Tuesday, October 14, 2014

7 Lifestyle Changes to Boost your Testosterone Levels Naturally

Testosterone Basics

The hormone testosterone plays an important role in men’s health. It helps maintain muscle mass, bone density, and sex drive for starters. For men, testosterone production is at its highest in early adulthood and drops a little each year after.

A disease called hypogonadism makes it harder to produce the right amount of testosterone. Men diagnosed with hypogonadism can benefit from testosterone therapy. Therapy isn’t usually recommended, however, if your testosterone levels fall within the normal range for your age.

There’s no magic solution to boosting your testosterone, but there are some natural things, mostly lifestyle changes and diet, you can do to help.

1.   Lose Weight

If you're overweight, shedding the excess pounds may increase your testosterone levels, according to research presented at the Endocrine Society's 2012 meeting. Overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels to begin with, so this is an important trick to increase your body's testosterone production when you need it most.

If you are serious about losing weight, you have got to strictly limit the amount of processed sugar in your diet, as evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary driving factor in the obesity epidemic. So cutting soda from your diet is essential, as is limiting fructose found in processed foods, fruit juice, excessive fruit and so-called "healthy" sweeteners like agave.

Ideally you should keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day and this includes fruits. This is especially true if you have insulin resistance and are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.

In addition to eliminating or severely limiting fructose, it will be vital to eliminate all grains and milk (even raw) in your diet. Milk has a sugar called lactose, which has been shown to increase insulin resistance so it will be wise to avoid it if you are seeking to lose weight.

Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods also quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.

As you cut these dietary troublemakers from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy substitutes like vegetables and healthy fats (including natural saturated fats!). Your body prefers the carbohydrates in micronutrient-dense vegetables rather than grains and sugars because it slows the conversion to simple sugars like glucose, and decreases your insulin level. When you cut grains and sugar from your meals, you typically will need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat, as well as make sure you are also consuming protein and healthy fats regularly.

2. Stay Active

Testosterone adapts to your body's needs, experts say. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don't need as much to bolster your muscles and bones. But when you're physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone.

If you're getting little exercise now, you should start from a low dose, gradually increasing it to the proper levels for your age and fit:

* Walking briskly at least 10 to 30 minutes a day.
* Building strength with several sessions of weights or elastic bands each week. Work with a trainer to learn proper form so you don't injure yourself.
* Don't go overboard. Extreme amounts of endurance exercise -- working out at the level of elite athletes -- can lower your testosterone.

3.   Reduce Stress

Stress is a major driver of low testosterone. Ultimately your adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones and sex hormones are all interconnected in a beautiful but complicated dance.

A stress-driven phenomenon called “cortisol steal” can lead to a hormone imbalance where the production of testosterone is decreased in favor of cortisol. Stress also increases the production of aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase, two enzymes that break down testosterone.

The theory is that stress hormone cortisol actually blocks the effects of testosterone, presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, and aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the "fight or flight" response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).

In the modern world, chronic stress, and subsequently elevated levels of cortisol, could mean that testosterone's effects are blocked in the long term, which is what you want to avoid.

If you relax and breathe, meditate, do yoga or otherwise boost your parasympathetic nervous system, even for just 10 minutes a day, you give your hormone system a chance to reboot and rebalance, lowering cortisol and increasing testosterone.

4. Have More Sex

Just having an erection is enough to circulate testosterone throughout your body. But having regular sex will also help to keep your endocrine system stimulated and to boost those test levels. In turn with increased test levels, you will crave more sex. Therefore, that is truly a win-win situation.

5. Get Enough Sleep

George Yu, MD, a urology professor at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., says that, for many men with low testosterone, poor sleep is the most important factor. A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your body. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone.

Make sleep a priority, aiming for 7 to 8 hours per night, even if it means rearranging your schedule or dropping your habit of late-night TV. Prize your sleep, just like you'd prize a healthy diet and active lifestyle. It's that important.

If you're having problems getting good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor.

6. Stop Eating Sugars and Grains

Sugars and grains are not the greatest in process of creating an anabolic state in your body.

This means:
* Try to minimize sodas, sugary drinks, and fruit juices.
* Try to minimize candy and junk food.
* Try to minimize breads and pastas to feel the strongest effects.

Some carbs which are still pretty good to eat are things like black beans and sweet potatoes. Trust me, if you do this for your testosterone, your waist line & energy levels will thank you too.

7. Review Your Medications

Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level. These include:

* Opioid drugs such as fentanyl, MS Contin, and OxyContin.
* Glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisone.
* Anabolic steroids used for building muscles and improving athletic performance.

You shouldn’t stop taking any of your medications. If you're concerned about your testosterone level, discuss your medications with your doctor to make sure they're not the problem, and to make adjustments to your treatment if needed. 

Sources and Additional Information:

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