Of all the hormones in the body that influence men’s health, testosterone is king. As men age, it’s common for levels of testosterone to decrease. Low levels of testosterone can lead to a number of health concerns—like immune imbalances and unhealthy inflammation responses, new research shows. Specifically, a recent study published in the journal, JAMA Network Open showed that men with low testosterone levels have a higher risk of inflammatory complications from serious viruses.1 Here’s how you can you increase testosterone naturally for better health.
What does testosterone do?
Testosterone is responsible for sex hormones and reproductive health in men. Healthy testosterone levels can provide essential anti-aging benefits, and studies show that men with low testosterone have an increased risk of early death, especially from heart disease. That’s why it’s so important to accurately diagnose low testosterone levels, and related disease risks. In some cases, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). However, this hormonal treatment has its own risks, and needs to be weighed carefully.
What are the effects of having low testosterone?
Low testosterone in men is linked to a number of health symptoms:
- Depression and mood imbalances
- Reduced sex drive
- Unhealthy weight gain
However, these common symptoms can also come from a thyroid imbalance, cardiovascular disease or other conditions—so it’s critical to get tested with your health provider to rule out other underlying problems.
How To Support Healthy Testosterone Levels
When it comes to testosterone and men’s health, it’s important to balance and support the proper ratios of testosterone with other hormones like DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is produced from testosterone, but is a more potent form that impacts male reproductive health, and can cause problems like hair loss and prostate symptoms if levels are too high.
Fortunately, there are ways to optimize testosterone balance holistically and naturally, without prescription drug side effects like enlarged prostate or increased risk of prostate cancer (which may come from TRT).
It’s important to remember that testosterone levels decline gradually with age, at a rate of about 1-2% per year. However, significant or dramatic drops in levels can indicate a more serious problem. Testosterone levels below 300 ng/dL may be cause for concern, and may indicate the need for testosterone replacement (using drugs) or testosterone rebalancing support, using natural approaches. With regular blood testing, you and your doctor can accurately monitor your testosterone balance and watch for any unexpected changes.
Testosterone Boosting Foods
A number of foods, botanicals, and supplements can help balance testosterone, and increase energy and vitality.2-4
Here are some top foods and nutrients to help your body produce testosterone and support optimal testosterone balance:
Vitamin D: Tuna, egg yolks, milk products and mushrooms are good dietary sources of vitamin D.
Zinc: Oysters and other shellfish, meat, pumpkin and hemp seeds, and cashews are high in zinc.
Magnesium: Leafy greens, beans and legumes, dark chocolate (especially raw cacao), and whole grains are good sources of magnesium.
Vital energy and testosterone balance can also be enhanced with healthy lifestyle approaches. Optimal sleep, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight are essential. Also, pay attention to metabolism. Low sugar foods, such as non-starchy vegetables and high-quality protein, provide steady energy and don’t cause the blood sugar crashes and weight gain that can come from eating lots of simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar and grains.
Balancing Testosterone With Botanicals
There are also a number of herbs and botanicals that can be used to promote balanced testosterone levels, and support key aspects of men’s health.
Siberian ginseng can help support optimal testosterone balance, along with other hormones.5
Saw palmetto supports healthy testosterone levels, by inhibiting the overproduction of DHT.6
Pomegranate extract is shown to support healthy testosterone levels and reduce inflammation associated with enlarged prostate.7
Testosterone Balance and Prostate Health
Healthy testosterone balance is key for prostate health and urinary function in men. An imbalance in testosterone to DHT ratios, and other sex hormone imbalances in the male reproductive system can have a significant impact on prostate and long-term health. In my practice, I recommend a researched prostate health formula full of the necessary botanicals and nutrients listed above to promote testosterone balance and prostate health. This formula helps to support optimal testosterone ratios in the body, while protecting and actively promoting peak prostate and urinary health, energy and vitality in men of all ages.8
For additional enhanced energy, vigor, and support for testosterone balance,
I also recommend medicinal mushrooms. Comprehensive mushroom formulas featuring botanically-enhanced and organically grown varieties, especially cordyceps and reishi, can help promote overall energy and nourish the body’s systems.
If you think you have low testosterone, it’s critical to discuss with your doctor to investigate any potential underlying conditions that may not show other symptoms just yet. In the meantime, a combination of healthy diet, regular exercise and natural supplements can help restore vital energy and optimal testosterone and hormone balance, and improve quality of life.
Dhindsa S, Zhang N, McPhaul MJ, Wu Z, Ghoshal AK, Erlich EC, Mani K, Randolph GJ, Edwards JR, Mudd PA, Diwan A. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 May 3;4(5):e2111398. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.11398.
Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854.
Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R. Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8676-3. Epub 2010 Mar 30.
Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R, Baltaci SB. Review: The role of zinc in the endocrine system. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2019 Jan;32(1):231-239.
Wang X, Chu S, Qian T, Chen J, Zhang J. Ginsenoside Rg1 improves male copulatory behavior via nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway. J Sex Med. 2010 Feb;7(2 Pt 1):743-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01482.x. Epub 2009 Sep 14.
Fagelman E, Lowe FC. Saw Palmetto Berry as a Treatment for BPH. Rev Urol. 2001;3(3):134-138.
Beigi Boroujeni M, Shahrokhi SS, Birjandi M, Abbaszadeh A, Beyranvand F, Hamoleh S, Zandbaf Z, Gholami M. Effects of pomegranate peel extract on histopathology, testosterone levels and sperm of testicular torsion-detorsion induced in adult Wistar rats. J Complement Integr Med. 2017 Jul 22;14(4):/j/jcim.2017.14.issue-4/jcim-2017-0009/jcim-2017-0009.xml. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2017-0009.
Eliaz I, Weil E, Wilk B. Improvements in Self-reported Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms With Prostate Health Supplement. Altern Ther Health Med. 2018 Sep;24(5):26-32.