In our prior post, What You Probably DON’T Know About Testosterone, we covered aromatase – testosterone conversion to estrogen, synthetic vs. natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and (my personal favorite) “moobs”.
I promised a post that shows a 3-step plan to help boost testosterone naturally. This formula has been successful for many guys, including myself, over the years. For some, it doubled their T levels within a 90-day period. We will cover this topic in a series of three posts so you get all the info without getting a migraine afterwards.
Testosterone levels are taking a nose dive. Studies have shown that the average male’s testosterone in today’s society is nearly 25% lower than in the 1980’s. Without the big T, men become infertile, impotent, docile, and weak.
The FIRST STEP to increase T naturally is: DIET
Not to surprise you, but diet plays a huge role in our testosterone production. Our glands need certain minerals, like zinc and magnesium, to get T production started and our Leydig cells need cholesterol to make testosterone. Some foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can boost levels by removing estrogens in our body that lower our T.
One of the biggest changes I made to my diet was increasing my fat and cholesterol intake. There’s a reason why bodybuilders drank raw eggs once upon a time (though, perhaps some still do). Studies have suggested that higher fat and cholesterol consumption results in increased levels of total T; in fact, men eating low-fat diets typically have decreased testosterone levels.
The Hormone Shop states that essential fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats, are essential for normal testosterone production and by avoiding such fats you will decrease your natural T production. According to 4-Mens Health, evidence suggests that consumption of meat boosts T levels. Vegetarian diets, on the other hand, cause a decrease.
Before you go out and buy a bunch of eggs, bacon and steak, I want to remind you of something very important. The antibiotics and stress levels in animals not raised in a humane manner can actually cause hormone shifts in your own body. You owe it to yourself, your health, and your testosterone to buy grass-fed beef, organic eggs, and bacon that is nitrate-free. Chicken needs to be free-range and fish needs to be wild caught, not farm raised. I cannot stress enough to buy organic and memorize what the Dirty Dozen is. It may be a bit more expensive, but the alternative isn’t worth it. Say “NO” to GMO.
On the flip-side, diets which are high in complex carbohydrates and simple sugars will result in lower T levels. Consuming excessive amounts of carbs will cause blood sugar to elevate and therefore release increased levels of insulin and cortisol.
The “Journal of Endocrinology” has determined that soy (which contains phytoestrogens) will decrease testosterone levels. A study performed by the Gifu University School of Medicine located in Japan revealed that testosterone concentrations were inversely related with the intake of soy products; hence, the fear of consuming soy products. According to a 2008 Harvard study, sperm counts in male infertility clinic patients were found to be lower by 41 million/ml in those who included soy in their diets. If you do decide to indulge in soy, only buy organic and non-GMO.
This may break your heart, but the hops in beer are so estrogenic, they are currently being studied as a treatment for hot flashes in menopausal women. If you want to optimize your testosterone levels, it’s best to completely avoid alcohol. Research has shown that even two drinks per day can lower your T levels. My advice would be to avoid alcohol during the week and sip on vodka on the weekends. A couple of filthy martinis won’t crush your testosterone as much.
TIP #1: To keep your metabolism running on high, eat 5 small meals per day. The easiest way to do this is to food prep for the week. Many people will spend Sunday evenings cooking up a storm. Yes, their fridge ends up looking like the kingdom of Tupperware. End the day with a slow-digesting casein protein unless you are dairy intolerant. In which case, I suggest a protein shake.
TIP #2: Always use BPA-free bottles since it may be the biggest culprit to declining levels of testosterone. BPA is Bisphenol-A, a synthetic chemical often found in various plastic containers that leach out once heated. When workers were exposed to BPA, it resulted in lower T levels and androstendione, a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. BONUS: If you’re trying to have kids, a recent study showed that 89% of men attending fertility clinics had BPA in their urine. Not only did they have lower T, but also lower TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Bottom line: Use glass or stainless steel whenever possible.
TIP #3: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat when it comes to testosterone levels. Adipose tissue (fat tissue) contains an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. The more body fat = more estrogen = less testosterone. Period. End of story.
Stay tuned for Part 2.