The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Michael Kummer.
Often thought of as the sex hormone, testosterone actually has an effect on a lot more than your libido.
Testosterone plays a vital role in men’s long-term health and wellness – and as you may already know, low levels of testosterone can have a significant (negative) impact.
Unfortunately, as we get older, our body’s testosterone levels begin to decrease. That means a decrease in muscle mass, sex drive, and a whole bunch more negative side effects.
What Happens When a Man’s Testosterone is Low?
This natural occurrence can lead to several complications, including weight gain, erectile dysfunction, reduced sex drive, and infertility, and even the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few.
In other words, low testosterone is every guy’s worst nightmare.
There are hundreds of gimmicks out there that promise to increase your levels of testosterone in a short amount of time, but these methods may not always be safe or reliable.
Rather, you should look for natural ways to increase your testosterone levels that are safe and backed up by science.
In this post, we’re going to explore 11 proven ways you can increase your testosterone naturally.
Let’s dive in!
What is Testosterone and What Are Its Functions?
Testosterone is a hormone naturally found in humans, often referred to as the male sex hormone. However, it is produced in both males and females, although women have much smaller amounts of the hormone in their bodies than men.
Often associated with the male sex drive, testosterone is crucial to sperm production, bone health, and muscle mass.
Believe it or not, testosterone also affects the way men store fat in their bodies. The testosterone hormone has even been shown to affect the production of red blood cells.
As you can see, testosterone is responsible for a lot more than your libido.
While testosterone levels begin to increase during puberty, that amount starts to decline as males reach the age of 30.
What are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels?
Low levels of testosterone – also referred to as low T levels – can cause a variety of symptoms and issues to occur, such as:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Mood swings
- Low self-esteem
- Less body hair
- Less energy and more feelings of fatigue
- Thinner and more fragile bones
Age is one of the leading causes of low testosterone levels, but other factors are at play as well.
An injury to the testicles or cancer treatments like chemotherapy can hurt the natural production of testosterone. Some chronic health conditions – such as cirrhosis of the liver, AIDS, alcohol abuse, or kidney disease – can also cause Low T to occur.
Here Are 11 Ways to Effectively Increase Your Testosterone Levels Naturally
Low testosterone levels affect 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 – evidently, many people deal with the adverse effects of low T on a daily basis.
Although there are many companies out their offering their product or service as the solution to low T levels, many of them are not supported by science. Best case scenario you waste your time and money, and worst case scenario you end up worse off than you started.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can increase your testosterone levels naturally. In fact, I used all of these methods (in conjunction) to increase my testosterone levels by 70% in just 3 months.
And yes, I was tested before and after to know exactly how high my T levels were.
1. Lift Heavy Weights
An excellent daily exercise plan is one of the best things for your overall health, and conveniently enough, it’s also a great way to increase your T levels.
A healthy workout routine that includes lifting weights has been shown to improve hormone levels. It has even been shown to improve the adverse effects associated with low T in seniors.
Lifting weights helps to improve low T much more effectively than dieting alone. Weight lifting and resistance training – especially heavy, strength-focused compound lifts like deadlifting or squatting – can quickly increase your testosterone levels.
High-intensity interval training has also been shown to be beneficial – it seems like any form of physical activity is leaps and bounds ahead of doing nothing if you want to boost testosterone.
What’s the bottom line here?
If you’re a man that wants to increase their testosterone levels quickly and build muscle mass, pick up heavy stuff and put it back down again. It’s really that simple.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Some people rant and rave about how awesome their vegetarian diet is – in fact, a guy at my gym was ranting and raving about how healthy fake chicken is for you. Yeah right dude…
Others swear by keto protein bars, and further still, I’ve even heard a guy tell me he’s on the werewolf diet and only eats at midnight.
I’m not one to judge, but that just sounds crazy to me…
There are a lot of diets out there, and I’m not going to tell you which one you should be following in this post.
At the end of the day, it’s important to eat a healthy diet. There are loads of foods that increase testosterone in men, some you wouldn’t have even thought of.
Eating cruciferous vegetables, for example, has been shown to aid in boosting testosterone naturally. Even coconut oil has been shown to increase testosterone.
Don’t stuff yourself with food that you know is unhealthy. Cookies, soda, candy, chips, french fries, fast food, etc. All of that stuff is terrible for you, and you know it.
Not only will it make you fat – regardless of how much time you spend lifting weights – it’ll also lower your testosterone levels.
What you eat each day has a significant impact on testosterone levels as well as other hormone levels. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to your caloric intake. Eating well is a choice, one that needs to be made if you want to live a healthy lifestyle (and maintain normal levels of testosterone).
3. Reduce Stress
Stress of any kind can be harmful to our emotional and physical well-being. Any time you are in a high-stress situation, your body goes into survival mode and all your resources are used to defeat the perceived threat.
The end result?
Our bodies choose to waste valuable resources to defeat the enemy that we know as stress – unfortunately, these same resources would have otherwise been used to aid in testosterone production. Stress can also have the same effect on estrogen levels in women.
Studies have shown that significant psychological stress has been associated with a drop in testosterone in men and a rapid increase of cortisol, which is an essential stress hormone.
Something as simple as watching a stressful scene in a movie such as a horror film has been known to cause testosterone levels to decrease, although the decrease was so small it’s basically negligible.
I think we can all agree that cutting horror movies out of our lives is a bit extreme, and obviously we can’t completely eliminate stress. It’s part of being human.
On the other hand, if there’s something big going on in your life that’s really stressing you out – from a huge workload in college to a job you hate – it may be time for a change. Taking the first step is often scary, but you’ll feel free and relieved afterwards.
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress levels – you may not notice a change after one session, but if you do it for even 5 minutes a day (consistently), you’ll notice a change.
Seriously, nothing is more important than your mental health – take care of yourself.
4. Get More Sleep
Sleep is SUPER important. I don’t mean 4-5 hours of terrible sleep. I mean making sure you’re well rested every night. An ongoing lack of sleep can drastically lower your testosterone, especially in young men.
These days it seems very common for young adults to get just enough sleep each night for them to function. And while they may be able to take care of essential tasks during this time, not getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night will take a toll on your overall health.
According to a study from the University of Chicago Medical Center, cutting back on sleep can cause low T to occur in young men at an astonishing rate. It is estimated that at least 15% of the working population in America gets less than five hours of sleep every night. And the study showed that skipping that much sleep would reduce a young man’s testosterone hormone levels by as much as aging between ten and fifteen years.
Ten men around 24 years of age took part in the study. They spent three nights sleeping for up to ten hours. Then that amount was reduced gradually down to eight and later to less than five hours. This decreased their testosterone levels by as much as 15%.
Their hormone levels were recorded at their lowest in the afternoon on the days where they had the least amount of sleep, between 2 pm and 10pn.
It’s recommended that working adults get at least eight hours of sleep each night. If you feel the adverse effects of low T, it may be time to make some adjustments to your sleep schedule.
Doing so can keep your levels where they should be. If you are having problems falling asleep or staying asleep at night, you should consult with your doctor for suggestions.
I’d highly recommend purchasing blackout curtains if you haven’t already – they’ll block out all light, allowing you to sleep in a pitch-black room. You’d be surprised at how well rested you’ll feel the next morning.
5. Take Natural Testosterone Boosting Supplements
There are many supplements on the market today that may or may not work to correct your low T.
Natural supplements, however, often do the job right and can provide your body with additional benefits as well.
Still, when it comes to taking supplements of any kind, proceed with caution – they’re often not well regulated, if at all.
6. Avoid Compounds with High Amounts of Estrogen
Compounds that contain high amounts of estrogen will naturally go against any of your efforts to raise your testosterone levels.
Many people think of estrogen as a hormone that is only present in women, but that is not true. Men and women have some amounts of both testosterone and estrogen in their bodies.
It’s perfectly fine and healthy for males to have small amounts of estrogen hormones. But when estrogen levels become too high, it can cause serious health issues to occur.
Making changes to your diet can help to reduce high amounts of estrogen and at the same time, raise your body’s testosterone levels.
Soy-based products such as meat substitutes are high in plant estrogens. These estrogens are also known as phytoestrogens. Research suggests soy-based foods raise estrogen levels, including vegetarian meat replacements.
7. Maintain a Healthy Weight
We all know how important it is for our overall well being to maintain a healthy weight. Fortunately, it also has an impact on testosterone levels.
We’ve already discussed how regular exercise and a healthier diet plan can help to give your testosterone levels a boost, and their byproduct – losing weight – can also help to reduce the occurrence of Low T, especially in overweight, middle-aged men.
It can be particularly beneficial for prediabetic men or those who have Type 2 diabetes that was caused by weight gain. A new study performed by St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin involved around 900 men who had prediabetes.
The study was completed in the U.S. and showed that individuals at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes could delay the onset of the disease or avoid it altogether by losing weight.
And since men who are overweight tend to have low T as well, the aspect of how weight loss affects testosterone levels was also considered during the study.
The experts concluded that low T is prevalent among men who are overweight as well as those who have prediabetes.
Aside from counting calories, eating a healthy diet, and exercising, intermittent fasting is a good way to speed up fat loss. It can be especially effective if you combine intermittent fasting with morning cardio so you’re burning fat as energy.
By the way, it’s okay to eat a high-fat diet like the Keto diet as long as you’re eating healthy fats, not trans fats. Stay away from trans fats like the plague!
8. Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Avoiding drugs and alcohol is another healthy tip that will help you keep your testosterone levels high.
Research has shown that alcohol can inhibit the secretion of testosterone, causing your levels to drop. Therefore, high alcohol consumption could cause some males to experience Low T.
Beer can be especially harmful because the hops in the beer work as phytoestrogens, which can decrease testosterone while also increasing your estrogen levels.
9. Use Probiotics
This may sound a bit crazy, but the bacteria in your gut can actually play a part in testosterone production.
Our intestines contain both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics work to fight against the harmful bacteria in favor of our digestive health.
When our digestive tract is in order, it can improve our health overall. This includes improving muscle growth, providing us with better focus and mental clarity and even increasing our testosterone levels.
Choosing a good quality probiotic that is specifically designed for men can be a great addition to your daily regimen.
10. Reduce the Use of Plastics with Food
Throughout the world, people are becoming more aware of the dangers of plastic, and how it’s negatively affecting the earth. But did you know that using plastic materials can even hurt your testosterone levels?
Chemicals known as Phthalates are added to plastics to make materials softer and more flexible. These chemicals can also be found in shampoos, laundry detergent, and even in plastic food containers.
Phthalates do not accumulate in the body. However, experts still believe that they could hurt our overall health, including lowering serum testosterone levels in men.
11. Avoid Stimulants
Stimulants like caffeine can help to increase cortisol, which in turn decreases your testosterone levels. Caffeinated drinks – especially energy drinks – will mask your lack of sleep, which is why many people end up becoming addicted to caffeine without even realizing it.
If you need an extra cup of coffee to keep yourself awake during the day, it may be time to cut back on caffeine. Instead, try getting not just more sleep but higher quality sleep as well.
Doing so will help your overall health and your testosterone levels.
Which Foods Increase Testosterone Levels the Most?
Avoid unhealthy foods that you know are bad for you. Instead, eat healthy proteins such as nuts and lean meats – they’ll aid in maintaining healthy testosterone levels while helping with weight loss as well.
Healthy fats are also beneficial – foods such as avocados, chia seeds, dark chocolate, eggs, and fatty fish are great. These foods can also help improve memory and focus while aiding in the body’s absorption of useful nutrients.
Here are some of the top-recommended testosterone-boosting foods to help you improve your hormone levels naturally.
Tuna is very high in Vitamin D, which is known to help with testosterone production. It is also a protein-rich, heart-healthy food that is low in calories.
Low-fat milk that contains Vitamin D also has Calcium and Protein, which are essential for your overall health. Once again, the Vitamin D content will help you keep your testosterone levels where they should be.
Because egg yolks are high in cholesterol, they can be beneficial to your health. The cholesterol in egg yolks is converted into testosterone as you sleep. Men who don’t already have high cholesterol issues can benefit from adding more eggs to their diet. Eggs are also full of protein, which is great for building lean muscle mass.
What are the Best Natural Testosterone Supplements?
Dietary supplements aren’t a replacement for a healthy diet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful.
Here are some of the (natural) dietary supplements I used to boost testosterone naturally by nearly 70% in 3 months. Keep in mind that, while taking these supplements, I was also implementing the aforementioned 11 tips.
Don’t think these supplements alone are an excuse to eat like crap and get loaded with booze all the time. You can’t use supplements to maintain your overall health and well-being if you’re not taking care of yourself in the first place.
D-Aspartic Acid daa is a natural amino acid. It works by increasing follicle-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones. This is essential because these hormones make Leydig cells which work to produce more testosterone.
Vitamin D is essential to the body for several reasons. Its active form works as a steroid in the body. Experts say that increasing your vitamin D levels can boost your testosterone levels while also helping with other men’s health issues. If your T levels are low, consider including a vitamin D supplement in your diet.
Fenugreek is an herb-based testosterone booster. Many experts suggest that it could help raise testosterone levels by reducing the enzymes that convert testosterone to estrogen.
Known as Withania somnifera, this herb has been used in ancient Indian medicine to treat several conditions. It is primarily used as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body to handle anxiety and stress better. Another benefit to ashwagandha is that it improves sperm quality in infertile men.
One study found that taking 30 mg of Zinc per day increased the levels of free testosterone in their subjects.
However, another study found that taking Zinc had no effect on testosterone levels, which suggests that it won’t raise your testosterone levels if you’re already getting enough of the mineral.
In general, the jury is still out on this one, but it appears that Zinc may be able to increase your testosterone levels as well.
Several studies, including this study, have concluded that magnesium can actually help increase testosterone levels as well.
Some athletes use magnesium oil to increase their performance because ATP – the main source of energy for our bodies’ cells – must bind to magnesium ions in order to activate. Doing so has also been shown to help increase testosterone levels, funny enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Testosterone replacement therapy or TRT is a treatment option for men with Hypogonadism. This is a disease where the body is unable to produce reasonable amounts of testosterone. The reason could be due to an issue with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles, or an issue with the testicles themselves.
Testosterone replacement therapy can help to reverse the unwanted effects of hypogonadism. And while it has been proven to be effective in that area, it is still unclear whether it will help to raise low testosterone levels in men who do not have hypogonadism and are otherwise healthy.
While the testosterone hormone and the effects of Low T are often associated with men, it’s important to remember that both men and women produce the hormone.
Males produce testosterone in high amounts during puberty, but women also produce testosterone in much lower volumes as well.
Therefore, many people wonder if women may experience the same negative symptoms of low testosterone levels as men. Believe it or not, there are also many health benefits for women that actively maintain normal testosterone levels. (Of course, women’s testosterone levels should be lower than men’s.)
Low T in women has been known to cause many of the same issues such as thinning hair, lower sex drive, dry skin, an increase in body fat, or a loss in muscle tone.
Testosterone plays a crucial role in libido in both men and women. Females who have lower than average testosterone levels will often experience a condition known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder or HSDD.
It is considered to be one of the most widespread sexual disorders among women and can lead to a lack of interest, sadness, a decrease in self-confidence, and frustration, among other similar symptoms.
If you feel normal, aren’t gaining weight, and have plenty of energy – basically if you’re not showing signs of low testosterone – than you’re probably fine.
But, if you have any concerns, the only way to be certain is to get tested. Getting your testosterone levels checked is pretty easy. You can pay your doctor a visit and they’ll run the test for you.
Yes, it most certainly does, especially if you work out on a consistent basis. Lifting heavy weights is the best way to boost testosterone levels, especially if you perform compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, and bench press.
Still, any form of exercise is good for you, and should help keep your testosterone at a healthy level.
No, masturbating and ejaculating don’t lower your testosterone levels. However, that doesn’t mean you should go pulling your pork all willy nilly.
A 2007 study on rats found that ejaculation lowered androgen receptors in their brains, which helps your body use testosterone.
Moral of the story?
Don’t punch your clown too much.
No, in most cases they should not. Unless you’re experiencing concerning symptoms, your natural testosterone levels are probably fine.
If you want to look and feel your best, you need to make sure you are taking care of your body.
You may have noticed that a lot of the tips on our list are – in one way or another – related to taking care of your body.
Eat right, exercise, avoid drugs and alcohol, get plenty of sleep, and you should be okay. If you take care of your body, your testosterone levels should increase.