Increased testosterone in men
It is often believed that the higher the level of testosterone in men - the better. However, it is important to understand that not always high testosterone means improving health or any indicators of the body. In addition, drugs to increase testosterone often have a long list of side effects - and they are always prescribed by a doctor only after a blood test.
Being one of the key hormones, testosterone is closely connected with the whole body - before you try to increase it, you need to understand why you need it and why you think that you have low testosterone . Plus, at home it is impossible to accurately measure whether a particular drug or a particular diet has affected testosterone and raised its level.
High testosterone and health
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone responsible for both the formation of secondary sexual characteristics in boys during adolescence and muscle growth in adulthood. A high level of the hormone testosterone is directly related to both the libido and the general emotional state of the man. Chronically low testosterone often depresses the brain.
At the same time, scientific studies suggest that men with elevated testosterone levels not only go bald faster, but also suffer from problems with excessively oily skin (which leads to acne), high levels of "bad" cholesterol in the blood and high blood pressure - exactly therefore, an increase in testosterone is not always a benefit to the body.
Obesity and Testosterone Levels
Along with bad habits, being overweight is one of the most important factors in lowering testosterone levels, as adipose tissue is able to convert male sex hormone to female. In fact, the more visceral fat a man has, the lower his testosterone level and the higher estrogen level (4) . The fight against obesity should always be at the first stage of the task of raising testosterone.
The less fat in a man’s body, the less testosterone will turn into estrogen - for this reason, regular physical and strength training will definitely lead to an increase (or even normalization) of testosterone levels. In addition, the higher the level of testosterone in the body, the faster the body will burn fat and build muscle.
The effect of nutrition on testosterone
Despite the fact that science cannot say exactly which foods increase testosterone levels, the list of “harmful” foods for this hormone has long been known. Since testosterone is a steroid hormone, its formation requires the presence of saturated fats in the diet - in their absence (for example, in the case of low-fat diets), the level of testosterone drops sharply.
Food with a high glycemic index also affects testosterone levels - regular consumption of fast carbohydrates not only violates the normal synthesis of insulin (ultimately leading to the development of diabetes mellitus), but also correlates with low testosterone. Among other things, testosterone is also affected by trans fats contained in fast food and various processed foods.
We talked about nutrition for increasing testosterone in the material “ The ratio of BJU for weight gain” - a high level of hormones is especially important for athletes during training for muscle growth.
Before talking about drugs to increase testosterone levels, it is necessary to mention vitamins and microminerals, the deficiency of which directly affects testosterone. Scientific studies show that in order to maintain a normally high level of testosterone, a man needs to receive at least 10-15 mg of zinc, 400-420 mg of magnesium and 400-1000 IU of vitamin D daily with food.
Note that zinc deficiency is extremely typical for urban residents (zinc sources are primarily seafood, offal and nuts), as well as a lack of vitamin D in the winter season (to synthesize this vitamin, you need to be in the sun for at least 30-40 minutes per week). That is why it is often possible to raise testosterone without taking pills.
Only anabolic steroids have a real evidence base as drugs to increase testosterone levels. However, they do not increase testosterone at all, but, in fact, replace it, dramatically reducing natural production. In addition, synthetic testosterone preparations are strictly controlled and are prescribed exclusively by a doctor.
Speaking about OTC supplements and dietary supplements for increasing testosterone levels, it should be noted that most of these drugs can not even theoretically affect the body - neither ginseng nor Eleutherococcus extract can raise the level of this hormone. Unfortunately, even the controversial evidence base is available only in the following three drugs:
- D-aspartic acid (D-Aspartic acid) is an amino acid found in small doses in food. Studies show that taking D-aspartic acid in the form of supplements can increase the levels of testosterone, prolactin and growth hormone (1) . An effective dosage is to take 2-3 grams per day for several weeks.
- Tribulus terrestris (lat. Tríbulus terréstris) - is used in Ayurveda and traditional medicine as a means to increase libido and "male power". It is important to note that the recommended dosage (of the order of 1-3 g per day) requires the use of tribulus in powder, and not at all in tablets, where it is contained in significantly lower doses.
- Eurycoma longifolia or Malaysian ginseng (English Eurycoma longifolia) - is used in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac and a means to increase potency, but has a controversial evidence base for its effect on testosterone. An effective dosage is considered to be 1-3 g per day, but most supplements contain significantly lower doses.
In conclusion, we recall that the final opinion about whether your testosterone is high or low should be taken by a doctor based on a laboratory blood test. To assess the level of testosterone, the content of free (i.e., unbound plasma protein) testosterone is used. Free testosterone represents approximately 1-3% of the total testosterone level in the body.
Blood for analysis of testosterone levels is donated from a vein, preferably in the morning or after 10-12 hours following the last meal. Separately, it should be noted that there is no unambiguous figure for a “normal” or “high” level of testosterone - for the same man, the indicators of this hormone can vary significantly even within a day.
|Man age||Free Testosterone ( nmol / L)||Free testosterone (pg / ml)|
|<25||20 - 30||9.0 - 28|
|25 - 29 years old||15 - 29||8.8 - 27|
|30 - 34 years old||14 - 27||8.5 - 26|
|35 - 39 years old||13 - 26||8.0 - 25|
|40 - 44 years old||12 - 25||7.2 - 23|
|45 - 49 years old||12-24||6.5 - 22|
|50 - 54 years old||12-24||6.0 - 20|
|55 - 59 years old||12-24||5.6 - 19|
Confident evidence base as drugs to increase testosterone levels are vitamin D, magnesium and zinc (in case of deficiency). Of the hundreds of plant extracts available as dietary supplements for raising testosterone, very few have been studied - and only a few of them have at least a controversial evidence base in their ability to increase the most important male hormone.
- The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats, source
- d-Aspartic acid supplementation combined with 28 days of heavy resistance training has no effect on body composition, muscle strength, and serum hormones associated with the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in resistance-trained men, source
- Clinical study of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in Oligozoospermia: A double blind study, source