Testosterone is often associated with men. It is not something that many women think they need to worry about, but the truth is that this important hormone impacts both men and women and having a deficiency can lead to a handful of symptoms. Low testosterone is something that is causing issues in both men and women more often today and is quickly becoming a big health concern. In this article, I am going to break down what testosterone is, why it is important for health, and how to know if you are suffering from a testosterone deficiency. I will also cover ways that you can naturally boost testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays many important roles in the body. It is most commonly associated with the hormone that deepens a man’s voice, builds muscle, and promotes male hair-growth. However, this hormone also plays a role in women’s health as well. Some of the benefits of healthy testosterone levels include increased energy levels, healthy sleep patterns, healthy bone density, and optimal levels of red blood cells.
Symptoms of a Testosterone Deficiency (in men & women)
Testosterone naturally declines as we age, so a deficiency in older adult years is not uncommon. However, older adults are not the only ones at risk of becoming testosterone deficient. It is something that I happen to see in my practice quite a bit. The following are symptoms of a deficiency broken down by what generally tends to happen in men with a deficiency and then what happens in women with a deficiency.
Symptoms in Women
- Poor memory
- Dry skin
- Gaining weight around the midsection
- Having a hard time keeping muscle on
- Low libido
- Depression and or anxiety
Symptoms in Men
- Sexual dysfunction
- Hair loss
- Having a hard time building muscle
- Decreased bone mass
- Mood changes
As you can see, some of the symptoms in both men and women are similar. However, man or woman, these symptoms related to a testosterone deficiency can certainly interfere with overall quality of life. It is not a deficiency you want to let go, and while many people may turn to hormone therapy, this doesn’t come without side effects, let alone cost. The great news is that there are many natural ways you can help support optimal testosterone levels, so keep reading.
Who’s at Risk for a Testosterone Deficiency?
While age is certainly a risk factor, there are other factors that can lead to a deficiency in testosterone. These risk factors are something that I see so many of my patients dealing with as they are far too common in the average person’s day-to-day life. Here are just some of the risk factors when it comes to a testosterone deficiency.
- Low vitamin D levels
- Being overweight or living a sedentary lifestyle
- Taking statin drugs
- Dysbiosis (an imbalance in gut bacteria)
- A poor diet
- Chronic disease such as diabetes
There are also a handful of other potential causes of a testosterone deficiency including other chronic medical conditions such as liver or kidney disease, other hormonal disorders, infections, and other medications such as narcotics, and even chemotherapy. (1)
Unfortunately, these are things that many Americans are suffering from today, and these factors can drive a testosterone deficiency. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can naturally boost your testosterone levels.
Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone
Boosting your testosterone levels naturally is far less invasive and will hold far fewer side effects than hormone therapy. Is it thought that testosterone pills may have negative effects on the liver. (1) Other routes of testosterone supplementation such as gels, injections, or skin patches don’t come without their own side effects. You run the risk of dealing with skin reactions, an overproduction of red blood cells, issues with sperm production, and even a potential for cardiovascular issues. If you are dealing with a deficiency, working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner who has experience with treating Low-T is an excellent place to start. Getting the proper labs tests run, and getting on an appropriate supplement plan can make a massive difference. If you are ready to book a consultation to uncover the reason behind your deficiency and learn how to support healthy testosterone levels with a plan designed just for you, contact us here. For now, here are some ways you can boost testosterone levels, naturally.
#1 Enjoy Healthy Fats: Healthy fats are essential to overall health, including hormone balance. We need healthy fats for proper hormone function, and a study found that men who ate a diet low in dietary fats experienced a reduction in male sex hormones including testosterone. (2) Be sure to get enough fats in your diet such as omega-3 fatty acids from wild-caught fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and enjoy fats from food like avocados, coconuts, and organic grass-fed beef.
#2 Go Sugar-Free: Having an excess amount of sugar in your diet is a recipe for hormonal chaos. Consuming too much sugar can lead to obesity as well as diabetes, which if you remember are both risk factors when it comes to a testosterone deficiency. If you know you are consuming too much sugar, try to decrease the amount in your diet by eliminating processed and packaged foods. Be sure to limit natural sugars like pure maple syrup and raw honey as well, as these can also cause an imbalance in blood sugar levels when used in excess.
#3 Detox Your Liver: The liver plays a very important role in supporting healthy testosterone levels. The liver plays such an important role that a study found that men suffering from cirrhosis of the liver had up to a 90% reduction in testosterone levels! (3) Help support your liver by limiting or eliminating alcohol, cutting back on sugar, avoiding toxins, exercising regularly, consuming a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. I also highly recommend The Optimal Reset Cleanse as it helps support healthy liver function.
#4 Supplement with Vitamin D (if levels are low) Making sure you have adequate levels of vitamin D is an important part of supporting optimal testosterone levels. However, since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, I always like to check vitamin D levels first before recommending supplementation. Plus, trying magnesium or cod liver oil first may be preferable, and here’s why. I mention the importance of magnesium because magnesium is actually needed for the binding of vitamin D to its transport protein. (4) Therefore vitamin D depends on adequate levels of magnesium. This is why starting with magnesium may be a great place to start for supporting optimal vitamin D levels in the body. Cod liver oil is another option as it is a rich source of both vitamin D and vitamin A.
#5 Reduce Stress Levels: Stress puts us at risk for chronic disease, weight gain, as well as hormone imbalances. Reducing stress is critical for overall wellness. Try to reduce your stress daily with some form of relaxation. I also encourage you to pencil in time each week to do something that you really enjoy. The more you reduce your stress, the better your health will be. It’s a huge step in supporting hormone balance.
#6 Lose Weight if Needed: Being overweight puts you at a greater risk of dealing with a testosterone deficiency. Trying to lose weight can have a very positive impact on your overall health as well as hormone levels.
#7 Improve Sleep Habits: We need enough sleep to support hormone homeostasis. When we deprive our bodies of sleep, we run the risk of suffering from hormone imbalance, not to mention weight gain, and sugar cravings all of which are risk factors for a testosterone deficiency. A study looked at a group of young men who underwent one week of sleep restriction by only getting five hours of sleep per night. The study found that testosterone levels decreased by 10-15% after just one week of not getting enough sleep! (5) This is critical information and even more reason to make sure you are making sleep a priority.
#8 Get Enough Zinc in Your Diet: If you happen to suffer with low levels of zinc, it could be a cause of low testosterone as it is a mineral that is very important for testosterone production. You can support optimal zinc levels by consuming foods high in zinc. Try adding foods such as pumpkin seeds, as well as grass-fed meats, and wild-caught fish to your diet.
#9 Strength Training & High-Intensity Interval Training: Exercise is an important part of overall health, including hormonal support. High-intensity interval training is great as it’s not something that requires much equipment, and you can complete a workout in as little as 20-minutes. Before doing any type of workout, be sure you have clearance from your health care provider, especially before doing anything more strenuous than you are used to.
#10 Try Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting works when you skip a meal such as breakfast so that your body is in a fasted state for a longer period of time. There have been a number of benefits document by practicing intermittent fasting including an increase in testosterone levels. It is thought that fasting allows your body to rest, recover, and thus naturally support hormone levels.
A Testosterone Boosting Recipe
Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding
- 1 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. matcha green tea powder
- Add all ingredients to a large mason jar and mix well.
- Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until pudding-like consistency forms.
- Top with optional toppings and enjoy.
Having a testosterone deficiency can certainly impact the overall quality of your life, and it is not just something that impacts men. A deficiency in this hormone is something that I see in both men and women in my practice, and without getting to the bottom of the cause of the deficiency or understanding a natural approach to supporting this deficiency, symptoms can last long-term. Interested in supporting your testosterone levels and understanding why your levels may be low? Contact us below.
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I know exactly where you are because I’ve been there myself…I remember being so tired that I could barely function. I gained 30 pounds out of nowhere and had a severe case of brain fog. I also started to get severe anxiety and panic attacks. I was driven and motivated…until I wasn’t. I didn’t know what was happening to me. All I wanted was to get my life back…
Finally, I learned about functional medicine and found a practitioner that I hoped could help me. They ran specialized tests that were far different than I had ever had before. When I got the results back, it turned out I had candida, parasites, high cortisol, the Epstein Bar Virus and many food intolerances. I also had an issue with my thyroid that no one found before because they were using the conventional medicine lab ranges which are way too broad….which I now know is one of the leading causes of hypothyroid misdiagnosis.
I went through treatment of all of these things and it completely changed my life. I immediately lost the 30 pounds I had gained plus more, I had a lot more energy, and my brain fog was gone. I felt amazing and knew that I wanted to help people find the underlying causes of their symptoms and disease.
(1) Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP. Low Testosterone (Low-T) Medicine.net
(2) Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men. PubMed.gov
(3) Testosterone in men with advanced liver disease: abnormalities and implications. PubMed.gov
(4) Vitamin-D deficiency = Mg deficiency. Period. (2014) Gotmag.org
(5) Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men. PubMed.gov