Bodies go through change with age. People tend to get a little weaker, less muscular, a bit “rounder,” and they may not have the energy and zest for life that they once did. And although many of these things happen without any specific effort on your part, there are ways to slow these changes down.
One of the most significant factors affecting how men feel with age is lower testosterone. Although females have small amounts of testosterone, it is mainly recognized as a “male” hormone. Men have much more of it, and it plays a much more significant role, in general, on how they feel and function. Testosterone is a steroid hormone, and having optimal levels are essential for health. The hormone typically peaks in the early 20s and slowly declines with age.
“Normal” testosterone ranges are 270-1070 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter), which is a massive range. It can also be rather confusing because the effects of testosterone loss are relative. For example, a man who begins with relatively low “normal” testosterone may not notice much of difference if it drops a bit, remaining in a reasonable level. But somebody with high testosterone, who drops to a lower level in a moderately “normal” range, could be hit much harder even though their levels are comparatively high. It depends on where you’re starting.
Healthy and optimal levels of testosterone have a big influence on health. They affect disease risk, body composition, sexual function, and more. The same is true for women, although perhaps not to the same degree as men. If maintaining or slowing the loss of testosterone is important to you—or you want to try and bring it back up—here are some natural ways to do it:
- Lift Weights: Exercise in any form—but especially weight lifting—can boost testosterone. Research has shown people who regularly exercise have higher testosterone, and that in the elderly, exercise increases testosterone and provides other benefits.
- Don’t Overeat: What and how you eat plays a big role in testosterone. The best way to keep testosterone levels high is through a regular, balanced diet. Alternating between high and low calories (binging and dieting) can reduce testosterone, as can processed food consumption. The best way to eat to optimize long-term testosterone is a healthy balance of whole food-based proteins, carbs (not refined), and healthy fats.
- Minimize Stress: Long-term stress can boost cortisol levels and decimate testosterone. Stress also influences sleep and eating habits, which can also reduce testosterone. Proper sleep and a healthy weight are both good for optimizing testosterone.
- Adequate Vitamin D: Getting sufficient vitamin D—through sunlight if possible—can also help maintain or increase testosterone. Research has indicated that a dosage of 3,000 IU per day can boost testosterone over 12-months.
Limiting testosterone loss and trying to boost levels can play a major impact on overall health and quality of life. Try these tactics and see if you feel better.