What are the proven ways to increase testosterone?
Increasing testosterone levels is a topic of interest for many men. This hormone is a production of the testicles and, according to the National Library of Medicine, “makes a man look and feel like a man”. As testosterone levels begin to decrease due to aging, erectile dysfunction, or other reasons, many men look for ways to boost T-levels. Reasons for lower testosterone levels include side effects from medications such as chemotherapy, cancer, testicle injury, diseased pituitary glands, a malfunctioning thyroid, obesity, lack of sleep, and excessive alcohol or drug use. However, there is no schedule for routine screening for healthy adults. This is because, according to Dr. Bradley Anawalt, chief of medicine and professor of medicine at the University of Washington, “Only about 2 to 3% of adult men have low T and manifestations of that deficiency”.
The testosterone test measures the amount of testosterone in your blood. The majority of testosterone in the circulation is bound to proteins. Free testosterone is synonymous with unbound testosterone. There are two types of testosterone tests: free and non-free, which are described below.
The ratio of total testosterone to free testosterone is also known as the total/free ratio, or sometimes simply as free test. The amount of attached (or bound) and free (or unconjugated) testosterone is measured in total testosterone. Free testosterone, on the other hand, measures only free testosterone.
Identifying factors that can affect testosterone levels is the first step in selecting applicable lifestyle changes. Chronic diseases such as diabetes or obesity may lower T-levels. According to Dr. Ronald Swerdloff, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and senior investigator at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, “Low T may be corrected with proper management of those two”.
Next, Dr. Swerdloff targets a lack of sleep as a contributing factor that impacts testosterone levels. He says, “there are good studies showing that doctors who are on call overnight for 36 hours, their T concentration is low”. So, establishing a regular sleep pattern seems to have a positive effect on testosterone levels.
Finally, Dr. Bradley Anawalt, stresses “exercise in moderation”. He notes the impact of excessive exercise when he says, “They come in with body fat that is too low”. Although regular exercise, including strength training, has been shown to slightly raise testosterone levels.
When low testosterone levels have been properly diagnosed, such as with a blood test, then there are proven medical treatments available. These include Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). The National Library of Medicine supports that this man-made testosterone shows more effectiveness in younger men with low T-levels than older men. These medical treatments may be administered in the form of an implant, an injection, a patch, or applied as a gel. Improvement in symptoms has been experienced by some men. Various risk factors accompany the use of this therapy including infertility, enlarged prostate, blood clots, and worsening heart failure.
Although various supplements do exist, Dr. Anawalt states that “Lots of herbal remedies have been tried, but there is no information to suggest it is effective”. He adds “Small amounts of these do nothing to your T level”. Dr. Anawalt goes on to say that “huge doses of those do increase testosterone, but also increase estrogen out of proportion. Some of the products also have been spiked with something.” As a result, Dr. Anawalt is reluctant to recommend these herbal supplements, saying “We don’t encourage these because of unknown health consequences.” He suggests “my feeling is, one should be extremely careful with these (products)” and “the contents in the preparations are not properly labeled”.
Medications to Avoid
In addition to reviewing information in connection with increasing testosterone levels, it is a good idea to keep in mind that certain medications can lower T-levels. Dr. Swerdloff cautions that it is best to “avoid medications that lower testosterone, for example, pain meds like opioids”.
In conclusion, testosterone is a vital hormone that is produced by the testicles. Some men feel that it is a type of identifying mark for manhood. This hormone states the National Library of Medicine, “makes a man look and feel like a man”. The NLM indicates that testosterone impacts several body functions including bone and muscle strength, sperm production, sex drive, creation of red blood cells, and overall energy levels. A naturally occurring decrease in testosterone levels begins at, approximately, age 30 or 40. Dr. Anawalt mentions "…a 50-year old comparing himself to his memory of 18". He notes "The fact is, that's just normal for older men, not a sign of clinically low T. Many men, seeking to boost testosterone levels turn to companies that advertise products that make promises to boost levels of testosterone. Effectiveness and safety remain major concerns for medical experts like Dr. Anawalt. He says “My feeling is one should be extremely careful with these (products). The good news for most men is, according to Anawalt, “The vast majority of these men are normal”. His comments suggests that most men “read that testosterone is a wonderous compound, and if a little is good, more is better”.