Many people believe that testosterone deficiency only affects men of a certain age, but it can cause a long list of health issues for both men and women, whether they are young or old. It has been famously linked to erectile dysfunction in men. It can also lead to low sex drive and fertility, reduced muscle and bone density, osteoporosis, and increased body fat regardless of sex. There’s also evidence that low levels can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Since testosterone is often thought of as a “male hormone,” it comes as a shock to many people when they find out that even women produce the hormone, albeit at smaller amounts. Testosterone is an essential element in making red blood cells, so a deficiency can also lead to anemia. Meanwhile, if your body produces too much of the hormone, it could also cause high blood pressure and the formation of blood clots.
If you think you’re suffering from low testosterone levels, the first thing you need to do is to see a urologist. But if hormone therapy isn’t for you, there are ways to raise your levels the natural way. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Get 8 hours of sleep a night
Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of hormonal imbalance, including testosterone deficiency. If your hormone levels are unstable, it could lead to a cascading failure of your body’s processes. One easy way to keep your hormone levels balanced is to get enough sleep.
A University of Chicago study revealed that men who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have testosterone deficiency. Even sleeping only five hours a night can lead to a 15 percent drop in hormone levels. Usually, testosterone levels drop by just 1 percent each year.
If you want to keep your hormone levels stead, you need to make regular sleep a top priority. Your goal is to get 8 hours of sleep at night. You can also take melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep easier.
Another way to boost your testosterone levels is to stay active and get regular exercise. Research has shown that people who engage in physical activity more often have higher hormone levels. Staying active also leads to weight loss, which can further improve your testosterone. According to a National Institutes of Health study, overweight men have 40 to 50 percent less testosterone than their thinner counterparts.
However, you should also make sure that you’re not pushing yourself too hard in the gym. Too much exercise places your body under a lot of stress, which can lower your hormone levels. Focus on strength-building activities to build muscle mass.
Avoid processed and fatty food
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that a balanced diet is one of the cornerstones of good health. Overconsumption of processed and fatty food leads to weight gain, which in turn lowers your body’s testosterone levels. Combine that with a sedentary lifestyle, and it’s a recipe for obesity and other illnesses.
Even an inconsistent diet can affect hormone production. If you frequently switch between a regular diet and weight cycling, it could contribute to impaired production. Make sure to eat a lot of greens and carbohydrates with a small amount of fat and protein. Good nutrition lays the foundation for proper biological processes and balanced production.
We’ve established that lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle, and a poor diet all contribute to lower testosterone levels. Another factor that many people ignore is their stress levels. If you’re stressed, tired, and anxious all the time, it could result in many physical and emotional problems.
Chronic stress has been linked to increased levels of cortisol, a hormone responsible for metabolism and other bodily processes. High cortisol levels also affect your testosterone. You need to find a way to manage your stress if you want to keep your hormones balanced. Something as simple as meditating at morning and night can have profound effects on your stress. Deep breathing exercises and guided meditation have been proven to ease anxiety and calm your mind.
These are just some ways you can improve your testosterone levels without resorting to medication or hormone therapy. Simple changes to your lifestyle, including getting enough sleep and allowing yourself to relax once in a while, are a sure way to improve your overall wellness.