There is not a week that goes by that I am not asked about testosterone levels, and the following questions
“How can I raise my testosterone?”
“Can supplements actually boost testosterone?”
“How do I know if I have low testosterone?”
The questions are endless.
Testosterone is a hot marketing area for men, that strikes at the core of machismo and male health.
Attach testosterone to any product with some hyperbole, and you can market it effectively.
Truth be told however, testosterone levels ARE critical for male health.
Having low testosterone leads to low energy, low sex drive, low strength, and comes with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and general lethargy.
There are no advantages to having low testosterone.
Becoming hypogonadal has been linked to Alzheimer's, dementia, cardiovascular disease and even prostate cancer (new research points to LOW T being a precipitating factor, not high T).
Perhaps even more concerning, is that testosterone levels have been dropping in men worldwide for decades.
The reasons for this are legion.
Environmental endocrine disruptors, plastics, contaminants, lack of sunlight and solar radiation, lack of key micronutrients, skewed diets, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, increased stress, so on and so forth.
This drop in testosterone is not only seen in humans, but animals as well. Across the world, environmental pollutants are affecting animal life and disrupting sex hormones.
The pragmatic reality is that our bodies ARE affected by our environment and lifestyle, and for many men, they are slowly castrating themselves with how they live.
Increasing your testosterone levels, and overall vitality of life, this should be of paramount focus for men.
High testosterone levels are representative of your overall HEALTH. You have everything to lose and nothing to gain with depressed testosterone production.
How To Raise Testosterone Naturally
The subject of how to raise testosterone levels can be endlessly argued. For every study that shows something causing a drop (say sugar), a dissenting opinion will say it doesn't matter.
In researching this list, I poured through a massive amount of research. I wanted to find ways to improve the body’s own endogenous (natural) production. While I encourage men to explore TRT, I do not utilize myself, and I practice an optimized way of life to keep my own testosterone levels in the high normal range. A man’s health is his responsibility, and your quality of life will rise or fall to the quality of your living.
Some supplements can support natural production, but your natural production is almost entirely dependent on lifestyle. A lack of sleep, a lack of exercise, and a bad diet are far more powerful than any individual supplement you could ever take.
As such, I didn’t want to list generic “T-booster” supplements, but broader tactics that supported hormonal health, an optimized lifestyle, and better management of stress levels. Too often men get caught up in a what specific supplement does, and how much it raises Test levels. This is paradigm blindness. Your health is your whole life. Your hormonal health comes from an optimized lifestyle, not just a supplement.
I have no interest in arguments with this list. One can pick apart various points as being unimportant or not gold standard proven, but this overlooks the fact that testosterone and health operate on a continuum, and that health effects are always 50/50 in regards to what works. A short term acute decrease might not matter one time. Acute decreases multiplied over a lifetime DO. The compound effect is always in effect. Your health is your own experiment, you must try things yourself. Drawing the boundaries of what tactics you want to incorporate, and what tactics you find irrelevant, that is on you.
What follows are practical tactics to increase your natural production of testosterone, or remove factors that could lower it. Whether you follow some of them or all of them or “believe” them is up to you. I promote a high testosterone way of living, physically, mentally, spiritually. Living with low testosterone as status quo is unacceptable as a man. Do not let this be your status quo
Ive divided these into Dietary, Physical, and Lifestyle. I would advise you follow as many as possible.
If I had to reduce them down to three or four, I’d say eat a low sugar diet, consume healthy fats and proteins, lift weights, and don’t be fat. To truly optimize though, consider each and every one of them
1. Cut out alcohol-heavy drinking is terrible for you, period. Alcohol in large doses drops testosterone levels precipitously. Beer is especially insidious, the hops in beer act as phytoestrogens, which creates a double whammy of reduced testosterone and increased estrogen levels. If you drink, drink minimally, or not at all. A few hard alcohol drinks are a better option than beer.
-side note-there is some research that small amounts of hard alcohol before exercise can increase free test levels, so alcohol in small amounts is not all bad. This is not a suggestion to drink before you hit the gym though.
2. Reduce sugar & carb intake-high doses of sugar acutely drop testosterone levels. Large amounts of processed carbs and sugar in your diet are hormonal hell, leading to insulin sensitivity, systemic inflammation, increased cortisol levels, and impaired glucose tolerance.
3. Eat Clean Carbs, and match your carb intake to your activity levels-Carbohydrates are necessary for testosterone production, and testosterone decline is not uncommon with low carbohydrate diets. Clean carbs I define as complex carbs and low to no sugar carbohydrates. People can argue about fruit, but it’s impossible to argue that higher sugar intake is to your benefit. Get your carbs from tubers, whole grains, and vegetables, and your diet will be immensely healthier and more nutrient dense as a result.
4. Eat an adequate amount of protein-Contrary to popular belief, high protein diets have been shown to LOWER testosterone levels. Now that does not mean don’t eat protein, rather, it means that beyond a certain point, extra protein is not helping. Additionally, the evidence is incontrovertible that protein intake positively corresponds with increased lean body mass, and lean body mass corresponds with increased testosterone levels. By current research, 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight is entirely adequate. I generally recommend 1 gram per pound, simply because it is less math, and even if you fall a bit short, you still ensure your intake is sufficient.
5. Use Whey Protein-Whey protein is extremely useful for general muscular recovery and maintaining a healthy diet. If you are trying to grow lean body mass through resistance training, whey protein is convenient and cost effective. For people who struggle with protein intake (a common problem) a 50gram shake could account for a large % of your daily intake. Get your protein from Truenutrition, use the code AJAC235 for 5% off the order.
6. Increase healthy fat intake-Cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone. Low fat diets plummet test levels. Increase healthy fat intake of saturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. For this reason, I don’t recommend ultra lean cuts of meat. Eat chicken thighs, eat eggs, eat fattier beef, use coconut oil, olive oil, and butter. Consume almonds and walnuts.
7. Supplement with Vitamin D-majority of people are vitamin D deficient, and it contributes to lower test levels. Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it is best absorbed in the presence of fat. Consume with any kind of fat source. 2,000 ius a day is sufficient.
8. Supplement with Magnesium-Magnesium is sometimes claimed to be a test booster, but this is rather inconclusive. What is well established is that many people are deficient in magnesium, and that magnesium deficiency can has adverse effects on exercise performance, energy levels, mood, and a multitude of other metabolic processes. Magnesium deficiency has been a silent problem for many decades now, though most are unaware of it.
Additionally, there does seem to be an interplay between being magnesium deficiency and testosterone levels being adversely affected. Per my own professional experience, I’ve been continuously surprised over the years by how many clients report feeling more energetic and improvements in libido when they supplement with magnesium.
10. Supplement with fish oil-Some people never eat fish, and this is a direct way to increase the amount of omega 3s in your diet. Most often the effect noticed with fish oil is reduction in soreness, but fish oil also has cognitive protective benefits and even mood boosting benefits as well.
11. Consume Bone Broth-Bone broth contains saturated fat from bone marrow, and healthy saturated fat intake is critical for testosterone levels. You also get the benefits of the joint health benefits of the collagen in the bone marrow
12. Use Olive Oil-it is excellent for cardiovascular health, and it contributes to healthy cholesterol levels that convert in testosterone (Cholesterol is a precursor hormone to testosterone). Make sure you get REAL olive oil, and not fake olive oil. And if by chance anyone on this list owns an olive oil farm, I’ll happily promote the hell out of your oil (I got through a bottle a month, I love olive oil)
13. Minimize usage of plastics with food-This can seem like a huge chore, but the evidence for plastics being an environmental xenoestrogen that emasculates everything from fish to polar bears is very powerful. In your daily life, you can avoid plastic by eating whole foods, storing foods in glass containers, and reducing the amount of processed food in your diet. Be reasonable about this, obviously it is not realistic to eliminate all the plastic in your life, unless you plan on living in the woods and carving and forging your own furniture and tools.
14. Avoid fake fats-vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, all negatively impact testosterone levels. They also inflame the gut, the arteries, may be one of the causes of heart disease, lead to fatty liver disease, and are linked to Alzheimer's and dementia. Eliminate them from diet, and minimize your consumption of them
15. Cut out Soy-In moderate amounts some soy protein may be alright, and I’ll readily say that research doesn't indict it. That said, there’s also a ton of research on soy being a powerful phytoestrogen and adversely affecting testosterone levels. I see no reason why any man shoudl consume it. This is not to mention most foods that contain processed soy protein and soybean oil are highly unhealthy and god awful for you on multiple levels (cardiovascular, hormonal, digestive, cognitive). Cut the soy out your life gentleman.
16. Eat Avocados-Avocados were considered fertility food by native american tribes, and for good reason; they contain monounsaturated fat, which is the exact kind of fat you want to be consuming for healthy test levels. They’re also loaded with many other nutrients (vitamin K, copper,folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C). Just don’t put them on toast, for the love of Gods.
17. Increase Cruciferous vegetable consumption-Cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, they are loaded with anti-estrogens are a multitude of other nutrients. They also improve digestive health as well (and are a great source of fiber). Add them into your diet as much as possible.
18. Eat fermented foods-Fermented do not raise testosterone perse, but they do tremendously improve gut health, overall digestion, and the immune system. When your gut is inflamed and nutrient absorption is subpar, overall health suffers. Improving gut health improves the health of all the other systems of the body
19. Supplement with a Vitamin B complex-Vitamin B contributes to a multitude of metabolic processes, and a deficiency adversely affects energy, mood, strength, and concentration. Some research also suggests a deficiency can contribute to lower testosterone levels.
20. Supplement with Zinc and Magnesium-Both of these contribute to increases in testosterone production. They can easily be consumed together as ZMA, which also tends to help sleep quality as well
21. Cook with Tumeric, or supplement with Curcumin-Tumeric is a very powerful antioxidant and anti-estrogen. Aside from reducing estrogen levels, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory, which also assists in improving overall hormonal health and helping to elevate test levels
22. Consume fresh Ginger-Ginger became of interest to me recently while exploring ways for a client to improve his cholesterol levels (he was overweight at the time). Ginger surprised with its many many health benefits: anti-inflammatory, immune booster, improves digestion, improves cholesterol, and anti-cancer effects. Not a testosterone booster, but an overall improver of health as a whole. For someone looking to improve their overall quality of health, I’d consider it a worth addition to add to a regimen.
23. Cut the Stimulants-Excess stimulant consumption of caffeine, energy drinks all increase cortisol-->decrease test levels. Caffeinated drinks can mask excess cortisol and they certainly mask being under recovered and a sleep deficit. If you need coffee simply to feel semi normal, and need stimulant drinks throughout the day, you need to consider cutting back. Try using non-caffeinated energy products like EMF to increase energy levels.
24. Lift weights-Being strong and muscular leads to increased testosterone levels, and increased testosterone levels facilitates greater strength and muscle gains. This alone can significantly change your health. It also leads to improved self confidence, metabolic health, movement economy, and quality of life as a whole. I’ve got a lot of programs that cover how to do this
25. Perform Compound Movements-Compound movement should comprise the majority of your training. Squats, deadlifts, rows, presses, dips, chinups, pushups, lunges, and loaded carries.
26. Be Muscular-Higher lean body mass correlates to higher testosterone levels. And you are stronger, and harder to kill. And more useful in general. This is not a complicated point. Muscle is the holy grail for health.
27. Improve relative bodyweight strength-This is the most direct way to assess if you are building muscle and losing fat. How many pushups, chinups, dips, lunges, and squats can you do in one set? Aim for these numbers 50 pushups, 20 dips, 12 chinups or pullups, 100 lunges (50 each leg), 100 bodyweight squats
28. Sprint-Sprinting increases power, builds leg strength, improves conditioning, increases fat burning (provided you are in a calorie deficit), improves relative bodyweight strength, and generally increases overall athleticism as a whole. Do sprints of some kind as part of your training.
30. Do not get fat-excess fat increases secretion of estrogen, inflammation, decreases testosterone, and leads to reduced insulin sensitivity. These are not things you want to happen. Stay lean and do not let bodyfat rise above mid teens ever. I consider 15% the high point for men. If you’ve never been lean before, diet down to 10% bodyfat, and then adjust your lifestyle from there. Every man should be very lean at least once in his life.
31. Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster-This is the ONLY test booster I've ever found to work. Its formulated by Mike Mahler, a strength coach and hormone optimization specialist who I've followed for many years. It WORKS, and he's got the testimonials and bloodwork to prove many thousands of times over.
32. Decrease Estrogen with Estrogen Control-if you are overweight, its quite possible you are estrogen dominant. Estrogen Control is formulated by Mike Mahler. It decreases the conversion of estrogen, and synergystically helps to increase testosterone production. If your natural test levels are truly low, combine it with Aggressive Strength.
32. Use Intermittent Fasting-IF is an undeniably effective strategy for reducing bodyfat levels, improving dietary behaviors, and is fairly easy to implement due to its time based approach. The Metabolic Blowtorch Diet is the most powerful IF system you can use. I’d strongly suggest getting the book and utilizing it, if IF is something that interests you.
34. Perform HIIT Cardio-This covers sprinting, but HIIT cardio is time efficient, improves endurance and cardiovascular health, increases bloodflow, can help you get leaner, and can be done a variety of ways (sprints, sleds, running, hills, swimming, weights, etc)
35. Walking-This means exactly what it says. Walking is an ancient health secret, and people overlook it simply because of how mundane it seems as a suggestion. It can help you be leaner, reduce stress, improve bloodflow, improve recovery, increase focus, and its an essential ability you never ever want to lose.
36. Get some sunlight-Sunlight exposure and testosterone levels unequivocally go together. Increased sunlight increases vitamin D levels, which leads to increased testosterone levels.
37. Don't smoke cigarettes-There is conflicting arguments over smoking RAISING test levels, but smoking also reduces bloodflow, and contributes to erectile dysfunction. A functional penis will do more for your test levels and quality of life versus a broken one.
38. Get Sleep-A lack of sleep can almost half testosterone production. Less sleep=Less testosterone. Do what you need to do to improve this. Improving sleep is an issue unto itself. Cut down on bluelight exposure, turn down the lights, quiet the mind, manage your time better, and get an alarm clock. Don’t wake up with your phone.
39. Reduce Cortisol levels-Increased cortisol (stress hormone) results in a decrease of testosterone. If you are following all these tactics, cortisol should be reduced. Supplementing with Ashwagandha is proven to reduce cortisol. Consume 2-6 grams a day, depending on your level of stress. Ashwagandha is also a powerful immune system booster
40. Talk to attractive women-Talking to attractive women raises test levels and lowers stress levels, scientific fact. Go talk to girls. I am dead serious about this. If you are a man who has zero confidence with women, WORK ON THIS. I’m not a dating coach. Talk my man Pat Stedman to work on your social skills.
41. Learn VIOLENCE-This will train your aggression through competition and pain tolerance. Competitive environment are proven to increase testosterone levels. Learn how to box, learn BJJ, learn Muay thai, learn something that gets your competitive instincts turned on and leads to you getting punched in the face. I am completely serious about this. Men that do not know how to throw a punch and are scared to take a punch always lack a primal physical confidence, and it can be seen a mile away. Men who are confident with violence have an entirely distinct edge. Its my belief all men should learn combative skills. I’d suggest boxing, Muay Thai, or BJJ if you want to learn how to fight. If you want to learn more real world oriented violence and self defense, find a good Krav Maga studio.
42. SEX-Get some. There are infinite resources telling you how to make this happen and be better at it. Not getting laid is no good, period. Men that have sex regularly are happier, more confident, and healthier. I consider this an incontrovertible point.
43. Drop your loser friends-Low testosterone attitude is contagious. Being friends with emasculated men that are pussy whipped and passive is hell on earth. Same for your friends that do nothing but drink beer and watch 46 hours of sports highlights on the weekend. Same for your video game habit that occupies your whole weekend. You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and high testosterone men have high testosterone friends. If this hurt your feelings, you just proved my point.
44. Find training partners-like minded & red blooded gentleman will give you someone to compete against and hold you accountable in your training and new lifestyle. Put yourself around men who pursue excellence across multiple realms by pursuing it yourself.
45. Take cold showers-No, cold showers don’t boost testosterone. But they do boost the immune system, increase production of antioxidants, improve mood by way of adrenaline release, and are an excellent way to develop some pain tolerance and wake your ass up in the morning. Try them out.
46. Stop using Age as an excuse-Don't believe that decline is a biological inevitability. I deal with this constantly with men in their 30s+.
“Maybe I’m too old”.
“...all due respect since you are paying me for this consultation, but you need to STFU and grow some balls. That’s an excuse, and you know it”
Age is an absolute excuse, and 80+ geriatrics have been shown to build muscle from training. Your reasoning that you are too old, not that kind of guy, working out is not for you, you used to be in shape, it is all bullshit. Your identity is weak, and you’re weak. And if I sound like Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross, it is on purpose.
47. Speak with Authority-Your dialogue reflects your mindset. Just, maybe, kinda, sorta, ehh, sorry are how cowards speak. Tripping over your words and sounding like a scared child inspire confidence in no one. This is why people push you around at work, why women laughed at you, and why your woman (if you have one) speaks to you with contempt. Develop your confidence and elocution, and your hormones will reinforce your mindset accordingly.
Don't be a coward. I mean it.
48. Improve Your Posture-How you stand reflects how you move, it affects how you breathe, it reflects your mentality. Mentality is physicality. Weak posture is a weak mindset, and it immediately indicates a lack of athleticism. Research has proven that postural improvement affects brain chemistry. Don’t just stand up straight, move with confidence. And use my postural prominence program to strengthen your posterior chain.
49. Develop FOCUS-become the goddamn best and be uncompromising in your devotion and effort to it. Mastery lends itself to a necessary care of the physical and mental. Focus and testosterone go hand in hand.
50. Use TOT If necessary-The go-to resource for this is the TOT Bible. If you suspect you have low testosterone, are curious about TOT, you NEED to read this book. It is the definitive guide on the subject and explains everything in comprehensive detail.
And there you have it gentleman!