What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men (women also have testosterone, but in lower amounts). It is a natural steroid produced by the organism that belongs to the androgen hormones such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione, and androstenediol.
There are 3 types:
- Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)
- Free Testosterone.
The first two are proteins that bind to testosterone itself, and they are not available for the functions that we are going to see now. On the contrary, free testosterone provides all the properties for the body.
What are the main functions of Testosterone?
Testosterone is responsible for:
- Male features
- More muscle mass
- Bone density
- Fat distribution
- Hair loss patterns
- Mental and physical energy
- Growth of the penis and testicles
- Increase of facial, pubic, and body hair overall
- Voice change
- Muscle mass
- Stronger bones
- Growth in height
Where is Testosterone produced?
The pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain, is in charge of controlling the healthy and normal production of testosterone on behalf of the sex gonads (testicles and ovaries). For this, we need to release the luteinizing hormone which travels to the testicles and regulates the production of testosterone. Testosterone changes during the day, reaching its maximum peak in the morning, and a low level at night.
In the case of men, the daily endogenous production is around 7mg
In the case of healthy people, the limit is determined by the conversion rate of cholesterol to the pregnenolone hormone. From this, we can deduce that low cholesterol diets can be a bad move if we want to improve the hormone production.
- Cholesterol -> Pregnenolone -> Progesterone -> Androstenedione -> Testosterone
- Cholesterol -> Pregnenolone -> DHEA -> Androstenodiol-> Testosterone
Once testosterone reaches the blood flow, almost a 98% binds to albumin and globulin. They protect it throughout its transport through the blood vessels, or to store it in deposits to fix any change in the blood plasma.
Symptoms of low Testosterone levels
As we grow old, the testosterone levels start to drop.
Men reach the highest levels between 20 to 30 years of age, and they start to drop from the age of 35 onward approximately
However, there are factors like stress, lack of exercise, bad habits like alcohol or tobacco, lack of sleep, or a bad diet, which can lower the testosterone levels in men even further, only worsening their health.
Some of the medical symptoms of low testosterone levels are:
- Lack of sex drive
- Bad erections
- Low production of spermatozoa
- Loss of muscle mass
- More body fat percentage
- Bone fragility
- Lack of energy
- Less motivation
Occasionally, this low testosterone production can be due to a specific situation where these symptoms that have been previously mentioned take place. On the contrary, it should be a priority to go to the doctor.
Diet to increase Testosterone
We have to look for foods with the following features and add them to our diet if we want to improve the hormone environment in a natural way. Consequently, we will not need to undergo a medical hormone treatment or therapy:
- Mono-unsaturated and saturated fats as well
- Foods rich in micronutrients, which are essential vitamins and minerals
- Eat as less refined foods as possible and those with a high percentage of sugar as well
- Control how much alcohol you drink
The Best Foods to increase the Testosterone
For this article, we have focused on finding the 10 best foods to increase the testosterone levels. So grab some paper and add them to your trolley the next time that you go to the supermarket!
Oysters have a high zinc content that increases the testosterone level and the production of sperm. They are also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, an excellent source of proteins, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium. Zinc regulates a lot of essential processes that affect our body, it helps to form new cells, it stimulates the immune system, promotes growth, the state of mental alertness, helps with the normal function of the brain, and plays an active role in the health of the male and female reproductive system, which is essential for sexual health. Zinc is an inhibitor of the aromatase which means that it helps to block the conversion of testosterone in an estrogen excess.
The Aztecs called the avocado tree “ahuacatl”, or “testicle tree”. Nature is wise, and beyond this similarity with the male body, avocados have high levels of vitamins and minerals, such as: vitamin A, K2, C, B2, B5, or B6, and Zinc, Magnesium, and Copper. Vitamin B6 acts as a regulator of the production of androgens, which are steroidal hormones produced in a natural way, so that they act as a precursor of testosterone. At the same time, vitamin B6 helps to keep low levels of prolactin. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, with benefits that affect specially the hormone production.
Few foods have such a positive impact in the testosterone levels like lean meats do, which are full of protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and saturated fats. Proteins are key nutrients to increase its levels and muscle building. Even though we do not want too many saturated fats in our diet, we need a certain amount to produce this hormone. The liver is in charge of synthesizing cholesterol to administer the minimum level that is required to use it in the cell membranes and to produce testosterone and other steroids.
As we have previously mentioned, testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol, and eggs are known for its pure cholesterol content. Moreover, a recent study proved that the cholesterol excess in eggs is not as harmful as it was previously thought, so now we could even say that eggs are a good natural treatment for low levels.
The egg yolks are a rich source of vitamin D. This vitamin helps to promote an appropriate immune function, regulates the calcium levels, and it can produce higher testosterone levels.
Nutritionally speaking, Brazil nuts are probably the richest dietary source of selenium, an essential trace element and a powerful antioxidant. Just 30g of Brazil nuts have 10 times the recommended daily amount of selenium. Selenium can increase the testosterone levels in men and it has been also found out that it improves the production of spermatozoa and their motility. On the other hand, they also provide cholesterol which will be transformed in testosterone in the Leydig cells that are found in the testicles. They offer a powerful antioxidant protection for health.
These foods are rich in B vitamins and potassium, which are key ingredients in the production of healthy male hormones. Bananas also have an enzyme called bromelain which stimulates the male libido and they also provide an extra energy boost.
Beans are an excellent vegetable source of zinc and vitamin D as well, which could have beneficial effects on the testosterone levels. There are studies that can show the relation between the zinc mineral and an increase in hormones.
Eating more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower does increase the production of testosterone in the body through the elimination of an estrogen excess. The estrogen excess reduces the production of testosterone. Moreover, broccoli is quite rich in fiber, which is excellent for weight control, since what it does is to provide a lot of satiety.
Garlic can improve the levels of testosterone according to a study carried out by researchers in the University of Kobe in Japan. This study discovered that those rats that followed a high protein diet with garlic powder for 28 days experienced an increase in their levels. The scientists found out that what diallyl disulfide does, which is a compound from garlic, is stimulating the release of the leutinizing hormone and being in charge of the testosterone production in the testicles.
Fatty fish are quite rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Science has proven that Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the SHBG or Sex hormone-binding globulin. The SHBG levels increase slowly with age, which means that more SHBG binds to this hormone, leaving less free testosterone.
The neat effect of consuming fish oil is very beneficial to increase the free testosterone. The fish oil also increases the leutinizing hormone, which is the hormone that activates or signals its production in the organism.
Supplements to Enhance the Testosterone
Now that we have listed the main ingredients that favor the production of hormones, now it is time to say that there are other ways that can also help to improve our hormone environment in a natural way.
Now we will talk about Supplements that Enhance the Testosterone Levels in a Natural Way and Without Sides Effects.
Thanks to them, we can improve the body composition of the individual, which consists on Reducing the fat percentage and Maintaining the Lean Muscle Mass, apart from optimizing the Recovery and Sport Performance
The Fenugreek Seeds increase the endogenous production of testosterone in a natural way thanks to their high concentration of phytochemicals. Testofen® is a patent of fenugreek extract.
It is an amino acid with interesting properties when it comes to favoring our endogenous hormone levels.
The Saw Palmetto extract is an anti-androgen that inhibits the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.
It is the combination of two essential minerals, Zinc and Magnesium. Both are immensely valuable due to the fact that they are involved in several physical processes. Low levels of these two elements can have negative effects on the testosterone levels.
The Ginger root extract seems to have important benefits to increase the hormone levels.
It is a herbal extract used in Ayurveda medicine due to the properties that it treasures to improve several important aspects of health, which are mainly due to its saponin content.
On the other hand, here we have a supplement that is regarded as an adaptogen, which means that it can grant the organism the ability to deal with adverse situations that are specially related to stress.
We are talking about Ashwagandha. Thanks to this feature, the individual can experience a decrease of cortisol, which in most cases tends to be chronic. In this cases it produces a catabolic effect, since it has the opposite effect to testosterone.
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