Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in a man’s life. What are the symptoms of low testosterone? How realistically can you increase testosterone levels with exercise, diet, and a few lifestyle changes?
After reading the article, you will learn what testosterone is and what its functions are. You will also have learned all the subtleties of how to increase it safely and naturally.
At the end of the article, we will provide recommendations for dietary supplements to stimulate testosterone.
What is a hormone?
Many may say that testosterone is a hormone. But can the same many say what a hormone is?
A hormone is a chemical compound produced by the body to control processes in cells and organs.
Hormones play essential roles in the body’s most important processes: growth, digestion, libido, metabolism, and even mood swings.
Imagine them as messengers who give cells and organs instructions on what to do. For example Insulin is a hormone that instructs cells to absorb glucose from the blood and use it to release energy.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in the testicles and ovaries.
Testosterone is the most important male hormone (androgen), so it is much more in the male body than in the female.
Testosterone levels in the body are directly related to:
- Muscle and bone strength
- Production of red blood cells
- Libido (sexual wellness)
- Semen production
- Energy level and mood
- The effect of testosterone is “visible” on the whole body – the more it is, the more “masculine” the body functions.
(And on the other hand, the more female hormone estrogen, the more “feminine” the body will look)
When testosterone levels are low, you experience the following symptoms:
- Poor libido
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Restless, poor sleep
- Muscle and strength loss
- Fat% increase
- “Mist on the eyes”
How to naturally increase testosterone levels?
Fat is responsible for hormone production, skin condition, uptake of vitamins A, D, E and K, and other important bodily functions.
Generally, it is recommended to consume 1g of fat per kg of body weight. This number can vary depending on each organism. In general, fat should make up 20-30% of your kcal intake.
Have you heard of the fact that eating more fat can significantly increase testosterone levels? In part, this is true. Unfortunately, consuming twice as much fat as recommended will increase testosterone levels by just ~ 13% or less (source) (source).
~ 13% increase is NOT MUCH. Probably wouldn’t even feel it.
So, use the given recommendation for fat intake and you will ensure that your body will have something to produce this hormone from.
Testosterone and carbohydrate intake
Two things happen when you exercise regularly and avoid carbs. The first is an increase in cortisol (stress hormone) levels, as a result of which you feel irritated, restless and the body retains water. The second is a decrease in free testosterone levels (source) (source).
Cortisol and testosterone are two opposites. The more cortisol, the less testosterone (source).
But what about carbs? Why is a decrease in testosterone levels observed when avoiding them?
A high-carbohydrate diet means higher insulin levels compared to one where carbohydrates are minimal (source). Insulin is effective in lowering cortisol levels (source). As I mentioned above, this ensures normal testosterone levels and production.
It is also worth mentioning that insulin is an effective “stop” (source) of muscle breakdown (popularly known as “catabolism”). Due to the reduced muscle breakdown processes, a medium for efficient muscle growth is provided.
Avoiding carbohydrates prevents optimal recovery after training, results in lack of energy and more difficult muscle growth (source).
So, if your health is good, you exercise regularly and you are not obese, you will be much more effective in consuming a lot of carbohydrates (and protein!). I emphasize the benefits of carbohydrates:
- More effective, better workouts.
- More strength and muscle mass.
- Greater food satisfaction.
- More energy.
- Better mood.
- More testosterone, less cortisol.