How to Increase Testosterone: 9 Best Natural Methods

How to Increase Testosterone: 9 Best Natural Methods

Testosterone is a critical hormone for building muscle, gaining strength, and increasing endurance. A healthy testosterone level not only improves gym performance but also positively influences energy levels, mood, libido, and quality of life.

The range of testosterone in the blood considered to be normal is large - 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) for males and 15 to 70 ng/dL for females. [1] Unfortunately most endocrinologists and other health professionals do almost nothing for males and females falling at the lower end of the spectrum despite complaints of fat gain, muscle loss, negative mood, and no libido.

Those falling below the normal range often begin a life-long journey of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Compounds like pro-hormones, anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) can increase testosterone levels but often have a number of unwanted harsh side effects. Furthermore, many of those compounds are banned by sports organizations and being caught using them often requires you to pay a hefty fine.

Thankfully, there are a number of safe and effective steps you can take to naturally increase your testosterone levels in addition to the regular performance of resistance training using compound exercises.

This article will discuss lifestyle and dietary changes as well as safe and effective supplements you can take to optimize your natural testosterone levels.

Best Methods to Increase Testosterone

#1 - Drop Extra Fat

Those six-pack abdominals in college or high school that expanded in to a keg with love handles over the past few years? or decades, is negatively impacting your testosterone levels to a significant degree. While you may believe that power belly is giving you the edge on the lifting platform or sports field, numerous studies confirm that obese individuals have significantly reduced testosterone levels. [2]

As a result you may find that as your waist becomes larger, losing fat and gaining muscle becomes more difficult, creating a viscous negative cycle. Even moderate obesity reduced sex hormone binding globulin which increases insulin resistance and decreases total testosterone. [3]

Thankfully the solution for excess body fat is extremely straight forward - lose it. Thankfully the human body can burn fat nearly twice as quickly as it builds muscle so even severely obese individuals won't have to be on a low-calorie diet forever. Clean up your diet by consuming healthy fats, lean protein, and carbohydrates only around when you exercise.

Engage in moderate and vigorous physical cardiovascular and resistance training activities multiple times per week. Keep a log of your waist size, body weight, and caloric intake. Over time you will see the waist and body weight drop while the libido and testosterone levels increase.

#2 - Have Plenty of Sex

Now this should not come as a surprise but individuals engaging in in high amounts of sexual activity relative to their age group have significantly high testosterone levels. [4] I'm not encouraging you to engage in promiscuous sexual activity and hump anything that moves, but rather I want point out the importance of sex in overall health and well-being.

While shacking up with every person you find attractive won't add slabs of muscle or hundreds of pounds to your Big 3 total, suppressed or ignored sexual desire can lower your testosterone levels. One study found that testosterone levels significantly increased in both males and females during evenings with intercourse and decreased as a result of evenings of no sexual activity. [5]

So whether you're married, dating, maintaining a friend with benefits relationship, or single and looking to mingle, safe sexual activity can naturally increase your testosterone levels and improve your overall quality of life.

#3 - Keep Stress In-Check

Stress kills. When your body undergoes physical or psychological stress it increases the production of cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone produced in the adrenal glands. While small, infrequent, acute cortisol spikes won't send your testosterone levels in to a downward spiral, prolonged and chronic stress exposure not only degrades mood but also negatively impacts sex drive and normal hormone function.

One study of 45 healthy males found that cortisol levels are elevated by as much as 160% within about one hour of moderate intensity post-cardiovascular activity which in turn lower testosterone levels. [6] While this increase may not seem significant in the short-term, imagine how high cortisol levels can rise if you not only engage in regular physical activity but also have work, family, and other financial stressors.

Now I'm not saying you should avoid physical activity to increase your natural testosterone levels; in fact, resistance training has a strong positive effect on serum testosterone levels. I encourage you to identify and manage your chronic stressors in the appropriate manner; that may involve regular mediation, breathing exercises, sound sleep every night, engaging in fun low-stress activities, or even that vacation/staycation you've been meaning to take.

#4 - Limit Alcohol Consumption

If you love to unwind with a six pack of beer multiple times per week or guzzle down a 24-pack of light beer over the weekends you're not only slowing fat loss and muscle gain but you're also decreasing your natural testosterone levels. Both acute and chronic alcohol consumption suppress testosterone levels, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone release by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. [7]

Thankfully testosterone levels return back to their original levels relatively rapidly for those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol infrequently. However, heavy drinkers that consume multiple drinks every day may experience significantly decreased testosterone levels after just five days as well as a slew of reproductive and other major health complications if they continue to drink large quantities regularly. [8]

If your goal is a long happy life and lean physique, then pass on that third shot of tequila at the local watering hole.

#5 - Eat Enough Dietary Cholesterol and Fat

Until recently dietary cholesterol and fat were demonized by the fitness industry and the general public. Thankfully a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that natural cholesterol-rich foods like eggs and saturated fat sources like butter and coconut oil have a positive impact on hormone levels and testosterone production.

One study found that consuming 40% of calories from fat along with a higher proportion of saturated fat intake significantly increased testosterone by 15% whereas another study found low-fat diets decreased testosterone levels by 12%. [9][10] Consume at minimum 0.4 to 0.5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight daily to ensure normal hormonal function.

Dietary cholesterol plays a critical role in the synthesis of hormones, vitamin D, and enzymes that help your body to digest food. [11] One of those hormones being testosterone. While your body naturally produces cholesterol to fulfill its daily need, dietary cholesterol won't send your blood levels skyrocketing. In fact, moderate cholesterol intake in other healthy individuals not predisposed to hereditary high blood cholesterol has little to no effect on blood cholesterol levels. [12]

As dietary cholesterol intake increases your body naturally produces less cholesterol to compensate. If you want to optimize your hormones, then don't shy away from high-quality forms of dietary cholesterol and fat.

#6 - Dose D-Aspartic Acid (DAA)

D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) is one of the most popular all-natural testosterone boosting ingredients available in the market today. Moderate DAA supplementation of 2 to 3 grams per day not only increases testosterone in athletes and infertile men, but it also causes the body to release more luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and growth hormone (GH). [13]

Unfortunately the testosterone-boosting effects of DAA are short-lived in healthy individuals. A daily DAA consumption of 3 grams for 12 consecutive days followed by 7 days of no DAA led to a statistically significant but minor testosterone increase above the natural baseline. [14] A second study of 30 infertile men found that a daily dose of slightly over 2.5 grams for 90 days significantly increased sperm concentration, quality, and motility without side effects. [15]

The most common DAA cycle is 4 weeks of a 3-gram daily dose follow by 4 weeks without DAA. DAA is a safe all-natural way to increase testosterone levels above baseline which equates to enhanced performance in gym and in the bedroom.

MTS Barracuda is a safe natural testosterone booster providing not just the daily recommended 3 grams of DAA in one scoop but also contains libido and sexual health-supporting L-Carnitine, Maca extract, Safed Musli, Eurycoma Longifolia extract, Fenugreek extract, and Black Pepper extract in a non-proprietary blend.

#7 - Increase Your Vitamin D

Suboptimal or deficient vitamin D blood levels may be robbing you of gains. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient produced during skin exposure to ultra violet light or obtained via consumption of fish, eggs, and enriched dairy products. Most desk jockeys working indoors 40+ hours per week and eating a standard American diet (SAD) are stuck inside during daylight hours and fail to consume vitamin D-rich foods.

If your vitamin D blood levels are less than 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) or 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) then your natural testosterone levels may be suppressed. [16] If you fall below these values then supplementation is inexpensive and effective way to get out of the danger zone boost your natural testosterone levels.

A daily vitamin D3 supplement of 3,332 international units (IUs) significantly increased the total, bioactive, and free testosterone levels by 28%, 20%, and 20% respectively in 54 males. However once these subject raised their vitamin D levels in to the healthy range their testosterone levels did not continue increasing and the law of diminishing returns kicked in.

As with most supplements more is not always better, the safe upper limit of daily vitamin D supplementation is 10,000 IU/day. [17] Insufficient vitamin D levels may increase your difficulty of building muscle, dropping fat, and improving endurance.

#8 - Replenish Your Zinc Levels

Similar to a vitamin D, a zinc deficiency can also lower your natural testosterone levels. Zinc is an essential nutrient expelled in significant quantities via sweat during moderate and intense physical activity. While a severe zinc deficiency is rare, it can cause hair loss, diarrhea, low testosterone, muscle loss, and diminished immune function. [18]

If you're an athlete that doesn't regularly consume zinc-rich oysters or a ZMA (zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6) then you may be cheating yourself of naturally circulating testosterone levels. A 30mg daily dose of zinc can significantly increase both zinc and testosterone levels if they are below normal levels. [19]

Super-loading zinc will optimize but not increase testosterone levels above their natural baseline. However, regular zinc supplementation of 3mg/kg/day may significantly improve how the body deals with exhaustive exercise, ensuring your testosterone and thyroid levels dip less significantly below baseline. [20]

If you choose to supplement zinc then select a chelated variety it's more readily absorbed by the body.

#9 - Fenugreek is Your Friend

Fenugreek is an herb with seeds commonly ground up and prescribed in traditional Indian and Arabic medicine to increase libido, control blood sugar, and increase milk production in nursing women. A number of studies found that the libido-enhancing effects of fenugreek are more than just placebo. A 500mg daily dose of fenugreek paired with a 4-day-per-week weightlifting program run for 8 weeks significantly decreased body fat percentage and increased both total and bioavailable testosterone compared weightlifting-only. [21]

A second study found that 600mg of the Fenugreek extract Testofen taken daily for six weeks significantly improves self-reported strength, energy, well-being, and sex drive without significant impacts on prolactin levels. [22] High prolactin levels is a serious condition that may indicate a sluggish thyroid (hypothyroidism), liver, or kidney disease. [23]

Fenugreek has a syrup-like aroma that many regular users report smelling in their sweat during intense physical activity as well in their urine. If you'd prefer ground Fenugreek rather than a high-potency extract, then check your local specialty grocery store or ethnic market.

Comment below if you have other tips and tricks to naturally increase your testosterone levels.
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