I rarely see a patient with low testosterone levels who does not also have a serious imbalance in some or all of the other major hormones regulating metabolism, body chemistry, and disease progression.
Here are 6 of the key hormones your doctor should test for and the importance of maintaining optimal levels of each:
Testosterone as we age, our testosterone levels decline, causing us to become moody, unhappy, forgetful, and disinterested in sex. Other symptoms of low testosterone range from loss of muscle mass and physical strength to accumulation of excessive belly fat.
Cortisol too much stress causes cortisol to rise to dangerous levels. Result: elevated blood sugar, weight gain, weakened immune system, loss of bone density, sleeping problems, and compromised immune system.
Thyroid hormone an important controller for your metabolism, the thyroid performs a myriad of critical functions from keeping body temperature normal and efficiently burning fat for energy, to regulating blood glucose and enabling neurotransmitters to work.
DHEA your body depends on adequate DHEA levels to create the hormones that manage cholesterol reduce formation of fatty deposits promote bone growth maintain ideal body weight regulate blood sugar levels and improve cognitive thinking.
Human growth hormone is required for mineralization of bone, tissue rejuvenation, protein synthesis, insulin regulation, and other essential biological functions in both children and adults.
Estradiol/Estrone though estradiol and estrone are primary female sex hormones, men need small amounts of them too, because estradiol aids the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and zinc minerals important for bones, teeth, and our immune system. But too much estrone or estradiol can have a deleterious effect on prostate health.
Optimizing levels of these key hormones could help you add up to 7 to 10 years to your life.
We evaluate the hormone profile balance using Biofeedback devices and recommend natural hormone replacements.
While a mans testosterone level does decline with age, starting around the age of 30, there are many factors besides aging that play a role. Think of generations past, when men were active and healthy well into old age. Clearly, its possible to grow old without losing your oomph.
So, unless you are working with a hormone specialist, your safest bet is to simply address lifestyle factors known to influence your testosterone level. The video above describes nine helpful strategies, including:
|Weight loss. Visceral fat (internal belly fat) is known to suppress testosterone production
|Limit or eliminate sugar from your diet, as insulin spikes sabotage production of testosterone.
Having good insulin sensitivity is positively correlated with healthy testosterone concentrations
|Optimize your vitamin D level. To produce testosterone, your body requires several different nutrients.
Among the nutrients more often depleted are vitamin D3 and zinc
|Reduce stress. Stress, when chronic and unaddressed, can result in high cortisone, which inhibits testosterone production
|Increase zinc and magnesium intake.
Zinc is one of the nutrients required for testosterone production, and magnesium has also been shown to improve sex hormone levels, including testosterone and human growth hormone
|Eat healthy fats, and do not shun cholesterol-rich foods as your body cannot produce testosterone without cholesterol.
Research shows a diet with less than 40 percent of energy as fat (mainly from animal sources, i.e. saturated) lead to a decrease in testosterone levels
|Boost intake of branch chain amino acids. This is best accomplished by whole foods like whey protein concentrate (not Isolate)
Sex, Drugs and Food Other Considerations That Affect Your Testosterone Production
Also, while low libido and erectile dysfunction are symptoms of low testosterone, know that having sex will in and of itself boost your testosterone level.In fact, the study concluded that the act of intercourse is likely what increases testosterone in men and not the other way around. Meaning, elevations in testosterone are not what get you in the mood. Rather its the doing it that sets into motion a positive feedback loop that leads to a boost in libido.
Also avoid drugs that lower testosterone as a side effect. Statins, for example, are associated with a number of symptoms commonly attributed to testosterone deficiency, including cognitive loss and sexual dysfunction. Statins also nullify many of the benefits of exercise, so if you are on a Statin and exercise to boost your testosterone, your results may be less than satisfactory. Steroids and opioid painkillers also lower testosterone.
As mentioned, your body requires a number of different nutrients to efficiently produce testosterone, including vitamin D and zinc. To give your body the necessary building blocks, consider adding more of the following foods to your diet:
|Pomegranate. One glass of pomegranate juice per day increased testosterone levels between 16 percent and 30 percent in one study
||Authentic extra virgin olive oil. In research, participants who consumed olive oil daily experienced an increase in testosterone levels between 17 and 19 percent over a three-week period
|Zinc-rich foods such as oysters, sardines, anchovies, cashews, wild-caught Alaskan salmon and raw pumpkin seeds
||Coconut and coconut oil will improve your body’s ability to make cholesterol, which is necessary for testosterone production
|Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower will help a mans body excrete excess estrogen, thereby increasing available testosterone
||Garlic. While it does not contain any necessary nutrients to produce testosterone, it does contain allicin, a compound that lowers cortisol.
With your cortisol levels lowered, your body can more effectively and efficiently use the testosterone that is produced
Another effective strategy for enhancing testosterone is intermittent fasting. It helps boost testosterone by improving the expression of satiety hormones like insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucacgon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CKK) and melanocortins, which are linked to healthy testosterone function, increased libido and the prevention of age-induced testosterone decline.
There are also nutritional supplements that can address some of the symptoms commonly associated with low testosterone. Some may even help boost your testosterone levels as well. These include:
- Saw palmetto. Besides addressing symptoms of low testosterone, this herb may also help to actually increase testosterone levels by inhibiting up-conversion to dihydrotestosterone.When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, make sure its an organic supercritical CO2 extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color. Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it with eggs will enhance the absorption of its nutrients.
- Astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto. There is also solid research indicating that if you take astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto, you may experience significant synergistic benefits. A 2009 study found that an optimal dose of saw palmetto and astaxanthin decreased estrogen while simultaneously increasing testosterone.
- Ashwagandha. This ancient Indian herb is known as an adaptogen, which can help boost stamina, endurance and sexual energy. Research published in 2010 found that men taking Ashwagandha experienced a significant increase in testosterone levels.
Ashwagandha also helps promote overall immune function, and can help increase your resistance to occasional stress. While some adaptogens are stimulants in disguise, this is not the case with Ashwagandha. It can give your morning exercise routine a boost, and when taken prior to bed, it can help you get a good nights sleep as well. I recommend using only 100 percent organic Ashwagandha root, free of fillers, additives and excipients, to ensure quality.
DHEA Is Another Alternative Route, But Lifestyle Changes Are Safest
The take-home message from all these studies is that taking testosterone if you are otherwise healthy could jeopardize your health for virtually no gain. And, if you are using a topical gel or cream, you are also jeopardizing the health of anyone in your family that you end up having skin-to-skin contact with.
Women and young children can absorb it via skin contact, and neither should ever use testosterone. Personally, Ive successfully raised my hormone levels into the healthy young adult range using the protocols described above.
However, if you do chose to use hormones, it is really crucial to use bio identical versions. I recommend using DHEA if you opt for this route. DHEA is a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands, and is one of the most abundant precursor hormones in your body.
Its crucial for the creation of sex hormones, including testosterone. However, its important to monitor your levels and work with an experienced professional before you start using DHEA (or any other hormone, bio identical or not.)
All of that said, I do NOT recommend prolonged supplementation of DHEA and other hormones, even bio identical ones. Doing so can trick your body into halting its own DHEA production and could potentially impair your adrenal function. It is also best to regularly monitor hormone levels if you choose to use hormone administration.