Testosterone improves not just your sex drive, but it also enhances exercise drive, energy for work, mental sharpness, muscle repair, and revs your metabolism to help with weight control. Although improving testosterone levels has not yet been shown to increase lifespan, having a healthy testosterone level improves quality of life for both men and women.
There are three ways to increase testosterone activity naturally with simple lifestyle choices. The first is to increase total testosterone production. Second is to increase the amount of free and active testosterone that can stimulate testosterone receptors. The third is to unblock testosterone receptors, opening them up for testosterone stimulation.
Raise testosterone levels
- Get enough sleep. Most testosterone is made during the sleep cycle. If you are sleep deprived, you’ll be testosterone deprived, too.
- Lose body fat. Fat cells convert testosterone to estrogen. Lose 10-20 pounds and you will see an increase in testosterone levels.
- Eat more healthy fat (Enjoy fat from avocados, nuts, olive oil, seafood). Testosterone is made from fat and people on low fat diets have a drop in testosterone levels.
- Get enough zinc. Men who are zinc deficient have a drop in testosterone production. Good sources of zinc are oysters, dark chocolate, and a multivitamin. However, men with normal zinc intake do not make more testosterone if they take extra zinc.
Increase free testosterone, if testosterone is bound (stuck) to protein, it isn’t free to stimulate testosterone receptors and activate testosterone activity
- Get enough vitamin D, 1500 to 2000 IU daily are recommended. Adequate vitamin D lowers sex hormone binding globulin, which binds to testosterone.
- Avoid eating sugar and refined carbs (any source of flour or sugar). A jump in blood sugar levels increases blood stickiness, binding testosterone to protein.
- Do interval or burst exercise training. Intense exercise increases free testosterone levels by releasing testosterone that are stuck to proteins.
- Do strength training to build muscle mass. Building mass increases free testosterone levels.
Unblock testosterone receptors
- Eat hormone free dairy, poultry, and meats. Estrogens block testosterone receptors, decreasing testosterone activity. Avoid consuming dietary hormones by choosing organic, free-range or grass fed animal protein.
- Avoid cooking food with plastic. Plastics contain estrogen-like compounds that block testosterone receptors.
- Minimize drinking out of plastic bottles. Soft plastic bottles release plastic compounds (estrogen like molecules) into the liquid.
- Avoid cans and containers lined with BPA. Most cans in the USA are lined with a cancer causing plastic like compound call BPA. Avoid canned products that contain BPA.
One bonus tip!
If you take a statin (cholesterol lowering medication) and you follow the 30-Day Heart Tune-Up program, there is a good chance you’ll be able to work with your doctor and over time safely stop your statin medication. Statin medications lower cholesterol, and you need cholesterol to make testosterone. Ask your doctor what you can do with lifestyle changes to not need a statin medication. Improving your cholesterol profile is only part of the answer. Many of the risk calculators doctors use look at tobacco use, body weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Improve all your risk factors, and often you won’t qualify for a medication!
I wish you the best of health and happiness,
Steven Masley, MD, FAHA, FACN, FAAFP, CNS