Hormone imbalances affect both men and women, young and old; and due to the large variety of symptoms hormone imbalances often go undiagnosed. For example, the symptoms, depending on the hormone and the issue, could show themselves in a low libido, insomnia, weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, or digestion issues.
Often it can take years for a proper diagnosis, which then leads to standard treatment regime with pharmaceuticals for the rest of the patient’s life. These pharmaceuticals can often cause the body to become dependent, and the endocrine system can even ‘forget’ how to produce certain hormones itself. Thankfully, not everyone has to resort to synthetic hormones to boost hormone production, since there are many foods, activities and supplements which can help balance and regulate hormones. This includes being able to increase testosterone naturally.
Testosterone plays a vital role in both sexes, despite what the stereotypes suggest. In women, they affect sexual desire and physical strength. In men, testosterone controls sexual development during puberty and manages overall health throughout life. With this in mind, low testosterone in either sex can have detrimental effects far beyond those listed above. In fact, nearly 5 million american men will show symptoms of having low testosterone. Although testosterone naturally declines after the age of 30, any severe changes in testosterone will cause the sudden and alarming onset of symptoms.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
- Erectile Dysfunction in men
- Increased body fat
- Decreased muscle strength
- Loss of body hair
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Insomnia and Fatigue
What can the average person do if they see a sudden onset of one or more of the above symptom? Firstly, ensure you have the correct and professional diagnosis. Because the symptoms vary so widely, and are difficult for even medical professionals to diagnose, it’s important to have confirmation prior to being a natural treatment plan. If low testosterone is thought to be the culprit, the ways to increase testosterone naturally are all easy things to undertake with no barrier to entry. There are four primary ways to start boosting your natural testosterone levels.
1. Eat Healthy Fats
In order to produce hormones, your body needs to consume small, medium and long chain fatty acids. These are contained in foods such as avocados, coconut products, salmon, and grass fed butter. Fatty acids also significantly reduce inflammation, which has been tied to hormone imbalances. If your are experiencing high inflammation throughout your digestion tract, there is also a high possibility this inflammation is leading to many other issues throughout your body.
Hormones also depend on HDL cholesterol levels, which have been tied directly to free testosterone levels. Free testosterone, unlike most testosterone in your body is not tied directly to proteins and is therefore more bioavailable to your tissues during workout.
2. Herbs and Natural Supplements
A simple way to increase testosterone levels naturally is to begin including proven herbs or supplements into your diet. Two of the herbs which have proven most successful in testosterone balancing (specifically in those suffering from Low T) are Yohimbe and Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is a traditionally used in Indian medicine for treating symptoms of lower testosterone such as low sexual desire, and low fertility. The root and berries are made into teas, powders and extracts. In one study of infertile men, Ashwagandha supplements increased their sperm count and motility, as well as serum testosterone levels.
Yohimbe is another herbal supplement with a proven track record for treatment of low testosterone. In fact is is approved by the FDA for treatment of erectile dysfunction. It is very effective in people who suffer from low testosterone, specifically targeting sexual desire. Although they may not sound commonplace, both Yohimbe and Ashwagandha should be available through any naturopath or herbal pharmacy.
3. Vitamin D3
One of the most important vitamins in terms of natural testosterone production and balance, vitamin D can be taken in supplement form, or absorbed naturally by soaking up the sun’s rays (still SPF protected of course). Because most people live in areas where the amount of sunlight can drastically change with the seasons, supplements may be the best way to ensure the body is getting a regular and constant supply. The current research shows that taking 800-1000mg a day of vitamin D can have profound effects on muscle strength and testosterone levels. When the body is suffering from vitamin D deficiency though, it can do more than simply cause hormonal imbalances. It can drastically affect brain development, blood pressure, the immune system and insulin production.
4. Build Muscles
It is not a coincidence that testosterone and bodybuilding is associated with one another. Although this sounds like a beginning of a good joke, the fact of the matter is that working out and specifically lifting weights has been found to increase testosterone levels naturally. This has been found in both men and women, specifically studied with heavy squat and deadlift exercises. Testosterone tends to see the highest increases with multi-joint stimulating exercises, like free weights. Because workout machines often only target one specific muscle group, they do not typically interact with more than one or two joints.
Research shows that the moderate to high intensity strength training, which focus on building muscle mass, have the greatest effect on hormones. The more muscle mass you are stimulating, than the more testosterone your body will be triggered to secrete.