By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
Our bodies contain two types of testosterone. One is the kind that is bound to a type of hormone and is responsible for dictating to the body how much free testosterone there is. The other form is testosterone that is free and unbound, and is the form of testosterone that is metabolized by the cells for use.
The job of testosterone is important in the body. Testosterone helps aid in development of different systems in the body from the skin, kidneys, and muscular development. Testosterone development and secretion start when we are infants, shuts down production for a little bit of time, and then picks back up during, and after, puberty.
The normal level of testosterone in the body is 18.0 nmol• L which slowly decreases as we age. By the time we hit our 60s, the level of testosterone in the body can drop as low as 12.0 nmol• L. Decreased levels can result in brittle bones, increased adipose tissue (abdominal fat), and increased mortality rates from cardiovascular disease.
There are ways to increase testosterone levels naturally, and fight back to regain the swagger that you had in your 20s.
Here are 4 ways that you can naturally boost your testosterone levels.
Heavy resistance exercise has been shown to not only help strengthen bones and increase muscle size and strength, but now you can increase testosterone levels, especially in middle-aged men.
Research done by Häkkinen et al, demonstrated that the benefits of heavy resistance training in young and middle-aged men significantly increased testosterone levels. The protocol that was used was 5 sets with varying intensity for a maximum of 10 repetitions. For men 70 plus, there were no changes in the level of circulating testosterone after the heavy strength training.
Research done by Loebel et al, concluded after researching different articles that resistance exercise is responsible for increasing muscle size and strength, due in part to increases in free testosterone in the body. They also noted that post exercise there might possibly be an increase in testosterone levels due, in part, to steroid synthesis or release from the Leydig cells, which are mainly responsible for production of testosterone in the body.
Over training is a phenomenon which has a negative effect on testosterone levels. Research done by Wheeler et al, concluded that endurance training in marathon runners resulted in decreases in testosterone levels, but not to very low levels.
So if you are thinking about getting back into the gym and working out again, take it slow and let your body adapt to the fitness training. Do not try to go full board at first, because that can lead to over training and increases your risk of injury. Start slowly and incorporate strength training into your routine to help your muscles get stronger, but to also increase your testosterone levels.
Everywhere you turn, there is another low-fat alternative or low-fat diet coming onto the market, with each one geared at helping you to lose weight through healthy and sensible food options. However, low fat might not be the best thing for a person with low testosterone levels.
Research by Volek et al, concluded in their findings that monounsaturated fat and saturated fat dramatically increased testosterone levels to 62 and 59% respectively.
Research done by Dorgan et al, concluded that a diet high in fat and low in fiber resulted in a 15% increase in testosterone-bound hormones. This means that there are more bound testosterone which can become free testosterone in the blood to be metabolized.
There are plenty of ways to increase fat into your diet. Adding foods that are high in monounsaturated fats may possibly increase your testosterone levels. Olive oil, almonds, peanuts, avocados, and pecans are all sources that provide a serving of monounsaturated fats.
Eurycoma Longifolia (Long Jack)
Eurycoma Longifolia is an herb that is native to South East Asia and has been used for many years as an aphrodisiac to help aid in sexual disorders.
In research done by Zanoli et al, they took impotent or sexually sluggish rats and supplemented them with Eurycoma Longifolia. They found that there was an increase in activity in impotent and the sluggish animals compared to the control sample. They also found that testosterone increased in the animals supplemented with Eurycoma Longifolia compared to the control group.
Eurycoma Longifolia has long been used as a way to help with improvements in sexual dysfunctions by possibly increasing testosterone levels.
Tribulus Terrestris is an herb that is found in many different areas around the world. This plant is considered a noxious weed with sharp seeds. There is continuing research on Tribulus as a way to enhance sexual performance and increase vitality in men.
The fruit, or berries, is the most widely used portion of the plant because of the high levels of saponins that are found in them.
One of the possible ways that Tribulus helps with raising testosterone levels is by raising the production of LH hormone in the body, which stimulates the testes to start producing more testosterone.
Men who have found decreased levels of testosterone levels can breathe a sigh of relief. By incorporating these steps you can possibly raise your testosterone levels, helping to build your confidence with a strong, healthy, and lean body.
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Volek, J. Kraemer, W. Bush, J. Incledon, T. Boetes, M. Testosterone and Cortisol in Relationship to Dietary Nutrients and Resistance Exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 1997; 82. Pp. 49-54.
Häkkinen, K. Pakarinen, A. Acute Hormonal responses to two different fatiguing heavy-resistance protocols in male athletes. J Appl. Physiol. Feb. 1993. Vol. 74(2). pp. 882-887
Zanoli, P. Zavatti, M. Montanari, C. Baraldi, M. Influence of Eurycoma longifolia on the copulatory activity of sexually sluggish and impotent male rats. J. Ethnopharmacology. Vol. 126(2). Nov. 2009. pp. 308-313.
Dorgan, J. Judd, J. Longcope. C. Brown, C. Schatzkin, A. Clevidence, B. Campbell, W. Nair, P. Franz, C. Kalile, L. Taylor, P. Effects of dietary fat and fiber on plasma and urine androgens and estrogens in men: a controlled feeding study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1996:64: 850-55.
Loebel, C. Kraemer, W. A Brief Review: Testosterone and Resistance Exercise in Men. J. Strength and Conditioning Research. 1998(1), 57-63.
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