by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Testosterone replacement therapy drugs account for $5.4 million worth of prescriptions written each year. If you’re a man entering mid-life, you might be experiencing some of the symptoms of low testosterone such as low libido, decreased muscle mass, a tell-tale spare tire, mood swings, and reduced energy levels.
If your doctor has suggested testosterone replacement therapy, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. According to a study published by the American Medical Association, men who used testosterone drugs were 29 percent more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke after just three years of use.
These drugs have also been linked to a rise in LDL cholesterol, increased arterial inflammation, higher risk of blood clots, and the worsening of sleep apnea.
Declining Testosterone Levels is Natural, Not a Disease
If you’re to believe the commercials for testosterone replacement therapy drugs, low testosterone is some type of disease to be cured. This is simply untrue. When a man reaches the age of 30, his testosterone levels decrease each year. This is something that happens to all men and is just as natural an occurrence as menopause in women.
The Safest Ways to Boost Testosterone Levels Naturally
When it comes to increasing your testosterone levels, you have more natural options than asking your doctor for a pill that could potentially risk your health.
Here are 8 ways to boost your testosterone levels without a prescription:
• Eat a Testosterone-Building Diet
If you eat the Standard American Diet of microwaveable meals, fast food, donuts, and soda, your testosterone levels will plummet and stay there. So unless you want the virility, health and energy of a 90-year-old, you need to clean up your diet.
Slowly wean off these highly-processed foods and eat more lean protein, healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, avocado), and zinc-rich foods such as oysters, grass-fed beef, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate.
I also recommend adding more cruciferous vegetables to your diet such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and collard greens. These foods help detoxify your body from estrogenic compounds in your environment.
• Maintain a Healthy Weight
Men who have a little extra around the middle often experience the symptoms of low testosterone as the added poundage increases estrogen levels. Furthermore, obesity increases your inflammatory factor, which can cause your testosterone levels to plummet.
• Find Constructive Outlets for Stress
Studies have shown that excessive amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, can cause your testosterone levels to decline. If you’re experiencing a lot of stressful events in your life, write out a list of reachable goals. Getting your stress down on paper and tackling what you’re able to can feel more in control of your life and immediate surroundings.
• Have Your Vitamin D Levels Checked
An often-overlooked but quite common cause of low testosterone is vitamin D3 deficiency. From the experience I’ve had in my practice, I have discovered that 85% of my patients are deficient in this essential nutrient. According to a research study, men who supplemented their diet with an average of 3,332 I.U.s of vitamin D3 daily achieved a noted increase in their testosterone levels. For the most accurate lab testing, I recommend the Vitamin D, 25 Hydroxy test kit from Direct Labs.
• Exercise for Optimum Testosterone
Boost your testosterone levels through short, intense training sessions, not more than 45 minutes. Exercise your larger muscle groups and use heavier weights with fewer repetitions.
• Get Romantic with Your Partner
Scientific studies have shown that regular sexual activity boosts your testosterone levels more than the other way around. Even if your libido has been a little lower than usual, spend time being romantic with your partner; going on dates, kissing, cuddling, and holding hands to rekindle that feeling of intimacy.
• Reduce Exposure to Environmental Estrogens
Environmental estrogens are another overlooked factor in the premature decline of testosterone levels. Pesticides, cleaning products, personal care products, plastic water bottles, receipts, and air fresheners all contain synthetic compounds best avoided if possible. Eat organic whenever possible, use natural personal care products, get rid of your air fresheners, and shun plastic water bottles and food containers as well as store receipts if you don’t need them.
• Add Some Natural Supplements
In addition to Vitamin D3, there are a few more natural supplements that can help boost your testosterone levels and treat erectile dysfunction if this is a concern for you. Zinc is an essential mineral vital for testosterone production. Many men are deficient in this mineral and are unaware of it, though depression and mood swings are often a tell-tale sign. Fish oil has been shown to increase luteinizing hormone (LH), which triggers testosterone production. L-Arginine helps increase blood flow and circulation, which can help treat erectile dysfunction naturally.
Boosting your testosterone levels naturally can help treat your mood swings and give you back that feeling of virility and strength you’ve been missing without the side effects.