Ever heard of testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone and anabolic steroid in males. In humans, testosterone plays an important role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as prostate and testes, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased bone & muscle mass, and the growth of body hair. Furthermore, testosterone in both sexes is involved in health and well-being, including moods, behaviour, and in the prevention of osteoporosis. Insufficient levels of testosterone in men may lead to abnormalities including bone loss and frailty .
What are its uses?
In addition to its role as a natural hormone, testosterone is used in treatments as a medication for hypogonadism in men and breast cancer in women. Since testosterone levels decrease as men age, testosterone is sometimes used in older men to improve this deficiency. It is also used illicitly to enhance physique and performance, for instance in athletes. The World Anti-Doping Agency is listing it as S1 Anabolic agent substance “prohibited at all times” . Anabolic effects increase muscle mass and strength, increased bone density, and stimulation of linear growth and bone maturation. 
What can improve your testosterone levels?
So how do you increase the levels of this hormone naturally? These are done via two main routes of having a healthy diet and a lifestyle. Having a healthy diet has numerous advantages on not just testosterone levels but on many other biological functions in the body. However, there are foods that are linked to higher levels of testosterone and should be included in the diet perhaps in higher amounts to gain the benefits of increased testosterone. Examples of such foods are ginger, oysters, pomegranates, extra-virgin olive oil and onions .
Does exercise help testosterone levels?
In terms of exercises, resistance training exercises and high-intensity interval training routines were linked with higher testosterone levels both in a short and long-term capacity. Cardio however was not linked to an increase in testosterone. Another way of naturally increasing testosterone is losing unnecessary weight. This will help balance the hormones in the body and increase testosterone to a healthy level without any medication .
Do you need change your lifestyle?
When it comes to lifestyle, minimising stress can be a major factor. Stress is related to the production of cortisol in the body which intern reduces the amount of testosterone available. Thus having a good-work balance and a less stressful environment can lead to having higher testosterone levels. Drinking alcohol is linked to lower testosterone levels, therefore drinking more responsibly or not drinking at all would lower this risk .
Lastly getting enough sleep is paramount in getting the right amount of testosterone in your body. The recommended hours are 8 hours of sleep each day to ensure a healthier life and a good testosterone level.
To know more about this topic, check out episode#26 on DOTIVthepodcast titled “Naturally Increasing Testosterone Levels with Diet & Lifestyle Choices” with hosts Guni & Thasha and guest Juan Lainez.
- Nieschlag. E., Behre, H. and Nieschlag, S., 2012. Testosterone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.23-29.
- “What is Prohibited”. World Anti-Doping Agency. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
- Jordan-Young, R. and Karkazis, K., 2019. Testosterone deficiency in men. [S.l.]: [s.n.], pp.33-63.
- Sapolsky, R., 2014. The trouble with testosterone. New York: Scribner, pp.22-29.