Testosterone Boosters & Protein Levels
Contrary to popular belief, both men and women create and use testosterone to maintain a healthy body. While there is a difference between healthy levels of the hormone and how men's and women's bodies use testosterone, it is important for reproductive health and building and maintaining muscle mass across both genders. Therefore, maintaining proper levels of testosterone (and, in effect, protein) is key.
To understand more about the essential hormone, read about the need for testosterone, the connection between testosterone and protein, and how your body uses nutrients to keep your muscles healthy and strong.
The role of testosterone in our bodies
According to Harvard Health, testosterone is the dominant hormone in male physiology, which controls several sex-related developmental phases and is a key player in the growth of a male during puberty.
In general, testosterone is responsible for:
- Development of a male's sexual reproductive organs (penis and testes)
- Facial and pubic hair (and potentially balding in later years)
- Muscle size and strength
- Bone growth and strength
- Sex drive (libido)
- Sperm production
But, do not be fooled. Testosterone is also a hormone found in women. It is created by the ovaries and adrenal gland and can contribute to proper ovarian function and bone strength.
In general, testosterone levels in males and females can fluctuate. For males, low levels can create developmental delays and concerns and can lead to a decreased libido and the ability for a male to build muscle mass. In the same vein, too much testosterone in males can also be problematic and lead to mood swings, acne, liver disease, heart conditions, stunted growth, increased risk of blood clots, and other health concerns.
For women, higher levels of testosterone can create a common condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, which affects 6% to 10% of premenopausal women.
Beginning around the age of 30, males tend to slow testosterone production in their bodies, and testosterone blood concentrations decrease with age. As a result of the hormone level reduction, some men experience physiological and psychological effects, including lowered sex drive, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, reduction in energy, and trouble sleeping.
After speaking with their healthcare professional, some men opt to use testosterone boosters in the form of natural foods, supplements, and therapies to increase hormone production.
What are testosterone boosters?
Generally speaking, testosterone production can be increased through natural remedies that include behavior and diet changes. For example, weight management, adequate sleep, and lowering sugar intake can help boost production.
However, natural remedies may have limitations on their efficacy. After seeking help from a healthcare professional and identifying that testosterone levels may be low but not low enough to be diagnosed with Hypogonadism (also known as low T), the next step may be to seek other "boosters," specifically supplements and dietary changes.
From a supplement standpoint, testosterone boosters are supplements used to increase testosterone levels found in the bloodstream. For example, some athletes may have lower testosterone levels attributed to age, genetics, or other diseases that reduce hormone production. Athletes focused on building strength and bulk through increased muscle mass will pay attention to their testosterone levels and seek to increase those levels by using testosterone booster supplements and consuming protein-rich foods and healthy fats, which can increase natural testosterone production.
Testosterone foods tend to be rich in minerals and nutrients and are often high in vitamin D and zinc. Foods that contain the necessary nutrients are most likely protein-based.
The Link between Testosterone & Protein
Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with testosterone. Ensuring adequate protein consumption can result in maintaining appropriate levels of testosterone. Therefore, it is important for anyone focused on proper health and nutrition —and muscle development and growth — to understand healthy protein levels based on age, gender, and activity level.
What is the right amount of protein, & what are the effects of consuming too much?
In general, most Americans do not consume enough protein. According to Harvard Health, a healthy adult should consume somewhere between 15 to 25% of their total daily calories from protein (although the percentage of protein intake may be above or below this range depending on age, sex, and activity level). For example, a healthy 18-year-old male with no adverse health conditions, weighing about 175 lbs and standing at 6 feet tall with a moderate activity level should consume the following:
- 2873 calories/day
- 358 grams of carbohydrates (50%)
- 144 grams of protein (20%)
- 96 grams of fat (30%)
In contrast, a 30-year-old healthy woman who is 5 foot 4 inches at 125 pounds with a moderate activity level should consume the following:
- 1678 calories/day
- 191 grams of carbohydrates (45%)
- 103 grams of protein (25%)
- 56 grams of fat (30%)
An example of a testosterone-supporting food is low-fat milk fortified with vitamin D. An eight-ounce cup of low-fat fortified milk has 8 grams of protein — approximately one gram of protein for every ounce of milk.
Aligning nutrient intake with health goals for optimal performance
Overall, protein levels that align with an individual's health and activity level will help create and maintain muscle and help their body function properly.
However, if someone consumes more protein than what their body can use for building muscle mass, the excess protein will be oxidized and used for energy. This is not damaging. However, it is not helpful for a person working toward building muscle mass and increasing testosterone levels. So rather than consuming extra protein, those interested in muscle building should be focused on maximizing protein synthesis by eating the right amount of protein for their body and goals at the right time.