Listen up, men: Fully one in four of you over the age of 30 have low testosterone. What's more, there are some serious health- and lifestyle-related issues linked to declining levels of testosterone.
Common problems include erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, osteoporosis and bone fracture. That's the bad news.
But the good news is that low testosterone isn't something you just have to live with. A lot of what it takes to return your testosterone levels to normal are things you should be doing anyway.
But first things first: How can you tell if you have low testosterone? Here are some warning signs that your T levels might be low:
-Fatigue and decreased energy
-Depression, mood swings, irritability
-Reduced muscle mass and increased levels of body fat
Your doctor will be able to offer some options, but before you go down that road, here are six ways you can pump up your man hormones naturally:
1. Do More Compound Lifts
There's really no substitute for lifting heavy when it comes to getting your testosterone levels back up to snuff. Your best options are compound lifts that use multiple muscle groups or even your whole body; think squats, deadlifts, snatches and cleans.
The reason these work to produce more testosterone is simple: They put a greater amount of stress on a greater amount of muscle tissue. The more muscle you're moving, the more you're going to free up testosterone for use by your body.
2. Eat More Fat and Cholesterol
Here's something you probably didn't know: Cholesterol is nature's steroid. Your brain is filled with it, and it helps cognitive functioning. While there's an upper limit to how much fat and cholesterol you can consume and still be healthy, studies have linked both cholesterol and fat to proper testosterone levels in men.
Read More: Top 9 Foods for Men's Sexual Health
The best news is that having bacon and eggs for breakfast is an easy way to get what you need. Ditch the cereal and bagels and start eating like your grandfather used to. Other than that, get your fats from nuts, avocados and other healthy sources.
3. Take the Right Vitamins
One reason that men see declining levels of testosterone is that they're not getting the right vitamins. The most important ones are vitamin D, magnesium and zinc. You might be getting all of these from your food or, in the case of vitamin D, the sun.
However, you might not be getting enough of them, and in the case of vitamin D, you might not be getting enough of the right kind, D3, which is a hormone, not a vitamin.
All three are closely associated with elevated levels of testosterone in men, so get a multivitamin that provides you with all of the above, as well as a solid D-3 supplement, especially if you live somewhere without a lot of sun.
4. Get More Sleep
Sleep will increase your testosterone levels? Yep. Testosterone has a mortal enemy, cortisol, that effectively blocks your ability to use testosterone properly.
Read More: Why Sleep Is so Important & How to Get It
There are two main things that are going to increase your cortisol levels: not getting enough sleep and stressing out. Make sure that you're getting enough sleep. If you're not, start looking for reasons why you're not and practice proper sleep hygiene. Six hours a night is an absolute bare minimum. Seven is better. Eight is ideal.
5. Get More Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs are common in pre-workout formulas for a reason: Not only do they increase testosterone levels on their own, making your lifts go smoother, they also increase testosterone levels of men who are lifting extra.
More good news: You can get BCAAs from cheese. Mix some of this in with your pre-workout formula for maximum results.
6. Skip the Sugar
Sugar boosts your insulin levels, leading to lowered levels of testosterone. Two hours after you eat sugar, you're almost certainly going to have significantly lowered T levels. And that's in addition to what it's doing to your insulin levels over time.
Read More: 10 Easy Drink Swaps to Cut Down on Sugar
There's also the likelihood that sugar is going to increase your weight and body fat, which are also associated with lower testosterone levels.
If you change your lifestyle and habits and you're still having issues with low-testosterone-related symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. But start with areas that are under your control.
What Do YOU Think?
Have you been diagnosed with low testosterone? What did you do to get your levels up? Did you use medication or any of the methods discussed above? Leave a comment below and let us know.