Over the past couple of decades, testosterone levels in men have rapidly declined. This is a worldwide trend that can’t be explained by changes in lifestyle, habits, and general health. Even after accounting for factors such as obesity, smoking, and insufficient physical activity — all known to decrease total and free testosterone — researchers have concluded that there’s been a substantial, age-independent, population-level decrease in mean testosterone concentration in American men.
To explain this drop, a few theories have been suggested, including endocrine disruptors, environmental factors, and changes in the standard western diet’s nutrient composition. The jury is still out on this, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we men can’t do to improve our hormonal health today. There’s much we can do to achieve better health, stronger bodies, and more satisfying lives.
The bad news is, there’s no magic pill to boost your testosterone level. The best solution modern medicine has to offer is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). But that’s complicated, costly, and riddled with potential serious side effects. Unfortunately, at the moment, this is the only way to clinically fix low testosterone levels. If you believe you might benefit from it, talk to your health professional and arrange some tests.
That said, for those of us in a healthy range but still looking for ways to improve hormonal health to perform better at the gym, in bed, and in the workplace, there are many easy, affordable ways to ever so slightly boost testosterone levels. One small habit might not be much, but when you pick up ten of them and stay consistent for some time, the changes will be nothing short of amazing.
Here are three favorite easy ways to slightly increase testosterone levels for healthy adult men:
#1. High Fat Diet
Until recently, a low-fat diet has been celebrated as the healthiest way to eat and the best way to lose weight. Ever since the 1970s, the majority of nutritionists have advised the general public to limit their fat intake, and rely on carbohydrates and some protein for satiation.
Today, we know these claims aren’t as solid as they were thought to be. From the Atkins and ketogenic diets to carnivore and zero-carb ways of eating, today it’s clear that things aren’t as black-and-white when it comes to fat.
Also, no fats are equal. Many studies highlight the dangers of seed oils and the benefits of animal fats. As far as testosterone levels and hormonal health are concerned, a diet rich in fat is hard to beat. Fat intake has been shown to influence testicular function, while a decrease in dietary fat has been shown to reduce the serum concentration of male sex hormones. Some studies even suggest that low-fat diets actually reduce testosterone levels in men.
#2. Herbal and Mineral Supplements
While whole foods should always be the main source of your micro- and macronutrients, sometimes supplementation can be the final piece of the puzzle. Unlike substances with a complex mechanism of action (such as nootropics), mineral and herbal supplements are generally well-researched and safe.
And while your average multivitamin pill won’t affect your hormonal health, some supplements have been shown to increase testosterone levels. If you’re interested in including them to your stack, we suggest that you take a look at ginger root, stinging nettle, Mucuna pruriens, boron, vitamin D3, and zinc.
#3. Heavy Lifting
Emphasis on heavy. While any workout is pretty much guaranteed to increase your testosterone levels, some forms of exercise will yield much better results. This has been shown to be true by multiple studies, the earliest of which was published in the early 1980s.
Resistance training, like weightlifting, appears to be the best type of exercise to boost testosterone — just one 30-minute-long weightlifting session can increase testosterone levels by 21.6%. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) ranks a close second. And for all you joggers out there, keep in mind that too much cardio may actually reduce your testosterone levels! So it might be a good idea to take up any of the three testosterone boosters above.