Testosterone boosters are the primary male hormone and is actually one of the most important hormones. It can be classed as an anabolic steroid on which we will expand upon later. Testosterone heavily influences the development of secondary characteristics in males such as growth of testes. It also increases bone density, muscle mass, and body hair in males. The production of testosterone generally peaks at the ages of 16 to 18 and decreases little by little thereafter. It’s commonly linked with male dominance and aggression as well as healthy well-being in both genders.
Testosterone is a steroid belonging to the androstance class. It’s synthesized in the body (primarily in the testes of males and ovaries of the females) from cholesterol and is deactivated in the liver when the need for it goes away. Testosterone primarily performs its function by binding to androgen receptors and activating them. Males have generally 7 to 8 times the normal levels of testosterone in females and generally produce nearly 20 times as much per day when compared to females.
Testosterone boosters are one of the most well-known medications on the planet. It’s included in the WHOs list of essential medications because of its fundamental role in basic human health. In this article we will be talking about the importance of testosterone and why it can decline in (especially) men with age and how you can boost those levels back up to normal. We will also go into detail as to why testosterone (and steroids) in general have become a fundamental component in bodybuilding and fitness and why some people abuse these substances leading to horrifying results.
Figure 1: Chemical structure of Testosterone
Why testosterone boosters are so important?
First off, testosterone is the building block that takes children to functioning adults. In the womb as a male fetus, it’s testosterone boosters that initiates the development. During the second trimester (Between 3rd and 6th months) testosterone and other androgens such as progesterone sculpture the basic anatomy of the body as either male or female.
The next important function of testosterone arrives at puberty where males experience significant change in their voice, muscle strength and density as well as overall change in appearance. Changes such as growth of facial hair, chest hair, pubic hair, increase in size of organs are all primarily due to testosterone.
In adult males testosterone is necessary for normal sperm development. Other than this testosterone is generally important for the following tasks
- Men who have high levels of testosterone boosters generally have a better drive which is an important component of active males. Males with high levels of testosterone are generally happier and more content with their lives and lead better relationships
- Muscle size and strength
- The reason why so many gym goers scream that they feel spikes in testosterone (which can’t be felt really) is because of the fact that high levels of testosterone increase your muscle strength and density. Why? Because consistently high levels of testosterone signal to your body that you are physically active and need to pack on more muscle mass
- Red blood cell production
- Good levels of testosterone are generally linked with increased levels of red blood cell production. Why is this important? Because it keeps your body cells refreshed at a good rate which is important in maintaining a healthy and functional body
- Body composition
- Have you seen men with what you would call ‘Man breasts’ or excessive chest fat? Studies have shown that these people have significantly lower levels of testosterone compared with those having more muscular chests. Why is this? Because high fat depositions signal to the body that you don’t need high levels of testosterone leading to reduced levels leading to drop off in muscle mass. This will automatically accentuate the fat deposits in your body and make you look chubby.
- Mental health and well-being (Alpha males)
- Testosterone is what makes men ‘MANLY’. Alpha males (or just how men are supposed to be) need a good amount of testosterone boosters coursing through their veins pumping them up. Testosterone remind the body and the mind that it must keep practicing good health, eating the right way, and exert your force on the world. It’s what makes men perform better. Men with high testosterone show higher levels of initiative which is attractive to the opposite as well
In adult females testosterone doesn’t play the fundamental role it plays in males, but it’s still important. Females with too low testosterone generally have weaker bone and muscle structure. Low levels of testosterone boosters can also cause irregular menstrual patterns and such. Therefore healthy levels of testosterone are a must for both.
Factors that lead to declining testosterone levels
The primary factor that leads to reduction of testosterone in men is age. Men generally experience lowering levels of testosterone since after puberty (during which testosterone peaks) and experience a sharper drop off around the age of thirty. When men enter their later years such as 55+ years, they experience further loss of testosterone levels. This is all normal but it’s not a bad idea to keep your T levels up. While age is the primary natural cause of declining testosterone boosters levels, there are other factors as well such as
- Lack of physical activity
- Testosterone is linked with the amount of physical activity you subject yourself to. If you lead a sedentary life, you will definitely experience lower levels of testosterone
- Unhealthy diet
- Diet is another factor that can impact your testosterone levels. A diet dominated by sugar and carbohydrates can lead to increased fat deposits which can lead to reduced testosterone levels
- Mental stress is a testosterone killer. Men who are constantly under stress generally test for lower levels of testosterone and this can lead to mood swings because testosterone is usually linked with optimal male mental health.
- Pollution (Estrogen like compounds in foods and water)
- Estrogen-like compounds are found in significant quantities in foods like meat. This is due to certain farming practices that introduce estrogen to speed up the rate of maturity in chicken. However what happens when a healthy male consumes these foods is that these compounds enter his body and start counter acting with testosterone leading to a drop off in its levels.
- Several studies have shown that men who show moderate alcohol consumption have nearly 7% lower testosterone when compared with those who don’t consume alcohol. Therefore it seems that alcohol can kill a lot more things than just money and sensibility. It can also make you lose some testosterone boosters.
So what are the usual levels of testosterone that can be expected in males and females? We’ve adopted the following chart from the National Institute of Health which advertises this chart on several publications.
|Values||SI units||Values||SI units|
|Infant||Premature (26–28 weeks)||59–125 ng/dL||2.047–4.337 nmol/L||5–16 ng/dL||0.173–0.555 nmol/L|
|Premature (31–35 weeks)||37–198 ng/dL||1.284–6.871 nmol/L||5–22 ng/dL||0.173–0.763 nmol/L|
|Newborn||75–400 ng/dL||2.602–13.877 nmol/L||20–64 ng/dL||0.694–2.220 nmol/L|
|7–9 years||0–8 ng/dL||0–0.277 nmol/L||1–12 ng/dL||0.035–0.416 nmol/L|
|Just before puberty||3–10 ng/dL*||0.104–0.347 nmol/L*||<10 ng/dL*||<0.347 nmol/L*|
|Puberty||10–11 years||1–48 ng/dL||0.035–1.666 nmol/L||2–35 ng/dL||0.069–1.214 nmol/L|
|12–13 years||5–619 ng/dL||0.173–21.480 nmol/L||5–53 ng/dL||0.173–1.839 nmol/L|
|14–15 years||100–320 ng/dL||3.47–11.10 nmol/L||8–41 ng/dL||0.278–1.423 nmol/L|
|16–17 years||200–970 ng/dL*||6.94–33.66 nmol/L*||8–53 ng/dL||0.278–1.839 nmol/L|
|Adult||≥18 years||350–1080 ng/dL*||12.15–37.48 nmol/L*||–||–|
|20–39 years||400–1080 ng/dL||13.88–37.48 nmol/L||–||–|
|40–59 years||350–890 ng/dL||12.15–30.88 nmol/L||–||–|
|≥60 years||350–720 ng/dL||12.15–24.98 nmol/L||–||–|
|Premenopausal||–||–||10–54 ng/dL||0.347–1.873 nmol/L|
|Postmenopausal||–||–||7–40 ng/dL||0.243–1.388 nmol/L|
How does low testosterone levels affect you?
Lower levels of testosterone generally result in reduced levels of physical fitness in males. Diseases such as osteoporosis, heart problems, and diabetes have been indirectly linked with low levels of testosterone. Those who are morbidly obese generally have the lowest levels of testosterone boosters and are advised to either take testosterone as a medication or to lose weight and build muscle.
Testosterone has also been shown to impact your mental health. Those with good levels of testosterone generally have a much more stable mental health.
In general low testosterone levels generally leads to deterioration in quality of life which is something you would want to avoid as you age. People generally resort to steroid therapy as a solution to putting away low T levels but we’ll explain to you why (unless it’s special circumstances) that steroid therapy is not beneficial to your health over long term.
Steroids and why they should be a last resort
If you’ve been in the gym, I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about getting on and off a cycle. This is not only limited to bodybuilders, there are many people who take steroids for different medical and aesthetic reasons and we will look a bit on to them.
Medical administrations of testosterone can be performed on people with little to no natural testosterone production. This can be due to different reasons such as lack of testicular development, injury, or some precursor enzymes missing rendering very low levels of testosterone production. Therefore physicians can administer doses of testosterone to these men simply to ensure that their quality of life is upheld to acceptable levels. Also some people take testosterone boosters because of the natural loss of testosterone levels due to ageing. However medical professionals generally warn about the side effects that can arise by excessive use of testosterone in such scenarios.
Side effects of testosterone taken as a regular injection therapy can include acne, skin irritations, heart problems, and increase in size of breasts, decreased testicular size, and low sperm counts. It’s generally not advisable to take testosterone therapy if you have breast or prostate cancer because it has been linked as accelerating these diseases.
There are a number of steroids that people take that are derivatives of testosterone but closely mimic it’s function inside the body. Bodybuilders also take steroids to allow their bodies to heal faster. You must understand that a normal person who goes to the gym 3-4 times a week, usually has rest days in between working out during which muscles can repair and get bigger. However this natural process can be too slow for some people who want to see quicker results. What testosterone does is that increases the speed of the recovery process, thereby allowing you to train daily and push your body to limits that cannot be achieved naturally. Therefore bodybuilders and gym goers who take steroids usually see significant gains in a short amount of time. But they also have to face consequences of taking large doses of these steroids which we detailed above.
There are also other off the shelf medications that contain various testosterone boosting elements that should warrant your interest. We’ll detail them separately in this article as well.
So if you are experiencing low levels of testosterone due to any other reason than physical limitations do we think that taking steroids as a medication is good solution? No. We would advise you to build up your T levels using good exercise and diet first.
Exercise and good diet: The natural way to build testosterone
Exercise (specifically strength training) is the key to increasing your testosterone boosters levels and keeping that at an optimum level. There are two fundamental exercises that must be practiced by every man who’s aiming to increase their testosterone levels and boost their overall strength. These are deadlifts and squats. Why are these exercises so important? Because they work some of the largest muscles in your body including your quads, hamstrings, lats, and core. These are the muscles that when worked trigger the production of testosterone and signals to the body that it needs more pump. So you get more adrenaline and testosterone boosting through you as a result.
A complete workout that targets the whole body is paramount when you are trying to increase your T levels. The importance of strength training should never be ignored by someone who’s trying to get healthy.
The other part of the equation is your diet. Your diet should be filled with foods that promote more testosterone production. This means that you would have to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat while increasing your protein intake and consuming good fats. This would mean that you would cut down on eating those delicious spaghetti, submarines, and burgers but focus on eating a little rice with lots of protein rich foods.
Research has shown that combining a good diet with rigorous strength training can definitely increase the amount of testosterone produced in your body. We’ve listed some foods that can help you increase your testosterone levels naturally in the section below.
Natural testosterone boosters
Other than exercises and good nutrition based on a high protein diet, one of the best benefactors for testosterone increase is good quality sleep. Sleeping at least 7 hours per day has been linked with increasing testosterone boosters levels in carefully conducted studies. It has been shown in a study that men who substituted watching TV and entertainment with sleep saw a nearly 10-15% increase in their testosterone levels when compared to those who continued to engage in those activities.
Therefore complimenting your hard work in the gym with good sleep and nutrition would definitely get you seeing great results.
Foods that boost testosterone
One of the major elements that increase the amount of testosterone boosters produced in your body is Zinc. Increase in Zinc intake has been shown to correspondingly increase your strength as well as testosterone.
Beef is one of the best sources of zinc on the market. A good cut of beef can give your nearly 4mg of zinc and also lots of protein. As we said before good nutrition is key in building up your testosterone levels. So taking beef will certainly keep you heading in the right direction.
Asparagus is one of the best vegetable sources of zinc on the planet. It contains very few calories but packs a nice amount of zinc which as we told you before is heavily beneficial for upping your T levels.
Spinach is the king of all vegetables with regards to nutrients. They pack a huge amount of zinc in just one cup (1.37 mg) and they are also light on calories. So next time you are feeling a little hungry feel free to gorge yourself on some spinach mixed with a little egg or soy sauce.
Tuna is one of the best seafood you can get because of the high amount of good fats in the meat, the high amount of protein as well as abundant Vitamin D3 found in the flesh. Fresh tuna straight from the market with a little grilling is a fantastic source of protein that boosts your testosterone boosters levels.
- Eggs (Egg yolk)
People will tell you that egg yolk is dangerous for you and that you must only eat the egg whites. However unless you are saddled with high cholesterol, there’s no great reason to keep throwing away the egg yolk. The egg yolk is also full of protein and also very good fats (especially saturated fats). It also contains a high amount of cholesterol which is an essential building block for testosterone. So at least consume a few egg yolk after a good workout and see your testosterone levels boost.
Most wheat based products contain gluten which aids in the secretion of prolactin which has an antagonistic effect on testosterone levels. Potatoes on the other hand does not have gluten and therefore should be considered as your primary source of carbohydrates.
Roasted coffee has high levels of caffeine which has been known to boost your metabolism to higher levels. It contributes directly to the chemical process that results in testosterone therefore taking some coffee one hour before a workout is a great idea that will keep you in shape and active.
- Olive oil
Studies have shown that physically active young men who switched to olive oil as a main source of fat saw their testosterone levels increase by nearly 17%. This is a huge increase which can be attributed to the number of healthy fats that can be found in pure extra virgin olive oil.
Avocados are truly nature’s super food. They contain a ridiculous amount of good fats for their size while also contributing a good amount of dietary fiber. A high fat diet has been correlated with increasing testosterone boosters levels, so this is a food that should be considered by you as a good testosterone booster.
There are other foods that will definitely increase your testosterone levels. Look for foods rich in the following compounds with as little carbohydrates as possible.
- Vitamin D
- D-Aspartic Acid
- Saturated fats
- Vitamin B3
Some supplements that can help you boost your testosterone levels
There are a host of manufacturers in the fitness market that produce a number of testosterone boosters. We’ve listed several below in a table highlighting their components that combat low T levels.
The important thing that you must know when taking these supplements is that they would be effective only if you do strength training in a proper manner and follow a proper diet with low carbohydrates and high proteins and fats.
Several common elements that can be found in these supplements are explained briefly below.
Ashwaghanda has been used for centuries in South Asian medicine as a medicine for various purposes. But its calling card has definitely been as an enhancer of male virility. It’s one of the most studied ancient herbs and has been shown in several of these studies to actually increase the amount of testosterone boosters in a male’s body. Therefore supplements containing ashwaghanda when used properly can definitely help increase your T levels.
- Malaysian ginseng
This herb has been used in south-east Asian medicine for centuries for increasing male performance (libido). Clinical studies performed on its purported claims have also shown that this is true to a certain extent.
Table 1: Top-selling testosterone boosters on the supplement market: Source – www.bodybuilding.com
|Product||Vitamin D||Magnesium||Zinc||D-Aspartic Acid||Natural extracts||Others|
|Optimum nutrition- ZMA||Yes||Yes||Vitamin B6|
|EVL Test||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Fenugreek extract||Vitamin B6|
|RSP Nutrition – Prime T||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Fenugreek extract||Vitamin B6, B12|
|Pro Series Alpha Test||Yes||Fenugreek extract, Tribulus extract, Shilajit extract||Boron citrate|
As you can see, there are number of products out there that boast different concoctions of ingredients that will help you increase your testosterone levels. However you must be certain whether the ingredients they list actually benefit in raising your testosterone levels. Therefore at the end it’s really up to you to decide on what supplement you will spend your money and effort on. We would say that a supplement rich in zinc and containing Vitamins B3 and D would be sufficient to supplement your other testosterone boosting activities.
Should you buy testosterone boosters?
First if you are uncertain about your testosterone boosters levels, the first thing that you must do is to consult the physician and get a full blood test and body checkup. If you are lacking in testosterone levels, the first thing you should change is your lifestyle. Get more quality sleep (or at least attempt to), eat better food that’s rich in proteins and fats, and practice strength training. This will definitely put you towards a better path to increase your T levels. If these steps get you close to your targets but not quite there, then that would be good time to consider taking a good testosterone boosting supplement. However we advise you to consult a medical professional before this level.
So what we finally have to say is that testosterone boosters are an important indicator of your health and is mainly determined by how you live. Therefore respect your own body and boost your testosterone to remain happier for longer and to live life stronger.