by Susan Wilson, MD

      If you’re looking for ways to boost your testosterone (T) level, start by examining your daily habits. Some key changes that are good for your overall health could also provide benefits in helping to maintain an optimal level of this important hormone.

Get enough sleep For many men with low testosterone, poor sleep is the primary culprit. Make sleep a priority, aiming for seven to eight hours per night. Drop the late-night habits of watching TV or answering emails and settle in for a restorative night of zzzs.

Lose the belly Men who are overweight or obese often have low T. Shedding the extra pounds can have a positive effect on hormone levels. Eliminate refined carbohydrates from processed foods. Add vegetables and healthy fats from avocados and raw nuts.

Pump up the exercise Your hormone levels adapt to your body’s needs. If you are a couch potato, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much testosterone to bolster your muscles and bones. But when you work out, your brain signals your testicles to make more testosterone. Start by walking briskly at least 20 minutes per day. Add in some weight training and make getting into shape a goal.

Conquer stress If you are under constant stress, your body will churn out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol, which will cause you to produce less testosterone.  Consider cutting back on work hours. Spend time each day doing something you love — golf, fish, read a book.

Look at your medications Some medicines can cause your testosterone levels to drop:

- Pain meds, especially opioids

- Prednisone and similar “glucocorticoids”

- Statins used to lower cholesterol may also cause your levels to decline

Watch out for environmental toxins. For example, the herbicide Roundup and other commonly used chemicals have been found to interfere with the testicle’s ability to produce testosterone. 

Forget most of the supplements Glitzy ads for “proprietary blend” natural supplements promising to boost your testosterone levels are mostly hype and don’t help. Save your money. A high quality saw palmetto supplement from a reputable source may help, as well as high quality zinc and vitamin D.

Testosterone levels in men naturally decline with age. Low levels of this essential hormone can cause a medley of symptoms including: lack of motivation, loss of enjoyment of life, moodiness, frustration, brain fog, daytime sleepiness, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat (especially around the midsection), and reduction in your interest in sex and in sexual performance.  If you think you may have low T, get tested and get started on these healthy lifestyle changes to try and combat the decline.  

If you don’t see the results you are hoping for, seek out the assistance of a qualified hormone therapy physician. Start by looking online or asking friends. If you come across a website that doesn’t offer a bio with the doctor’s training and experience listed, move on. Experienced hormone specialists are out there and can help you get your hormone levels into an optimal range and get you back to feeling vigorous and on top of your game.

Laura Olsen

Houston, TX