Everyone knows testosterone is key to things like controlling body fat, building muscle and maintaining sex drive.
Recent studies though have shown it also has a significant role in guarding against serious threats to health such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.
With the stakes getting higher as testosterone levels get lower, many men are tempted by expensive procedures like Hormone Replacement Therapy (regular injections of lab created testosterone) to counter declining levels.
But are such drastic measures strictly necessary?
In this article we’ll take a look at 10 relatively small, easy, even enjoyable lifestyle changes we can all make to boost our own natural testosterone. That will help to halt or reverse the age related decline, keeping us feeling and performing at our peak.
Go With the Flow
If you don’t look like the love child of the late great Walter Matthau and a California Raisin, you must be hydrated. Right?… Wrong. Studies have shown that up to two thirds of us don’t drink nearly enough water.
Too little fluid intake slows many essential functions down and hormones are no different. Testosterone, Human Growth Hormone and dopamine will all fall if we don’t get enough water on a daily basis.
How much is enough?
Well official guidelines recommend somewhere between 5 and 8 glasses, but in truth that’s really more of a guesstimate. The reality is it varies depending on factors like size.
The best way to gauge your own requirements is probably good old fashioned urine colour. To paraphrase that great modern philosopher, Ned Flanders, “If it’s clear or pale yella, you’re hydrated there fella, if it’s dark, nearly brown, you’re in Low T town”
Food For Thought
There are plenty of foods out there which will help you boost your testosterone. The vitamin D in oily fish is hugely helpful, oysters have high levels of zinc which the body needs for testosterone, and there’s even some suggestion that spicy food can raise levels.
For those of us who are not exactly top chefs though, there’s always the trusty raw egg. Eggs are chock full of cholesterol, which is a naturally occurring steroid hormone, and they are also a precursor for all your sex hormones – testosterone included.
Hold on before breaking out that frying pan though. Sadly doing that will oxidize the cholesterol and ruin its effectiveness.
For best results it’s advisable to simply crack an egg into a glass and throw it back to start your day. Rocky Balboa wasn’t just doing that because he was out of pop tarts you know.
Let’s Get Physical …(ish)
If you asked the average person to pick someone who they thought had high testosterone, chances are they would pick a ripped action star or athlete.
Ironically given testosterone’s image, research has found that the effects of doing too much strenuous exercise can be unhelpful to T levels.
Investigators at the University of North Carolina looked into the effects of over training, which can cause a surge in cortisol, a hormone that breaks down muscle and works against testosterone.
They found that guys who felt the burn and carried on, actually experienced a 40% drop in testosterone.
This is similar to findings of a study by scientists at the Universidad Federal de Sao Paulo, which revealed that men’s testosterone can fall by 50% after running a marathon.
Cortisol is sometimes called the stress hormone because it is produced when we’re under pressure, so it’s important to make lots of time to relax. Strictly for testosterone purposes you understand.
Boost with Your Eyes Shut
The American Medical Association recommends a good night’s rest based on a number of studies. One example comes from the University Of Chicago Medical Centre.
Scientists examined testosterone levels in a group of the fully rested volunteers and compared them with guys who had managed just 5 hours.
They discovered that the sleep deprived subjects had testosterone readings on average 15% lower than guys who had caught enough Z’s.
We know the body uses sleep to perform essential repair, all sorts of processing and re-balancing, so it should come as no surprise that testosterone is influenced by the amount of time we get to recharge. The current consensus is that 7 or 8 hours are preferable.
Get Your Motor Running
It’s easy to see guys of a certain age behind the wheel of a sports car and automatically think midlife crisis. But a new study suggests that these men are having the last laugh.
Not just because their cash flow is clearly pretty healthy, but because their testosterone might be too.
Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal recruited 39 men to each spend an hour driving a £75,000 ($117,000) Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet.
Saliva was taken and compared with samples from the same subjects after an hour in a 16-year-old Toyota Camry family car. While the Toyota either caused no change or, in some cases, even a drop in their testosterone levels, the Porsche caused a noticeable rise.
Some suggested that this rise was a response to the added female attention the Porsche got, but in fact hormone levels were still higher on open roads with no onlookers.
Scientists say the effect of a fast car on a man’s body is a form of ‘sexual signalling’ – where males compete for the attention of the opposite sex.
A Toast to Testosterone
It seems fitting that the perfect example of something which gets better with age, a bottle of wine, may hold the secret to helping guys do the same.
The reason is a compound, found in red wine, known as quercetin. Scientists at Kingston University found that quercetin has properties which blocks an enzyme in the body from telling the kidneys to pass out testosterone in urine, leaving more of it in our system.
Where quercetin looks promising is in its ability to release nitric oxide into the body. This raises blood flow and helps with circulatory issues – which is possibly why some natural supplements already include it – but any actual direct testosterone increasing qualities are yet to be established by clinical trial.
But with the wine being the key, I’d wager plenty of guys are already doing some freelance research as we speak. To any brave souls out there currently, selflessly giving their bodies to science, we salute you.
Keep Your Eye On The Ball
According to researchers from Georgia State University, men who are watching their team play increase their testosterone.
They studied spectators of the 2014 World Cup and found guys experienced a 28% growth. So sitting down regularly to watch a match could be great for your health. Get in! Not just your health, your relationship too.
Testosterone is vital to sex drive remember, so if that means you have to sacrifice your Saturday and suffer through the big game every week, all season, then you’ll do it. For your partner. To keep that spark alive. Because they mean that much to you and that’s just the kind of guy you are. They can make it up to you someday.
Small disclaimer though, to get this selfless boost in testosterone and sexual performance, your team need to win. If they lose, the Georgia state investigators claimed, you could face a drop of 28%. You might say you only schwing when you’re winning.