We’ve seen the commercials referring to low testosterone, or “Low T” that happens as men age. In this article, we’ll look at some ways to naturally boost testosterone levels.
15 Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone Levels
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion of low testosterone, nor is it meant to diagnose or cure anything. Please check with your doctor before beginning or ending any medical-related lifestyle change.
The list below was compiled through research online, discussions with doctors, and personal experiences.
There are two basic ways to increase testosterone: activity and diet/supplements. In each of these categories there are things you’ll want to include/increase, as well as things you want to avoid/eliminate. No single item may make a major impact, but the more of these things you implement, the more results you may see.
- Burst Cardio – Quick bursts of high-intensity exercise such as sprinting, swimming, and isometric trainers – done at full speed – are a huge way to increase testosterone levels. Different expert have differing opinion on how long such bursts should be. You may see anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds suggested. Don’t use moderate, long-distance walking as a replacement for intense, interval cardio.
- Lift Heavy Weights – Strength training is one of the best ways to boost testosterone. The optimal method is to keep weight high and reps low (such as 5 sets of 5 reps, using as heavy as weight as you can do for 5 reps). Do this only about two days a week. Focus on weight training exercises that work multiple muscle groups, and throw in a few isolation exercises as well. These “compound” exercises include dips, bench presses, dead lifts, dips, squats, pull-ups, and cable rows.
- Lose weight – Overweight men have lower testosterone than their leaner counterparts. Many of the activities on this list will contribute to a leaner male, such as proper diet and exercise.
- Overtraining – This can kill your testosterone levels. Overzealous weight lifters can actually be doing more harm than good if they don’t allow for proper muscle recovery. Depriving yourself of proper rest between heavy lifting sessions can lead to all sorts of problems, such as lower testosterone, irritability, and insomnia.
- Relax – Stress is not only a major cause of lowered testosterone, but also causes decreased libido and weight gain.
- Sex – Sexual stimulation increases testosterone. This is the ultimate example of “use it or lose it.” This can significantly raise testosterone levels.
- Sleep – Testosterone levels are highest in the morning after a good night’s rest. Depriving yourself of sleep will neutralize libido and interrupt your body’s muscle repair and testosterone production. Lack of sleep can drop your testosterone levels by massive amounts, up to 40% according to some studies.
Diet & Supplements
- Alcohol. Drinking 3 or more alcoholic drinks a day can make your testosterone levels plummet. It doesn’t help libido either. Moderation is key, so stick to a maximum or one or two drinks a day.
- Caffeine. Increases energy and testosterone. Coffee, tea, and dark chocolate are good sources of caffeine. Be careful not to go overboard, or you may get jittery or have a “caffeine crash” afterward, which can make you tired.
- Carbs. Cereal, bread, and pasta can cause insulin to spike and lower testosterone. Avoid these foods as much as possible.
- Garlic – This is another staple of a healthy male diet. Not only has research shown that garlic helps testosterone levels, but it has also been shown to positively affect Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
- Monounsaturated Fats – Nuts, legumes, tuna, peanut butter, and fish are a great part of your diet and can lead to increased testosterone levels.
- Sugar – Limit sugar intake. Sugar raises insulin, which lowers testosterone.
- Vitamin D – Studies have shown that increased Vitamin D can significantly increase testosterone. The only problem is that the best way to get Vitamin D is from sun exposure, which many people prefer not to get these days. The next best option is through supplements, but the amount needed is hard to achieve via supplements.
- Zinc – This mineral is a vital part of the male diet. It is often recommended for men with prostate problems, as well as those with low testosterone.
- Milk – Some experts say that milk should be avoided in order to keep your weight under control as part of a pro-testosterone regimen while others have claimed it is helpful in raising testosterone. The jury is apparently still out on this one.
There are prescription drugs to raise testosterone, but this article is focused on natural ways to boost testosterone. Some health stores carry testosterone-boosting supplements, many of which contain some of the substances discussed above.
This article has addressed 15 natural ways to boost testosterone that were gleaned through personal experience, online research, and conversations with doctors. A combination of an active & balanced lifestyle along with a healthy diet can result in increased testosterone levels.
What have you done to raise your testosterone? Drop us a comment below.
Updated February 11, 2015
Originally published November 2012