Testosterone… the holy grail of hormones for men. It is the reason why men are men. Often referred to as “male sex hormone” testosterone has a variety of functions to perform. It helps in a gain in muscle mass, bone density, body hair, and the change of voice during puberty. It also drives sex drive, muscle mass, fat distribution, red blood cell production, and development of male reproductive tissues like testes and prostate. It is biosynthesized in several steps from cholesterol and is converted in the liver to inactive metabolites. In humans and most other vertebrates, testosterone is secreted primarily by the testicles of males and, to a lesser extent, the ovaries of females. On average, in adult males, levels of testosterone are about seven to eight times as great as in adult females. In addition to its role as a natural hormone, testosterone is used as a medication in the treatment of low testosterone levels in men, transgender hormone therapy for transgender men, and breast cancer in women. Since testosterone levels decrease as men age, testosterone is sometimes used in older men to counteract this deficiency. It is also used illicitly to enhance physique and performance, for instance in athletes since athletes who crave for better performance and bodybuilders are constantly on the hunt to find easy ways to boost testosterone. Testosterone can lead to serious problems with the heart, brain, liver, endocrine, and mental health systems. Stopping testosterone may also lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Testosterone injections have also been linked to a condition called Pulmonary Oil Microembolism (POME), or a blood clot in the lung that can be fatal. Misuse of testosterone can cause dangerous or irreversible effects, such as enlarged breasts, small testicles, infertility, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, liver disease, bone growth problems, addiction, and mental effects such as aggression and violence. But besides taking potentially dangerous drugs or getting a prescription to inject testosterone to build up flagging levels, the only foolproof techniques to increase and maintain healthy levels are lifting weights and eating the right foods.
There are several exercises also that can help maintain your T-levels some are enumerated below:
- bench press
- pullups/ chinups
- overhead press
These help to increase T-levels since they recruit a significant amount of muscle mass and the amount of muscle mass recruited during an exercise has been shown to be an important factor in the release of testosterone.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet has been proven to increase T-levels. Constant dieting or overeating may disrupt your testosterone levels. Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with your testosterone.
Carb intake also plays a role, with research showing carbs can help optimize testosterone levels during resistance training. However, research demonstrates that sufficient healthy fats are also beneficial for testosterone and health.
Research has always highlighted the dangers of long-term stress, which can elevate levels of the hormone cortisol. Unnatural elevations in cortisol can quickly reduce testosterone. These hormones work in a seesaw-like manner: as one goes up, the other comes down.
Research has shown Vitamin D has various health benefits, and may also work as a natural testosterone booster. A 12-month study found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%.
Getting good sleep is just as important for your health as diet and exercise. It may also have major effects on your testosterone levels.
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