Testosterone is often thought of as a male sex hormone, but it is neither exclusively male nor exclusively sex-related. It governs several areas within the body including a man’s development from birth onward, with responsibility for everything from determining gender, through pubertal changes and male potency (libido and sexual functioning), to bodily muscle and fat distribution.
Testosterone is also an integral component in men’s sense of well-being. It plays a major role in physiological, biological, and sexual health, while influencing stress-coping ability, sperm production, mental acuity (clarity, memory and recall, concentration and focus), bone density, immune system support, and red blood cell production.
Testosterone is present in both males and females; however, males produce approximately 10 times more than their estrogen-based female counterparts.
If you’re a typical male, after age 30 your body decreases its production of testosterone, a little more each year. By the time you reach 40, you’re deficient by 10 percent or even more.
Low testosterone not only leads to a reduced sex drive or libido but also results in occasional erectile dysfunction. Other effects include loss of body hair, reduced lean muscle, increased body fat (especially along the waistline), mood swings, irritable behavior, weaker bones, and diminished mental concentration.
Just about every function in your body is affected by this drop in testosterone levels. Certain factors can aggravate this drop in testosterone:
- Lack of physical activity
- Increased stress levels
- Improper diet
- Excessive alcohol consumption
You can boost your testosterone levels naturally by following these tips:
- Feed your body what it needs: Increase high-quality proteins while reducing carbs … be sure to get plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet (sardines, salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds) … and eat foods rich in zinc (lean beef, oysters, peanuts, wheat germ, tahini, dark chocolate).
- Work out regularly for overall health and sexual stamina. But be careful not to overdo: Working out for more than 45-60 minutes in a single session can increase the level of hormone cortsiol, which can negatively impact testosterone production.
- Take a men’s health supplement. Certain vitamins, minerals and botanicals can improve your prostate, urinary tract and whole-body health as you age. Chances are you may not be getting enough of these nutrients in your daily diet. Some examples: Vitamin D3, Vitamin K, selenium, zinc, copper, saw palmetto, rye pollen, nettle root, and Korean red ginseng.
- Reduce stress for healthy libido. Check out yoga or meditation classes, and learn to just kick back and enjoy your days off.