Testosterone is a male sex hormone made in the testes. It supports strength and sex drive, stimulates sperm production and sexual function, but it can also affect cholesterol levels. Testosterone and cholesterol share similar chemical structures – both are steroids – and play important roles in the body.
Present in the outer membrane of every cell, cholesterol determines which molecules can enter the cell and is a precursor for testosterone synthesis. It can be derived mainly from animal-based foods, but it is also produced by the liver and other organs.
Extra testosterone has been found to affect blood levels of HDL and total cholesterol. In one study in particular, a single dose of extra testosterone in male subjects was found to raise the levels of total cholesterol and of the liver enzyme responsible for cholesterol production. An alternative study suggested that testosterone may reduce HDL cholesterol in middle-aged men, but additional research is required to support such claim.
A review from Harvard suggested that the complex relationship between testosterone and cholesterol may affect men’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Although it is known that testosterone levels slowly decline as men age, testosterone replacement therapy is not well advised, because the excess testosterone may bring the LDL cholesterol levels up and HDL cholesterol levels down, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Boosting testosterone levels naturally
Testosterone is important for the healthy functioning of the male body, so giving it a boost naturally can help you maintain proper health.
There are injections and patches men can wear to help boost testosterone. Both methods have been associated with harsh side effects, which can harm the body in other ways. If your testosterone levels are low, you need to find natural and safe ways to boost testosterone.
Exercise: Exercise is quintessential for good health and for boosting testosterone naturally. Not only can exercise reduce belly fat – a reason for lowering testosterone levels – but lifting weights has been shown to boost testosterone by 49 percent. Even if you’re in your later years, you can still exercise. It’s just a matter of finding a program best suited for you.
Limit your alcohol consumption: Maybe when you were younger you didn’t notice alcohol’s effects on your testosterone because you had it in abundance. But now that you’re older, that alcoholic beverage can really zap your already-low testosterone. In one study, men who consumed alcohol daily over three weeks saw their testosterone levels drop by nearly seven percent. So watch your drinking, as it won’t benefit your testosterone.
Minimize stress: Stress can cause havoc on your overall health, so it comes as no surprise that it can also cause a dip in your testosterone levels. Stress actually reduces the body’s ability to produce testosterone, so finding healthy ways to combat stress is essential.
Eat fat: Having too much fat is bad for testosterone, but eating healthy fat can actually boost it naturally. As uncovered in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, men who consumed fat also had high levels of testosterone.
Just ensure that the fat you eat is of the healthy variety: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are best.
Sleep well: While low testosterone may impede on one’s quality of sleep, it’s important to get proper sleep to boost testosterone. In one study, men who only slept five hours a night for seven nights saw a 10 to 15 percent drop in testosterone.
These tips are not just ways to boost testosterone naturally, they are also crucial for overall good health. Testosterone is an essential hormone for men and women alike. It is what makes up a man, and when it begins to drop you’ll stop feeling like yourself.