How To Boost Testosterone Naturally

How To Boost Testosterone Naturally

Somewhere between 20% and 50% of men between the ages of forty and eighty in North America suffer from testosterone deficiency, but despite the prevalence of the problem, getting a diagnosis and treating the issue is notoriously tricky. This is partly because of ambiguous diagnostic criteria, and partly thanks to embarrassment and misinformation preventing men from getting the help they need managing their testosterone levels.

So let's demystify the issue; here we're going to cover everything you need to know about testosterone and how you can protect this vital aspect of men's health, without the need for expensive medication. Let's dive in!

What Is Testosterone And What Does It Do?

Testosterone is a hormone, naturally produced by both men and women, though at much smaller levels in the latter. In both it is a vital part of reproductive health. Here we're just going to focus on men's health and the male body.

A Quick Note On Language

For the purposes of this article, we use the terms 'men' and 'male' to indicate people who were anatomically male at birth and who are not now and have never undertaken feminizing hormone therapy.

So here's how it works in healthy men: the pituitary gland in the brain sends signals to the testes when testosterone is needed; the testes produce testosterone and release it into the bloodstream, where it circulates to the rest of the body to do its work. If testosterone levels get too high, the brain sends a signal to reduce production. In this way, the body regulates itself to maintain healthy levels of testosterone.

Testosterone is widely known as the male sex hormone, and this is true in that it dictates sexual function, but its impact is much wider than this nickname suggests; it also affects bone health, heart health, muscle mass, fat distribution, energy levels, cognitive health, sleep, and the production of red blood cells. During adolescence it is responsible for the development of sexual organs and other puberty-related characteristics, such as facial and pubic hair, and it controls sperm production throughout life. It also impacts mental health, in that healthy testosterone levels help regulate mood.

Research into hormonal health is ongoing, and experts believe that testosterone has other important roles in the body that have not yet been discovered.

How Do You Measure Testosterone Levels?

So how much testosterone should you have? That depends on your age, as testosterone levels naturally change over time. It also can depend on genetics and pre-existing health conditions.

Generally speaking, testosterone levels peak during teen years, then stabilize during your twenties, and start to decline after about the age of thirty-five, at a rate of about 1-2% per year. The older you get, the lower your level will become. It's measured in nanograms per deciliter, or ng/dL, and during the majority of adulthood normal testosterone levels are anywhere from 300 ng/dL to 1000 ng/dL.

The measurement of testosterone levels requires a blood test; it's recommended that the test happens first thing in the morning, as daytime testosterone levels are lower and the highest reading possible is wanted. There are three types of reading:

  • Total testosterone is the total amount in your body, in any form
  • Free testosterone measures 'active' testosterone - meaning molecules of the hormone that are not attached to proteins in the body and so are free to act
  • Bioavailable testosterone measures both free and albumin-attached testosterone; this is rarely of concern unless specific medical conditions are involved

The average testosterone levels listed above are total testosterone levels (also known as serum testosterone levels), and this is the most common form of test and metric for testosterone health.

If you have a problem with needles then a salivary testosterone test is the next most accurate way to measure levels.

How Often Should You Test Your Testosterone?

Typically, most people only have their testosterone levels tested if they are experiencing some symptoms of low or high testosterone. However, healthy males can benefit from getting a baseline reading to compare against as they age. And given that most doctors recommend getting a blood test annually as part of an overall wellness check, this is something that can easily be integrated into normal self-care.

If and when you are ever being medically treated for hormone-related issues, then testing becomes much more frequent.

What Causes Testosterone Production To Decrease?

As mentioned above, testosterone levels decrease naturally with age, but there are other factors that can lead to lowered testosterone levels. These include:

Underlying Health Conditions

Medical conditions affecting the testes (injury, infection, tumors, cancer treatments and so on) or the pituitary gland (including infection, autoimmune conditions, tumors and certain medications) commonly affect the ability to produce testosterone.

And there are multiple other, less common medical conditions that may affect testosterone levels, including:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Anorchia
  • Brain or head injury
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism
  • Kallmann syndrome
  • Klinefelter’s syndrome
  • Kidney failure
  • Leydig cell hypoplasia
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Noonan syndrome
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Orchitis
  • Poorly managed diabetes
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Undescended testicles

Diabetes is also often associated with reduced testosterone levels, but this is usually a case of correlation rather than causation. The lifestyle factors that can lead to diabetes also prevents the body from maintaining healthy testosterone levels, as discussed below.


Body weight impacts how the body regulates its own hormone levels, to a surprisingly measurable extent. A BMI increase of five points is associated with a drop of testosterone equivalent to ten years of aging.

Being overweight or clinically obese is the number one cause of low testosterone in the USA; 30% of men who are overweight have decreased testosterone levels, compared to just 6% of those with a healthy weight. And as diabetes and obesity go hand in hand (62% of Type I and 86% of Type II diabetes sufferers are obese), you can see how diabetes and testosterone become connected.


Mental health is another important influence on testosterone levels; while acute stress can cause a temporary spike in testosterone, long term stress or anxiety lead to reduced levels. This is because the hormone cortisol, which is produced during times of stress, disrupts the production of testosterone.

As testosterone helps regulate mood, lower testosterone during times of prolonged stress can exacerbate an already difficult situation. Conversely, testosterone deficiency leading to mood swings may increase stress - creating a vicious circle.

Anabolic Steroids

Many medications can lead to lower testosterone levels, but it's worth highlighting anabolic hormones or steroids specifically, as they are often taken with the aim of improving the very things that lower testosterone causes, such as muscle mass. It's also confusing because sometimes doctors prescribe anabolic steroids to boost your testosterone!

The key thing here to know is that it is non-prescribed, long-term misuse of anabolic steroids that can lead to decreased testosterone levels, sometimes for years after their use stops. So only take it if prescribed; and if you are worried about muscle mass, muscle health or strength, know that naturally increasing testosterone levels using the methods we discuss below is much more likely to succeed over the long term.

Environmental Factors

Lastly, research suggests that toxins in the environment may affect testosterone levels. Many plastics are made with endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which interfere with the body's hormones, including potentially testosterone. Plastics take a long time to break down, so as they accumulate in our environment, the concentration of harmful chemicals slowly increases, to the point where they can become hazardous.

What Are The Signs Of Low Levels Of Testosterone?.

Clinically, levels of testosterone are considered low when two blood tests show readings of 300 ng/dL or less. But symptoms can start much earlier than this - often at levels in the 400s, which still technically fall into the healthy range. So exactly when symptoms emerge, and what is considered a low level, can vary by patient.

Signs of low testosterone include:


  • Bone loss
  • Development of breast tissue
  • Fatigue
  • Increased body fat
  • Hair loss
  • Hot flashes
  • Reduced stamina
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Smaller testicles


  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility or low sperm count
  • Low sex drive

Emotional and Cognitive

  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Irritability

Many of these symptoms coincide with symptoms of obesity and other conditions, as well as the normal effects of aging, so it can be hard to pinpoint diminished testosterone from symptomatic data alone. This is why proper testing is important.

What Are The Signs Of High Levels Of Testosterone?

Much of the focus thus far has been on low testosterone levels and how to increase them, but you can also have too much testosterone. Naturally occurring high testosterone is rare, so most cases of high testosterone are in athletes who use anabolic steroids or other testosterone boosters to improve athletic performance. Anything over 900 ng/dL may be considered high, and 1500 and above is considered dangerously so.

Prolonged periods of high testosterone can lead to issues including:


  • Acne
  • Cancer
  • Excessive body hair
  • Fluid retention
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Headaches
  • Heart muscle damage and increased risk of heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Ligament damage
  • Liver disease
  • Muscle damage
  • Prostate enlargement and urinary difficulties
  • Stunted growth in adolescents
  • Weight gain


  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sex drive
  • Low sperm count

Emotional and Cognitive

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings

You can see that some of the symptoms of high testosterone coincide with the symptoms of low testosterone, potentially leading to even more confusion. So if you're at all unsure about what's going on with your body, speak to your doctor.

Why Is There So Much Stigma Around Testosterone-Related Issues?

Testosterone levels have long been associated with 'manliness' and sexual function, and so shame and embarrassment over low testosterone levels is common. But it needn't be this way; the sheer number of men with these issues is proof that you are not alone. And the number with low testosterone levels is significantly greater than the number experiencing symptoms - meaning you may well benefit from methods to boost your testosterone, even if you don't feel unwell.

This is especially true given that many of the ways to increase testosterone levels naturally are good for your overall health too. So don't assume that if you're not experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you won't benefit from our advice below.

A Word On The Prostate And Testosterone

So far we have spoken about reduced testosterone as if it's always a bad thing, but that's not actually true. There are situations when lower testosterone is beneficial; the most common is with prostate cancer. Testosterone stimulates the prostate gland and so can cause prostate cancer to grow - which is why some common treatments for prostate cancer work to lower testosterone levels.

Given that prostate cancer affects about one in eight men in the US, it's fair to say that low testosterone levels may be an advantage at some point in your life.

How Can I Boost Testosterone Levels Naturally?

With at least 20% of men experiencing this issue, finding natural ways to boost testosterone levels is key. Luckily, extensive research has been done in this area and there are some proven methods:

1. Exercise

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to increase testosterone, as well as to prevent many other diseases. As we discussed above, obesity is linked to reduced testosterone, and studies have shown that increased physical activity has a greater effect on testosterone levels than comparable calorie restriction intended solely for weight loss.

Certain types of exercise are better than others when you want to boost your testosterone; resistance training or strength training, and high intensity interval training are both excellent testosterone boosters.

2. Control Your Diet

Your food intake has an impact on your testosterone levels, and not just in volume. In general, a well-balanced nutritious diet that includes proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates will help optimize all of your hormone levels, but some specific ingredients have been shown to help produce testosterone. These include:

  • Ashwagandha root
  • Brazil nuts
  • Coconut
  • Eggs 
  • Fatty fish
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Green vegetables
  • Honey
  • Horny goat weed
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Oysters
  • Pomegranate
  • Tuna
  • Turmeric
  • Vitamin-enriched dairy products
  • Vitamin D-rich foods
  • Whey protein

Similarly, poor nutrition can cause a multitude of health problems, including low testosterone. If you're looking to maximize testosterone production, avoid:

  • Excessive caffeine
  • Excessive dairy products
  • Excessive sugar
  • Food dyes
  • Heavily processed foods

For simplicity, look for meals, drinks and potentially supplements that include multiple testosterone boosters. It's particularly important to find solutions that taste good to you - as healthy habits are much easier to form if they're enjoyable! A great place to start is with a delicious, testosterone-boosting tea that also protects your prostate and is made with ethically-sourced, organic ingredients.

And it's important to know that constant dieting or a low fat diet can actually decrease testosterone levels; so the key to maintaining testosterone levels is a healthy balance over the long term. Short term fixes will not have long term health benefits.

Lastly, do not discount the importance of maintaining a healthy weight over the long term. Your whole body and overall health will benefit.

3. Get Plenty Of Sleep

This is another key aspect of a healthy lifestyle; quality, restful sleep, and enough of it, improves your entire body and mind, and has a big impact on your testosterone levels. Reduced sleep can lead to a 15% drop in testosterone.

Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep though, so finding what's right for you is important; most research recommends at least seven hours every night.

4. Reduce Stress

We've already mentioned the dangers of long-term stress, so for favorable testosterone levels, find ways to manage your stress healthily. The methods above - diet, exercise and sleep - will help in this endeavor, but don't rely on them solely. Stress-relieving techniques may be beneficial, and lifestyle changes to reduce chronic stress may be necessary.

5. Watch Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol and testosterone don't interact simply, and there is mixed research regarding both the short and long term effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Generally speaking, heavy alcohol use leads to reduced testicular function and atrophy, so it's fair to say that if you're looking to protect your testes and what they do - including producing testosterone - then avoiding a lot of alcohol is a good move.

6. Consider Supplements

We listed a few potential testosterone-boosting ingredients above, but there are a couple of others that more commonly come in the form of supplements. Most notable of these are:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency has been shown in some studies to be tied to low testosterone, and taking vitamin D supplements can increase testosterone levels and improve erectile dysfunction. Vitamin D can be absorbed from sunlight, so depending on where you live, you might find the need to take vitamin D supplements is seasonal.


Zinc supplementation can increase testosterone levels and help with testosterone-related infertility.

D-aspartic Acid

D-aspartic acid is a natural amino acid that increases levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, both of which can stimulate the body to release more testosterone.


Taking magnesium as a supplement has been shown to increase testosterone values, and these increases are greater in those who exercise regularly.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is made in the adrenal glands and is used to make both testosterone and estrogen. Levels naturally decline with age, so DHEA supplements help boost testosterone levels.

Other Dietary Supplements

In addition to mineral supplements, there are supplements available containing herbal ingredients that are good for testosterone levels - some of which we listed in the dietary section above. This includes ashwagandha, turmeric, ginger, and horny goat weed.

Supplements for these items are convenient, but many people dislike taking pills and powders, so a great natural alternative is a tea which includes these ingredients - such as Tea For Guy's Vitality Blend. This can be incorporated into your daily life simply as a delicious new drink, without the need for big dietary changes, and still provide your body with the tools it needs for optimal testosterone.

7. Avoid Harmful Chemicals And Medications

As discussed above, some chemicals that affect hormonal balances are hard to avoid, so do what you can to choose organic, chemical free foods and avoid dyes, parabens, BPAs, and any estrogen or estrogen-like products or chemicals.

Medication is important too; a complete medication review should be conducted with your doctor if you suspect or are diagnosed with low testosterone. Some medicines are known to decrease testosterone levels, and these include:

  • Opioid medications
  • Statins
  • Cancer treatments

What Is Testosterone Therapy?

Sometimes low testosterone is serious enough to warrant medical intervention, and this is known as testosterone therapy. Testosterone therapy has several forms:

  • Skin gels applied every day to clean, dry skin. Testosterone skin gels are one of the most common forms of treatment in the US.
  • Intramuscular injections administered yourself or by a provider every one to two weeks. There are also subcutaneous injection options.
  • Patches applied every day to your skin. You usually have to rotate their location to avoid skin reactions.
  • Pellets implanted by a specialist under your skin every three to six months, and which provide consistent testosterone dosages.
  • Buccal tablets applied to your gums twice a day. The testosterone absorbs quickly into your bloodstream through your gums.
  • Nasal gel applied into each nostril three times a day.
  • Oral testosterone in pill form, available for people with low testosterone due to specific medical conditions that have damaged their pituitary gland.

Testosterone therapy can sometimes be controversial, partly because symptoms can occur at different testosterone levels for different men, and partly because there are not any rigorous treatment guidelines. Side effects are common, and can include acne, disturbed breathing while sleeping, breast swelling or tenderness, and swelling in the ankles. More serious risks include enlarged prostate, blood clots, cholesterol problems, and cardiovascular disease.

Testosterone supplements are distinct from testosterone therapy, and the two should not be confused. Testosterone supplements include natural ingredients and minerals, often many of those named above, and can be purchased without prescription by anyone, whilst testosterone therapy is a medical intervention requiring diagnosis and prescription.

A decision on how best to treat low testosterone, whether through medication or more natural options, is best made with your physician, though the side effects and potential risks of testosterone therapy does have many sufferers turning more readily to natural alternatives than for other ailments.

A Word On Testosterone Therapy And Infertility

Individuals who are interested in conceiving - at any point in their lives - need to know that testosterone therapy can negatively impact sperm production. This is despite testosterone therapy increasing testosterone, which is needed for sperm production!

This is because healthy sexual function and male fertility require a complex mix of sex hormone levels, and do not solely rely on healthy testosterone levels. Testosterone therapy may increase testosterone levels, but it decreases levels of another sex hormone, the follicle stimulating hormone. And without proper levels of this hormone, sexual dysfunction can occur. This is why supporting testosterone levels in natural, non-medical ways can be so important for male fertility.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any myths about testosterone?

There are a lot of myths about testosterone and what you should do, and not do, to help keep your levels stable. Here are some of the most common:

  • Soy products reduce your testosterone levels
  • Eating steak and eggs help you make more testosterone
  • Cold showers boost testosterone production

Despite what you may have heard, all of these are untrue.

Can low testosterone be prevented?

Yes, if it is lifestyle related. Lifestyle habits that help with maintaining optimal testosterone levels include:

  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Exercising
  • Avoiding weight gain
  • Avoiding excessive use of alcohol and drugs

Is testosterone only produced in the genitals?

No. Although in men it is primarily produced by the testes, it is also produced in smaller quantities by the adrenal glands.

Does boosting testosterone increase muscle mass?

Testosterone is needed for muscle growth, so many people believe that increasing testosterone levels - perhaps with a testosterone booster - will increase lean muscle mass. It's actually a little more complicated than this; while your overall health as well as your muscle health and sex drive all require testosterone, too much testosterone can be just as dangerous as too little, and may impact your muscle health.

This is why it's important to first understand your testosterone levels and what your body needs, and then find ways of boosting testosterone naturally. Supplements and dietary changes are one of the easiest and safest ways to help your body naturally produce testosterone.

What will boost testosterone naturally?

While testosterone boosting supplements do exist, the best way to support testosterone levels over the long term is to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise (including resistance training), a balanced, nutritious diet, plenty of sleep, and minimal stress. Your overall health as well as your testosterone levels will benefit.

However, if you know your testosterone levels are on the low side and you're looking for ways to naturally increase it, you can try a testosterone boosting diet that includes foods rich in healthy fats, vitamin D, ginger, turmeric, and other natural ingredients that help produce testosterone. Tea For Guys has developed a tea to help provide some of these key ingredients for those who want a natural and delicious way to get them.

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