Did you know that as men reach the age of 30, their testosterone levels start to decline at a rate of one percent every year? A lot of men may have been dealing with this problem, but they remain unaware that this is actually going on, and that something can be done about it.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is responsible for a number of functions in the body. These include sperm production, sex drive, fat distribution, muscle mass, muscle strength, red blood cell production and bone density. Since it is able to affect a number of important processes in the body, any significant alterations not only creates physical changes, but emotional ones as well.
But, it is true that one of the main concerns that men have that is related to testosterone levels is the changes in sexual function. Low levels can negatively affect their desire, drive and endurance.
As for the physical aspect, low testosterone levels is evidenced in an increase in body fat, decreased strength, decreased body hair, increased fatigue, fragile bones and even hot flashes. Emotionally, this condition can lead to depression, a low sense of well-being, poor self confidence and a lack in motivation.
These symptoms may not always necessarily mean that a man has low testosterone levels, in some instances, it could be due to a thyroid condition, alcohol use or the side effects of medications. This is why it is best that you get a definitive answer through medical consultation which would include a blood workup.
Ways to improve testosterone levels naturally
If you do have low testosterone levels, there are natural ways to improve it. These measures are relatively easier to maintain, and are much safer too.
Get a lid on your stress levels
When your body undergoes a lot of stress on a regular basis, it triggers the body to release cortisol, a stress hormone. Its increasing presence can lower the production of testosterone. Either physical or mental stress can create a downer on your testosterone levels.
Professor Robert Josephs of the Psychology department in The University of Texas confirmed after a study that, “When cortisol levels remain elevated, as is the case with so many people who are under constant stress, the ability to reproduce can suffer greatly. However, these effects of cortisol in both men and women are reversed when stress levels go down.”
That is why it is important that you know how to manage stress so that it doesn’t control your hormones or your life.
For instance, if work happens to be overwhelming, try to pencil in some rest time or a breather, so that you can get yourself back together. Try activities that are relaxing. You can either read a book, go on a hike or maybe do some R & R with friends or family, whatever floats your boat.
Control your alcohol intake
According to a research, the presence of alcohol in the system inhibits testosterone secretion by the testes. In another research that was conducted in the Netherlands, that moderate alcohol consumption can affect circulating hormone levels. Testosterone levels in the blood was decreased by 6.8%.
This is why it is wise to ditch too much alcohol intake. Try to give your body the discipline, especially if the effects of low testosterone levels are really bothering you.
Maintain a healthy weight
In a study conducted among middle-aged, overweight and pre-diabetic males, the results showed that they have low testosterone levels. Based on the numbers, this phenomenon is common in overweight men. They were subjected to lifestyle modifications, and after a year, the prevalence of low testosterone levels among the study participants have decreased.
If you see that you are already packing excess weight, it would be the right time to rethink your diet or maybe start considering the gym. The researchers advised in their conclusion that obese males who have low testosterone levels should consider lifestyle changes first before considering hormone therapy.
Strive for an active lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle can breed a number of ills. And one of these is decreasing testosterone levels, since it can affect its production.
Testosterone adapts to the changes and needs in the body. Being signals the body that you do not need the boost in energy for your bones and muscles. But if you get your body moving, this tells the body to produce more of the hormone to keep up with the activity level your system is exposed to.
So many of us may struggle with this, especially when most do not have the luxury of time for exercise. But you don’t have to really sweat it out in the gym. If work is in the way, why not go for walks when going home. If you have time in the morning for a jog or some aerobics, then the better.
But you also have to be careful because excessive endurance exercises can also lower testosterone levels.
Get enough sleep
Being sleep deprived also poses a negative impact on the testosterone levels of healthy young men based on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to Eve Van Cauter, PhD, the director of the study, men who slept less than five hours a night for a week showed low testosterone levels compared to when they had a full night’s sleep.
This is a prevalent problem today, with the stressful and busy lifestyle a lot of men have. Low sleep duration and poor sleep quality are pointed to disrupt the endocrine function. The decline is already apparent even with just a week of short sleep, decreasing the testosterone levels by ten to fifteen percent.
Men should never undermine the importance of a good sleep. Not only will it leave you cranky in the morning, but it actually creates gradual and long term negative effect, particularly to your hormones.
Go over your list of medications
There are some medications that can result in low testosterone levels as part of its side effects. The following drugs are known to reduce blood levels of testosterone:
Statins and fibrates (drugs that lower cholesterol levels)
H2 blockers (drugs that treat gastrointestinal disorders)
If you are concerned of side effect on your testosterone levels, you can discuss this with your doctor so he can manage his treatment accordingly.
Consider the benefits of Supplements
There are a number of testosterone-boosting supplements today that have earned a good reputation. Supplements can be a good way to improve testosterone levels naturally because there are a number of well-researched and carefully manufactured brands out in the market today.
If you do choose to try testosterone supplements to improve or maintain your levels, then be sure to inform your doctor about this.