I have been asked more and more lately how to raise testosterone levels.
This is important to many men for different reasons. For some it’s because they want to be more aggressive and less fearful or anxious…for others, it has to do with building muscle and looking jacked…and for many it’s about sexual health (issues with low sex drive or erectile dysfunction).
It’s important to understand the REASON you want to increase the testosterone so that you can address the real cause. If you just want bigger muscles, you may be better off focused on altering your training in the gym and increasing your protein intake.
Men often assume that they have low testosterone if these certain symptoms are occurring. It’s worth testing both the total and free testosterone. But also, keep “optimal health” as the goal…this means you may need to test your body composition, micronutrient status, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metrics. But also consider, how do you feel? Are you sleeping well? Are you hydrated?
Although we always want all metrics to be balanced (not too high or too low), we need to see the big picture.
Let’s crack this case…
Low testosterone is a challenge but like any other metric, it is only one piece of the health puzzle. It’s important to step back and see the big picture.
What is causing men to have low testosterone to begin with:
- Hormones in animal products and processed foods
- Excessive caffeine
- High stress
- Poor nutrition
- Poor sleep habits
What can you do to increase testosterone levels?
- Stop eating and drinking out of plastic as often as possible. This includes water bottles and food storage containers, especially take-out containers of hot food, as the plastic leaches into the food even faster when heated. Plastic exposure lowers testosterone and also reduces sperm production which can cause fertility challenges.1 One thing that is important to note is that microplastics are found in large quantities in the ocean and are commonly ingested into ocean life. This means, you may be getting plastic if you are eating fish, shrimp or other ocean animals.
- Avoid animal products completely or if you are going to consume them, only buy organic. Although I am personally vegan and see lots of reasons to move in this direction (Whole Food Vegan Diet-Get Healthy Now, A Whole Food Vegan Diet for Health and Vitality and Can You Really Get What You Need From a Vegan Diet?), from a men’s health/testosterone standpoint, the main concern is that conventionally raised animals are normally injected with hormones, namely estrogen. The animals are given estrogen to make them bigger, faster. Bigger animals means more money for more meat per animal. Processed meats like hot dogs, pepperoni and sausage, reduce sperm count.2 It’s unclear if this is due to the hormones or the processing or both. Estrogen and other steroid hormones in conventional meat reduces available testosterone levels without a doubt.3
- Reduce caffeine- When it comes to caffeine and low testosterone…there are LOTS of “social media science” (articles on the internet) saying that caffeine helps raise testosterone. However, when you look at the actual research, there are mixed reviews, meaning some of it seems to point to caffeine having a slight lowering effect.4 Part of this has to do with dosage. The takeaway…1 cup of coffee is typically not problematic for most people…3 or 4 cups of course would be more of an issue. There are lots of variables here that need to be personalized. High levels of caffeine is contraindicated for those with high anxiety, for example.5 You can also do some genetic testing to understand better how your body handles caffeine (it can be helpful for some and harmful to others). **For more information check out the Nutrigenomix test and How do you know what YOUR body needs? blog.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol as it does have a reducing effect on testosterone levels.6 Alcohol also has lots of side effects that indirectly but most certainly reduce hormone levels, including reduced sleep quality, potential liver and kidney challenges and imbalanced blood sugar, to name a few.
- Focus on getting at least 7 hours of good quality sleep. You likely know that not getting enough sleep is associated with countless disease conditions and even reduces longevity. Testosterone is no exception. A recent study conducted in 2022, found that not getting enough sleep lowered testosterone levels, especially if cortisol was also elevated (common with high stress).7
- Consume a whole food nutrient dense diet and supplement as needed with only the best cell resonate supplements to ensure you’re getting the nutrients that you need. To be sure and to rule out any specific deficiencies, I highly recommend getting a micronutrient test. To have healthy hormone function, among other things, you need adequate amounts of vitamin D, zinc and magnesium as well as healthy cell membranes. This is again, why it’s so important to track down root causes. You could do a lot of good things to raise your levels but if you have significant deficiencies, they won’t work or at least won’t work as well.
- Start weightlifting! Exercise in general is helpful for temporarily raising testosterone levels but weightlifting has the best results. But the reason isn’t just because weightlifting is better…it is actually because weight lifting tends to be better at reducing body fat. Lower body fat/higher muscle mass is associated with higher testosterone levels in men.8 That being said, as a side note, anything you can do to reduce body fat (not weight), will be helpful.
Of course, there are some supplements that can help…but remember, as I always say, there is no supplement that will take the place of/do what a good diet, proper hydration, good quality sleep and other lifestyle habits will do. It’s also important to figure out why your testosterone is low in order to know how to best raise it. For example, if it’s high stress that is the cause, you may want to use products like Complete B, AdrenaVen or Adaptogen along with some deep breathing or meditation a few times/day. But if the cause is drinking too much alcohol, then those things may be less effective.
That said, if you’re doing all of the above and still having challenges with your hormones, a few things to try include:
- DHA (DHA Caps, DHA+D, DHA+E, EPA/DHA Marine Liquid and EPA/DHA Marine Softgels)
- Men’s Performance Edge
- Testosterone Premium
- Brazil nuts
*If you’d like more specific help or would like to understand which supplements would work BEST for your body, feel free to call the clinic to schedule an initial consultation. 269-204-6525
1. Jin H, Yan M, Pan C, et al. Chronic exposure to polystyrene microplastics induced male reproductive toxicity and decreased testosterone levels via the LH-mediated LHR/cAMP/PKA/StAR pathway. Part Fibre Toxicol. 2022. doi:10.1186/s12989-022-00453-2
2. Afeiche MC, Williams PL, Gaskins AJ, et al. Meat intake and reproductive parameters among young men. Epidemiology. 2014. doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000092
3. Shahbazi Y, Malekinejad H, Tajik H. Determination of naturally occurring estrogenic hormones in cow’s and river buffalo’s meat by HPLC-FLD method. J Food Drug Anal. 2016. doi:10.1016/j.jfda.2016.02.014
4. Glover FE, Caudle WM, Del Giudice F, et al. The association between caffeine intake and testosterone: NHANES 2013–2014. Nutr J. 2022;21(1). doi:10.1186/s12937-022-00783-z
5. Klevebrant L, Frick A. Effects of caffeine on anxiety and panic attacks in patients with panic disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2022. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2021.11.005
6. Erol A, Ho AMC, Winham SJ, Karpyak VM. Sex hormones in alcohol consumption: a systematic review of evidence. Addict Biol. 2019. doi:10.1111/adb.12589
7. Liu PY, Reddy RT. Sleep, testosterone and cortisol balance, and ageing men. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2022;23(6):1323-1339. doi:10.1007/s11154-022-09755-4
8. TURGUT A, Serhat V, Atakan Y, Mehmet G. The Effect of Resistance Exercises on Testosterone. J Eurasia Sport Sci Med. 2021;3(1):1-9.
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.