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Can You Boost Low Testosterone Naturally?

Weight loss helps boost low testosterone levelsIf you're looking for ways to boost your testosterone level, you might start by looking at your lifestyle. Some changes that are good for the rest of you could also benefit your testosterone level, if it's low.
"I never prescribe testosterone alone without talking to men about their lifestyle," says Martin Miner, MD, co-director of the Men's Health Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I.
Here are six things that can affect your testosterone level:

1. Get Enough Sleep.

Poor sleep can have consequences for your testosterone level.
George Yu, MD, a urology professor at the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., says poor sleep is the most important factor that contributes to low testosterone in many men. A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your bloodstream. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone.
Make sleep a priority, aiming for seven to eight hours per night, even if it means rearranging your schedule or dropping your habit of late-night TV. Prize your sleep, just like you'd prize a healthy diet and active lifestyle. It's that important. 
8 Possible Causes Of Low Testosterone In MenIf you're having problems getting good sleep on a regular basis, talk to your doctor.

2. Keep a Healthy Weight.

Men who are overweight or obese often have low testosterone levels, says Alvin M. Matsumoto, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
For those men, losing the extra weight can help bring testosterone back up, he says. Likewise, for men who are underweight, getting your weight up to a healthy level can also have a positive effect on the hormone.

3. Stay Active.

Testosterone adapts to your body's needs, Yu says. If you spend most of your time lying on the couch, your brain gets the message that you don't need as much to bolster your muscles and bones.
But when you are physically active, your brain sends out the signal for more of the hormone, he says.
If you're getting little exercise now, Miner suggests starting by:
  • Walking briskly at least 10 to 20 minutes a day.
  • Building strength with several sessions of weights or elastic bands each week. Work with a trainer to learn proper form so you don't injure yourself.
Don't go overboard. Extreme amounts of endurance exercise, at the level of elite athletes, can actually lower your testosterone.

4. Take Control of Your Stress.

If you're under constant stress, your body will be churning out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol. It will be less able to create testosterone. As a result, controlling your stress is important for keeping up your testosterone, he says.
Miner's advice to the over-stressed men he sees in his office is to:
  • Cut back on long work hours. If you're logging lots of overtime, try to whittle your workday down to 10 hours or less.
  • Spend two hours a day on activities that you enjoy that aren't work- or exercise-related, such as reading or playing music.

    5. Review Your Medications.

    Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level, Matsumoto says. These include:
    • Opioid drugs such as fentanyl, MS Contin, and OxyContin
    • Glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisone
    • Anabolic steroids used for building muscles and improving athletic performance
    You shouldn’t stop taking any of your medication. If you're concerned about your testosterone level, you and your doctor can go over your medications to make sure that's not the problem and make adjustments to your treatment.  

    6. Forget the Supplements.

    Finally, although you're likely to encounter online ads for testosterone-boostingsupplements, you aren't likely to find any that will do much good.
    Your body naturally makes a hormone called DHEA that it can convert to testosterone. DHEA is also available in supplement form. But neither Miner nor Matsumoto advise using DHEA supplements, since they will do little to actually raise your testosterone, they say.   
    Men who take up exercise to shed their middle aged spread could find they gain a few inches just where they want it instead, according to a medical study.
    For the effect of losing spare tyres and beer bellies among men in their fifties is a boost to their sex drive, a higher sperm count and stronger erections, it found.
    Losing weight reduces the chances of low testosterone levels by up to 50 per cent in more mature males.
    Levels of testosterone went up in direct proportion to the number of pounds lost
    Levels of testosterone went up in direct proportion to the number of pounds lost
    The results come from a study by Dublin doctors of 900 men with an average age of 54 taking part in a US diabetes prevention programme.
    Weight loss can delay or avoid the onset of diabetes among those men who are most susceptible to the disease.
    But scientists said the boost to their sex lives could be the added incentive men need to exercise and diet.
    The 900 midlife volunteers were split into three groups to receive a year of treatments designed to help ward off diabetes.
    A third were told to modify their lifestyles by dieting and 150 minutes a week of exercise, a third were given the diabetes drug metformin and the rest a placebo.
    The number of men with low testosterone levels remained almost identical among those taking metformin or the placebo.
    But in the group making lifestyle changes, the proportion with low testosterone fell from 20 per cent at the beginning of the study to just 11 per cent a year later.
    Researcher Dr Frances Hayes of St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin said low testosterone levels were common among overweight men before they got diabetes.
    She said: 'Doctors should first encourage overweight men with low testosterone levels to try to lose weight through diet and exercise before resorting to testosterone therapy to raise their hormone levels.'
    The study found levels of testosterone went up in direct proportion to the number of pounds lost and the decrease in waist size.
    Dr Hayes said: 'Losing weight not only reduces the risk of prediabetic men progressing to diabetes but also appears to increase their body’s production of testosterone.'
    The research appears to contradict a recent study from Manchester University published in the journal Human Reproduction, which found being overweight, as measured by body mass index, did not affect sperm quality.
    Miner has done consulting work for Merck.
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