Testosterone is the male sex hormone, affecting a man’s appearance and sexual health and development. Often, we associate testosterone with aggressive, angry, competitive behaviour. However, many of the stereotypes about testosterone are myths. Testosterone plays many vital roles in men’s health.
Testosterone plays a crucial role in more areas than many realize. It is associated with virility and strength, and men need the proper amount to function normally.
What Testosterone Does
- Regulates sex drive (libido)
- Helps bone growth and strength
- Distributes fat
- Promotes muscle mass/strength
- Produces red blood cells and sperm
- Gives you facial hair and pubic hair
- Helps maintain normal mood
On the other hand, when testosterone levels are low, men can experience a range of symptoms. Once men reach age 30, testosterone levels drop gradually, about 1-2% per year. Low testosterone can be the culprit for low sex drive, difficulty getting and maintaining erections, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, mood changes, and a host of other problems.
Common Side Effects of Low Testosterone
- Low libido and impotence
- Reduced sperm count
- Depression, irritability, and poor concentration
- Loss of body and facial hair
- Decreased bone mass (increased risk of fracture)
- Low blood counts
Men with low-T levels frequently experience the above side effects; however, if you are experiencing any of these specific signs and symptoms, it may not be linked to your testosterone level. Testosterone levels vary greatly among men, especially when you compare age and lifestyle choices. A 20-year-old’s testosterone level will likely not be the same as someone’s T-level at age 70. If you think your testosterone levels are low, schedule an appointment with your doctor, as a blood test is the only way to know, with certainty, if you have low testosterone.
Five Evidence-based Ways to Boost Your T-level Naturally
Testosterone levels will decline as you age, but there are scientifically proven methods of slowing, or even reversing, that process. Read below to learn about five natural ways to increase your testosterone level.
What you eat, as well as calorie intake, significantly impacts your testosterone level. A well-balanced diet full of protein, fat, and carbs will help tremendously with boosting your low-T level.
Several studies have shown a link between exercise and testosterone levels. What studies show is that the more active an individual is, the more testosterone they will have—within reason. Long-distance runners, for example, may experience low testosterone levels. Perhaps the takeaway here is to increase physical activity if you are inactive, but don’t overdo it.
Get Adequate Sleep
Restful, high-quality sleep plays a role in muscle growth, tissue repair, and your body’s ability to heal and repair blood vessels as well as your heart. Sleep also affects testosterone levels in a big way. Research has shown that getting only five hours per night of sleep for one week can cause a man’s T-level to drop by up to 15% (where 1-2% per year is the average). Research suggests that 7-10 hours of sleep is ideal for long-term health.
Do your best to minimize stress because stress is a fast track to testosterone reduction. When your stress levels increase, your testosterone level decreases. High stress not only negatively affects your testosterone level, but it also exacerbates many other health problems, including depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
The odd drink is okay, but the abuse of drugs and alcohol is linked to low testosterone. Alcohol causes hormonal reactions and cell damage in the body, and this can affect the glands and hormones that are key in male reproductive health.
Research has shown a link between low-T and obesity, increased disease risk, and premature death. Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone because it plays so many vital roles in your overall health and well-being, so we recommend doing what you can to keep your level in a normal and healthy range.