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7 effective ways to increase testosterone

Man in black shorts stretching on beach

The legendary male sex hormone regulates sex drive, controls the distribution of muscle mass and aids the production of sperm. So, how do you get more of the good stuff?

Testosterone is a critical hormone for male sexual development and has been linked to hair loss, beard growth, and sex drive. When a man reaches 40, his levels of testosterone decline by about 1% per year. This can lead to the male version of menopause - colloquially known as ‘manopause’. 

Symptoms of low testosterone include:

Symptoms of low testosterone that may be harder to spot include:

  • Decreased bone density (putting you at greater risk of bone fractures)

  • Reduced sperm count

  • Loss of lean muscle mass

Experiencing erectile dysfunction could be a sign of low testosterone but other physical causes exist, such as high cholesterol. Erectile dysfunction is often psychological, but it’s still treatable. You can take a Sexual Performance Blood Test to give you insight into potential physical causes of the condition.

For most men, declining testosterone levels won’t cause any noticeable changes, but others experience various physical and psychological symptoms. The best way to check your levels of testosterone is to take a blood test.

So, if your testosterone levels are lower than expected, what can you do to increase the renowned male sex hormone? Here are 7 proven ways to boost your testosterone levels...

1. Exercise

Exercise is frequently celebrated for its many health benefits. It’s even thought to support the healthy production of hormones such as testosterone. A study that investigated the effects of a 6 week HIIT training program for ageing men who had previously led a sedentary lifestyle found that total testosterone significantly increased following the HIIT course.

It’s thought that the type of exercise that you participate in affects the level of testosterone produced. Resistance training has been shown to increase testosterone whereas athletes who participate in lengthy endurance training have been shown to have decreased levels of the hormone.

2. Supplement

Supplements help to maintain healthy levels of testosterone and should be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes to promote the production of the hormone. There are several ways supplements can aid the maintenance of your testosterone levels:

  • By targeting key areas of your health that support normal testosterone function. A supplement such as Testosterone Support focuses on critical areas of testosterone health including sex drive, fertility, and the maintenance of healthy testosterone levels. It includes 11 key ingredients including zinc, ginseng and maca.

  • By supplementing a specific vitamin that aids the healthy production of testosterone. It’s thought that vitamin D plays an important role in the production of testosterone with one study demonstrating how testosterone significantly increased in participants who took a vitamin D supplement.

3. Diet

A healthy diet is critical for the normal production of hormones. Even micro-nutrient deficiencies can negatively interfere with the normal functioning of the body. Nutrients that are thought to be particularly important for healthy testosterone production are zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D. One study also revealed that a low-fat, high-fibre diet negatively impacted testosterone levels but it’s important to note that the sample size was small so it’s difficult to draw meaningful conclusions. 

Another small study looked at the ratio of protein to carbs and found that men following the high-carb diet had greater testosterone production than men following the high-protein diet. However, the small sample size means this might not be representative of the population and more work is needed to be done to determine the best diet for testosterone.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to a diet that supports testosterone, try our 7-day testosterone-boosting diet plan.

4. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a pharmaceutical herb that’s been tested as a remedy for all sorts of illnesses. An important question has been posed by scientists: does ashwagandha increase testosterone? Perhaps surprisingly, there is some evidence to suggest a link between ashwagandha and testosterone, although more research needs to be done to fully understand why the herb might promote levels of the hormone. A study on male fertility found a 17% increase in levels of testosterone when treated with the herb. This was supported by a systematic review that found ashwagandha root had positive effects on testosterone concentrations in men.

5. Sleep

Sleep is absolutely vital for ensuring the process of healthy bodily functions. It aids memory consolidation, heals wounds, and regulates hormone production. This is the case for testosterone, which peaks during REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep. One study linked sleep deprivation to lower levels of testosterone and these findings were replicated when observing healthy, young men. Another study demonstrated that testosterone increases during sleep, and decreases while awake.

6. Sex or masturbation

Although the influence sex and masturbation has on testosterone produces mixed results, it’s clear that testosterone is linked to sexual stimuli in some way. A study in a sex club found that testosterone levels were elevated in men responding to sexual stimulus, and the levels were particularly high when participating in sexual activity, rather than observing.

On the flip side, there’s a small amount of evidence to suggest that abstinence can lead to a rise in testosterone, peaking after 7 days. However, more research is needed to truly understand the link between testosterone and abstinence.

7. Testosterone Replacement Therapy

When all else fails, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a proven method of treatment to boost testosterone levels. It comes in several forms including gels, patches, and injections. TRT can improve quality of life, depression, and erectile dysfunction, but some men experience side effects such as weight gain, acne, tiredness, and excessive sweating.