When it comes to health challenges facing men, the usual suspects are typically mentioned – obesity, cardiovascular issues, blood pressure and diabetes, just to name a few. While these problems certainly deserve their fair share of attention, there is yet another threat that can cripple the long-term health of men that often goes overlooked. Millions of men are afflicted with low levels of testosterone, with many completely unaware of their condition. Though it might seem to be a rather trivial problem, maintaining normal levels of testosterone allows men to avoid many of the common pratfalls associated with aging.
It’s easy to underestimate how many men struggle with low testosterone; most men likely aren’t aware of their testosterone levels, and those that are probably don’t discuss the subject all that often. According to a 2007 study conducted by the New England Research Institute, approximately one-forth of men over the age of 30 have lower-than-average amounts of testosterone. The study featured a large and diverse sample size, surveying 1500 men between the ages of 30 and 79.
The Risks of Low Testosterone
Low testosterone is not only commonplace among men, but it also can prove fairly damaging to the body. Men lacking testosterone are prone to weight gain, joint pain, shrinking muscle mass and weakening bones. Testosterone is also the key ingredient to a healthy sex drive; men who begin to lose this hormone also find themselves losing their passion for physical intimacy.
Even more alarming is the correlation between low testosterone and diabetes. Research has indicated that men with low testosterone are at a significantly higher risk of becoming diabetics later in life. The reason for this disconcerting link is that testosterone helps the body’s tissues absorb blood sugar in the presence of insulin. When testosterone begins to disappear, the body must increase its insulin production to prevent blood sugar spikes. Eventually, the body stops responding to this additional insulin, and the bloodstream’s blood sugar levels rise to unhealthy levels, leading to the onset of diabetes.
Diabetes isn’t the only life-threatening condition that can be caused by low testosterone; obesity also tends to strike men who lack the testosterone hormone. In many cases, it is excessive weight that causes low testosterone. However, this relationship can also function in the reverse; some men, despite eating a limited amount of food, still struggle immensely with their weight. A study of over 2,000 men, released in 2010, found that forty percent of obese participants suffered from low levels of testosterone. When diabetes was thrown into the mix, the rate rose to 50 percent.
Why Men Lose Testosterone
As alluded to in the above section, the level of testosterone in the male body is closely related to the patient’s overall level of health. If significant and chronic health problems began to appear in the body, a person’s level of testosterone will quickly begin to dissipate. The following diseases are all known inhibiters of testosterone production:
- Testicular cancer or treatment for testicular cancer
- Hormonal disorders
- Chronic liver or kidney disease
- Type 2 diabetes
In addition to these conditions, sustaining a significant injury to the testicles can also reduce testosterone levels, as can various types of infection.
While various medical conditions and injuries can put a dent in testosterone production, it is commonly believed that gradually declining testosterone levels are an inevitable part of aging. This long-held notion has received a second look, with Australian researchers recently finding no connection between age and testosterone. According to this team of experts, men who maintain optimal health well into their latter years have the same testosterone levels as they did in their youth. This hypothesis appeared to hold up regardless of the participant’s age; the men in the Australian study ranged from 40 to 97 years old.
Natural Ways to Elevate Testosterone
A declining level of testosterone isn’t irreversible; to the contrary, making some adjustments in lifestyle and diet can serve to elevate your amount of this key hormone.
Consume More Zinc – Compared to such notable nutrients as vitamin D and calcium, zinc doesn’t get a whole lot of attention. Despite this lack of press, it’s a good idea to get more zinc, as doing so can improve the body’s testosterone level. This mineral, found naturally in red meat, eggs and dairy, prevents the body from turning testosterone into estrogen.
Focus on Healthy Fats – Few ingredients have a worse reputation than fat – why do you think so many food producers offer “low fat” versions of their most popular items? Though many people do their best to avoid consuming fats, writing them off entirely would be a mistake. Sure, saturated and trans fats aren’t very healthy for you, but monounsaturated fat certainly is. In addition to promoting cardiovascular health, people who consume healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats tend to have few problems with testosterone. You can find this good version of fat in olive oil, avocadoes and nuts.
Lift Weights – The most obvious benefit to strength training is blatantly obvious – a more impressive and bulky physique. These external improvements aren’t the only reason to pump iron, as regular strength training has the added bonus of increasing male testosterone levels.
Get Enough Sleep – The reasons for getting to bed earlier are too numerous to count, but you can add a higher amount of testosterone to the list. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 7 to 9 hours per night.
Lose the Extra Pounds – As with sleep, it doesn’t take an overactive imagination to figure out the benefits of losing weight. In addition to letting you slip into smaller-size clothes, shedding pounds also reduces the body production of estrogen. Estrogen effectively cancels out the impact of testosterone. Because of this, testosterone has an inverse relationship with body fat; increasing the amount of one will reduce the amount of the other.
Lay off the Alcohol and Cigarettes – Two of the world’s biggest vices are alcohol and smoking. Your body doesn’t exactly enjoy dealing with either one of these habits, as both smoking and excessive drinking deluge the body with toxins. In response, the body has to focus more of its limited resources on removing these toxins from the body, thereby reducing its output of testosterone.
The preceding article was written by an employee of Natural Knowledge 24/7