Elevated testosterone levels have been demonstrated to increase the growth of body muscles and contribute to better activation of the nervous system, resulting in more power and strength, a better mood, enhanced libido, and many other benefits. Previous researches done on the anabolic role of testosterone and its impact on muscular strength in training-induced adaptations has provided rather conflicting findings, and a positive correlation between testosterone-mediated responses and both functional performance and body composition was found.[4,5] There are a number of naturally occurring substances that can boost testosterone levels in the body. Foods containing such substances are known as testosterone-foods; and they tend to be rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals like zinc, which plays a key role in testosterone production.[2,6-8]
Testosterone is included in the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines, which are the most important medications needed in a basic health system. It is available as a generic medication. The price depends on the form of testosterone used. It can be administered as a cream or transdermal patch that is applied to the skin, by injection into a muscle, as a tablet that is placed in the cheek, or by ingestion.
Testosterone replacement therapy is currently only FDA approved for men who have been diagnosed with hypogonadism, but it’s also prescribed off-label for older men who take it in hopes that it will improve their libido. The use of testosterone therapy is increasingly common in the United States, with more than 2 million men receiving the therapy. Not every man benefits from taking testosterone supplements. Testosterone is available in different forms, including topicals such as gels, creams, and patches; injections; and pellets that are surgically placed directly beneath the skin. (7)
Let’s do a quick review of what I shared in the introduction to this series. August of last year was a tough month for me, primarily because of a huge and grueling project we were in the midst of here on the site. I was stressed out and my sleeping, healthy eating habits, and workout regimen all suffered. At the end of the month I got my testosterone levels tested and found that my total T was 383 ng/dL and my free T was 7.2 pg/mL – close to the average for an 85-100-year-old man.
Testosterone is a hormone with multifaceted physiological functions and multiple associations with pathophysiological states. It is an important hormone in male reproductive and metabolic function from intrauterine life to old age. In severe or classical hypogonadal states there is little controversy about the need to administer testosterone by an intramuscular, oral or transdermal formulation. There is controversy about making the diagnosis in the less severe cases of hypogonadism associated with the aging male but the current evidence suggests that this is efficacious in appropriately selected men and that there is little if any risk in giving aging symptomatic hypogonadal men a 6 month trial of therapy to determine whether symptoms will improve.
The aim of treatment for hypogonadism is to normalize serum testosterone levels and abolish symptoms or pathological states that are due to low testosterone levels. The exact target testosterone level is a matter of debate, but current recommendations advocate levels in the mid-lower normal adult range (Nieschlag et al 2005). Truly physiological testosterone replacement would require replication of the diurnal rhythm of serum testosterone levels, but there is no current evidence that this is beneficial (Nieschlag et al 2005).
If your levels are indeed low, there are a number of synthetic and bioidentical testosterone products on the market, as well as DHEA, which is the most abundant androgen precursor prohormone in the human body, meaning that it is the largest raw material your body uses to produce other vital hormones, including testosterone in men and estrogen in women.
I’m afraid I have no super cool “secrets” to share and there are no easy shortcuts to increasing your T. If you were expecting some magical potion or supplement or weird body hack that will instantly and naturally increase your T levels, what follows is bound to disappoint. Despite what some companies or websites might tell you, there’s no single thing that will boost your testosterone naturally for the long term.
Watch out for ingredients that interfere with blood clotting If you are taking any kind of blood medication, take aspirin or ibuprofen, or have any kind of blood-related condition, you’ll want to consult your doctor before taking any of these supplements. Fenugreek, Forskolin, and Acetyl-L-carnitine are just a few of the ingredients that can make these situations worse and increase your chances of bruising and bleeding.
Currently available testosterone preparations in common use include intramuscular injections, subcutaneous pellets, buccal tablets, transdermal gels and patches (see Table 2). Oral testosterone is not widely used. Unmodified testosterone taken orally is largely subject to first-pass metabolism by the liver. Oral doses 100 fold greater than physiological testosterone production can be given to achieve adequate serum levels. Methyl testosterone esters have been associated with hepatotoxicity. There has been some use of testosterone undecanoate, which is an esterified derivative of testosterone that is absorbed via the lymphatic system and bypasses the liver. Unfortunately, it produces unpredictable testosterone levels and increases testosterone levels for only a short period after each oral dose (Schurmeyer et al 1983).
Thus, alcohol metabolism destroys the essential coenzyme required for T synthesis. Alcohol also contributes to the release of special endorphins which inhibit hormone production. In addition, drinking too much alcohol leads to the elevation of estrogen levels in men because of the conversion of testosterone in estrogen. It means that T levels come down with a run.
There are studies that show Soy consumption in humans leads to lower sperm count, but unfortunately they did not look at testosterone levels in the study (40). This (41) particular study compared the estrogen production of men drinking soy protein to those drinking whey. After two weeks they found the estradiol levels were equal, however soy drinkers had LOWER Testosterone levels and HIGHER cortisol levels (both bad).