As men age, low testosterone is a common problem that can occur. Testosterone is a sex hormone which aids in the physical development of males during puberty. Some of these developments include facial hair growth, muscle growth, and a deeper speaking voice.
After puberty, it also contributes to healthy sexual functioning. As men age, a normal occurrence is a reduction in testosterone. In addition to the normal aging process, factors like testicular injuries, cancer treatments, pituitary gland diseases, and side effects from certain medications can lead to low testosterone levels.
It has been suggested that a 1% decrease in testosterone level per year is not unusual for middle-aged (30 to 50 years old) and older males. (medicinenet.com)
Why Low Testosterone is a Problem
Low testosterone levels can lead to marked effects on a man’s sexual health. Inability to achieve and maintain erections is a common occurrence with low testosterone. In addition, erections may occur less frequently and can be less strong than before.
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Low testosterone levels can decrease the desire for sexual activity as well.
All of these effects can put a strain on relationships with partners. Sexual dysfunction is usually the primary concern for men with low T, but there are other medical concerns that can occur.
Sexual arousal disorder is the 2nd most common sexual problem among women with 15% to 20% prevalence in post menopausal women. 10% of women never attain an orgasm regardless of the stimulation. 40 million American women are affected with female sexual dysfunction . (ietherapy.com)
Low testosterone can cause bones in the body to become brittle and weak. This can lead to osteoporosis which in turn can make men more prone to debilitating injuries, like broken hips.
About 12 percent of children and teens with rheumatic diseases who used glucocorticoids had fractures, about half of which were symptomless, according to data published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in September 2015. (everydayhealth.com)
There may also be a link between low T and a higher risk of death from heart disease. Some of the symptoms associated with lower levels of testosterone can be concerning. Many men experience an increase in their weight, lower energy levels, and an increase in body fat and a reduction in muscle mass.
These symptoms can lead to obesity and with obesity comes an increase in numerous health concerns. Low testosterone can also produce mental health changes. Depression can be a symptom of low T. Men also report having difficulty concentrating when their testosterone levels are too low. These symptoms often lead to a lowered overall sense of well being and general happiness with life.
Although low testosterone levels are typically a primary concern of men, women can also experience low levels. In women, low T can produce similar symptoms to their male counterparts such as lower sexual libido, weight gain, fatigue, and loss of bone density. In addition to these problems, women can also experience vaginal dryness and irregular menstrual cycles.
The Benefits Of Natural vs Unnatural
The typical medical treatment for men with low testosterone levels is with anabolic-androgenic steroids.
Anabolic androgenic steroids are synthetic hormones based and derived from the naturally occurring primary male sex hormone testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone with testosterone being primary and by-which all anabolic androgenic steroids owe their allegiance. (steroids.org)
These are the same steroids that are in the news when discussing abuse by sports athletes. These steroids are formulated in labs and have a fast, strong onset.
Unfortunately, anabolic steroids also produce a host of unpleasant side effects such as acne, halitosis, baldness, breast enlargement, cancer, a decrease in testicle size, high blood pressure, impotence, organ failure, painful urination, reduced sperm count, and shakiness.
In addition to these detrimental physical effects, synthetic steroids can produce serious mental health changes such as anxiety, depression, delusions, and rage.
The professional wrestler, Chris Benoit sadly made national headlines a few years ago after killing his family and then himself.
During a three day period between June 22nd and June 25th 2007, ‘The Rabid Wolverine‘ killed his wife Nancy and seven-year-old son Daniel, before committing suicide himself. (whatculture.com)
The psychosis that leads to these deaths has been attributed to illegal synthetic steroid use.
Natural testosterone boosters come with a greatly reduced risk of side effects. Natural boosters can include eating foods that have a high concentration of vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to increase testosterone.
Certain activities and exercises can also increase testosterone levels. Natural supplements can be used to increase vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in a diet in order to boost testosterone levels.
Natural Testosterone Boosting Foods
Vitamin D and zinc are the two nutrients most closely associated with boosting testosterone levels. Eating a diet rich in these nutrients can help to increase testosterone production.
Tuna fish contains high levels of vitamin D. One serving of canned or fresh tuna contains the daily value of vitamin D. Other types of fish like salmon or sardines are also good sources of vitamin D.
Low-fat or skim milk is a great source of vitamin D. It is important to read the food label to ensure the milk chosen has been fortified with vitamin D. The calcium present in milk can also help stave off osteoporosis, which can be an effect of low testosterone.
Eggs are abundant in vitamin D, particularly the yolk. Although high in cholesterol, eating one whole egg a day does not pose a serious risk for heart disease for people not at risk of high cholesterol.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 102 million American adults age 20 and older have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which puts them above healthy levels. (fortmorgantimes.com)
For those who already have high cholesterol, fortified cereals may be a better option. Some cereals are fortified with vitamin D, making them an optimal choice for boosting testosterone levels.
Certain types of shellfish like oysters, crab, and lobster are rich in zinc. Zinc can help keep testosterone levels optimal throughout life. Alaskan king crab contains upwards of 40 percent of the daily value of zinc in one serving.
Although wisdom tells us to limit the amount of red meat in our diets, beef is an excellent source of vitamin D and zinc. Beef liver is rich in vitamin D, while roasts and ground beef are good sources of zinc. In order to keep cholesterol levels in check, it is best to choose lean cuts of red meat.
Beans, particularly kidney and black beans, are excellent sources of vitamin D and zinc. They also contain protein and fiber to balance out a healthy diet.
Activities That Boost Testosterone Naturally
While clearly being part of a healthy lifestyle in general, certain types of exercise can also boost testosterone levels.
Incorporating sprinting into an exercise program can boost testosterone. Incorporating six-second bursts of running during a casual jog, on the treadmill, or even on the elliptical trainer can be effective. Sprinting can also be added to a bicycling routine.
Lifting weights not only builds muscle mass but is also important when boosting testosterone levels. The most important thing to understand about this activity is that for optimal results, low reps with heavy weights have been shown to boost the testosterone most substantially. These types of lifting activities can include squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.
While exercising, it has been shown that long 2 minute rest periods between sets are optimal for increasing testosterone. Stretching during these rest periods can be beneficial. If time is a concern, shorter rest periods can be utilized as long as the activity is using different muscle groups than the last set.
Although long-distance running and cycling are great for cardiovascular health, they tend to lower testosterone levels if they are the primary exercise focus. Instead, it is important to incorporate heavy lifting activities into any cardio program if the goal is to increase testosterone levels.
Minute per minute, cardio indisputably burns more calories than strength training, which could explain why compared to strength trainers, aerobic exercisers lose more weight in less time, according to a recent Duke University study. (womenshealthmag.com)
What are the Best Natural Testosterone Boosters?
Not everyone can boost their testosterone levels through diet and exercise alone. There are natural supplements that can be added to the diet to give a boost.
Vitamin D can be found in many foods, but sunlight is needed in order for the body to use it optimally. Depending on how often a person is able to be in direct sunlight, a vitamin D supplement can be used to boost testosterone levels. This makes vitamin D one of the best natural testosterone boosters.
Vitamin D plays a key role in the proper absorption of calcium for strong bones and teeth and has been shown to support colon, breast, prostate, ovarian, heart and colorectal health. (sharecare.com)
D-aspartic acid boosts testosterone by increasing luteinizing hormone, which causes the testicles to produce more of the hormone. Studies have shown an increase in testosterone levels for men who are significantly lacking in it. This makes D-aspartic acid one of the best testosterone boosting supplements.
D-AA can be used as a testosterone booster for infertile men, and by athletes as a temporary booster. (examine.com)
Tribulus Terrestris is an herb that has been shown to increase sexual function and boost testosterone for those with significantly low levels. It can increase sexual libido and improve sperm health.
Either way, with no observed side effects, it offers men a natural method to maintain testosterone levels… and physical, psychological and sexual health . (globalhealingcenter.com)
One of the best testosterone boosting supplements, Fenugreek, is an herb that is thought to boost T levels by reducing enzymes which convert testosterone into estrogen. It has been shown to increase sexual health while also increasing energy levels and a sense of well being.
Indigenous to India and North Africa, Trigonella foenum-graecum, more commonly known as fenugreek, is used in traditional medicine for treating arthritis and sexual dysfunction. (livestrong.com)
Ginger root may be used in cooking, but it has also demonstrated its effectiveness in increasing testosterone levels. Along with boosting T levels, it is also reported to improve sexual health and increase sperm counts in men.
A meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials  evaluated effects of ginger on net changes in blood glucose and lipid concentrations (total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol). (nutrientjournal.com)
Low testosterone levels can cause problems in both men and women ranging from slight discomfort to serious physical health problems. Using a natural approach to boost testosterone levels can have dramatic positive results without the worry of life-altering side effects.