Like it or not, testosterone is the foundation of your (for lack of a better word) 'manhood' ?
It affects your sex drive, ability to produce semen on demand, and even penis size. And if you’re trying to put on muscle mass? Yep, testosterone has a role to play in that too. But don’t get the wrong idea.
More than just enabling you to achieve an impressive physique, and performance in bed, having a good supply of testosterone is crucial for your general health and wellbeing.
Research shows that men with low testosterone levels face an increased risk of prostate cancer, heart disease, and even death! Given testosterone's far-reaching implications on the male body, is it a surprise to see Google returning nearly 12 million (!) search results for the term 'testosterone booster'?
And let's be honest. If you clicked on this article… You likely searched for this article after realizing that your testosterone levels decline every 10 years – usually 1 to 2% yearly past age 30.
So. We’ve come to the crucial question ever: “Can you rally against the effects of age and boost your testosterone levels, like what so many supplement companies out there claim?”
As usual, let’s explore.
Do testosterone boosters work?
Take a walk down the neighborhood supplement store, and you’ll undoubtedly find rows of shady-looking bottles claiming to boost testosterone. (You’ll know you’re in the right category when you see labels spotting men – in varying degrees of undress – flexing in the front double biceps pose.)
Flip to the back of these bottles, and you'll find plenty of overlap between their ingredient lists.
The majority of them include D-aspartic acid, Tribulus Terrestris, fenugreek, DHEA, and ashwagandha.
Now, that's good, right? Having plenty of overlap means the industry is at least agreed on the efficacy of these ingredients – meaning that they do work?
Unfortunately, no. Here’s the research to back it up:
A naturally occurring amino acid. It is believed to boost testosterone production by increasing levels of luteinizing hormone, which stimulates Leydig cells in the testes (which are responsible for the biosynthesis and secretion of androgens). However, many of the studies found that D-aspartic acid exerts no effect – at all – on testosterone, body composition, or even strength. In other words: it’s frankly a waste of your money.
An herb that has been used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurveda medicine to enhance libido. However, modern-day research has quickly smacked down any possibilities that this herb could boost testosterone. It has been found to increase testosterone levels in animals – but as we all know, this may not translate to the same effect on humans. And research proves this point exactly.
An herb used as a traditional natural remedy for many ailments. Studies reporting on the effect of fenugreek on testosterone levels have been mixed. Even then, though, the validity and reliability of those studies which have reported positive findings can be called into question. That’s because these studies were sponsored by companies that had invested in the fenugreek products being tested. This would have undoubtedly affected the study results.
A hormone that’s primarily produced by your adrenal glands. Because it helps manages testosterone and estrogen levels, many believe that supplementing with DHEA can help boost testosterone. However, similar to fenugreek, the research results are mixed. A few studies have found an increase in testosterone levels following DHEA supplementation, while others have not.
Familiar with adaptogens? Then you must have heard of ashwagandha. It is believed that ashwagandha can increase the body's testosterone production by lowering stress and anxiety levels (both arguably testosterone-killers). There is indeed some evidence showing this – but as with all other 'testosterone boosters', it is not all that convincing.
Besides, suppose ashwagandha only works by lowering stress levels. In that case, one could argue that there are plenty of other, more effective, and low-cost stress-reduction methods available (e.g. meditation and exercise).
So... There's no way to boost my testosterone levels?
Apparently… Even the best testosterone booster out there doesn’t work. Ouch. Well, don’t despair just yet!
Yes, your testosterone levels do fall naturally as you get older.
But you can mitigate how much it drops by consciously living a healthy lifestyle.
The truth is that a poor lifestyle can not only mimic the symptoms of low testosterone (when you actually have perfectly normal levels) – but can cause low testosterone as well.
Tweak the following aspects of your lifestyle for a natural increase in testosterone:
• Take care of your nutrition – Make sure you’re eating nutritious, well-balanced foods that are high in magnesium (e.g. fish and brown rice), zinc (e.g. legumes and seafood), and vitamin D (e.g. red meat and egg yolks). These vitamins and minerals have been shown to bring testosterone levels up and play a myriad of crucial functions in the body – so you don't want to be deficient in them!
• Get enough sleep – The majority of daily testosterone release in your body occurs when you’re asleep. Disrupted and/or a lack of sleep has been shown to impact testosterone levels negatively. So, you want to make sure you're turning into bed as early as possible to get at least 7 hours of sleep – nightly.
• Stay physically active – Exercise is one of the most effective ways of increasing your testosterone levels. Hands down. There's no doubt about it; in fact, plenty of research shows that physical activity boosts short-term and long-term levels. Note that resistance training (and lifting heavy weights in general) appears to have the most significant impact on testosterone levels, even more than cardio.
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