A lot of body builders seek to increase their testosterone to see increased gains. There are all kinds of benefits that can be derived from having healthy testosterone levels, and having lowered levels can cause several negative symptoms. While finding what your current levels are can be done through both at-home tests or at a doctor’s office, there are natural ways to boost those levels and a variety of supplements to aid you in that pursuit if you are looking to do so. When you exercise and work towards your fitness goals, you should strive to get the most out of your routine. Here are a few things to understand about testosterone and increasing it.

What Is Testosterone?

Our bodies build muscle through rebuilding micro-tears using proteins formed through amino acids we derive from our diets. These repairs are directed through a wide-ranging number of functions the body itself carries out. One of them is the hormone testosterone, which directs and assists your body in increasing the amount of muscle proteins that you synthesize. Indirect benefits include increased muscle mass, stronger bones, and improved mood and motivation. Low levels can cause fatigue, depression, increased fat reserves and reduced muscle mass. While low levels can be dangerous, it should be stated that overly high levels can also cause unwanted side effects. The more understanding you have of your body and your methods of increasing testosterone naturally, the better your results will be.

Lifestyle Factors

It should be understood that taking care of yourself will boost your testosterone more than most other methods, and not taking care of yourself will lower testosterone like nothing else. Through making natural lifestyle changes, your body will increase all hormones needed for optimal health, not just testosterone. Sleep is an important part of managing testosterone levels. For men, the majority of testosterone released is done while asleep. For example, going from 9 hours a night to 5 hours a night is associated with a 10–15% reduction of levels in the blood.

Dietary Factors

Fueling your body the right way is also important to not lose optimal testosterone levels. A diet that lacks proteins or healthy fats will lead to hampered testosterone production. On the other hand, an over-reliance on carbs can also be deleterious, as your body uses amino acids (what proteins are made up of) to build its tissues. It should also be noted that excess alcohol usage can also lower testosterone levels, as can certain prescription and illegal drugs. In fact, some have actually been shown to increase estrogen levels alongside lowering testosterone.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamin D and zinc are two things that can have a positive effect on your testosterone levels, especially if you are otherwise deficient. While there is some conflicting data, Vitamin D specifically has been shown to boost testosterone by more than 20%, and that increase is even more for those who don’t get enough. Sunlight is a great way to get enough Vitamin D naturally. Zinc has also been shown to increase the amount of free testosterone in your body if you are not getting enough of it, though you may not see extended benefits from it if you are already getting at least 30mg of zinc daily. Not getting enough zinc is linked to suppressed immune function, protein synthesis and testosterone levels.

Key Takeaways

As with most aspects of health, a balanced diet and an active lifestyle are the two most important things you can do to increase testosterone. If you’re worried yours are lower than they should be, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure there’s no underlying condition causing the deficit. Having optimum levels can help ensure you get the most out of your workouts and out of life in general.