Testosterone is an important hormone – after all, it’s the primary sex hormone that exists within men, with key roles in male reproduction and secondary sexual characteristics such as body hair and increased muscle. Women also have smaller levels of testosterone in their bodies, present in the ovaries, adrenal cells, skin cells and fat cells – in women, testosterone plays a role in sex drive, fertility, breast health and menstrual health.
There may be reasons why both men and women wish to boost their testosterone levels – possibly due to a deficit but also for reasons such as enhanced muscle mass, improved sexual function or to aid fertility.
Low testosterone in men
Low testosterone levels in men is a condition called male hypogonadism. This is where the testicles do not produce enough testosterone, leading to symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, reduced bone mass, inhibited sex drive and lack of body hair. Younger males may also find their voice doesn’t deepen during puberty. Male hypogonadism can be caused by age, but also if you take certain medications or have a high body fat level.
Low testosterone in women
As with other hormones, testosterone levels can fluctuate based on the time of the month they are checked, as they are impacted by the menstrual cycle. This is completely normal and will not have adverse effects on the body.
A woman with consistently low testosterone levels however may find she suffers with issues including low muscle mass, poor sex drive, inhibited fertility and lower red blood cell production – red blood cells help to transport oxygen around the body, so a lack of these can result in anemia, fatigue and dizziness.
Those who suffer with low testosterone or think they may have this problem should seek medical advice to properly determine if this is the issue before seeking treatment to boost testosterone, as some underlying health conditions can show low testosterone levels as a side effect – in this case, the primary health problem would also need to be diagnosed and treated.
Boosting testosterone for performance
There are other reasons why people may seek to boost their testosterone levels, ones unrelated to health concerns. By boosting already healthy levels of testosterone, people may see a range of benefits including greater muscle mass, improved strength, better overall health, and defence against disease and enhanced sexual function.
There are a number of ways to boost testosterone levels, some by making simple lifestyle changes, some by putting in extra effort for fitness and exercise, and then also supplementation is an option.
Lifestyle changes to boost testosterone
- Diet – changing your diet to include more protein, fat and carbs can help to maintain and boost natural testosterone levels. Eating a well balanced, healthy diet in general will also help to keep on top of any weight gain and support overall health.
- Stress – stress has an adverse effect on the wellbeing hormone cortisol, which surges to try and control the stress reaction. This surge can then reduce testosterone levels, as well as promote the desire to eat more and store body fat around the organs.
- Sleep – try to have a good amount of restful sleep every night, in a calming environment. Sleep allows your body to rest and recover, boosting all hormone levels.
- Alcohol consumption – alcohol when drunk in excess may have a detrimental effect on testosterone levels, as quickly as 30 minutes after a drink. With this in mind, try to keep alcohol consumption to sensible levels.
Exercising and weightlifting
When you exercise, testosterone levels naturally rise – resistance training such as weightlifting or HIIT workouts have been seen to have really high short term boosting effects but maintaining a regular exercise routine is the best way to keep these levels high for the longer term.
You can combine both weight training and other exercise for an optimum workout to keep testosterone levels high.
Some people choose to supplement their testosterone levels – this may be in addition to lifestyle changes and workouts as above, or instead of, although an overall balance of both a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise work best, with or without additional supplementation.
Testosterone boosting supplements come in different forms and with different ingredients, but in the main they work to boost testosterone through a combination of ingredients that have varying positive effects on health and functions related to testosterone. This list of ingredients is varied but key ones include:
- Vitamins B12, B6, D3 and K2 – these hav varying positive effects on the body to help with blood health
- Folic acid – key in red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth/functioning
- L-arginine – an amino acid that aids circulation
- Zinc – helps the immune system and metabolism
- Eurycoma longifolia – has been shown to have an aphrodisiac effect in humans
- Horny goat weed – has been seen to help with erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis
- Shilijat – an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, diuretic and energy booster
If boosting testosterone levels is something that you are interested in, and you have had any medical concerns checked to ensure you know that supplementation is safe, then two such supplements for boosting testosterone are: