For men, having enough testosterone is about more than being macho or “ripped,” it’s about health and quality of life. Testosterone is a hormone (a cellular messenger) that plays a vital role in bone density, red blood cell production, mental acuity, metabolism, muscle strength/mass, and sex drive. While testosterone levels naturally start to decline after age 30, there are a number of nutrients and actions that promote the highest levels of testosterone possible at any given age. The key is Creation Based Living (eating real food, getting sunshine, exercising, and getting enough rest), but I’ve broken down some of the specifics as they relate to testosterone below:
- Magnesium – Most Americans are at least 100 mg deficient of this important nutrient. Magnesium has dose dependent, positive effects on testosterone levels. Good sources of magnesium include: swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, halibut, pumpkin seeds, and mustard greens.
- Zinc – Zinc deficiency contributes to low testosterone levels. Zinc is an important co-factor in testosterone production. Testosterone levels increase with zinc supplementation but stabilize after adequate zinc is obtained.
- Vitamin D – Supplementation with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) corresponds with increased blood levels of testosterone. In studies, testosterone levels were dose dependent but plateaued at higher levels of vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D produced by the skin during sun exposure may be one of the best ways to boost testosterone levels, as 15 minutes in the sun can result in up to 20,000 IU of water soluble vitamin D.
- Vitamins C – Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality, as well as lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is very similar to testosterone but has the opposite effects. Cortisol is released in response to mental and physical stress and directly corresponds to decreased levels of testosterone. Vitamin C may help maintain testosterone levels by protecting against excess cortisol production during extreme stress.
- Weight-loss/lean muscle mass – Obesity is linked to low testosterone and can result in a vicious cycle of ongoing weight gain. The best way to break the cycle is by eating a healthy diet and following an exercise routine.
- Resistance Training/Heavy lifting – Lifting heaving weights is associated with increased testosterone production. High intensity exercises activate the central nervous and endocrine systems — jump starting the body’s testosterone output. To maximize testosterone levels, perform compound movements like squats, dead lifts, and bench presses, and lift with heavy enough weight that you can only perform 3-8 reps per set.
- Sleep – Getting enough sleep is vital for a healthy reproductive system, keeping cortisol levels low, and boosting testosterone. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night.
- Meditation – Lowering mental stress is an essential part of maintaining optimum testosterone levels and overall health. Meditation is a proven technique for reducing anxiety, increasing calmness, and lowering cortisol levels.
In order to further limit cortisol production and excess estrogen, avoid the following:
- Xenoestrogens – These are organic and synthetic compounds that imitate estrogen and may disturb the body’s appropriate estrogen/testosterone balance. Xenoestrogens include chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PCBs.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive caffeine consumption
- Excessive mental and physical stress
The take away: what’s good for your manliness is good for your whole body!
References: Magnesium Supplementation in Older Men, Magnesium and Testosterone Levels in Athletes, Adequate Zinc and Testosterone, Zinc Status and Testosterone, Vitamin D Supplementation and Testosterone Levels, Vitamin D and Dose Dependent, Vitamin C and Cortisol,Testosterone Levels in Health Men: Facts and Constructs, Obesity and Low Testosterone, The Association of Testosterone and Sleep
Originally posted 2013-03-13 23:25:11.