Testosterone can be like a fountain of youth for most aging males. But as we age, testosterone levels can go into decline, and that magical elixir can be just as hard to find and access as the mythic fountain of youth. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this article, we’re going to be talking about testosterone. What it is, and how it goes into decline as you age. But we’ll also be going over a few things that you can do to reverse this decline and naturally boost your testosterone levels.
The human body produces a whole bunch of different hormones, and one class of these are known as steroid hormones, and they are separated by sexual function. Androgens are male sex steroid hormones, and they regulate male characteristics and reproduction, with estrogens doing the same thing for feminine characteristics.
There are also progestogens, but they’re involved in female reproduction and not really relevant to this discussion. But androgens and estrogens are. Both androgens and estrogens are present in both sexes, and if they’re out of balance, they can wreak havoc on the body. Man boobs are just one example of the damage that hormones can do when they’re not balanced.
Testosterone is the primary androgen, just as estradiol is the primary estrogen. And testosterone is what makes a man. It increases libido and erectile function, which is really important. It plays a part in how much muscle mass and how much body fat you have and maintaining your bone mass.
It plays a role in the production of red blood cells, and it impacts your heart health. It plays a significant role in cognition and memory, and mood. It maintains the growth of the body and facial hair. And it has a major effect on your overall energy levels.
OK, so you suspect that you might have low T, and you really want to crank up your testosterone production. The first step in boosting your testosterone production is to get your T levels tested, so you know exactly where you stand. And get the type of test that shows your total T, your SHBG, and your albumin-bound testosterone. And most important of all – your free testosterone.
Of the total testosterone in a man’s body, about 98% of it is going to be bound to either sex hormone-binding globulin, also known as SHBG, or to albumin. This testosterone is not going to be bioavailable. You can’t use this testosterone. That only leaves 2% that is not bound and is bioavailable – this is your free testosterone. So when you get your T tested, make sure that you get your free testosterone levels checked.
As we’re sure many of you now know, testosterone production drops off as we age, and it can plummet at an alarming rate. Testosterone production peaks when we’re about 20 to 30 and then begins to diminish at a rate of about 1-2% per year. By the time a guy hits 60, it can shrink to half or even a third of what it was when he was in his 20’s.
This slow and steady reduction in testosterone is called andropause, and it’s kind of like menopause in women, except that it takes decades to happen instead of occurring over a few short years. Your testosterone levels can drop so slowly that you don’t even notice the symptoms of low T until you suddenly wake up one day and your T-levels are in the basement.
Here’s the thing: a lot of the symptoms of aging are the same as the symptoms of low T, such as
- Reduced muscle mass or sarcopenia,
- Reduced bone mass, or osteoporosis,
- lowered libido,
- Hair loss,
- Difficulty sleeping,
- Weight gain or increased body fat,
- Loss of cognition and memory,
- Cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure and heart disease,
- Aging skin,
- Decreased energy levels.
In fact, the only symptoms not related to low T are digestive issues, incontinence, and loss of hearing and vision. Now, we’re not saying that low T is the only offender here. Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a huge role in aging, but so do low testosterone levels. So, that’s a pretty gloomy picture for the modern, aging man.
But you know what? All hope is not lost. It’s possible to boost your testosterone production to optimal levels and do this naturally, without hormone therapy and all the risks that entail.
First, if you’re overweight, you need to lose that excess weight and get your body fat down to acceptable levels. You need to exercise, and by this, we mean that you need to do something like high-intensity interval training to improve your cardiovascular endurance, and you need to be lifting heavy weights and build up your muscle mass.
You need to eat right, and that means eating whole, organic, non-GMO, unprocessed, and unrefined foods. And you need to supplement, especially with boron and vitamin D.
You need to avoid estrogenic foods. You also need to avoid endocrine disruptors like BPAs, phthalates, and PFCs. You also need to avoid tobacco and excess alcohol.
You need to get good, high-quality sleep, and you need to get enough of it. And you need to reduce the amount of stress in your life. We are pretty that this will work for you as it worked for us.