Current research shows that forty percent of men over 45 have low testosterone. Low testosterone is associated with a host of age related ailments, including decreased muscle mass, decreased sex drive, depression, dementia, trouble sleeping, fatigue and an abnormal pain response, among others. This is not just a man’s issue. Women also suffer from low testosterone levels. Many pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, are more prevalent in women and are thought to have a hormone connection, particularly low testosterone.
The big question, can we fix this? The answer is a resounding YES! How we take care of our bodies now will drastically impact us for years to come. Here are Dr. Schreiber’s top 10 natural testosterone boosters that can improve your health and change your life!
10) Low vitamin D levels: If you have an insufficiency or deficiency of vitamin D, testosterone will never rise. The most natural method to raise vitamin D is getting some sun; at least twenty minutes of exposure every day. Yes, sun exposure with no SPF! If you are unable to get adequate sun due to work or climate, vitamin D is also available as a supplement. However, not all vitamin D supplements are created equal. I routinely recommend Vitamin D3, as it easily converts to the active form. Vitamin D is also found in fortified foods, but those usually contain D2 which is not as easily converted.
9) Strength training with heavy weights: Remember Arnold in his glory days? Heavy weight training will increase testosterone levels. Make sure each set has at least 6-12 reps and include larger muscle groups. Compound joint movements are ideal and be sure to change your routine every six weeks. In addition, make sure you dedicate at least 30 minutes, three times a week to heavy weight training, as this will maximize testosterone output.
8) Burst training: Training at 90% of your maximum effort for short periods of time followed by a rest period has also shown to increase testosterone levels. Not only does burst training raise levels, but also keeps it high for extended periods.
7) Add healthy fats to the diet: Most individuals that have low testosterone levels consume high amounts of sugars and processed foods. These will make your levels plummet! Substitute these for healthy fats from plant sources, such as coconut oil, almonds, olive oil and avocados.
6) Omega-3 fatty acids: These are very important in preventing low testosterone. Low levels are associated with many health problems, including low testosterone. Many individuals that consume a western diet are deficient in omega 3’s. Try adding plant sources like flax and chia seeds. There are supplements available, however, make sure you check the source of the raw material. Many sources are becoming contaminated with mercury, a powerful neurotoxin. In addition, farm raised fish are naturally low in omega three fatty acids.
5) Reduce the amount of stress in your life: Stress kills, right? Interestingly enough, testosterone levels elevate in the short term, but fall rapidly in periods of chronic stress. Whether you like counseling, meditation, yoga or other stress reduction technique; incorporate them into your daily routine for optimal stress management. Depending on the level and duration of stress, these many be needed in addition to other dietary supplements to regulate the stress response, balance hormones and build up the adrenal glands.
4) Detox: The liver is the principal detoxifying organ. If it is bound up metabolizing chemical, environmental and dietary toxins, fat will be deposited and lower levels of testosterone will result. One of the reasons for this is that the liver produces an enzyme for testosterone production which will slow dramatically, especially in times of heavy toxic burden. For this, I recommend seeing a functional medicine expert and do not recommend fad cleanses where you need to be walking around with green juice all day long starving yourself!
3) Sleep: Humans need, on average, seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Many Americans are sleep deprived. Sleeping during the day will be of little help because our circadian rhythm resets at night, allowing for maximum rest and healing to occur. Sleeping between 10PM and 2AM is crucial for overall health and proper hormone balance.
2) Low body fat: Fat produces estrogen! For years, fat was thought not to be metabolically active; however, fat has been shown to produce estrogen. Less fat, less estrogen, more testosterone!
1) Herbal Medication: There are many herbs that raise testosterone levels. I strongly recommend speaking to a provider proficient in herbal medicine before taking these. They are very effective and may interact with other supplements or medications. They are: Sarsaparrilla root, Tongkat Ali, Yohimbe bark, Maca Root, Ginseng, Tribulus Terrestris, Mucuna Pruriens, Horny Goat Weed, Muira Puama, Fo Ti. Herbals also should not be purchased over-the -counter. I recommend using a professional brand. There are many excellent professional brands that have high quality herbals. Generally, over-the-counter herbals are of low quality and run the risk of contamination.
Dr. Scott Schreiber has been practicing in Newark, Delaware for over twelve years. He is a chiropractic physician that is double board certified in rehabilitation and clinical nutrition. He is a certified nutrition specialist and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist. He can be reached via his website www.drscottschreiber.com