As a guy approaching 7 decades on this planet I'm always looking for ways to improve my performance in all ways open to me. With that in mind I thought I'd share the following article with my readers.
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, but females also have small amounts of it. It is a steroid hormone, produced in men’s testicles and women’s ovaries. The adrenal glands also produce small amounts.
During puberty in boys, testosterone is one of the main drivers of physical changes like increased muscle, deeper voice and hair growth. However, having optimal levels is also important throughout adulthood and even during old age.
In adults, healthy levels are important for general health, disease risk, body composition, sexual function and just about everything else. Additionally, increasing your testosterone levels can cause rapid gains in muscle mass and vitality in only a matter of weeks.
Interestingly, it also plays an important role in female health and sexual well-being. The research is pretty conclusive: both genders should ensure they have healthy levels of testosterone, especially as they age.
Minimize Stress and Cortisol Levels:
Research is always highlighting the dangers of long-term stress, which can elevate levels of the hormone cortisol.
Unnatural elevations in cortisol can quickly reduce testosterone. These hormones work in a seesaw-like manner: as one goes up, the other comes down.
Stress and high cortisol can also increase food intake, weight gain and the storage of harmful body fat around your organs. In turn, these changes may negatively impact your testosterone levels.
For both optimal health and hormone levels, you should try to reduce repetitive stressful situations in your life. Focus on a diet based on whole foods, regular exercise, good sleep, laughter and a balanced lifestyle, all of which can reduce stress and improve your health and testosterone levels.
High levels of stress are bad for your long-term health and can reduce your testosterone levels.
Take Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Although the benefits of multivitamins are hotly debated, specific vitamins and minerals may be beneficial.
In one study, zinc and vitamin B supplements increased sperm quality by 74%. Zinc also boosts testosterone in athletes and those who are deficient in zinc.
Other studies also suggest vitamins A, C and E can play a role in your sex hormone and testosterone levels, although more research is needed. Out of all the vitamins and minerals available, the research on testosterone shows vitamin D and zinc supplements may be best.
Vitamin D and zinc have the strongest evidence as testosterone boosters. Other micronutrients may also have benefits, but require further research.
Take Some of These Natural Testosterone Boosters:
Only a few natural testosterone boosters are supported by scientific studies.
The herb with the most research behind it is called ashwagandha. One study tested the effects of this herb on infertile men and found a 17% increase in testosterone levels and a 167% increase in sperm count. In healthy men, ashwagandha increased levels by 15%. Another study found it lowered cortisol by around 25%, which may also aid testosterone.
Ginger extract may also boost your levels. It is a delicious herb that also provides various other health benefits. Most of the research on ginger has been done in animals. However, one study in infertile humans found that ginger can boost testosterone levels by 17% and increase levels of other key sex hormones.
Other popular herbs that are supported by some studies in both animals and humans include horny goat weed, Mucuna pruriens, shilajit and tongkat ali. Yet it’s important to note that most of the positive research has been conducted in mice or infertile humans with low testosterone levels. If you have healthy testosterone function and normal levels, it is unclear whether you will benefit much from these supplements.
Several herbal supplements are a natural way to boost testosterone for those with infertility or low levels.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle and Avoid Estrogen-like Compounds:
There are several other factors that may affect your hormone levels. A healthy sex life plays an important role in regulating your sex hormone and testosterone levels.
High exposure to estrogen-like chemicals may also affect your levels, so try to minimize daily exposure to BPA, parabens and other chemicals found in some types of plastic.
It’s probably no surprise that excess alcohol or drug use, whether it’s medical or recreational, can also decrease testosterone levels. In contrast, laughter, happiness and success may help boost your health and testosterone levels — so make sure they’re a part of your daily life.
Reducing exposure to estrogen-like chemicals, alcohol and drugs can positively affect your testosterone levels and health.
From the age of 25–30, a man’s testosterone levels naturally start to decline. This is a problem because strong research shows a link between low testosterone and obesity, increased disease risk and premature death.
Healthy testosterone levels are also important for women, along with other key hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, everyone should take the necessary lifestyle steps to optimize testosterone levels. You will improve your health and body at the same time.
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Written by Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN on May 20, 2016