Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced by both men and women, but it's more present in men. You can test your testosterone level with a simple blood test. In men, lack of libido, erectile dysfunction and infertility are signs of low testosterone. A chronic illness, a noncancerous tumor that produces too much prolactin and delayed puberty are all possible causes of low testosterone levels. However, low testosterone levels are also linked to certain mineral deficiencies. Eating foods rich in these minerals can help bring your levels back up.
Oysters for Zinc
In a 2012 study published in the "African Journal of Medicine and Medical Science," researchers looked at zinc, selenium and testosterone levels in 50 infertile men and 20 fertile men ages 25 to 55. They found that the fertile men had much higher levels of zinc and testosterone than those who were infertile, which led them to conclude that there is a strong relationship between zinc and testosterone levels. Men require at least 11 milligrams of zinc daily. The most potent food source of zinc is oysters, which have about 25 milligrams of zinc per ounce. Other seafood and meats are also good sources of zinc.
Brazil Nuts for Selenium
The same study also confirmed a correlation between testosterone levels and selenium; the men who had less testosterone and were infertile also had lower selenium levels than the fertile men. Men need at least 55 micrograms of selenium a day. Foods that are rich in zinc also tend to be good sources of selenium. Selenium is highly present in seafood and organ meats. The most potent source, however, is Brazil nuts. Just one Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium. Because this is more than your daily requirement, the National Institutes of Health warns that regular Brazil nut consumption could cause selenium toxicity.
Vitamin D-Fortified Foods
Researchers have long known that vitamin D deficiency can cause low testosterone levels. A study published in "Hormone and Metabolic Research" in 2011 investigated whether vitamin D supplementation increases testosterone levels. Male participants with low testosterone were given either a vitamin D supplement of 83 micrograms or a placebo. After a year, the men given vitamin D supplementation had higher testosterone levels than the men given placebos. Your daily recommended intake of vitamin D is 15 micrograms. Several foods and drinks are fortified with vitamin D, such as orange juice, cereal and margarine. One glass of milk can provide more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin D requirement.
Nuts and Greens for Magnesium
A study published in "Biological Trace Element Research" in 2011 looked at the relationship between magnesium levels and testosterone levels in tae kwon do athletes and in sedentary men. They found that magnesium supplementation raised testosterone levels in both the sedentary and athletic men, but to a higher extent in the athletes, because exercise stimulates testosterone production. Men require 420 milligrams of magnesium daily. Nuts and dark leafy greens are the best sources of magnesium. Just 1 ounce of almonds contains 80 milligrams of magnesium, and half a cup of cooked spinach gives you 78 milligrams. Cashews and peanuts are other magnesium-dense nuts. Beans and whole grains are other good sources.
- Medline Plus: Testosterone
- African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences: Relationship between serum levels of testosterone, zinc and selenium in infertile males attending fertility clinic in Nnewi, south east Nigeria
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Zinc
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Selenium
- Hormone and Metabolic Research: Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
- Biological Trace Element Research: Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium