Testosterone levels are something we don't think about a lot, but they could have a major effect on your health. As a nutrition and fitness coach, I always keep this in mind when reviewing a client's diet.
Women, you aren’t off the hook. Researchers found that lower T levels contribute to depression, osteoporosis, declining libido, and an increase in total body fat mass.
So it should be no surprise that one study found that restoring your T levels to a more normal range could have a wide range of benefits such as improving your sex drive (libido), sexual function, and mood, while also reducing fat body mass and increasing lean body mass. It could also improve your bone-mineral density.
Talk with your doctor if you struggle with low libido, weight-loss resistance, mood swings, and other symptoms that signal low T levels. While some people opt for testosterone replacement therapy if their blood work reveals low levels of testosterone, the good news is that a few simple strategies can help normalize T levels.
Hormones can have a domino effect. When one gets out of balance, others follow. I’m not opposed to hormonal replacement therapy, but you have the power to reset your T levels yourself with these five strategies:
1. Go low-sugar impact.
Sugar keeps your hormone insulin ramped up, storing belly fat, lowering muscle mass, and crashing T levels. Belly fat elevates estrogen levels in men, and low libido and erectile dysfunction often result. One study found that glucose (sugar) significantly reduced total and free testosterone levels in men. Dumping the sweet stuff (including sneaky sugars) could help hit your T-reset button.
2. Get optimal nutrient levels.
One study found that higher zinc levels mean normal T levels. Another found magnesium supplementation increases free and total testosterone values in sedentary men and athletes. Look for these and other nutrients in a professional-quality multivitamin.
3. Burst to raise T.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) gives you a killer workout in just minutes a day, but the most efficient, effective exercise on the planet can also help to normalize testosterone. One study found that for middle-age men, supplementing with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) combined with burst training could raise free testosterone levels.
4. Sleep well.
Ever noticed you’re not really feeling frisky when you’re tired and jittery, coasting on your third dark roast? Among its other detrimental effects, studies find sleep-loss reduces testosterone levels in men. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night.
5. Reduce stress.
Chronic stress levels can crash and burn T levels, sinking your libido in the bargain. Among other problems, one study associated increased job stress with decreased T levels in men. Whether you choose massage, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, find something that helps you de-stress, and prioritize it.
If you’ve struggled with low libido or other low-T signals, did you opt for testosterone replacement therapy? What strategy would you add here to normalize testosterone levels? Share yours below.
Photo Credit: Getty Images