A Closer Look at Testosterone
What to keep out of your daily life to keep it up. Testosterone is one of those nagging issues that give men added anxiety, especially as you age. There’s plenty of talk about what you can add to your diet or lifestyle to boost testosterone levels, but you might be thinking about it all wrong. What if you could take away some things from your daily life to keep testosterone levels high?
Testosterone is vitally important to men because it is our primary sex hormone. It’s linked to our muscle mass, sex drive, erectile disfunction, and even bone density. Testosterone is produced in the testicles and its regulated by pituitary hormones. Just like any other natural function, you need to maintain your body to keep this system working perfectly.
Here are some tips for maintaining healthy testosterone levels for men.
1. Avoid spending too much time indoors.
When you stay indoors all day, you’re robbing your body of its necessary exposure to sunlight. The sun is your body’s major source of vitamin D. It’s free. You just need to soak up some rays to fill your body’s daily consumption needs.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the production of testosterone. Most healthy men get all the vitamin D that they need, but if you’re deficient in vitamin D then your body will produce less testosterone. So, avoid longer periods of indoor activity. Take a walk in the morning or afternoon, just to mix up your routine and get more vitamin D.
2. Avoid shortchanging your sleep
Most of the testosterone in your body is produced while you sleep. If you wake up often during the night or you suffer from sleep apnea, then your body might produce less testosterone. Older men who don’t get enough sleep will find it especially difficult to achieve morning wood, too. Yet, men often find reasons to shave a few hours off their sleep time.
Research conducted by the University of Chicago in 2011 found that healthy men who lost half their normal sleep time for a week experienced a reduction in testosterone levels. The findings pointed to a specific time, as well. Between the hours of 2 PM and 10 PM the effects of sleep deprivation were most apparent. So, be sure to get a full night’s rest if you want to feel your best.
3. Avoid excessive cardio exercise
There are mixed messages about exercise and testosterone for men. On the one hand, some experts recommend exercising regularly to maintain good sexual health. On the other hand, there is research that suggests you can go too far and exercise your way right out of peak testosterone levels.
Here’s the real deal. Lifting moderate to heavy weights two to three times a week is ideal. It stimulates muscle growth which in turn produces more testosterone. However, running or cycling for 40 or more miles a week can drop your testosterone level by 17% according to University of British Colombia research.
4. Avoid the sugary treats
Sugar has one of the most immediate effects on testosterone levels in the body. Its effects can be observed almost immediately. A clinical study from 2013 conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston revealed the startling results.
After receiving 75 grams of sugar, men in the study experienced a 25% drop in testosterone levels that lasted for up to a two-hour period. You might be thinking that 75 grams of sugar is a lot but consider how much sugar is in some of the foods you eat on a regular basis. A can of Redbull has 26 grams. A pack of Skittles has 47 grams of sugar. So, you could easily experience a drop in testosterone if your snacking gets out of control.
5. Avoid foods with high levels of soy
If you’re lactose intolerant, then soy milk might be your favorite choice for coffee creamers and other substitutes. You can also find soy in edamame, miso soup and tofu. You might want to avoid these foods if you’re worried about your testosterone levels.
Soy products contain phytoestrogens which alter the hormone levels in your body. A little bit won’t hurt you but indulge too much and you’ll start to reduce your body’s natural testosterone levels. According to a Harvard Medical School research, men who drank soy proteins for 54 days experienced a hormone imbalance.
A Bonus: The Link Between Alcohol and Testosterone
Alcohol and testosterone have a very strange relationship. On the one hand, a guy might have a few drinks and experience increased libido and he might even get more aggressive. There has been at least one study from 2003 that found low levels of alcohol actually increased the production of testosterone.
However, there are numerous studies that have found high levels of alcohol consumption result in lower levels of testosterone. High levels of alcohol consumption damage certain cells in the testes that produce testosterone. Also, a coenzyme that helps to produce testosterone gets slaved over to other systems to help metabolize alcohol in the blood. Alcohol also increases the stress hormone cortisol, which has the opposite effect of testosterone in the body.
For some men, monitoring and altering their testosterone levels can become an obsession. There are all sorts of products and supplements that you can take to affect testosterone levels. Some of them are just gimmicks targeting older men who feel less confident as they age. Be sure to do your research before buying into any of these products.
You should also think about what you’re already doing. You might not need to add anything to your routine to boost your testosterone levels. In fact, you might need to take something away. Spend less time indoors, stop shortchanging your sleep, avoid excessive exercise, stay away from sugary treats and don’t overdo it on the soy. That should keep you ready for action and in tip top reproductive health.
Also, don’t overdo it with alcohol. Binge drinking can not only damage your reproductive health, but cause problems in nearly every other aspect of your life. Hopefully you found this information helpful. Be well and take good care of yourself.