Testosterone is a male sex hormone necessary for muscle growth and strength. This is the reason why a lot of bodybuilders supplement their bodies with pro-hormones to increase testosterone, which in turn will speed up muscle growth and increase strength.
What are pro-hormones? Should you try pro-hormones to get fit, or is it better to stick to the best natural testosterone boosters?
Testosterone Boosters: What are Pro-Hormones?
Prohormones are not hormones as the name suggests. They are steroids with precursor chemicals that enhance or magnify the effects of a certain hormone produced by the body. Hormones naturally produced by your body including testosterone have corresponding prohormones.
Benefits of using prohormones include:
- Increased muscle mass
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved endurance
- Deeper voice
- Better athletic performance
- Faster recovery from injuries
- Improved sex drive
- More masculine physical appearance
- Hair growth
Pro-hormones work similarly to anabolic steroids, though their effects are weaker. According to some men, pro-hormones are one of the best testosterone supplements there is. They come in different types, and most types of prohormones are illegal in many countries, because they are largely similar to anabolic steroids, which are also illegal.
Pro-hormones that aren’t illegal are those that do not have the same chemical structure to anabolic steroids and those that do not promote muscle growth. Surely, you would not want to get yourself into trouble by using illegal pro-hormones.
Apart from being illegal, prohormones meant to increase testosterone levels and promote muscle growth can have the following side-effects:
- High blood pressure
- Swollen prostate
- Enlarged breasts
- Hair loss
Also, continued use of prohormones can cause damage to your liver. This is why when using prohormones, users need to stop taking it for weeks in between a month of use.
Should you use or not use prohormones is really up to you.
Apart from steroids, there are oral supplements that can help boost testosterone naturally. They do not contain actual testosterone or substances similar to testosterone. Instead, they contain substances that can boost testosterone production.
Provacyl belongs to the best natural testosterone booster stack. Young or old, Provacyl is formulated to increase not only testosterone levels but human growth hormones, as well. Before trying out any supplement to boost your T levels, check with your doctor first about the safety of the product for you.
Best Testosterone Boosters: Go for the Safe Choices
Prohormones aren’t the only solution to your fitness quest. There are several ways to boost your testosterone naturally. These are definitely not illegal and could benefit your health in many ways.
Here are the best natural testosterone boosters:
1. Get Enough Sleep
Testosterone production follows a circadian rhythm. Testosterone levels normally peak during the day to keep you energized and to sustain certain body functions. When you’re in the stage of REM sleep, your brain will start sending signals to your gonads or testes to produce more testosterone for the next day.
One study found out that the more you sleep, the higher your testosterone levels will be the next day. In this study on healthy men, those who slept for four hours had 200 to 300 ng/dl testosterone levels while those who slept for eight hours had 500 to 700 ng/dl testosterone levels.
No matter how tempting it is to stay up late and watch your favorite TV show, think how good testosterone booster sleep is.
2. Keep a Healthy Weight
For healthy men, sufficient testosterone levels can keep weight on check, but for overweight or obese people, losing weight may be necessary to increase testosterone levels. Obesity and testosterone can create a vicious cycle. Low testosterone in the body makes you lose muscle mass and tore more body fat while too much body fat resulting in obesity can inhibit production of testosterone.
Aim to maintain a healthy to maintain healthy testosterone levels.
3. Get Enough Zinc
Experts aren’t sure how zinc exactly affects testosterone production but according to their theories, it could be that zinc affects certain chemicals in the testes and male organs, which produce testosterone. Studies also show that zinc supplementation can help increase testosterone in men. What’s surprising is that, zinc supplementation will not increase testosterone in men who aren’t deficient of the mineral.
Deficient or not, it’s important to ensure you get enough zinc every day because your body won’t make or store zinc.
You can get zinc from your diet. The best natural testosterone booster foods high in zinc include:
- Fortified cereal
- Lean pork
You can also take zinc oral supplements if you can’t always incorporate zinc-rich foods into your diet. A zinc deficiency is not common, but if you really want to make sure, you can undergo tests.
4. Lessen Sugar Intake
A recent study showed that there could be a link between blood sugar levels and testosterone levels. Participants of the study were men with type-2 diabetes, pre-diabetic blood sugar levels, and normal blood sugar levels.
The men drank sugary drinks and underwent a blood test to determine their testosterone levels. Regardless of their blood sugar levels before the test, their testosterone levels dropped by about 25 percent and remained at that level even after two hours. About 15 percent of the men with normal blood sugar levels dropped testosterone levels that could be classified as hypogonadism, deficiency of testosterone that requires medical attention.
5. Stay Active
Exercising regularly can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, which is necessary for testosterone production. This is one advantage of exercise in boosting testosterone levels but wait there’s more.
A study by researchers from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago that aimed to determine the benefits of exercise on brain health found that mild to moderate exercises can boost testosterone levels, which in turn promotes brain health. Additionally, researchers found out that short and intense exercise routines can effectively increase testosterone levels and prevent decline, which usually starts at the age 30.
Your exercise routine should have intense workouts with longer resting periods in between. For example, perform a two-minute intense workout then rest for three minutes in a 20-minute routine.
6. Take Control of Your Stress
You probably already know how stress can impact your health; however, you may not be aware how stress affects your testosterone levels. According to experts, stress can lower testosterone, lower testosterone can cause stress, and then a vicious cycle will commence between the two. Not to forget that stress can disrupt sleep and lack of sleep can result in decreased testosterone production.
Low testosterone can affect anyone, but your chance increases if you are frequently under stress. Learn how to deal with stress effectively. Identify what stresses you the most and learn how to deal with these things.
7. Review Your Medications
What you take to improve your other ailments could cause your testosterone levels to drop. Here are some of the proven medications that can affect testosterone levels:
- Beta blockers
- Asthma inhalers
If you’re taking one or more of these medications and concerned about how they can affect your testosterone levels, do not stop taking them. You can ask your doctor to recommend alternative drugs that won’t cause low T.
8. Avoid Low Fat Diets
Curbing fat intake is important in staying healthy. Yes, it is, but many people get this wrong. As long as your doctor tells you to lower your fat intake at a certain amount, your diet should include enough amount of fat because your body needs it. Fat or carbohydrate contributes to the cholesterol levels in your body and cholesterol is a precursor of testosterone.
One study showed that eight weeks of low-fat diet reduced testosterone levels at an average of 12 percent. Be sure to go for the healthy fats, like olive and canola oil, and not the bad fats that come with fried and processed foods.
9. Avoid Excess Alcohol Consumption
One serving of alcohol is not enough to significantly affect your testosterone levels, but if you’re an alcohol dependent you should definitely seek help. Excessive alcohol intake poses several threats to your health, including decreased testosterone levels.
Prolonged excessive intake of alcohol can interfere with the production of chemicals necessary for testosterone production. It triggers the release of chemicals that can suppress testosterone synthesis. Lastly, it can increase estrogen levels.
You need not completely eliminate alcohol from your life; you just need to limit your intake.
10. Eat Nuts
Nuts, in general, is good for your health; however, not all nuts are good for increasing your testosterone levels. Specifically, nuts that can negatively affect your T levels are pistachios, peanuts, walnuts and almonds. These nuts either increase sex hormone-binding globulin, which bind to free testosterone and make them inactive, or they are high in phytosterol that can decrease cholesterol levels.
Nuts with testosterone boosting effects are macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, tiger nuts and horse chestnuts. They contain nutrients that boost testosterone production.
For testosterone-boosting benefits, you know what nuts to avoid and nuts you should eat more often.
11. Check with Your Doctor to See if You Have a Thyroid Problem
A research study conducted recently found that men with hypothyroidism, a condition wherein your thyroid glands are not producing enough hormones, have lower free testosterone levels and that treating hypothyroidism significantly improved men’s low T problems.
You should watch out for these hypothyroidism symptoms:
- Trouble losing weight
- Dry, coarse hair
- Dry, rough pale skin
- Cold intolerance
- Muscle cramps
- Frequent muscle aches
- Hair loss
- Poor memory
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Decreased sex drive
- Weight gain
If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, check with your doctor.
12. Drizzle Olive Oil Over Your Salads
More fat means more testosterone. It’s a good thing olive oil contains healthy fats, so you won’t have to shun it.
According to a study, the benefits of olive oil in increasing testosterone levels come in threes:
- First, it stimulates the enzymes involved in testosterone production, 3beta-HSD, and 17beta-HSD, to become more active.
- Second, it increases the absorption of antioxidants in the Leydig cells responsible for producing testosterone.
- Third, it helps the Leydig cells absorb more cholesterol, a precursor of testosterone.
The study involved rats, though, but a study in humans, particularly, young Moroccan men, showed that consumption of olive oil for three weeks increased their testosterone levels by more than 17 percent.
13. Get More of The “Sunshine” Vitamin
Don’t underestimate the power of sunshine. While prolonged exposure can be harmful to your skin, sunlight is the best sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for your body, because it helps regulate numerous bodily functions including production of testosterone.
One study showed that men with sufficient amount of vitamin D in their blood serum have higher testosterone levels than those who lack vitamin D. In addition, researchers also found that those who took vitamin D supplements for a year had a 23-percent increase in their testosterone levels.
The best time to expose your skin to soak up vitamin D is early in the morning when the sun is not at its peak yet. Apart from sunlight, foods, such as eggs and fish are naturally rich in vitamin D.
14. Add Garlic to Your Dishes
A study conducted on animals in Japan showed that garlic can help increase testosterone when consumed with a high-protein diet. Garlic contains a chemical called diallyl disulfide, which triggers the release of hormone that stimulates testosterone production.
As much as you hate garlic breath, you should definitely start using garlic when cooking. You can cook recipes with garlic as a vital ingredient. For other herbal testosterone boosters, check this.
15. Get Salmon into Your Diet Twice a Week
Salmon is a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that can help boost testosterone production. Selenium converts T4 hormone into T3 hormone, which is essential in testosterone production. This is no wonder why men with who eat sufficient selenium have healthy semen production and testosterone levels.
Moreover, salmon is a good source of dietary cholesterol through its healthy fats and cholesterol is a precursor of testosterone.
Eat a serving of 3.5 ounces of salmon at least twice a week.
16. Eat Broccoli
Broccoli is rich in a compound called indoles, which can indirectly help lower estrogen in the body. As men age, testosterone decreases and estrogen increases. Overwhelming numbers of estrogen to testosterone can lead to increased storage of fat by the body and even more decreased the production of testosterone.
17. Avoid Eating Large Fish
You may already know how harmful mercury is to your health. Now, you should also realize what it can do to your T levels. Frequent intake of mercury can cause them to accumulate in the testes and inflict damage on the Leydig cells, which produce testosterone. A study showed that men exposed to mercury had poor seminal quality and low testosterone levels.
Mercury is often found in seafood, particularly large fish. Larger fish in the ocean are exposed to mercury longer than smaller fish. Some of the fish with commonly high mercury content are:
- King mackerel
As much as possible, avoid eating these fish.
18. Avoid Excessive Consumption of Soy and Soy Products
There had been complaints that too much consumption of soy caused gynecomastia or enlargement of breasts in men. This is because soy and soy products contain phytoestrogens or compounds that mimic the effect of the female sex hormone estrogen.
Too much estrogen in the body can suppress the functions of testosterone and increase storage of body fat, which in turn leads to increased production of estrogen.
You do not have to completely avoid soy, what you need to do is limit your intake.
19. Don’t Eat Too Much Fiber
One of the advantages of eating a fiber-rich diet is lowered cholesterol levels. The problem is, this could be a disadvantage to your testosterone levels. Cholesterol is a precursor of testosterone. If there is less cholesterol then there will be less testosterone production.
Fiber intake plays a vital role in your health, thus you should include it in your diet. Nutrition experts recommend intake of 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily.
If you want to boost your testosterone levels naturally, try these safest and the best natural testosterone boosters. They won’t give you nasty side-effects. If you want to try testosterone supplements, search for best natural testosterone booster reviews online.
Do you want to boost your testosterone and build bulging muscles naturally? Try a few of these safe testosterone boosters this week and you could be on your way to feeling better soon.