Testosterone supplementation is a simple over-the-counter business in the US. You go to your docs, explain you feel a bit knackered, take a testosterone test which comes back 'low' and, bingo, you get a load of testosterone to put the pep back in your step. As with most things to do with the body and human performance however things are rarely this simple. Far better instead to increase testosterone naturally
Why does testosterone matter?
It's a key hormone for health and performance helping mood, libido and maintenance and development of lean muscle mass.
Low levels are associated with low energy, strength, mood, as well as slow recovery from training, increased body fat and increased risk of certain cancers
Who benefits most from optimal testosterone levels?
Both women and men need testosterone, guys simply require more. Supplies fall naturally with age although this is reversible, so of you're over the age of 30 then focusing on maximising your levels is a key element of peak performance
Why increase testosterone naturally when you can just inject it?
Because testosterone works interdependently with the other hormones in your body its production, availability and levels are affected by the quality and levels of other hormones in the body.
Just injecting testosterone alone will increase your levels, but won't do sh*t for the other related hormones and as such stands a good chance of knocking them out of whack into the bargain, screwing the whole system.
5 steps to increase testosterone naturally
1 Reduce stress
Stress kills testosterone. If you only take one thing from this piece, that's it. Increased stress causes your adrenal gland to release more cortisol and cortisol is basically kryptonite for testosterone.
Deal with your stress using great sleep hygene for awesome zeds, and consider adding 5-10 minutes of daily meditation. This may sound like so much woo-woo nonsense, but with so many of today's leading edge performers swearing by meditation for reducing their stress, raising their focus and increasing wellbeing you'd be daft not to try it.
Next, you'll want to sort your diet, because there are some super easy nutritional wins that deliver big time on the testosterone front while also reducing your stress
2 Sort your diet for naturally increased testosterone production and availability
Go easy on the protein
Yes, you did read that right. Too much protein, particularly animal protein (meat, fish, dairy) fires cortisol way up, which punches testosterone right down.
As Dr Michael Greger at NutritionFacts.org explains:
"A single meal high in animal protein can nearly double cortisol in the blood within half an hour"
Go big on the veggies
Because this has the opposite result. As the same Dr Greger puts it:
"Eat vegetarian and cortisol levels go down after the meal"
For more on best sources of protein, how much, and when best to take it, this post here has all you need
Fix your testosterone levels and never get stuck under your overhead squats ever again
Boost zinc, magnesium, antioxidants and good fats
Zinc and magnesium are key for testosterone production, while antioxidants mop up the internal damage caused by hard stress - whether from physical exertion or general life stress. Good fats are also essential for providing a bountiful environment for testosterone production to flourish.
Ideal foods for covering all of these bases are:
- Pomegranate. An antioxidant gem, best eaten whole rather than drunk as juice to minimise unwanted fructose side effects
- Raw cacao. One of the best magnesium sources there is, effectiveness is also boosted when combined with hard exercise
- Coconut. Excellent saturated fat
- Virgin olive oil. Another great saturated fat
- Chia seeds. Zinc, good fats, excellent plant protein, and a load of antioxidants
- Pumpkin seeds. One of the best zinc sources going, also loaded with good fats
- Reishi and cordyceps. These two super powerful mushrooms have so many athletic performance and testosterone benefits they really need a book on their own. In short though, they both soak up stress and keep testosterone flowing powerfully and naturally
In case you were wondering just how the bloody hell you were going to find this lot next time you're at the supermarket, you needn't worry because you'll find raw cacao, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, reishi, coconut and cordyceps (alongside 27 other powerful athletic superfoods) in our Pre and Post Workout Shakes, while you can even get your chia seed dose on with your energy gels thanks to our Chia Energy Gels.
Help testosterone production, soak up stress, and decimate cortisol with our Pre and Post Workout Shakes. Just another reason why these bad boys are rewriting the sports nutrition rulebook
This is the thing about using the world's most powerful performance superfoods as sports nutrition - every ingredient brings a boatload of benefits to the party because that's how nature rolls.
Harness nature's real power using the best ingredients in the world, and doing everything possible to keep them in their most potent forms, regardless of production difficulty or cost, and you can deliver spectacular performance upgrades.
Which pretty much sums up what we've been doing at 33Fuel since day one ;)
3 Watch the weight
Carrying too much timber won't help testosterone production. So for a sensible toolkit to help you trim that excess without too much fuss, this post here digs deep on weight loss for athletes
4 Get sun smart
Vitamin D is another great testosterone booster and we can get it freely and naturally from sunlight. Trouble is these days with so much time indoors, and so much sunscreen when we do finally get some sun, vitamin D deficiency is rising fast.
The solution? Plenty of good, honest, natural daylight exposure and when you do hit the sun, try and avoid the cream. Instead limit your exposure and build up gradually without burning, you'll get a load more vitamin D and your testosterone will thank you.
Build sun exposure without sunscreen gradually to avoid burning while increasing essential vitamin D stores
5 Ditch the sugar spikes
High GI (Glycemic index) sugar snacks and meals cause insulin spikes which reduce blood testosterone levels. In one test, men drinking a sugar solution saw blood testosterone reduced by up to 25% for a couple of hours after drinking.
Ordinary sports nutrition with its processed and high GI sugars and sweeteners delivers these same sugar and insulin spikes, with the same damaging results. This is why at 33Fuel we don't use any of that junk, and instead only ever use natural, low-GI sugars that are high in fibre and minerals for stable energy without the side effects.
Call us old fashioned, but we believe your sports nutrition should actually be good for you.
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