Low testosterone is a major problem for millions of men who are otherwise in good overall health. Men need to be concerned about testosterone because it is a crucial sex hormone that has multiple effects on their overall health, sex drive and physical appearance. Find out what causes testosterone levels to get dangerously low and learn about some safe and effective ways to prevent or reverse the problem below.
It’s long been known that overall levels of testosterone in men decrease as they get older. The average over-50 male in modern Western society displays many symptoms of low testosterone, and so do many men who are younger than that.
UW Health explains that most medical researchers measure testosterone based upon how much of the hormone is present in the blood, measuring it in nanograms per deciliter. As a general guideline, a specific amount, 300 ng/dl, is viewed as the cutoff point between normal and low levels of testosterone. For every 100 men, at least two show obvious signs of being well below that critical level. Many more are either on the borderline or slightly above the 300 ng/dl mark.
Men need to worry about low testosterone levels because when testosterone levels get too low, you can start seeing all sorts of health problems, including symptoms like decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED) and weak bones. Testosterone is vital for male health because it helps the body create muscle mass, hair and sperm.
Lifestyle is a Major Factor
Andro Fuel explains that the good news is that there are many ways to naturally boost your testosterone that only depend on lifestyle and diet changes. When lifestyle changes are approached sensibly, even men who are well past middle age can do things to raise their testosterone levels considerably. For younger men who suffer from a lack of this vital hormone, lifestyle changes can have fast and visible effects.
How can the average man who needs to increase the amount of testosterone in his blood deal with the situation? It’s all about educating oneself and discovering what factors contribute to your own lack of testosterone. There are many factors that can cause low T; things like diet, activity levels, passive ingestion of chemicals, certain prescription drugs, emotional states and sleep habits all have the potential to directly change the body’s static amount of testosterone.
Soy, No. Zinc, Yes.
When it comes to testosterone, soy is the enemy. For men who use soy protein as a supplement and who tend to overdo it, the results can be disappointing. Studies have shown that even moderate amounts of soy protein can significantly reduce the amount of testosterone in the blood, so if you’re concerned about low testosterone, you should try to avoid soy as much as possible.
Check ingredients lists closely because a surprising number of products include soy as an ingredient. Zinc is at the opposite end of the spectrum as far as testosterone is concerned and can help to increase it.
Go Easy on the Adult Beverages
Alcohol probably has no negative effects on testosterone levels when it is used in moderation. In fact, those who occasionally drink beer, wine and hard liquor might enjoy a slight health benefit compared to those who never consume any alcohol at all. However, heavy drinkers can experience low testosterone as well as unwelcome changes in other reproductive hormones in the body.
Grains, Grains, Go Away
The relationship between grains and testosterone levels is a strange one. Gluten Free Society explains that not all grains have a detrimental effect on the hormone, but gluten seems to be a major contributor to low testosterone. This situation is a good example of the concept that it is possible to increase testosterone levels in a completely natural way. That means adding some foods to the diet and avoiding others.
Except in extreme medical cases, there is no need for taking testosterone supplements or going on strict diets. Nor is there a need for massive amounts of exercise. Testosterone is one hormone that responds well to natural manipulation with time and diligence.
Can Meditation Increase Testosterone Levels?
Protocol8 explains that most people don’t view purely mental activities as a way to deal with a low testosterone problem, but it is possible to meditate your way to better hormones. Decades of research has shown that adults who meditate regularly tend to have lower levels of cortisol in their bloodstream.
Cortisol levels directly impact lower testosterone problems because cortisol raises the body’s stress level in many ways. Just 20 minutes of meditation each day can reduce cortisol levels significantly. When cortisol levels go down, growth hormones, including testosterone, go up as a result.
So, in addition to all the dietary and exercise changes, it does apparently help men to incorporate meditation into their daily routines. Lower cortisol and higher growth hormones can mean an easier path to muscle building and faster recovery after sessions of exercise.
Sunscreen and Cardio No-No’s
Sunscreen is a part of life for anyone who spends time outdoors. Medical literature has touted the benefits of applying the creamy, sun-blocking goo for years, and the public has followed that advice in large part. Kitchen Stewardship explains that the problem is that most sunscreen products contain enough estrogen to interfere with testosterone production in the body of adult males. There are safe and effective products that don’t contain estrogen, but it’s imperative to read labels and do research to find the right ones.
Weightlifting and Testosterone Levels
Some studies have shown that so-called “toning” weight workouts do not have an effect on testosterone levels. It appears, based on research, that short sessions of power-style lifting can help boost the hormone’s level rather well. For men who already incorporate weight work in their exercise regimen, it might help to focus on lifting heavier weights for fewer reps and taking longer rest periods between sets. If you don’t currently strength train, taking up heavy lifting can help boost your testosterone levels.
Work on Posture
NoGym.com explains that some psychologists have suggested that posture might play a role in testosterone production. Actively working to get rid of a slumping posture and trying to stand up straight has effects on self-image, mood, and possibly increases the amount of testosterone in a person’s blood. Researchers theorize that “power postures” tell the brain to send signals out that generate more testosterone.
One of the more reliable ways to boost testosterone is to drop excess weight. Adult men who carry between 10 and 20 extra pounds (and that includes the majority of the adult male population in the U.S.) can ramp up their testosterone levels by losing the extra fluff. Losing excess weight has many other health benefits as well, including the restoration of proper blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Dropping a few unneeded pounds is pretty much a win/win.
There’s no reason to fly blind when it comes to dealing with testosterone levels. Everyone who wants to address the problem should speak with a doctor before embarking on a major change of diet or lifestyle. There’s no reason to put your health in danger by going to extremes, either. In most cases, it’s easy enough to improve testosterone levels with moderate changes to your diet and lifestyle.