The major physical signs of low testosterone are low sex drive, decreased bone and muscle mass, rapid hair loss, erectile dysfunction, and sometimes depression, all of which no man wants to experience.
Most people think of sex and erections when they hear testosterone. But that’s not all.
Testosterone is responsible for a wide range of functions including bone health, cardiovascular health, brain health (a lack of testosterone can lead to depression), and, of course, it’s involved in the making of healthy sperm. And a lack of it can lead to erectile dysfunction. That said, here are some habits you can adopt to avoid having low levels of testosterone.
The wrong lifestyle for testosterone
Having a stressful lifestyle has been known to cause a very bad impact on testosterone levels in men. According to Adam Ramin, MD, a urologist in Los Angeles, it can lead to a vicious cycle where stress causes testosterone levels to drop, and then a drop in testosterone levels also causes more stress.
Though we live in a time where every successful entrepreneur in a motivational youtube video tells you to not take any time off or, as some extreme videos will put it, “you’ll have enough time to sleep when you’re dead.” But the truth is, no one becomes successful by stressing themselves out.
Besides, success isn’t just about making more money. Success is about creating a life that you love. It’s about meeting up with your ideal. If you make a lot of money but your health is in jeopardy, that’s not success. Besides, you’re more likely to succeed when your health is in good shape. No wonder Jeff Bezos once said,
“I prioritize it. I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better… If you shortchange your sleep, you might get a couple of extra ‘productive’ hours, but that productivity might be an illusion. When you’re talking about decisions and interactions, quality is usually more important than quantity.”
If you’re constantly exhausted, both your productivity and your testosterone levels will suffer. This leads to the next factor.
According to Dr. Dominic Rowley from LetsGetChecked, many hormones in the brain are produced during the nighttime. Meaning when the brain thinks that it’s nighttime, it produces special hormones. And testosterone is one of these hormones. As Dr. Dominic also advised, at least 7 hours of quality sleep is needed to maintain good testosterone levels.
What most people don’t realize is that when you’re stressed, uptight, feeling anxious, or sad, your body produces lots of stress hormones. One of these hormones is called cortisol. If you have lots of cortisol, your testosterone level drops. Hence, you must prioritize relaxation time. Take time out, do stuff that you enjoy doing, and get enough sleep.
Turn off your gadgets and avoid blue light at least an hour before bed. And this is because if you still have your phone on before bed and you’re exposed to blue light, your brain may still think it’s daytime and may not produce adequate levels of testosterone.
Maintain your weight
Guys who are overweight inhibit their production of testosterone because they have too many fat cells in their bodies. Guys who are underweight, on the other hand, are not taking in enough fat cells in their bodies to produce testosterone.
The impact of fats on testosterone
Most of us assume that fat is bad. But today as Dr. Dominic said, “We now know that anything in moderation, including fat, is good for you, and you need fat in your body to produce testosterone.’’ Examples of good fat are mono and poly-unsaturated fats. And sources of these fats will include olive oil, rancid oil, avocados, nuts, peanut butter. Some saturated fats (like those from red meat and real butter) in moderation can also help boost testosterone levels.
The importance of exercising
Part of the reason why testosterone is so important as a hormone is that it controls your metabolism and the growth of your muscles and your bones. Hence, if you’re not doing any physical activity, maybe you spend most of your time on your couch, your brain tells your body that you don’t need a lot of testosterone, in turn, it doesn’t produce much testosterone.
On the other hand, if you do some exercise, the repeated movement and contraction of your muscles tells your brain that you need some testosterone, and in turn, it produces more.
However, it is important to also understand that excessive exercise also shuts down the production of testosterone. Hence, you’re not doing yourself any favors by over-exercising. As Dr. Dominic advised in his short video, about 30 minutes of exercise about three to four times a week is enough.
Why carbs are good for testosterone
Studies suggest that a high-carb diet can increase testosterone and lower cortisol.
Generally, when it comes to your mental and physical health, and also your ability to optimize your testosterone levels, then it’s good to eat enough carbohydrates. But what’s even more important is where your carbohydrates are coming from.
If you eat natural carbs like potatoes, whole grains, oats, etc, it will have a positive effect on your health and consequently your ability to produce testosterone. On the other hand, processed carbs like pastries, white bread can negatively affect your health and your ability to produce testosterone.
When it comes to dieting, a simple rule of thumb is to eat more of what’s natural. Chicken is natural as long as you don’t put breadcrumbs on it. Carbohydrates are natural if they are produced naturally. But pasta and white bread are produced by humans, hence use them with caution.
Alcohol and testosterone
In just within 30 minutes of alcohol consumption, studies have shown that there can be a drop in your testosterone level. Why?
Sertoli cells are the cells responsible for the maturation of sperm in the testes. When you drink too much alcohol, it impairs the functioning of the cells.
Furthermore, when a man is sexually excited, some chemicals are released from the brain that goes to the penal area to cause smooth muscle relaxation. This muscle relaxation, as a sex expert is what leads to the influx of blood to the penis that in turn causes an erection. But when a man is intoxicated, it interferes with his nervous system. His senses are depressed, and as such, he struggles to get an erection. And even if he gets an erection, it’s harder to achieve an orgasm.
Just like many medical conditions, the symptoms of low testosterone can sometimes be gradual and unnoticeable. This is particularly why it’s important to check your lifestyle and implement the habits. Besides, there are no downsides to practicing these habits in your daily life. Remember prevention will always be better than cure.