Testosterone is a versatile hormone that's produced within the testicles via a joint process, which includes both the pituitary gland and endocrine system. It serves as the male body's primary natural hormone, and governs the proper development of male sexual characteristics. Although often referred to as a sex hormone, testosterone actually moderates numerous areas within the body including male development from birth onward with responsibility for everything from gender determination, through pubertal changes and male potency (sexual desire and functioning), to the partitioning of bodily muscle and fat distribution. It is also a critical component in male sense of well-being, and plays a major role in your biological, physiological, and sexual health while simultaneously influencing stress coping capacity, immune system support, sperm production, mental acuity (clarity, memory and recall, concentration and focus), bone density, and red blood cell production. Although present in both males and females, the male body produces nearly ten times as much testosterone as the estrogen-based female body.
Testosterone boosting differs from testosterone replacement or supplementation. As implied by their names, the first is additive and (generally speaking) works with your body to increase your naturally produced testosterone output, whereas the second uses synthetic testosterone preparations to actually replace or supplement testosterone deficiency - the testosterone your body is unable to produce. Said boosting can be thought of as having three primary categories:
The first includes numerous present and former over-the-counter (OTC) chemical cousins including Superdrol, Methyl-1-Testosterone, Havoc, 1-AD, and numerous others which fit into that gray prescription drug/OTC supplement area. Although each generates genuine testosterone increasing results, the FDA never actually approved them for sales as prescription medications. Admittedly, it could be debated that such products qualify as testosterone replacements, but that debate is beyond the scope of this writing.
The second category is that of natural herbal testosterone boosting products. Supplement companies have made fortunes producing entire lines of testosterone boosting products based on the centuries' old reputations and regional legends of such exotic testosterone enhancing herbs as:
Unlike supplements and synthetic testosterone boosters, which can have negative side effects, the third category increases testosterone through the consumption of specific foods and resistance training. For example, here are some of the food substances known to increase testosterone:
Cholesterol Although generally considered a substance to avoid, the body both produces its own, and requires the externally supplied consumption of cholesterol. Solid concentrations of cholesterol can be found within many of the protein-rich foods a fitness conscious person would normally consume anyway, like various lean cuts of red meat, and eggs. As long as they are consumed in moderation, and kept lean, such foods provide great testosterone augmenting benefits. It should be noted that cholesterol is the building blocks of testosterone. Our bodies make testosterone out of cholesterol. This is why in part all those stain cholesterol drugs big pharmaceutical companies push for anti-cholesterol agents block cholesterol and in most men drives testosterone levels into the ground.
Another bad press receiving low testosterone improving substance is fat. Both the healthier mono- and polyunsaturated fats from fish, seeds, olives, nuts, and the unhealthy (in large quantities) saturated fats found in oils like butter and margarine, avocados, and whole fat dairy products. Both of these types of fats work with your body to increase testosterone production.
The multi-purpose mineral Zinc is renowned for its ability to provide many bodily attributes including tissue repair, immunity improvements, blood clotting, wound healing, and bone health. But it is also a superb sperm cell count and testosterone production boosting mineral. Zinc is present in high amounts within foods like turkey, chicken liver, oysters, beef, pork, and pumpkin seeds. Substantial, but lesser concentrations can be found in almonds, wheat germ, lentils, and sunflower seeds.
Resistance training is a very effective way to increase and sustain natural testosterone levels. The thorough taxing of muscles, through routinely vigorous weight training, stimulates an exponential increase in testosterone release. Obviously weight and cardio training positively impact your health and wellness goals, but it would greatly benefit you to begin a serious resistance training regimen if you're sincerely desirous of higher testosterone levels. Lower body training (especially programs which incorporate free-standing/universal bar squats), has been proven to optimize weight trained testosterone release.
Overweight and obese men often have lower testosterone levels than there non-fat counterparts. Studies have shown obese men have 50% less testosterone than men of healthy weight. Due partly that high visceral stores convert much of the testosterone to unhealthy levels of estradiol. If you're in of these categories, working to achieve a balanced body weight would certainly help to improve your testosterone output. It is therefore advisable to shed any extra pounds you might be carrying in order to get closer to the established/ideal weight for your age, height, and build. Obesity not only reduces testosterone levels, but it also has an estrogen promoting effect which further exacerbates the problem.
Never starve yourself when trying to lose weight. The consumption of too few calories can both signal your body to stop releasing stored fat, and greatly inhibit natural testosterone production. Be sure to stay away from crash and fad diets - those that severely restrict macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins), and those which guarantee immediate results. Carbohydrates are required by your body for energy, so don't ignore them, just make smarter carb choices. Similarly, eliminating fats can cause both decreased stored body fat utilization, and a plunge in testosterone levels among other problems. Be sure to maintain a balance between macronutrients similar to the ratios here: fats 15-20%; carbs 40-55% and; proteins 25-45%. It's far better to make subtle food and lifestyle activities changes, that it is to shock or deprive your body.
Don't permit long gaps between your daily meals instead try to consume 5 - 6 modest sized meals a day. This will maintain your blood glucose level (energy), help promote elimination (bowel regularity), and help to sustain optimal testosterone production. It's not easy to stick to a schedule during a busy work week, so just keep your meals light, and you'll naturally find yourself seeking food every 2.5 - 3.5 hours. Be sure to have something quick and easy readily available like shakes, lean cuisines, sandwiches, fruit, bars, nuts, etc.
It has been conclusively demonstrated that alcohol consumption adversely affects testosterone levels. If you drink, try to moderate your overall consumption, and try not to drink throughout the day, but rather in a single sitting.