These 10 Foods to Increase Testosterone
Testosterone is often described as the hormone that facilitates virility. Here are 10 Foods to Increase Testosterone.
Testosterone can have an effect on typical male characteristics, more importantly it is a hormonal messenger in the male and female bodies that can facilitate many different physiological and psychological changes.
As we age, the amount of testosterone usually decreases. Low testosterone can be associated with symptoms that include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, depression, and more.
To treat these symptoms, some people may choose to undergo hormone replacement therapy and artificially increase the hormone levels in their body.
As you age it is very important to maintain good testosterone levels through living a healthy lifestyle.
Lifestyle changes including diet and exercise can play a big role in maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Below is a discussion of what testosterone is, foods to increase testosterone, and other things you can do to support healthy testosterone levels.
What is Testosterone and Why is it Important?
Testosterone is a very important chemical messenger in the human body. For men, testosterone levels peak during adolescence where the hormone triggers many changes.
These changes include a deepening of the voice, maturation of the genitals, and an increase in muscle mass. The role of testosterone in adolescence is very important in the transition to adulthood and maturity.
While it does exist in adulthood, testosterone is a sex hormone that is released throughout a man's life and plays an important role in sexual function, sperm production, good bone health, fat distribution, and muscle strength.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone made mainly in the testes and in smaller amounts via the adrenal glands above the kidneys.
More specifically, testosterone is produced in cells called Leydig cells within the testes. These cells are responsible for converting cholesterol into testosterone which is then circulated throughout the body.
Leydig cells are instructed to initiate this process through hormonal signals sent from the pituitary gland of the brain.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is released through the pituitary and is the hormone responsible for signaling the Leydig cells to start the production of testosterone.
Once testosterone is made, it is transported throughout the body and signals changes in many different cells and systems in the body.
Testosterone is made continuously throughout life and a healthy range is important in optimal physiological function.
Why is Testosterone Important?
Testosterone plays an important role in men of all ages. As previously stated, testosterone is a key player in the physiological changes required during puberty which include genital maturation, increased muscle mass, and more.
Testosterone is equally important throughout life as it helps maintain healthy bone density, good libido, drive, competitiveness, and increases the ability to gain muscle.
In addition, testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day and testosterone levels usually peak in the morning and decrease throughout the day. The daily spike in the morning is one of the causes of morning wood.
A healthy testosterone range is quite large. The range is usually between 300 ng/dl and 1000 ng/dl.
This great variability means that individuals can have 3 times the testosterone levels of others and still be in a healthy range. Testosterone levels below normal can be an indication of hypogonadism.
Low testosterone can cause decreased libido, decreased energy levels, reduced muscle mass, and erectile dysfunction. These effects can have a major impact on your ability to live your life the way you want.
Pattern Considerations To Increase Testosterone Levels
If you suffer from low testosterone or suspect you may have lower testosterone levels, there are several actions you can take to ensure you are supporting your body as best you can.
From a dietary perspective, you must ensure that you are getting enough nutrients through your diet. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals such as zinc and vitamin D have been shown to be associated with low testosterone levels.
Below is a description of these two nutrients as well as a list of low testosterone foods that can help you increase your daily intake of healthy vitamins and minerals.
Increase your intake of Zinc
Zinc is a mineral that needs to be consumed so that the body can use it. There is no zinc storage mechanism in the body and this means it needs to be consumed regularly to keep you healthy.
Foods high in zinc include oysters, shellfish, nuts, fortified cereals, and nuts. As an adult, the recommended daily intake for zinc is 11mg.
Having a zinc deficiency has been shown to be associated with lower serum testosterone levels.
One study aimed to observe this correlation and found that when placed on a zinc-strict diet, serum testosterone decreased and when added to appropriate levels, showed increased testosterone levels.
Increase Vitamin D
Like zinc, vitamin D levels also show an association with testosterone levels.
Vitamin D, unlike zinc, can be produced in the body through exposure of the skin to UV radiation. This radiation is obtained through sunlight and is one of the benefits of getting outdoor exposure.
Unfortunately, many people are vitamin D deficient because fewer people spend their time outdoors.
Research shows that vitamin D levels and testosterone levels are positively correlated and vitamin D deficiency can lead to decreased testosterone.
Low-testosterone foods that contain vitamin D include fish, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk, and cereals.
In addition to eating foods fortified with vitamin D, you can try to get sun exposure to allow your body to synthesize vitamin D naturally.
In combination with eating a vitamin D-fortified diet, getting small doses of UV light exposure can allow you to have healthy vitamin D levels.
Other factors to consider
In addition to diet by consuming male testosterone foods which of course have an impact on your hormone levels, there are also other factors to consider.
Lifestyle choices are one of the main external factors that contribute to changes in hormonal balance. Lifestyle choices include diet in addition to sleep patterns and activity levels.
Below is a look at how sleep and your BMI can affect your testosterone levels as well as ways in which you can potentially help your testosterone levels.
Proper overall hormonal function is important in maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
One of the biggest impacts on hormonal function is getting enough sleep. The science behind why we sleep is largely debated, but the effects of sleep deprivation are fairly well understood.
One small-scale study found that sleep-restricted participants experienced a decrease in testosterone of about 10%.
While the exact mechanism behind what caused the drop in testosterone in the participants, the study illustrates the importance of sleep on optimal hormonal function in the body.
Good rest is a great way to help promote healthy testosterone levels as well as promote a better sex life and stronger erections.
Body Mass Index (BMI), is an indication used in the medical community as a rough estimate of body weight categorization.
It takes your weight and height into account and gives you a value that can help determine your weight range.
Having a high BMI may be an indication of being overweight or obese, both of which can lead to decreased testosterone levels in the body.
Increased body fat can increase levels of an enzyme known as aromatase which is the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to estradiol, a form of estrogen.
Higher levels of estrogen can cause prostate enlargement, fat accumulation in female-specific areas such as the hips and breasts, and many other systemic effects.
According to VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, generally with every 1 point drop in BMI, you can expect a 1 point increase in your testosterone level.
With this in mind, if you are in the upper range of BMI, you may choose to make healthy lifestyle modifications to lower your BMI to increase testosterone levels and lower aromatase levels.
In summary, testosterone levels are a complex subject that continues to be studied.
Since low testosterone can lead to decreased libido, decreased energy levels, reduced muscle mass, and erectile dysfunction, it's easy to see why you might want to increase your testosterone levels.
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