on the Internet. For information specifically on Testosterone, use this link.

DHEA – DHEA is a naturally occurring hormone that is very effective in increasing testosterone levels, especially in those who are older in age (40 years+). The reason for this could be because our DHEA levels naturally drop as we age beyond 30, and so we need a little bit of external help when it comes to getting our levels up.

The effective dose of DHEA seems to be between 25-200mg/day, although the research is mixed. Personally, I’m about to experiment with taking 100mg/day, and adjust it as I see fit.

Magnesium Oil I’ve spoken about the benefits of magnesium in a previous post, but know that, along with its other benefits, it will definitely help testosterone levels, particularly is you’ve found out that you have a magnesium deficiency.

Considering that magnesium is a mineral that’s used mostly when we’re stressed, there is a good chance that you might be low if you haven’t been supplementing with it.

I use magnesium oil, and take it as per the directions on the bottle.

Zinc Citrate – a deficiency in zinc levels can most definitely result in low levels of testosterone; in fact it’s one of the most crucial minerals for optimal test functioning.

In fact, there is research out there showing that a zinc deficiency can lead to as much as a 50% reduction in testosterone levels. Again, this is something that you can easily check with a blood test, and when you go to get your testosterone levels checked, I recommend getting them to do vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium at the same time.

My magnesium oil contains zinc within it, so I don’t supplement with any oral form of zinc, outside of my food, of course.

Fish Oil as we’ve covered already, an optimal intake of healthy fats plays a significant role in producing optimal levels of testosterone. Fish oil is the cream of the crop in regards to healthy fats.

The effective dose for fish oil is around 2-3g of the active ingredients (EPA/DHA) per day, so be sure to find a high quality fish oil supplement, otherwise the amount of capsules that you have to swallow can become ridiculous.

Vitamin D vitamin D is another nutrient that can play a role in decreasing testosterone should the body be deficient in it. While our bodies should get a lot of our vitamin D from the sun, given that the majority of the population works in indoors nowadays, this simply isn’t the case anymore.

Research has shown that supplementing with anywhere from 3-5000IU of vitamin D per day can help fix this deficiency, and as a result, increase testosterone levels.

Beyond that, there are some tribulus and bulbine-based products that could help with natural testosterone levels, but I haven’t looked into them enough to recommend them one way or another.

Regardless, the list above is extensive enough for you to go and make some changes to your nutrition and lifestyle habits so that you can get a little extra kick start to your training, recovery, and sex life!

*Unless your doctor is an ignorant twat, and only wants to solve your low testosterone problem by drugging you up with prescription medication.

**Research may not actually exist. In fact, I made it up to grossly exaggerate a point that I was trying to make.

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James Garland

James Garland is a strength & conditioning coach, pseudo-writer, fitness entrepreneur, blogger, lover of all-day breakfast's, as well as a terrible poker player. He hails from Sydney, Australia, and would love for you to add him on Facebook and/or followed him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Interesting post.

    We researched maca and found it did nothing for testosterone: http://examine.com/supplements/Maca/#main_clinical_results (4 studies showing no change).

    It does increase libido, which is falsely equated with T.

    • James Garland says:

      Awesome, Sol, thanks for posting this up.

      I actually really love this response because I, like many others, have made this comparison mistake until you brought it to my attention.

      Although, as I said, an increase in libido alone is necessarily a bad thing ;-)

  2. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.
    You’re amazing! Thanks!

  3. HI bro, I am starting to take Vitamin D-3 and Zinc just because I was reading tons of articles that showed that they were very good for a man`s health. I just hit 40 (I mean turn 40) and plan to keep my T level okay (though I haven`t been tested yet). I also started to go to the gym again after a couples of years since I do not want to lose muscle and store (more) fat. Great article and I will follow your posts from now on.

  4. my husband used to take viagra but every time an ad came on the TV and listed all the side effects, I got nervous (he did too). So I looked for a natural or more healthy alternative. i found out that cialis and extenze are no different. then i found the Testosterone Pills from the Doctor Max Powers brand. read about it online and realized that my husband had those same symnptoms. My husband takes the Testosterone Pills from Doctor Max when he is not on the road and it makes our house a fun, friendly environment. He’s less edgy and very passionate. Constantly initiating sex and hugs all day.

    • What is your husband taking can you give me the website please!

      • What is your husband taking what is it called please so i don’t buy the wrong thing! there a website? so much stuff out there! how long has he been taking it.? and still working? would love to be able to email you and chat .

    • What is your husband taking what is it called please so i don’t buy the wrong thing! there a website? so much stuff out there! how long has he been taking it.? and still working? would love to be able to email you and chat .

  5. Hi
    The article is helpful.
    I have a question though.
    I’m 47 and my test levels are at the lower end of the “normal” range and according to latest opinion poles from experts the parameters are way too conservative. So in a nutshell, I’m screwed!
    I have been contemplating to take DHEA also for the anti-ageing benefits. I have tried to do my own homework but can’t find the answers I’m looking for. Wouldn’t DHEA, being an exogenous pre-hormone further inhibit the body’s ability to produce it’s own testosterone (almost like a negative feedback when using anabolic steroids)?
    I would appreciate it if you could shed more light on this
    I’m going to use all the other recommended supplements any way.

    • James Garland says:

      My understanding of it is that as long as you keep the doses at the minimum effective dose (50-200mg/day depending on age), and cycle on and off DHEA regularly (say every quarter), then you’ll definitely not have any problems.

      Anabolic steroids ruin your body’s natural T production because they take T levels to supra-physiological levels; something which you simply can’t do with DHEA supplementation. You can find almost everything that you need you need to know about the evidence around DHEA over at Examine.com’s page on it – http://examine.com/supplements/Dehydroepiandrosterone/

    • Barry Richards says:

      It’s always wiser to choose natural supplements over synthetic – have you tried Testofuel? It contains only natural ingredients. You can read about it here: http://abouttestosterone.net/

      • I have decided to give the other alternatives a go before resorting to DHEA. I’m pleased I did. I started using D-aspartic acid, ZMA, Tribulilus (60% saponins), Fenugreek and fish oil with high Vit.D content. I’m on the Renegade diet and do intense resistance training for 45 min a day. My test level has gone up from 5.5 nmol/l to 10.8 nmol/l in 3 weeks! I’m feeling better already and my strength has gone up . I would like it much higher and will continue with this protocol but I’m pleased with the results so far.

        • James Garland says:

          Comments like these bring a smile to my face! Thanks for sharing the success story with me, Casper – while you’ve got some work ahead, you’re definitely moving in the right direction.

          Oh, and to quote my buddy Ayo, the Renegade Diet is ‘the bollocks’.

          • Yes I love the Renegade diet. I feel less lethargic, especially after lunch and I do sleep better. I forgot to mention that I use a product containing Tribulus Alatus. Apparently there is no evidence that Tribulus Terrestris increase testosterone production but Tribulus Alatus showed positive results in some studies. (Just thought it’s worth mentioning)

  6. How is the DHEA working for you? I’ve read mixed reviews about DHEA and its ability to help with T production.

    • James Garland says:

      Hi Russ,

      The DHEA definitely has been making me feel a lot better, but I haven’t as yet had my T levels re-tested since I’ve been on it. I’ll keep you posted! As far as it’s efficacy/proven research on DHEA, it actually has a strong correlation with increasing T levels. You can read more about that from the supplement gurus over at Examine.com via this link – http://examine.com/supplements/Dehydroepiandrosterone/

  7. Why not take a Testerone Booster like Test Freak by Pharma Freak?

    • James Garland says:

      Because most supplements that have been marketed as ‘testosterone boosters’ are notoriously ineffective at boosting testosterone levels. Instead, they tend to increase libido or sexual arousal, which is often confused as the supplement working by the user. Furthermore, test boosters on their own (i.e. without dietary & lifestyle intervention) are even less effective.

      Speaking specifically to Test Freak, I can’t really comment on the efficacy of the supplement as a whole. I will say that two of it’s main ingredients, Tribulus Terrestris and Fenugreek, are both reviewed in a comprehensive review of the research over at this link – http://examine.com/supplements/Testosterone+Booster/

  8. I recommend everyone read ‘the magnesium factor’ Really gives good info and research on the benefits of magnesium.

  9. What about carbs after your workout, particularly High GI carbs like sugar. The reason I ask is because high GI carbs activate the mTOR pathway which initiates protein translation and decreases protein degradation. I know that protein also activates this system but high GI carbs activate it even more, so what is worse, the lack of mTOR activation from not eating the carbs, or the reduction in Testosterone from the carbs (with respect to gaining muscle mass)?

    • James Garland says:

      Hi Laughlan,

      The huge carb spike post-workout isn’t needed – many experts such as Alan Aragon, Brad Pilon & others have taught us as much. What matters more are your total DAILY calorie/macro-nutrient breakdowns versus nutrient timing. Carbs & protein (obviously more so protein, but the carbs help) definitely are required to get protein synthesis going (as well as keep it elevated for longer), but 30g protein/30g of carbs is more than enough to maximise this process – and it doesn’t need to necessarily be high GI carbs, either. The only time that I’d really recommend high GI carbs as a NECESSITY post-workout would be if you were doing 2 sessions in the one day.

      That said, with reference to Test, eating carbs only decreases it in the short-term. The problem isn’t having the meal here and there containing carbs (as most well-eating folks do), it’s when someone grazes on carbs all day, as most people who follow a typical Western Diet do. So don’t fear the carbs if you’re a) controlling them (kind of like IIFYM), and b) not grazing on them all day.

  10. Having a balanced mineral intake is more crucial than anything.
    Once you find your rhythm ,you will notice BIG changes , in your mind,body,and spirit.
    Deficiency will be quickly spotted,and quickly adjusted.
    Pay attention to yourselves !!!!

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