Testosterone 101

Testosterone (often referred to as “T”) is a hormone that plays important roles in the body—it’s not just for mucho macho. Aside from being a sex hormone, T contributes to bone density, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, facial and body hair, and the production of red blood cells and sperm.

Men’s T levels peak during their teens and early adulthood, and slowly decline starting after about age 30 (typically about 1 percent a year). Sometimes, though, low T levels can be due to other things going on in men’s lives—and can be linked to certain symptoms.

When T stocks are low

  • low sex drive
  • hair loss
  • fatigue
  • loss of muscle mass
  • increased body fat
  • decreased bone mass
  • changes in mood and outlook

Even though T levels naturally decline with age, making healthy lifestyle choices can make a significant difference. Maintaining higher T levels is both a cause and an effect of good health—an indication that virility and vitality are on an upward, rather than a downward, spiral.

Slow the T drain

  • Get enough zzz’s.
  • Make exercising a regular habit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking!
  • Eat a healthy whole foods diet.

Increase libido

Testosterone and dopamine play key roles in firing up a man’s sex drive. And whenever these chemicals get thrown out of whack, libido can stall. Some natural libido enhancers might help.

L-arginine is an amino acid and building block of protein often used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Panax ginseng is used to enhance libido, sexual performance, and fertility by modulating the neuronal and hormonal systems.

Tribulus terrestris is a Mediterranean plant whose use has long been associated with its libido-enhancing properties.

Get better sleep

Testosterone is produced at night during the deeper phases of sleep (such as REM). If you’re sleep deprived, you might also be T-deprived. There are many natural ways to help solve occasional sleep problems.

Theanine promotes relaxation without sedation and helps you fall asleep more quickly and easily and sleep more soundly.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) helps reduce the time to fall asleep and improves total sleep time.

Melatonin is the body’s natural sleep regulator; it helps the body wind down for sleep and can be especially useful for frequent travellers and shift workers.

Stop the shed

Aside from low testosterone and thyroid issues, hair loss in men can be caused by a number of different factors, including genetics and age. Other causes can include dietary deficiencies that can be corrected.

Vitamin D is needed for normal hair follicle cycling and integrity. Studies reveal low serum vitamin D in alopecia patients.

Zinc plays a part in regulating testosterone levels, is a potent inhibitor of hair follicle regression, and may help accelerate hair follicle recovery.

Pumpkin seed oil is a natural 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that may help treat male pattern baldness.

Maintain muscle

The components of healthy muscle mass are basic to our overall health. Muscle maintenance is critical, and keeping them primed is rooted in good dietary and lifestyle habits. Some key components can be added through supplementation.

Protein is a key nutrient for muscle growth, mass, and strength. Supplemental protein is available if dietary restrictions make it hard to get enough.

BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) stimulate the biochemical pathway that tells muscles to grow and prevent muscles from being broken down.

Omega-3s in fish oils have inflammation-modulating capacity, making them another tool to support healthy muscle mass.

Improve your mood

It could simply be a consequence of stress or fatigue, but mood, especially frequent changes and irritability, can also be signs of testosterone deficiency. Whatever its cause, there are effective ways to naturally regulate mood.

Probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with a sad mood by helping to reduce inflammation and permeability of the gut.

Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that helps reduce stress-related fatigue and improve mood in depressed adults.

Taurine is an amino acid in the central nervous system that may help increase dopamine and relax the central nervous system and may have antidepressant effects.

Build your bones

Although decreased bone mass can be a symptom of testosterone deficiency, ensuring optimal levels of key nutrients may play a significant role in protecting our bone health— while also maintaining testosterone levels.

Vitamin D is needed to maintain calcium and phosphorus absorption to support bone mineralization; supplementing low stores has demonstrated increased testosterone levels.

Magnesium is a critical component of our skeleton; supplementing low magnesium levels has been shown to boost testosterone levels.

Vitamin K helps modify protein so it can bind calcium; research shows vitamin K supplementation may help steady levels of testosterone.

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