By: Griffin McKenzie
Entrepreneur, Health Coach, and Blogger
Low testosterone – it’s something no man wants to talk about or deal with, especially in their youth, but the prevalence of low T-levels is increasing due to lifestyle, poor nutrition, toxic exposure, and chronic stress. It has become so serious that over 40% of men who are 45 and older are affected by this issue, and the number of younger men is on the rise, as well (1). Here’s the good news – if you’re struggling with low-T, it’s not the end of the road; you just need a game plan.
We recently launched a new supplement, Male IQ, which helps men restore their youth and experience enhanced mental, sexual, and athletic performance! Not only does Male IQ boost free testosterone, it supports optimal stimulation of androgen receptors in the brain, which bind to testosterone and enhance the expression of the hormone in all of its functions (5).
Testosterone production decreases with age, but there are a variety of other factors that contribute to a drop in T levels, and the symptoms can present themselves gradually. Unfortunately, most men live with the impression that low-T will never happen to them, so they often don’t know why it’s important to promote healthy testosterone levels and what to look for when things get off track. Today, we will outline a multitude of reasons why testosterone levels can fall and a variety of ways to combat low-T levels by going the natural route!
Why is Testosterone Important?
Everyone needs testosterone, but the function of this sex hormone is different for both men and women. For men, testosterone is believed to regulate sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, and even the production of sperm and red blood cells (2). It’s definitely not a deficiency that can be ignored for men or women, but the good news is that low-T in younger men is treatable and manageable.
Just as chronic stress and disease can affect any hormonal imbalance, testosterone is no different. Type 2 diabetes and associated obesity, chronic liver and kidney disease, pituitary gland problems, and trauma are all precursors to a drop in testosterone (3). Younger men often notice a decline in their sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or weakness during workouts that used to feel manageable. Thankfully, low-T can be diagnosed with a blood test, and any results less than 300 ng/dL signify that a problem is present (3). Once you know that there is a problem, you can decide the best way to handle it for your life and health goals.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Low Testosterone Levels
When men find out that they can restore their sex drive, strength, and energy levels, you can imagine that most are eager to do so, and quickly! However, the quick fix is not always the most beneficial solution in the long term, which is why it is important to understand all of the options one can take to increase testosterone levels.
Testosterone has been used as a clinical drug since 1937, but there are other ways to support testosterone production without hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (2). While HRT is a viable option, there are a multitude of side effects associated with these treatments. Synthetic hormone treatments have been shown to lower HDL cholesterol, aka the “good” cholesterol, and increase the risk for stroke (1).
Causes of Low Testosterone
Low-T levels can occur as a result of a serious disease, such as HIV or Klinefelter syndrome, which requires a more complex assessment and solution to raise testosterone levels (3). When testosterone has dropped as a result of testicular or pituitary pathology, testosterone replacement may be a more viable solution, even though the side effects are a serious reality (4).
But, if low-T levels are a byproduct of an unhealthy lifestyle, there is a more straightforward solution. Often the same factors that accompany type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome (obesity, high LDL cholesterol, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure) are present in younger males who have been diagnosed with low testosterone. By combatting the diet and lifestyle issues at hand, men can increase their overall health and vitality, while tackling multiple problems at the same time!
Men can also experience low-T levels from estrogen dominance or hypothyroidism, and both conditions are marked by hormone imbalances that will prevent the benefits of properly functioning testosterone levels and androgen receptors (6). Estrogen, but specifically, estradiol, blocks testosterone receptors and increases the liver’s production of sex hormone binding globulin, which inhibits the bioavailability of testosterone (6). Estrogen dominance can occur from poor diet and lifestyle, as many of the processed foods and daily toxins that we are exposed to promote estrogen dominance. Additionally, hypothyroidism is marked by an iodine deficiency, which means that your hormone production and metabolism are both suffering greatly. Supplementing with iodine is an excellent practice for those who have known thyroid issues.
It’s important to understand why you’re suffering from low-T by working with your doctor or functional medicine practitioner so that you can best address the problem.
Natural Remedies for Low Testosterone Levels
Now that you’re well versed in some of the causes for low-T levels, let’s talk about the solutions! We’ve already told you that our Male IQ supplement is a dream for tackling low-T levels in younger men, which are primarily caused by nutritional deficiencies and hormone imbalances. To reset your system and improve testosterone production and androgen binding efforts, here are a few steps you can take to support a resurgence of testosterone levels and help Male IQ work even better in your body!
- Step Up Your Weight Training Game
Weightlifting enhances your dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is even more powerful than testosterone. It more readily binds with androgen receptors and is associated with manly qualities such as a deeper voice and more body hair (5). Weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts will boost DHT levels and support healthy testosterone production.
- Try Intermittent Fasting
While intermittent fasting is a controversial topic in some health circles, it has been shown to have huge benefits in helping men lose weight and enhance testosterone production, as well as regulate other hormonal imbalances. One study found that fasting enhanced human growth hormone (HGH) by 2000%, and HGH is positively correlated with testosterone production (7). Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of ways, but most fasts consist of an 8-hour eating window, followed by a 16 hour fast.
- Paleo or Ketogenic Diets
When intermittent fasting is combined with a paleo or ketogenic diet, additional benefits for weight loss and hormone health can be seen. Paleo diets place a large emphasis on high-quality meats and vegetables, and red meat is known to increase L-Carnitine, which is found in red meat and associated with muscle growth and recovery (6). Ketogenic diets place a higher emphasis on healthy fats and the production of ketone bodies, in conjunction with carbohydrate sparing and sugar eliminating practices. Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, wild caught salmon, flax seeds, and raw, fermented dairy products can increase testosterone. In general, cutting sugar from your diet is a huge factor in detoxification and supporting proper hormone balances, no matter who you are (1)!
- Practice Self Care
Stress wreaks havoc on our hormones, so practicing good self-care is a great way to combat fatigue and chronic stress. Try to go to sleep at a consistent hour, reduce your reliance on technology before bed to combat blue light absorption, take adaptogens such as reishi or ashwagandha to combat high cortisol levels, and consider getting a massage to release toxins and calm your nervous system. This is the fun part of healthy living; treating yourself is actually good for you!
- Get a Little Sunshine
Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, has been shown to increase testosterone levels (8). Vitamin D can be synthesized through sunshine, and approximately 10 minutes per day of sunshine on your skin (without sunscreen) is recommended. Vitamin D is not as readily available in dietary forms, so supplementing an active form of Vitamin D will help your body detox and support testosterone production.
If you have been feeling less than stellar in your workouts, sex drive, and overall energy levels, it’s time to assess your testosterone status and start to combat this issue the natural way. Make sure you grab a bottle of Male IQ to support your new healthy habits, and as usual, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below!
- Millar, A. C., Lau, A. C., Tomlinson, G., Kraguljac, A., Simel, D. L., Detsky, A. S., & Lipscombe, L. L. (2016). Predicting low testosterone in aging men: a systematic review. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal De L’association Medicale Canadienne, 188(13), E321-E330. doi:10.1503/cmaj.150262