Thanks to a name like male sex hormone, lots of women overlook the fact that they also make testosterone. This means they’re missing out on the benefits that come with boosting the female body’s natural supply.
Higher energy levels, better mood, improved sex drive and enjoyment, even younger looking skin have all been credited to sensibly raised T in women. So ladies, here’s some easy ways you can safely increase T (without becoming the first bearded Ms Universe.)
More vitamins & minerals…
Vitamin D is drawn mainly from sunlight and has been seen to raise testosterone significantly at levels above 3300IUs. It has the added bonus of keeping the immune system sturdy and helping the body to absorb calcium, for strong bones. This last advantage is important if you’re approaching or have been through menopause.
If you don’t fancy having your T levels dependent on weather, vitamin D is also found in eggs, dairy and oily fish. Supplements are a good idea also, vitamin D3 in particular because your body absorbs that the easiest.
Zinc can be tough to get enough of from our diet. One study even reported as many as 2 billion people are likely not getting enough. Testosterone suffers as a result because zinc stimulates many of the essentials needed for a healthy supply.
It’s worth making the effort to get your 10 to 30mg a day by sticking extra oysters, beef, mushrooms or lamb on the menu. Again though if none of these are to your taste, supplements can be a solid option.
Magnesium is another area where most of us are slacking off. About 75% of us, according to the World Health Organization.
Magnesium raises your T by reducing Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHGB), a protein which attaches to the hormone, stopping it from being used. More generally, enough daily magnesium can also help to lift mood as shown in studies on subjects with depression.
Dark green leafy veg, beans, nuts and pumpkin seeds are your first stop for an natural increase in this mineral.
So now you’re getting plenty of the right vitamins and minerals and your T is on the up, this calls for a bottle wine to celebrate! Yeah, not so much.
Most alcohol contains phytoestrogens, plant compounds which mirror the effects of estrogen. According to research by the American Association for Cancer Research Journal one phytoestrogen, xanthohumol, can block T completely. It’s called a hormonal balance for a reason, if estrogen is up too high T struggles.
Even the occasional blow out isn’t advised as heavy drinking can cause plasma T levels to drop and they won’t start to recover until your bloodstream is completely clear of that big night.
Get enough cholesterol…
Cholesterol gets bad press, but because T is classed as a sterol it needs healthy amounts of to thrive. Taking steps to add cholesterol-rich foods to your table, will help you get the most out of your body’s production.
Clinical trials have shown that testosterone suffers in those on a low fat diet. One study compared a low fat group, defined as getting 18.8% of its energy from fat – with a high fat group – whose energy from fat ratio was 41%. They found that those who ate more fat not only had 13% higher testosterone, but as much as 28% lower estradiol, which is a type of estrogen.
Avocados, eggs, coconut and butter are all strong sources of the kind of cholesterol that helps your hormone. If all this talk of the F word is making you uncomfortable, remember by you’ll be raising testosterone your body’s own personal fat burning furnace.
Sex it up…
It’s often said that when T drops sexual appetite is the first thing to go. This is certainly true, but there’s a real chicken and egg situation here.
A 1992 study examined the testosterone levels of male female partners both on nights when they did and didn’t have sex. Results showed a clear hike in volumes of T for both partners when they were tested after a night of passion, compared to when the pairs just got an early night. Similar research has shown hormone levels begin to drop after a week of no sexual activity.
So, sex helps testosterone, which helps libido, which helps sex, which helps testosterone and so on. That, as Elton John so nearly sang, is the circle, the circle of sex.
Going to bed can help your testosterone levels in more ways than one.
A study by Chicago University found that men who only got 5 hours of sleep a night or less had consistently lower T than those who were better rested.
Only men but took part, but remember T behaves largely the same way in both genders. It’s mainly the volume that’s different, and women have less to begin with. Besides, we’re trying to swing you a few extra hours in bed, don’t rock the boat.
Avoid the pill…
This method of birth control, increases SHGB which lowers testosterone. Work by Zimmerman et al found it reduced androgens, particularly testosterone by 61%. It did this by limiting ovarian and adrenal output.
Lower T and higher SHGB severely hurting your sex drive too, so it can become a vicious circle.
If only there was a hassle free, widely available method of contraceptive that you or your partner could use that would cut out these disadvantages altogether, eh? Hmmm.
Loads of evidence suggests that by boosting your testosterone you can feel healthier, happier and even look younger. All without upsetting your body’s natural hormonal balance or going full Annie Schwarzenegger.
Best Testosterone Boosters for Women
- Wehr E, Pilz S, Boehm BO, März W, Obermayer-Pietsch B. Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Nuclear Medicine, Medical University Graz, Austria 2010
- Dawson-Hughes, B et al Effect of Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation on Bone Density in Men and Women 65 Years of Age or Older. N Engl J Med. 1997; 337: 670-676
- Prasad, AS. Prasad. Discovery of human zinc deficiency: 50 years later. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. 2012. 26(2) (2012), pp. 66-69(2011)
- Kilic, M et al. The effect of exhaustion exercise on thyroid hormones and testosterone levels of elite athletes receiving oral zinc. Selçuk University, Konya, Turkey 2009
- Excoffon, L., Guillaume, Y. C. Magnesium effect on testosterone-SHBG association studied by a novel molecular chromatography approach Université de Franche-Comté (2009)
- American Association for Cancer Research (2009) http://www.newswise.com/articles/hops-compound-may-prevent-prostate-cancer
- Mendelson, JH et al Effects of acute alcohol intake on pituitary-gonadal hormones in normal human males. J Pharmocology Exp Therapeutics. 1977; 202(3): 676-682
- Dorgan, JF et al Effects of dietary fat and fiber on plasma and urine androgens and estrogens in men: a controlled feeding studyAm J Clin Nutr. 1996; 64(6): 850-5
- Physiology & Behavior, Jul 1992, 52(1):195-197 Male and female salivary testosterone concentrations before and after sexual activity
- Leproult R, Van Cauter,EEffect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men. Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (2011)
- Zimmerman, Y et aThe effect of combined oral contraception on testosterone levels in healthy women: a systematic review and meta-analysis Human Reprod. 2014; 20(1): 76-105
- Turna, B et al. Women with low libido: correlation of decreased androgen levels with female sexual function index International Journal of Impotence Research (2005) 17, 148-153