Low libido, depression and a decrease in muscle size and strength are just a few of the symptoms of low testosterone. As bodybuilders, testosterone is one of our key hormones for packing on muscle and staying in shape.
It is the one hormone that separates men from women, and is the key hormone that propels all bodybuilders towards greatness. However, many of us are unaware that our testosterone levels are very sensitive to the things we eat, how much rest we get and the way we train for bodybuilding workout results.
There is extensive research to show these low levels of testosterone and that all of us are susceptible to this. In essence what this research tells us is that we all vary in the levels of testosterone that our bodies naturally produce. Therefore this article explores the various ways in which you can increase your testosterone levels naturally to pack on muscle and stay in shape. Now let’s discuss the 5 best ways to boost testosterone levels.
#1: Consume Zinc
Research shows that zinc supplements combined with a healthy diet increase the testosterone levels among men. These supplements are especially beneficial for males who have a deficiency in this mineral.
Vitamins such as magnesium and B6 aid in the absorption of zinc and also helps to convert free cholesterol into testosterone. A study conducted on the affects that zinc therapy has on testosterone, sperm count and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) showed some interesting results.
Out of the thirty seven participants in the first trial, twenty two showed a significant improvement in testosterone and DHT levels. In addition to this, nine of the participant’s wives fell pregnant within three months after the start of the trials.  There are many vitamins to boost testosterone like this that yield great benefits.
#2: Limit Sugar
When we eat foods high in carbohydrates such as potatoes and pastas, our bodies produce high levels of insulin to counteract the high levels of sugar in our blood streams.
Insulin’s main function is to absorb the sugar from the bloodstream into all the cells of our bodies for energy. However, research has shown that a high level of insulin can cause low levels of testosterone in men.
In a study conducted on seventy four men; forty two men had normal glucose levels, twenty three had prediabetes and nine suffered from type 2 diabetes. After administering the same amount of sugar solution to all participant, researchers found that the glucose solution decreased blood levels of testosterone by as much as 25 percent, regardless of whether the men had diabetes, prediabetes or normal glucose tolerance. There are many health benefits involved in cutting sugar, however for body builders this may be your best motivation yet. By eating clean and cutting down on unhealthy carbohydrates you will allow your body a better chance at producing maximal amounts of testosterone. 
#3: Eat Healthy Fats
Research has shown that one of the easiest ways to boost testosterone levels in your body naturally is to consume high amounts of healthy fats. Studies have shown that a high intake of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats leads to an increase in testosterone levels. However a high intake of unhealthy fats known as polyunsaturated fats can lead to lower levels of testosterone. So not only does the amount of fat you eat matter, but also the type of fat.
Research conducted on two groups of men; one group with a low intake of fat (~20%) while the other had a high intake of fat (~40%); found that the higher fat intake group had more testosterone in their blood stream compared to the group who consumed little fat.  
There are many other foods you can eat to boost testosterone. It’s always good to add options to stick with a good plan.
#4: Get Plenty of Rest
By cutting back on your sleep you can decrease your testosterone levels by up to fifteen percent. Studies have shown that the quality of your sleep is a very important factor when investigating testosterone levels. Men that sleep less than four hours a night are most likely sleep deprived.
An individual who is sleep deprived can suffer from low energy, fatigue, loss of concentration and it doesn’t get results when learning how to lose weight fast for men. The magic number is ‘8’ hours sleep, as it helps with testosterone production and overall growth.
Research has shown that men who sleep eight hours or more a night have sixty percent more testosterone compared to men who only sleep four hours a night. Therefore to ensure your body is producing maximal testosterone make sure you get your daily quota of eight hours of sleep. 
#5: Reduce Stress
There are various reasons why we should limit the amount of stress we deal with in our daily lives. Stress causes men to be less competitive, less assertive and can affect also fertility. When our bodies are in a state of stress our brains sends a chemical message to adrenal glands to start producing cortisol.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone; blocks the effects of testosterone which suppresses libido, healthy competitive drive and aggression. Research conducted at Berkley University also found that stress causes our brains to release another hormone that stops the production of testosterone. This hormone is known as the gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone and is produced by the pituitary gland.
Similarly to the adrenal gland, when we are stressed our brain sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland and the gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone is released; stopping the production of testosterone. Instead of letting your body reach this level of stress, ensure you have your stressors under control to prevent your body reaching crisis mode where its starts to prepare your body for the flight or fight response. 
As we are all aware now, testosterone levels in our bodies is highly sensitive to the things we eat, stress and sleep. To ensure your body is producing the maximal amount of testosterone to ensure maximal muscle growth and to stay in shape it is vital that you; increase the amount of zinc you consume through supplementation, limit the amount of sugar you consume, eat lots of healthy fats, have a hold on your stress levels and ensure you are getting plenty of sleep.
If bodybuilders spend more time on ensuring their bodies are clean and efficient machines then testosterone production will be at its maximum and there would be no need to take illegal drugs such as steroids to obtain the desired build. Now, if you’re really looking to build muscle and elevate your testosterone levels, then I suggest a good testosterone booster to accelerate your progress and results.
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- Pitteloud N, Mootha VK, Dwyer AA, et al. Relationship between testosterone levels, insulin sensitivity, and mitochondrial function in men. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:1636-1642.
- Hämäläinen, Adlercreutz, Puska, & Pietinen, ‘Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men’, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry, Volume 20, Issue 1, (1984), Pages 459-464.
- Freedman, DS et al. “Relation of serum testosterone levels to high density lipoprotein cholesterol and other characteristics in men”. Arterioscler Thromb. (1991); 11(2): 307-15.
- Leproult, Van Cauter., “Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men.” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, (2011); 305 (21): 2173
- Aakvaag, A., et al. “Testosterone and testosterone binding globulin (TeBG) in young men during prolonged stress.” International Journal of Andrology 1.1‐6 (1978): 22-31