The unsexy truth is that increasing T naturally simply comes down to making some long-term changes in your diet and lifestyle. As you’ll see, what I did to increase T largely boils down to eating better, exercising smarter, and getting more sleep. That’s pretty much it. But as with most things in life, the devil is in the details, so I’ll share with you exactly what I did and provide research that explains why the things I did helped boost my testosterone.
A large number of trials have shown the positive effects of testosterone treatment on markers of bone formation and increased bone density in hypogonadal men treated with testosterone.1,4,6,8,13 Not surprisingly, the effects may take several years to fully develop. At present no data on the role of testosterone in preventing fracture in men with hypogonadism are available.
Herein lies the problem. DHT is an extremely powerful androgen, significantly more potent than testosterone. Somehow, fenugreek causes increases in muscle mass and libido while reducing DHT. I often argue on the site that it is not exactly increased testosterone that you want. You want the blessings of a high testosterone level: physical fitness, libido, and high energy levels. If fenugreek can bestow these upon you, why do you need the testosterone?
An added testosterone benefit of my high fat and balanced protein and carb diet was that it probably helped me lose some body fat (I went from 18% to 12% body fat). Studies show that high fat diets actually contribute to increased body fat loss. And as we discussed earlier, as you lose body fat, your T production ramps up. Virtuous cycle for the win!
Some of them can benefit dieters or competitive athletes. These individuals often experience significant decreases in their testosterone levels as a result of the restrictive or stressful exercise or diet regimen. It is worth mentioning that many of them can actually benefit healthy and hyper-active individuals (for example, professional weight lifters), but we can’t know that for sure because there aren’t enough studies to back up this claim.
One study that compared athletes to non-active individuals found that supplementing with 22 mg magnesium per pound of body weight of the course of four weeks raised testosterone levels in both groups. And two separate studies, one on a group of men over the age of 65 and a second on a younger 18-30 year old cohort, present the same conclusion: levels of testosterone (and muscle strength) are directly correlated to the levels of magnesium in the body.
Studies also show a consistent negative correlation of testosterone with blood pressure (Barrett-Connor and Khaw 1988; Khaw and Barrett-Connor 1988; Svartberg, von Muhlen, Schirmer et al 2004). Data specific to the ageing male population suggests that this relationship is particularly powerful for systolic hypertension (Fogari et al 2005). Interventional trials have not found a significant effect of testosterone replacement on blood pressure (Kapoor et al 2006).
Epidemiological studies have also assessed links between serum testosterone and non-coronary atherosclerosis. A study of over 1000 people aged 55 years and over found an inverse correlation between serum total and bioavailable testosterone and the amount of aortic atherosclerosis in men, as assessed by radiological methods (Hak et al 2002). Increased intima-media thickness (IMT) is an early sign of atherosclerosis and has also been shown to predict cardiovascular mortality (Murakami et al 2005). Cross-sectional studies have found that testosterone levels are negatively correlated with carotid IMT in independently living men aged 74–93 years (van den Beld et al 2003), diabetic men (Fukui et al 2003) and young obese men (De Pergola et al 2003). A 4-year follow up study of the latter population showed that free testosterone was also inversely correlated with the rate of increase of IMT (Muller et al 2004).
Why the difference? The discrepancy in findings between these studies is likely due to the initial training status and base testosterone levels of the subjects. While more research is warranted on this ingredient, D-AA is one of several ingredients suggested to be effective in boosting test levels, especially for older men whose natural testosterone levels have declined due to the natural course of aging.
The biologically available part of total testosterone is called free testosterone, and it’s readily available to the cells. Almost every lab has a blood test to measure free testosterone. Even though it’s only a small fraction of the total, the free testosterone level is a pretty good indicator of low testosterone. It’s not perfect, but the correlation is greater than with total testosterone.
More recently, a study from 2015 noted that consuming 600mg daily of standardized fenugreek extract for eight weeks increased free testosterone levels compared to placebo. The test group also experience an increase the the number of repetitions the could perform in the leg press before reaching failure. And, to top it off, subjects receiving the fenugreek supplement dropped body fat without losing strength.
Lets touch on these individually. Gluten has been shown to increase prolactin levels in male mice (48 & 49). Increased prolactin levels in males leads to all sorts of horrible things: Man Boobs (50), High inflammation (51), and most importantly, higher prolactin levels have been shown to be testosterone lowering and lead to shrinking of the testicle (52).
Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is actually more hormone than it is a vitamin. Vitamin D is taken in by around 10% of our diets and D3 is mostly absorbed from the sun, which can be linked to greater testosterone production. The link between the two is a result from the luteinizing hormone playing its role. Read more about how vitamin D3 effects testosterone — the evidence is staggering.
Avoid stressful situations – It is actually that simple. If you can avoid stressful situations, then you can significantly improve your overall testosterone production. Why is that? Well, you should know that stress makes our bodies to produce cortisol that is a notorious and well-known testosterone killer. So, what can you do about it? Well, you should definitely try deep breathing, meditating, exercising, and other lifestyle changes that can help you deal with the stressful situations the right way.
D-AA: D-Aspartic Acid has been known to increase libido and sex drive as well as fertility in infertile men. D-AA was the craze a few years back but the issue found was that after a month of use, the results started to diminish. Also, if you currently have normal levels of testosterone, D-AA won’t do much good for you in terms of an increase in T-levels.
Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 actually isn’t a vitamin, it’s a hormone — a really important hormone that provides a whole host of health benefits. Our bodies can naturally make vitamin D from the sun, but recent studies have shown that many Westerners are vitamin D3 deprived because we’re spending less and less time outdoors. When we do decide to venture outside, we slather our bodies with sunscreen, which prevents the sun reaching our skin to kick-off vitamin D3 production. If you’re not getting enough sun, you may have a vitamin D3 deficiency, which may contribute to low T levels. If you think you need more vitamin D3, supplement it with a pill. Studies have shown that men who take this supplement see a boost in their testosterone levels. Because I have a darker complexion — which makes me prone to Vitamin D3 deficiency — I took 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 in the morning.
It doesn’t get more natural than getting a good night’s sleep. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that lack of sleep can greatly reduce a healthy young man’s testosterone levels. That effect is clear after only one week of reduced sleep. Testosterone levels were particularly low between 2 and 10 p.m. on sleep-restricted days. Study participants also reported a decreased sense of wellbeing as their blood testosterone levels dropped.
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Mood disturbance and dysthymia are part of the clinical syndrome of hypogonadism. Epidemiological studies have found a positive association between testosterone levels and mood, and depressed aging males have lower testosterone levels than controls (Barrett-Connor, Von Muhlen et al 1999). Furthermore, induction of a hypogonadal state during treatment of men for prostate cancer leads to an increase in depression scores (Almeida et al 2004). Trials of testosterone treatment effects on mood have varied in outcome. Data on the effects on men with depression are conflicting (Seidman et al 2001; Pope et al 2003) but there is evidence that testosterone treatment of older hypogonadal men does result in improvements in mood (Wang et al 1996) and that this may occur through changes in regional brain perfusion (Azad et al 2003).
This doesn’t mean Super Test is perfect — we take a closer look at some of its ingredients below — but it beats out the competition. Every other supplement we looked at either didn’t have all four ingredients, overdosed us on vitamins or minerals (a good way to develop kidney and liver problems), contained ingredients that would harm us, or some combination thereof.
Dr. Darryn Willoughby, a professor of health, human performance and recreation and the director of the Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory at Baylor University, told us that even in studies where there was an increase in testosterone, it was only around 15–20 percent. “In men with clinically normal testosterone levels, this modest increase will most likely not be anabolic enough to improve exercise performance,” he says. So if you have normal testosterone levels, and are simply trying to get an extra edge in gaining muscle, losing weight, or some extra time in the bedroom — you might see some results from taking a testosterone booster. But really, these will be most useful for men with low testosterone trying to get back to a healthy testosterone range.
"A lot of the symptoms are mirrored by other medical problems," Hedges says. "And for a long time, we were not attributing them to low testosterone, but to diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. But awareness and appreciation of low testosterone has risen. We recognize now that low testosterone may be at the root of problems."