Overview: Testosterone and your body
Testosterone is an essential hormone for the healthy maturation of the human body – no doubt about it. This is to say that, like all hormones, it is a chemical substance secreted by the body which behaves similarly to a “messenger” in order to stimulate cells and organs in various, often vital ways. Albeit in different quantities and for slightly different purposes, it is produced both by the male and the female reproductive glands, by the testicles and the ovaries, respectively.
Optimizing testosterone levels has become a fundamental for most athletes of today regardless of their discipline. In fact, there are 19 breakthrough ways proven to increase testosterone (NATURALLY) that you can quickly follow to boost your testosterone.
Testosterone is probably the most important androgenic hormone in the male body and due to its multiple roles in the development of male growth and masculine characteristics, it is best known in the context of male athletes, trainees and bodybuilders, for whom it acts as an indispensable aid. However, over the past decades, studies have uncovered incredible reasons why optimal testosterone levels are tremendously beneficial for all men, both in terms of a stronger body and in the development of a stronger, healthier mind.
5 Reasons to Optimize Testosterone Levels
1. Testosterone decreases body fat and increases muscle mass
One of the many roles of testosterone in the body is to regulate insulin, glucose and fat metabolism, which means that in its absence, adipose tissue (or fat, in other words) begins to accumulate. What’s worse, the increased adipose tissue further decreases testosterone levels by converting it into estrogen, thereby establishing a frustrating vicious cycle. Nevertheless, the negative feedback loop can be broken with an increase in testosterone levels. In turn, this increases muscle protein synthesis and muscle mass, in addition to decreasing body fat.
2. Testosterone strengthens the bones and the heart
For bone hardness and strength, testosterone stimulates bone mineralization, the complex process whereby crystals of calcium phosphate are produced and used in precise amounts within the bone’s scaffolding. It also reduces unnecessary bone resorption, which would otherwise break down the tissue in bones and transfer the minerals into the bloodstream. The immediate result is optimal bone health, which can carry on into old age and delay or prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
The effect of testosterone on cardiovascular health, on the other hand, is an indirect one. In other words, the cardiovascular system is strengthened not by the hormone itself, but rather by the multiple health benefits that result from optimal testosterone levels.
3. Testosterone increases libido and may improve attractiveness
Numerous studies have already established the link between optimal testosterone levels and a healthy libido, as well as between low testosterone and low libido, coupled with erectile dysfunctions. However, a recent study also showed that men with higher testosterone levels and high self-reported dominance were more likely to draw the attention and maintain the interest of a female partner.
4. Testosterone may improve cognitive ability and decrease chances of Alzheimer’s
While many appreciate the physical benefits of testosterone, the hormone’s effects in terms of psychosocial and mental health have been widely ignored, until recently. Over the past decade, studies have uncovered and confirmed that optimal testosterone levels prevent brain tissue decay in elderly men, thereby delaying or preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been suggested that memory and cognitive function, in general, may be stronger in men with healthy levels of testosterone. Last, but not least, a link was identified between low testosterone and a predisposition to depression in older men, which might lead to a potential treatment for depressive symptoms in the future.
5. Testosterone increases dominance and the willingness to take risks
Numerous studies have demonstrated that testosterone motivates both men and women to gain and maintain social status, as well as to exhibit dominant behavior. Moreover, men and women with higher levels of testosterone have been shown to have a higher tolerance for risk-taking, which only increases after each win. When put together, these psychological effects of testosterone fuel the climb for success and help individuals resist oppression and overcome adversity.
Tips for optimal testosterone levels
Obviously, testosterone displays a myriad of positive health benefits, but achieving optimal levels can be easier said than done. In some cases, low testosterone levels are only a symptom of an underlying condition, which means that the latter must be taken care of before a lasting improvement can be made.
Nevertheless, most often than not, a slightly deficient secretion of testosterone can be countered effectively with relative ease.
More specifically, you can…
1. Do less cardio and more resistance training
If it wasn’t already obvious, any form of regular exercise is guaranteed to increase testosterone levels, especially in the case of men with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. However, it has also been demonstrated that resistance training, such as weight lifting, is the best type of exercise both to immediately boost testosterone and to maintain healthy levels of it in the long run.
2. Adhere to a healthy diet, with plenty of protein and sufficient fat and carbs
Your diet influences not only your testosterone secretion, but you hormonal levels in general, which makes it essential for you to carefully consider your calorie intake and diet strategy. While both constant dieting and overeating can disrupt testosterone levels, eating plenty of protein, healthy fats and carbs can help you optimize your hormone and testosterone levels, especially if you frequently opt for meals predominantly based on whole foods.
3. Maintain good sleep hygiene and minimize stress
Long-term stress has been demonstrated to increase the levels of cortisol in the human body, a hormone that works with testosterone in a seesaw manner. In other words, the higher your cortisol levels, the lower your testosterone, which is why minimizing stress is essential.
Furthermore, high levels of cortisol might prevent you from achieving a restful sleep, which, in turn, might further lower your levels of testosterone. One study showed, for example, that each additional hour of sleep, for up to 10 hours, helps your testosterone levels rise by an average of 15%.
4. Keep an eye out for testosterone supplements and natural testosterone boosters
Testosterone supplements are increasingly popular among athletes and bodybuilders, and may also be used in order to curb a deficiency. While their effectiveness might differ from one brand to another, certain vitamins, minerals and natural testosterone boosters have been proven effective in reliable scientific studies. These include the herbs ashwagandha, D-aspartic acid, and tribulus terrestris, the vitamins A, C and E, but especially vitamin D and zinc.
Whether you’re a trainee or not, optimal testosterone levels are essential for the healthy development of your body and mind. This is because the hormone testosterone plays an important part in several functions of the body, including
- the regulation of the metabolism,
- the strengthening of the cardiovascular and skeletal systems,
- the maintenance of a healthy sex drive, and
- the processes ensuring one’s psychological well-being.
- To ameliorate a deficiency and increase your levels of testosterone,
- identify and treat any underlying condition,
- customize your exercise routine to include more resistance training,
- customize your diet to include protein, healthy fats and carbs,
- lower your levels of cortisol and get plenty of restful sleep, and
- consider testosterone supplements rich in vitamins, minerals or herbs that have been proven to boost testosterone.
Paul Jenkins started his career studying MSc applied chemistry before becoming a sports nutritionist who currently has almost 20 years experience in sports nutrition.
1.The effects of testosterone on muscle protein synthesis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2917954
2.On testosterone levels and cardiovascular health: http://heart.bmj.com/content/97/11/867
3.On testosterone levels and bone health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10372695
4.The relationship between testosterone and libido: https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-lookup/doi/10.1210/jc.2005-2508
5.On testosterone in human mating behaviour: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550611400099
6.On testosterone and dominance: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/under-the-influence/201209/testosterone-and-dominance
7.The influence of cortisol and testosterone in risk-taking behaviour: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4489095/
8.Low testosterone levels and depression: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/482640
9.Testosterone and cognitive function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17132744
10.Resistance training and increasing testosterone levels: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9660159
11.On nutrition and sex hormone levels: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3360302
12.On vitamin D supplementation and testosterone levels: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195