Hormones play a vital role in our everyday functions and health. Our energy levels, how well we sleep, how well we respond to stress are all factors that hint at how our hormones are doing. If your hormones are off even just a little bit it can lead to a more detrimental hormonal imbalance over time. Hormones are chemical messengers that tell the body what to do. A common misconception is that only men need more testosterone, men and women both need testosterone for health and vitality.
One of those hormones responsible for libido, strength and vitality is testosterone. Testosterone plays a ital role in keeping your sex drive high as well as keeping your waistline trim and healthy. In fact, people who have excess belly fat have an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. One study found that obese teen boys had 50% lower testosterone than their thin peers. Although this enzyme may not be the only reason these teenage boys had 50% lower testosterone count it is clear that excess fat plays a contributing role in low T-count.
Higher testosterone improves muscle growth and helps you lose fat. It is the chief ‘power hormone’ for staying in shape and increasing your sex drive. There are many ways to boost testosterone, some natural and effective while others can weigh heavily on your body. If you have low testosterone common symptoms are low sex drive, low muscle mass and difficulty in building muscle, low energy levels and balding.
Let’s dig into how you can increase your testosterone safely, effectively and naturally:
1. Sleep More: One study showed that reducing sleep to just 5 hours a night for one week reduced testosterone by 10-15% in that one week period. Longer durations of sleep deprivation could reduce testosterone even more. 8 Hours a night is what you should be sleeping as a minimum.
2. Stay Physically Active: Belly fat and obesity harm your testosterone levels. By staying physically active you keep your testosterone levels higher. The more belly fat you have the lower testosterone levels tend to drop. Conversely being underweight can also cause low testosterone count. Being physically active while keeping a healthy weight (not too thin or obese) will mirror healthy testosterone levels. Remember that in one study teenage boys who were obese had 50% lower testosterone than other teenage boys! Staying active is important, our bodies were designed to move.
3. Reduce Stress: Stress creates a hormone in your body called cortisol which actually blocks testosterone. This means that when you are stressed (or even respond in a stressful manner) your cortisol levels rise which inhibits testosterone and it’s health benefits. Stress actually harms testosterone in two different ways. First, it reduces testosterone in favor of cortisol as stress takes the front seat to vitality. Stress also increases the production of aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase, two enzymes that break down testosterone.
4. Get These Nutrients: Specific vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in the production of testosterone. Vitamin A and Vitamin E are needed as well as the minerals zinc and selenium. You can get these in your diet or add through a supplement routine. Carrots, kale, sunflower seeds, shellfish and almonds are great sources of these nutrients.
5. Get Vitamin D (sunshine): Get in the sun more! Research has shown that sunshine and vitamin D are beneficial for increasing testosterone in the body. Many states in the US have low vitamin D levels because the lack of sunshine throughout the year. You can get tested to see if you have low vitamin D levels to know if you need to get in the sun more or supplement with vitamin D. If you live in the north and have months without much sunshine I recommend taking this vitamin D supplement during that time.
Testosterone is an important hormone for sex drive, muscle, fat loss and overall health, energy and vitality. Practice engaging in these and watch your health and sex life grow by the day!