Testosterone is the male hormone responsible for sex drive or libido, muscle mass, energy level, and strength of your bones. Many men have a low testosterone level that can easily be checked with a simple blood test. If it is low, there are means to increase the level without taking testosterone supplements.
Begin by looking at your lifestyle. Some changes that are good for the rest of you could also benefit your testosterone level, if it’s low.
1. Get Enough Sleep.
Poor sleep can have consequences for your testosterone level.
Poor sleep is the most important factor that contributes to low testosterone in many men. A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your bloodstream. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone. If you’re having problems getting good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor as you may have obstructive sleep apnea or prostate problems that require you to get up multiple times a night and disturb your sleep.
2. Keep a Healthy Weight.
Men who are overweight or obese often have low testosterone levels. For those men, losing the extra weight can help bring testosterone back up.
3. Stay Active.
Testosterone adapts to your body’s needs, Yu says. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much to bolster your muscles and bones.
But when you are physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone. Walking briskly at least 10 to 20 minutes a day is a great way to get started. You can take it to the next level by building strength with several sessions of weights or elastic bands each week.
4. Take Control of Your Stress.
If you’re under constant stress, your body will be churning out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol. It will be less able to create testosterone. As a result, controlling your stress is important for keeping up your testosterone. If you are experience increased stress at work, cut back on long work hours. If you’re logging lots of overtime, try to whittle your workday down to 10 hours or less. Spend two hours a day on activities that you enjoy that aren’t work- or exercise-related, such as reading or playing music.
5. Review Your Medications.
Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level. These include: opioids ( fentanyl, MS Contin, and OxyContin), glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisone, and anabolic steroids used for building muscles and improving athletic performance.
6. Forget the Supplements.
Finally, although you’re likely to encounter online ads for testosterone-boosting supplements, you aren’t likely to find any that will do much good. Your body naturally makes a hormone called DHEA that it can convert to testosterone. DHEA is also available in supplement form.
Bottom Line: Testosterone deficiency is a common problem affecting millions of American men. The problem is easily diagnosed with a blood test. Moderate to minimal decreases in the testosterone level can be treated with life style changes. Significant decreases may require testosterone replacement therapy. If you have any questions, see your doctor.