If you're completely inactive, or if you're completely burned out from overly intense training, neither one is going to help your T-levels. And when it comes to nutrition, eating enough—and getting adequate dietary fats—are both essential for healthy testosterone levels, and for general health. In "All About Testosterone," Chris Lockwood, Ph.D., notes that extreme low-calorie dieting and fasting will hinder testosterone levels from staying at their peak, along with better-known villains like chronic stress.
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Having low T is associated with decreased sex drive and less muscle mass, and one new study even found that lower levels of testosterone may raise the risk of depression. Fortunately, strength training spikes T, and living a healthy lifestyle also goes a long way toward keeping your levels topped off. But there are some completely natural compounds that can help as well.
Testosterone is considered to be the "male hormone" that's produced in men by the testes. Although women's ovaries produce some testosterone, the hormone is produced in much higher concentrations in men and it is responsible for many of the secondary sex characteristics seen in men such as a deeper voice and hair on the chest, in addition to contributing to a healthy libido, building muscle mass, and maintaining energy levels.
In the hepatic 17-ketosteroid pathway of testosterone metabolism, testosterone is converted in the liver by 5α-reductase and 5β-reductase into 5α-DHT and the inactive 5β-DHT, respectively. Then, 5α-DHT and 5β-DHT are converted by 3α-HSD into 3α-androstanediol and 3α-etiocholanediol, respectively. Subsequently, 3α-androstanediol and 3α-etiocholanediol are converted by 17β-HSD into androsterone and etiocholanolone, which is followed by their conjugation and excretion. 3β-Androstanediol and 3β-etiocholanediol can also be formed in this pathway when 5α-DHT and 5β-DHT are acted upon by 3β-HSD instead of 3α-HSD, respectively, and they can then be transformed into epiandrosterone and epietiocholanolone, respectively. A small portion of approximately 3% of testosterone is reversibly converted in the liver into androstenedione by 17β-HSD.
One of the most important nutrients that can help boost testosterone levels is vitamin D3. In 2011, the results of a study published in the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research announced that vitamin D supplementation boosts testosterone naturally in overweight men by up to 30 percent. (12) This is pretty exciting because research has shown that vitamin D3 is also linked to helping to prevent and treat cancer! (13)
First, it’s important to note that these tactics and practices to boost testosterone naturally probably won’t work with men who have hypoandrogenism. If the glands and cells responsible for producing testosterone are damaged or defective, no amount of eggs or sleep will help you raise testosterone levels. You’ll likely need to use testosterone replacement therapy to get your T levels to a healthy place.
"A lot of the symptoms are mirrored by other medical problems," Hedges says. "And for a long time, we were not attributing them to low testosterone, but to diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. But awareness and appreciation of low testosterone has risen. We recognize now that low testosterone may be at the root of problems."