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How To Naturally Optimize Testosterone

How To Naturally Optimize Testosterone

Most people are aware of testosterone as a sex hormone. They know that it plays a role in the onset and development of puberty, and can directly impact our sex drives significantly.

What most people don’t realise is that testosterone plays a number of other important functions within the adult male body. It plays an integral role in the function of the immune and cardiovascular systems, while also having direct implications on the storage of fat mass and the development of muscle tissue.

Having poor testosterone levels can be the catalyst for heart disease and cardiovascular dysfunction, can lead to fat gain and a reduction in muscle mass, and a physical weakness of the muscle tissue.

To put it simply, low testosterone = bad health + dad bod.

Fortunately, low testosterone levels can be overcome through natural means, and often all it takes is a couple of simple changes to both your diet and exercise regimes to get your testosterone levels back on track.

Don’t Fear Fat

Fat is regularly demonized within the health and fitness industry.

Once thought to be the root cause of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and immune system function, recent research has suggested that this is not in fact the case, and in reality, dietary fat intake shows absolutely no association with these diseases.

In fact, eliminating dietary fat from the diet has been suggested to compromise hormone levels, leading to a reduction in testosterone production in men.

You see, dietary fat (with particular emphasis on both saturated and monounsaturated fats) contains cholesterol. Cholesterol is used to produce steroidal hormones within the human body.

As Testosterone is a steroidal hormone, consuming insufficient dietary fat has been shown to reduce testosterone production significantly. As such, diets in which 20 percent or less of the calories come from dietary fats have been shown to limit testosterone production.

As a result, we should try to ensure about 20-30 percent of our daily energy intake comes from fats directly. It is important to note that of those fats, majority consumed should be saturated and monounsaturated fats, and we should limit our intake of polyunsaturated fats as much as possible.

This means eating lots of meat, fish, eggs, dairy, avocados, coconuts, and nuts, while limiting highly processed oils and spreads.

Supplement with Creatine

Creatine is arguably one the most well researched supplements available on the market today.

It is well known that the supplementation of creatine has shown positive associations with increased levels of strength, increase endurance capacity, AND the increased development of new muscle tissue, making it one of the most effective supplements within the health and fitness industry. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that the supplementation of creatine can also impact testosterone levels positively via two key mechanisms.

The supplementation of creatine has been shown to increase testosterone levels slightly, while also converting it into a substance called dihydrotestosterone (which is ultimately a more bio-available form of testosterone) [1].

As a result, supplementing with creatine can lead to significant improvements in testosterone levels within the body, while also increasing its bioavailability, which increases its effectiveness twofold.

Train for Strength

Weight training has a number of positive effects on both health and body composition, acting as a fantastic way to build muscle and reduce fat mass.

In addition to improving body composition, strength training has also been shown to cause significant increases in testosterone levels immediately after exercise [2]. This effect appears to increase when we prioritise large compound, barbell based movements over smaller isolation exercises, and focus on lifting heavier loads for lower reps.

This means that by ensuring that the bulk of our weight training is made up of large movements such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows, we can elicit the greatest increase in testosterone production after our training session. These movement should be performed for lower reputations, using heavier loads.

A great example of this would be 4 sets of 5 reps, or 5 sets of 3 reps.

This can lead to increased testosterone levels, and an optimisation of our hormone levels

Use Sprint Intervals to Develop Aerobic Capacity

When people think of building cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity, they normally opt for long duration jogging or cycling at a very low intensity. While this can be beneficial if you are trying to build a good foundation of aerobic endurance, it is by no means the best option to optimise your hormone levels.

By opting for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT for short) rather than long distance endurance activity, we can build a good aerobic capacity while also causing subsequent increases in testosterone levels.

Aerobic exercise where we work above our lactate threshold regularly (such as HIIT) has been shown to cause significant increases in testosterone levels immediately after exercise, leading to improved hormone levels.

Spend some time in the sun

While this may sound a little left field, just bear with me for a moment.

Sunshine stimulates the production of vitamin D within the human body. Interestingly, Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin, but rather a steroid hormone, and as such interacts with the human body in a number of ways, supporting a host of different bodily functions and systems.

As a steroid hormone, Vitamin D has shown a number of interesting interactions with testosterone. In fact, there appears to be a direct correlation between levels of Vitamin D and Testosterone in the human body [3], suggesting that Vitamin D may play an important role in the production of Testosterone.

As such, if we are deficient in Vitamin D, we appear to become deficient in Testosterone, and subsequently, when we have high levels of Vitamin D, we also present high levels of blood testosterone.

As a result, by ensuring we spend enough time in the sun (20-30 minutes a day should be adequate) we can maximise our production of Vitamin D and cause a subsequent increase in testosterone levels.

Conclusion

So in conclusion, while low testosterone can have some seriously negative implications to both your health and body composition, it is not the end of the world.

Be making some simple lifestyle changes, affecting both your diet and exercise regime, you can cause significant increases in testosterone production, leading to a chronic optimization of your testosterone levels.

Bio:

Luke Cafferty. Luke is a fitness junkie, personal trainer, and blogger. He’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a strong and well-rounded physique. Check out more of his work at StrengthAuthority.com or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Sources

Van der Merwe, Johann, Naomi E. Brooks, and Kathryn H. Myburgh. “Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 19.5 (2009): 399-404.

Hakkinen, Keijo, et al. “Basal concentrations and acute responses of serum hormones and strength development during heavy resistance training in middle-aged and elderly men and women.” Journals of Gerontology-Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 55.2 (2000): B95.

Wehr, Elisabeth, et al. “Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men.” Clinical endocrinology 73.2 (2010): 243-248.

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