I’m frequently asked whether guys can increase their T levels naturally. The answer is a resounding yes! There are a lot of different things you can do that increase your T levels, and most of them are not all that difficult.
Before I describe natural ways to increase testosterone, I do want to add that for many men, there is a limit to how far natural methods will take them. For example, you can do everything ‘right’ and you’re probably not going to be able to go from 300 to 900 just through natural means. You may be able to raise it by a couple hundred points, but typically, there’s a limit to how much you can do without T therapy.
While there are certainly exceptions, I’ve seen a lot of guys do all the right things for a year or more, eagerly get their next labs done, just to be bitterly disappointed to see that their results are only marginally higher, or in some cases, even lower. So, with that caveat in mind, here are the top ways you can improve your T levels without resorting to T therapy.
1. Get your beauty rest. Make sure you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Studies have shown that T production drops significantly and quickly when you lose sleep. If you have sleep apnea, you need to get it treated. Sleep apnea contributes to low T, but T therapy can exacerbate sleep apnea, so many doctors won’t recommend T therapy until the sleep apnea is treated.
Tip: Getting about 20 minutes of bright light per day and avoiding any computer light within about 60 minutes prior to bedtime will help you sleep more easily and deeply.
2. Lose the excess weight. Obesity is the condition most commonly associated with low T. You are much more likely to have low T if you are overweight or obese. Of course, it’s somewhat of a double bind in that the lower your T levels, the more difficult it is to lose weight. There are some good tips here on ways to get the weight off.
3. Get enough Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is more of a hormone than a vitamin and is an important precursor to T production. The best way to get Vitamin D is to get out in the sun, but a lot of us can’t manage that. The Vitamin D Council recommends about 5,000 units per day, 10,000 if you’re deficient. Taking Vitamin D with food can aid in absorption.
4. Limit alcohol. Alcohol takes a toll on T production and one study showed that even moderate amounts for 3 weeks decreased production by almost 7%.
5. Engage in intense, physical competition with other men. Studies show us that competing and winning can raise testosterone significantly. Even the anticipation of competition is enough to increase T levels. Vicarious competition and victory through your favorite sports team also does the trick. So go ahead and join that recreational soccer team, or a boxing gym, or start a new martial art. Your testosterone levels will thank you.
6. Exercise. Most of you probably know that exercise is important to maintaining or increasing T levels, but not all exercise is created equal. There’s a body of evidence that suggests that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is better at boosting T than other types of exercise.
In addition, strength training with higher weights and lower reps and working out your large muscle groups seem to be key.
7. Practice dominant poses daily. Studies tell us that just as our hormones affect our behavior, so does our behavior affect our hormones. Engaging in dominant poses can actually increase your testosterone. Here are a few to get you started.
8. Manage stress. When you’re under stress, your body produces cortisol, which blocks production of testosterone. It’s impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life, but important to keep it at manageable levels.
9. Limit sugar consumption. Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar, which wouldn’t be a huge problem if you were consuming sugar infrequently. However, for most of us, we are eating sugar multiple times a day and thus continually depressing our T production.
10. Eat healthy fats. Make sure you’re eating enough fat. That’s right, studies have shown that men who have a diet consisting of roughly 20% fat have significantly lower levels of testosterone than men whose diets consist of 40% fat. That’s some of the best news you’ve heard so far, right? So, don’t stint on eating healthy meats and oils, avocados, nuts, etc.
Okay, so that’s it. Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. Just basically doing all the things your mom told you to do; work hard, eat right, get outside in the sunshine, get lots of sleep, don’t drink too much and have some fun. Doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?
So, how about you? If you’ve tried to raise your levels by natural methods, how did it work out for you? Was it a total failure or did you see some success?
And just for inspiration …. here’s one man’s story on how he doubled his T levels by changing his lifestyle.