Testosterone naturally begins to drop at a rate of about 1% a year in men starting at the age of 30. In your 30s and 40s, you may begin to notice symptoms of reduced testosterone, including reduced sex drive, difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, reduced muscle mass, and steady weight gain that’s hard to drop.
For men whose testosterone drops below the standard for their age, testosterone therapy is an option, but it comes with many side effects, risks, and expense. The good news is you can take many steps to naturally increase your testosterone levels, even if you are experiencing a normal decline due to age. Here’s how to increase testosterone naturally to feel better and reduce age-related hormone decline.
According to a major review study, regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost testosterone levels. The best form of exercise for improving your hormone levels is resistance training or weight lifting. You can also try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of workout with short bursts of intense exercise can reduce the decline of testosterone and boost levels in the short-term.
While any type of exercise can support healthy hormone production, research has shown that prolonged aerobic exercise doesn’t have as dramatic an effect on testosterone levels. Lifting weights regularly, meanwhile, can boost your free testosterone by 49%!
Regular exercise in combination with a healthy diet can help with weight loss, another effective means of prompting better testosterone production. Men who are overweight have a higher risk of having low testosterone. In fact, obesity is the single-greatest risk factor for low T.
Losing weight when you have low testosterone levels can be an uphill battle because testosterone plays a major role in metabolism. Still, it’s worth the effort. According to a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, weight loss on its own is associated with increasing testosterone levels without the use of hormone therapy.
Get More Sleep at Night
Poor quality sleep or an inadequate amount of sleep at night can drastically reduce how much testosterone your body produces. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, poor sleep can significantly lower testosterone levels in healthy men within just one week. Sleeping less than the minimum 7 hours per night has been shown to reduce testosterone levels. Testosterone levels decline by a massive 10-15% when sleep is deprived with the lowest hormone levels at 2 pm to 10 pm.
Boost Dietary Fat
Dietary fat is an essential nutrient for supporting your body’s production of hormones. Don’t assume all fat is equal; eating cheeseburgers won’t help you. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, men can improve testosterone levels with a diet high in saturated and monounsaturated fat. Focus on foods like peanut butter, cheese, avocados, coconut oil, dark chocolate, and egg yolks.
Increase HDL Cholesterol Levels
Boosting your HDL (or good) cholesterol can give your body more of the ingredients it needs to produce hormones. Testosterone is derived from cholesterol, so low levels in your blood will naturally lead to lower testosterone. There is a clear link between HDL cholesterol and free or available testosterone. To increase your HDL cholesterol, add the following to your diet:
- Fatty fish
- Whole eggs
- Red meat (only a moderate amount)
- Olive oil
- Legumes and beans
Drop the Alcohol
Even a moderate amount of alcohol consumption can impact your testosterone levels. A Dutch study found that men who drank a daily moderate amount of alcohol had a 7% drop in testosterone levels after three weeks. To keep your testosterone levels healthy, limit yourself to one or two beers or glasses of wine per night.
With effort, you can significantly improve your testosterone levels just by making new lifestyle choices. While these steps can’t treat medically diagnosed low testosterone, they can make up for the natural age-related decline and help you feel healthier, more energetic, and stronger.