Excessive drinking, smoking, lack of exercise and unhealthy diet may damage the testes and lower testosterone production.
Causes Of Low Testosterone
As men age, testosterone levels naturally go down. This process is sometimes referred to as the “male menopause” or androgynous. This process occurs when the amount of testosterone in the body decreases and production slows. Most men lose 30 to 40 percent of testosterone between ages 48 and 70. This process can lead to loss of muscle strength, increase in body fat and decreased sexual drive or functionality.
Not all cases of low testosterone are a product of the body naturally malfunctioning. An injury to the testes, which produces the hormone, can also cause low testosterone. If a man is experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone – low sex drive, fatigue, muscle loss, depression– he should consider being checked for an injury to his testes.
When a man has prostate cancer, the cancer feeds on male hormones, including testosterone. One of the goals of hormone therapy is to deprive the cancer of fuel by dramatically decreasing the amount of male hormones in the body, including testosterone. Hormone therapy is often used for those men who cannot have surgery or have a type of cancer that has returned after other means of treatment.
Male hypothyroidism is characterized by the failure to produce testosterone or a decrease in the production of testosterone. This occurs when the testes fail to function normally because of a genetic defect, illness or injury or because of the failures of another hormonal gland. Whereas testosterone inhibits the growth of muscle and body hair, men with hypothyroidism may experience late puberty (or not at all). In adults, the condition may have symptoms of low sexual drive, potency, sperm production or overall low body strength.
Obesity can cause a myriad of problems for men, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, among other conditions. Another effect of obesity is a change in hormonal levels in the body. Testosterone helps build muscle in men and when testosterone levels decrease, muscle mass decreases and fat deposits begin to accumulate. Low testosterone levels in men can also lead to decreased sexual drive, low sperm count and problems with erections.
If a man is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, low testosterone is not an uncommon side effect. In some cases, chemotherapy can damage the testes and can affect the levels of testosterone produced by the glands, leaving a man with a decreased amount of the hormone. Often, a man with low testosterone as a product of one of these treatments will also be given a prescription for testosterone supplementation.
The testes can be affected by some infectious diseases, including mumps. If a man catches the disease early in his life, it could cause long-term problems for the production of testosterone. Other infectious diseases that can impair testosterone production include tuberculosis and HIV.
People can improve testosterone levels by changing their lifestyles, improving their diet, or by including exercise programs in their daily lives. Exercise and other physical activities are proven to show measurable improvements in testosterone levels.
Hit The Weights
Exercise can be beneficial to men with a variety of conditions, including low testosterone. A 1993 study found that both moderate weightlifting and light weightlifting significantly increased the level of testosterone in the blood for a period of time immediately following the exercise. It is also said that using heavier weights and working the biggest muscles in the body – the quads, butt and lower back – can increase testosterone levels the most.
The nutrients that are found in foods that help increase testosterone are zinc, Vitamins A, B5 and C, cholesterol, fatty acids and boron. To increase testosterone levels, some of the best foods to add in your diet should be those such as eggs, broccoli, salmon, and pumpkin seeds.
Though a report from the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research ultimately called for further randomized trials on the topic, results suggested that vitamin D could play a role in increasing testosterone levels. Vitamin D can be consumed through supplementation or through exposure to the sun. As always, don’t overdo it in the sun – skin cancer is assuredly not helpful for testosterone levels.
Zinc deficiency is linked to hypogonadism in men, a condition where the sex glands produce little or no hormones. Published in Nutrition, researchers found that, in addition to this link, zinc can also play an important role in helping to regulate testosterone levels. The study involved men between 20 and 80 years old, both with and without zinc deficiency. Ultimately, zinc supplementation was linked to dramatic increases in testosterone in zinc-deficient young men and “significant” increases in elderly men with moderate zinc deficiency.
According to the Journal of Nutrition, garlic supplementation “alters hormones associated with protein anabolism by increasing testicular testosterone.” That’s the goal, right? Go eat some garlic. Just not so much that the women on the receiving end of your affection are turned off by your odour.
In a study published in the International Journal of Sport, Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, researchers found that, in addition to a boost in testosterone from exercise, those who took caffeine before a workout saw an additional 21 percent jump in testosterone.
Nuts, oysters, oatmeal and organic foods have all been identified as being associated with increased testosterone levels. Oysters are high in zinc; nuts and oatmeal have the amino acid Argentine, which helps reduce stiffness in the blood vessels. And for a food to be labelled as “organic,” it must be free from, among other chemicals, pesticides – which have been linked to increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
Lose The Fat
In addition to the scientific analysis, many men can confirm that belly fat increases with age and a natural decrease in testosterone. As such, middle-aged obese men were given testosterone supplementation, leading to a significant decrease in belly fat over a six-week time period. Try losing your gut and testosterone levels may spring back up as well.
High Protein Diet
This study took place in bulls, but… testosterone levels were higher in bulls fed a high protein diet as opposed to a lower protein diet. In addition to testosterone levels, the bulls on the high-protein diet had a higher scrotal circumference, body condition score and total sperm count. Is it time to start eating more protein?