#1 Getting and staying lean
Maintaining a low body fat percentage is beneficial because research shows that the more fat you carry, the lower your testosterone tends to be. (1)
This is due to different reasons. A main one is because excess body fat triggers the aromatization process of testosterone, which converts it into the “female hormone” estrogen.
Of course, you don’t want to be too lean like under 8% body fat. That’s because the other hand of the spectrum is also not optimal for your testosterone levels.
The ideal range for testosterone optimization seems to be a body fat percentage between 8-12%.
This may come as a surprise. But another powerful, proven, way to boost testosterone is simply making a few postural adjustments.
In a study from Harvard, researchers looked at how postural changes impacted the participants’ levels of stress hormones and testosterone. (2)
Specifically, they wanted to understand the effects of having the participants do a series of “high-power poses.”
These included things like standing tall, taking up more space, putting their hands on their hips, and other power poses.
They also had them take on “low-power poses”. These included postural adjustments like taking up less space and insecure closed-off positions.
The results were amazing. In just two minutes, the power poses increased testosterone levels by 20%.
Meanwhile, the low-power poses reduced testosterone levels. Moreover, the power poses also reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 25%.
Conversely, the low-power poses led to increased cortisol levels.
Lifting weights is one of the best things you can do for your testosterone levels.
For example, researchers recruited male university students that had no previous experience with lifting weights.
They followed a weight training routine three times per week. (3)
In four weeks, the students experienced a testosterone boost of 40%. They also lowered their resting cortisol levels by 24%.
Further research supports this by showing that resistance training up-regulates testosterone receptors.
This means your body can use testosterone more effectively when you consistently incorporate resistance training. (4)
Sleep has a significant impact on testosterone levels.
For example, one study found that after a week of participants sleeping five hours a night instead of eight their testosterone levels dropped by around 15%. (5)
Another study on 500 men also found a link between sleep duration and testosterone. (6)
The scientists found that each extra hour of sleep raised testosterone by roughly 15%.
So, try your best to get enough sleep. For most people, this is going to be somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per day.
#5 Reduce stress in your life
You’ll also want to decrease stress as much as possible.
Acute, short-term stress, like having a deadline or even being excited when trying something new like skiing, for example, may actually even be beneficial for your health.
However, chronic stress like ongoing financial troubles, being trapped in a job you don’t like, or an unhappy marriage can really mess with your testosterone levels.
This is because chronically high levels of cortisol impair testosterone production inside the body.
Besides, cortisol and testosterone share the same building block for their creation – pregnenolone.
That’s why cortisol can “rob the raw materials” your body needs to make testosterone.
So, try to control your stress levels with some proven techniques like exposing yourself to nature, meditating, and developing a more flexible mindset.
Everyone knows that increasing testosterone is one of the best things you can do for your sex life.
But did you know that it also works the other way around?
For example, we have a study that shows that testosterone levels rise on the days that couples have sex, and they decline on days that they don’t. (7)
And another study found that it could increase testosterone by as much as 72%. (8)
The bottom line is that the more sexually active you are the more you create a positive feedback loop leading to improved testosterone levels.
#7 Avoid exposure to certain chemicals
You should try to reduce your exposure to man-made chemicals like BPA, parabens, phthalates, benzophenones, and triclosan.
Our environment is loaded with antiandrogens. These are compounds that lower testosterone and prevent testosterone from binding to its receptors.
For example, plastic water bottles and plastic meal containers are loaded with BPA, which is a compound used to harden plastic.
Studies show that BPA lowers testosterone and can cause erectile dysfunction. (9)
It’s especially problematic to heat plastic because that causes much more of the antiandrogen compounds to leak into your meal or beverage.
Other examples of products with high levels of antiandrogens are air fresheners, certain shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, moisturizers, and even deodorants.
Fortunately, with a small amount of research, you can very easily replace these with natural or harmless products.
#8 Optimize your dietary fat intake
Low-fat diets are bad for your testosterone levels.
For example, one study moved participants from a diet containing 40% of the calories coming from fat to a diet containing 25% of calories coming from fat. (10)
The results showed that testosterone increased when fats were above 40%. But they plummeted when they were below 25%.
So, make sure you’re eating enough dietary fat but keep in mind that not all fats are created equal.
The ones that have the most beneficial effects on your testosterone are saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Meanwhile, trans-fat has a negative effect.
#9 Limit alcohol consumption
Another thing that’s proven to have a negative effect on testosterone is excessive alcohol consumption.
Research shows that light drinking doesn’t necessarily have an adverse effect on testosterone. But heavy drinking can highly decrease your testosterone levels (11).
So, try to drink in moderation and don’t drink too much in one sitting.
Also, remember that it’s better to go with liquor or wine instead of beer. That’s because the hops in beer can impair testosterone on their own due to their estrogenic nature.
#10 Check your prescription drugs (with your doctor!)
Now a preventative measure that can actually boost testosterone quite a bit is to take a hard look at the prescription drugs you’re taking.
Of course, this should be done with your doctor and I’m not saying that you should stop taking your prescribed drugs.
However, there’s no doubt that eating a healthier diet and consistently exercising can help you reduce your need for certain prescription drugs that have negative effects on your testosterone levels.
These include statins, beta-blockers, heartburn medicine, antidepressants, and painkillers. (12)
So, if you suffer from low testosterone symptoms, you may want to talk with your doctor about whether they might be partially due to prescription drug use.
And remember – natural, healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce or fully replace the need for some medications.
#11 Vitamins and minerals
Moving on let’s talk about vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Almost all vitamins and minerals impact testosterone in one way or another. That’s why micronutrient deficiencies can be so detrimental to your hormonal health.
For example, looking over at vitamin D, we have a study involving over 2,000 men that found that men with sufficient vitamin D levels had much higher testosterone than the ones that were deficient. (13)
The scientists also found a close link between changes in plasma vitamin D concentrations and testosterone.
During the (mostly summer) months that the men had higher vitamin D levels, when they got more sunshine, their testosterone levels were also higher.
But vitamin D isn’t the only micronutrient that’s essential for hormonal health.
Other crucial micronutrients are zinc, selenium, boron, and magnesium, all of which are proven to boost testosterone.
So, try to meet all your micronutrient needs by consuming a nutritious diet and, possibly, supplementing with any specific micronutrients, like zinc if you sweat a lot or if you don’t get enough in your diet.
#12 Ashwagandha supplementation
Speaking of supplements one that you might have heard of for hormonal benefits is ashwagandha.
This is an herb that’s used in ancient Indian medicine practice and there’s evidence to suggest it can have a positive effect.
For example, in an eight-week study on men with infertility problems 675 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract increased serum testosterone levels by 17% compared to a placebo. (14)
Another study found that just five milligrams of ashwagandha a day for 90 days increased testosterone by 16 to 40% in infertile men and by an average of 15% in fertile men. (15)
To reap the benefits, it’s recommended that you take 300 to 500mg of a root extract with a meal, ideally for breakfast.
#13 Tongkat Ali supplementation
Another supplement that can boost testosterone is Tongkat Ali.
It’s an herbal medicine that comes from a shrubby tree native to Southeast Asia.
It has a long tradition of being used for boosting male potency, and research backs up that it can actually help.
For example, one group of “moderately stressed” participants increased their testosterone by 37% and lowered their cortisol by 16% as a result of consuming 200mg of this supplement for four weeks. (16)
For this one to be effective it’s recommended that you have 200 to 300mg of a 100:1 extract concentration. This equals 20 to 30 grams of the herb in its dry root form.
#14 Forskolin supplementation
Forskolin is another supplement that has a long history as a folk remedy for asthma.
Although it won’t fix asthma, it may boost testosterone.
A 12-week, double-blind study involving overweight and obese men found that taking a forskolin extract twice per day raised testosterone levels by over 33%. (17)
There are also natural foods that can also help with testosterone. Ginger root is a perfect example of this.
While ginger is usually appreciated for its anti-inflammatory properties, not many people know that it can also be used to boost testosterone.
Some studies on rodents prove this, and a human study found that consuming ginger daily for 90 days was able to increase testosterone by over 17% in infertile men. (18)
Unfortunately, the study doesn’t specify how much ginger the participants consumed daily. But for most people, 1-3 grams per day is recommended.
#16 Go for a medical check-up
Another thing that you should definitely do if you feel that you’re having testosterone issues, especially out of the blue, is to get checked out.
Sure, you can optimize your diet, sleep schedule, exercise routine, and take the right supplements. But if things aren’t working right on a deeper level, then your testosterone can still take a beating.
This is because the Leydig cells of your testicles produce about 95% of the testosterone in your body.
So, if you suffer from low testosterone symptoms even though you’re doing “everything right,” it’s probably a good idea to get checked by a doctor.
One of the most common issues men have with their gonads is something called a “varicocele.”
This is the medical term for enlarged veins which can lead to low sperm production, decreased sperm quality, infertility, and low testosterone.
In fact, according to the University of Iowa, varicoceles “are the most common cause for male factor subfertility, accounting for up to 40% of cases.” (19)
They also state that this condition “can be found in nearly 15% of all men.” (20)
In other words, it’s pretty common so don’t be afraid to get checked out.
#17 Testosterone replacement therapy (as last resort)
Finally, something that man men do as they get older is testosterone replacement therapy.
To be clear, I’m not advocating for this, and you should definitely consult with your doctor about the pros and cons.
However, if none of the natural tips work well enough to bring your testosterone levels up to the level that you want, you can always consider starting testosterone replacement therapy or TRT.
This isn’t something to take lightly because it’ll cause your natural testosterone production to decrease or to be shut down completely.
It may also have adverse consequences, especially when TRT is used irresponsibly.
So, if this is something you’re considering, make sure to talk to a doctor or endocrinologist about it.
This can help you decide whether it’s the right option for you and, if so, what’s the best way to move forward.
So those are 17 science-based tips that you can start implementing today to boost testosterone levels.
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- The more fat you carry, the lower your testosterone tends to be.
- A study by Amy Cuddy and colleagues at Harvard University assessed how postural changes impacts levels of stress hormones and testosterone. High power poses increased testosterone meanwhile low power poses lowered testosterone.
- One study had 20 male university students with no previous resistance training experience follow a weight lifting plan three times per week. The students boosted their testosterone levels by 40% in four weeks, and they also lowered their resting cortisol levels by 24%.
- Resistance training up-regulates testosterone receptors. This means your body can use testosterone more effectively.
- Sleeping five instead of eight hours a night for a week lowered testosterone by around 15%.
- Study on 531 Chinese men found a link between sleep and testosterone.
- Testosterone levels rise on days couples have sex and decline on days without it.
- Sex increased testosterone by 72%
- BPA lowers testosterone and can cause erectile dysfunction.
- This study moved subjects from a diet containing 40% of calories from fat to a diet containing 25% of calories from fat and then back to a 40% fat diet. Results showed that the low-fat diet decreased testosterone levels significantly.
- Research indicates that while light drinking doesn’t have much (if any) adverse effect on testosterone, heavy drinking can plummet your levels of it.
- Examples of medications that can lower testosterone include statins, beta-blockers, heartburn medicine, antidepressants, and painkillers.
- Study involving 2,299 men found that those with a sufficient vitamin D level had much higher testosterone than those who were deficient in this vitamin.
- An eight-week study with 46-men with infertility problems found that 675 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract increased serum testosterone levels by 17% compared to a placebo.
- Another study found that five milligrams of ashwagandha a day for 90 days increased testosterone by 16% to 40% in infertile men and by an average of 15% in fertile ones.
- One group of “moderately stressed” participants increased their testosterone by 37% and lowered their cortisol by 16% as a result of consuming 200mg of a Tongkat Ali extract for four weeks.
- A 12-week, double-blind study involving 30 overweight and obese males found that taking a forskolin extract twice per day raised testosterone by 33.7%.
- Consuming ginger daily for 90 days was able to increase testosterone by over 17% in infertile men
- Varicoceles are the most common cause for male factor subfertility, accounting for up to 40% of cases.
- Varicoceles are found in nearly 15 percent of all men.