Is your sex drive nowhere to be found, whether it’s related to the fact you are too tired, busy, or sidetracked by other activities?
You may be surprised to learn that testosterone isn’t solely responsible for your libido. This is particularly true for women. Instead, your libido is related to a complete combination of emotional and hormonal connections.
Of course, just because testosterone isn’t completely responsible doesn’t mean it doesn’t play a crucial role in a man’s libido. It does and unfortunately, your lifestyle can dramatically affect your testosterone levels.
Irritable Male Syndrome
Referred to as IMS, Irritable Male Syndrome is a new syndrome caused by too little testosterone. In addition to a decreased libido, it can cause a lack of motivation, changes in personality, anxiety, aggression, and emotional withdrawal. In some cases, it may also result in self-destructive behaviors, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, or gambling.
If this sounds eerily familiar, either for you or your partner, take comfort in the fact you are not alone. Studies indicate that at least 13.8 million men are struggling with low testosterone levels, with the majority of them in their 30s.
The Impact of Low Testosterone
A lack of testosterone affects more than just your sex drive and personality. It is linked to higher rates of bone fractures, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Over the next 20 years, this is expected to cost the US as much as $500 billion, if not more.
In addition, low levels of testosterone have been linked to an increased chance of death in men. For a period of 50 years, a study tracked the testosterone levels of 794 men. The group of men with the lowest levels of testosterone had a 33% higher chance of death from all causes than the group of men with the highest testosterone levels.
A separate study determined that men struggling with low testosterone had an 88% higher mortality rate than men with testosterone levels in normal range.
So, What’s Your Testosterone Level?
The easiest way to find out is to visit a medical doctor who can check your levels with a simple blood draw. If you are suffering from the symptoms of IMS or noticeable weight gain, male pattern baldness, muscle loss, or fatigue, it is important that you get tested sooner rather than later.
For some men, hormone replacement may be a treatment option. However, you can also take the tips listed below and incorporate them into your life to help improve your testosterone levels, enhance your sex drive, and alleviate problematic symptoms.
1 Spend some time in the sun.
Unfortunately, the male reproductive system is often a target for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation has been found to enhance testosterone levels, both bioavailable and free.
You can easily get tested to determine your vitamin D levels. If they are low, you can give it a boost by taking oral supplements and spending 15 minutes a day in direct sunlight.
2 Watch your weight.
Obesity and belly fat in particular, are known testosterone killers. In fact, a 2013 study found that teen boys who were obese had as much as 50% less testosterone than their peers who were a healthy weight. This could potentially be related to the fact that fat cells contain more of the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen.
3 Pay attention to the vitamins you are taking.
When it comes to androgen (sex hormone) production and testicular function, vitamins A and E, along with the minerals selenium and zinc work almost like fertilizer.
However, many men are missing out on these important nutrients. While you can take whole food supplements, you can also add certain foods to your diet, including kale and carrots for vitamin A, sunflower seeds and almonds for vitamin E, and shellfish for selenium and zinc.
4 Stay away from toxins that are known to hurt the testicles.
Avoid parabens and phthalates that are often found in personal care products, such as shaving cream and lotion. Then you have to look out for BPA, which is found on store receipts and in many plastic bottles. These are all known to disrupt the function and production of multiple androgens, including testosterone.
5 Be sure to get a full 8 hours of sleep.
A 2011 study found that after a single week of only sleeping five hours each night, testosterone levels can drop by 10-15%. Simply put, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, not only will you lack energy, but you’ll lack testosterone.
[Related Post: How to Get Quality Sleep and Improve Your Health.]
6 Eat more fish oil, while avoiding statins.
Fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation (inflammation is linked to lower testosterone), while also supporting the production of good cholesterol in the body. This just happens to be the building block for testosterone.
In addition, fish oil reduces the amount of sex hormone binding globulins in the blood, which ensures testosterone is available and able to move freely.
Medications that include statins can have a dramatic impact on mitochondria, known as your metabolism’s energy powerhouses, and have been found to decrease total and free testosterone in the body.
It is believed this is because cholesterol is the building block for all your steroid hormones. In fact, cholesterol turns into DHEA, which turns into testosterone.
7 Get rid of excess stress.
Stress is a significant contributor to low testosterone levels. A phenomenon referred to as “cortisol steal” can result in a hormone imbalance where the production of cortisol is deemed by the body to be more important than the production of testosterone.
Additionally, stress increases 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase production, which are both responsible for breaking down testosterone.
Work on relaxing and deep breathing. Even just 10 minutes of meditation a day will give your body the chance to rebalance.
[Related Post: 5 Science-Backed Ways to Get Rid of Stress.]
If you have any questions regarding these 7 tips for increasing testosterone, please feel free to reach out to me (my social media links are included in my bio below) and I will be more than happy to help you reach your fitness goals! You can also leave a comment below.
1. “Why Low Testosterone Isn’t Just About Sex.”
2. “The 20-Year Public Health Impact and Direct Cost of Testosterone Deficiency in U.S. Men.”
3. “Low Serum Testosterone and Mortality in Older Men.”
4. “Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men.”
5. “Testosterone Concentrations in Young Pubertal and Post-pubertal Obese Males.”
6. “Effects of Some Micronutrients on Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male.”
7. “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Indoor and Outdoor Air.”
8. “Sleep Loss Lowers Testosterone in Healthy Young Men.”
9. “Transdermal Testosterone Gel Improves Sexual Function, Mood, Muscle Strength, and Body Composition Parameters in Hypogonadal Men.”
*DISCLAIMER: Always consult a medical professional before applying the advice given throughout this website. While the articles on HMM are thoroughly researched, it is important to speak with your medical provider before starting a new exercise routine or introducing something new to your diet. We ourselves are NOT doctors, so the information we feature should not be used to replace any of your medications or lifestyle choices that have been recommended by your doctor. Read at your own risk and read our full disclaimer here.*