Many men wish to raise their levels of testosterone. Testosterone is synonymous with virility and manliness in modern culture, and a man is expected to be bursting with testosterone if he is to be considered healthy. These beliefs have led men to try several ways to increase their testosterone levels, but these natural methods of raising testosterone levels are not necessarily effective.
Is testosterone therapy a youth elixir? Men looking to enhance their lives and develop a sharp memory, great concentration, youthful libido, greater muscle mass and higher energy sometimes think so. According to the Mayo Clinic, however, the health benefits of testosterone therapy are not clear-despite what you may hear or read in commercials, infomercials and the like.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a male hormone that is produced in the testicles. The function of the hormone is to maintain bone density, fat distribution, sperm production, sex drive, red blood cell production, and muscle mass and strength. Testosterone plays a role in the growth of body hair, facial hair and baldness. Testosterone affects the brain, as well. These effects are turned on when young males begin puberty and testosterone begins to go to work. Supplementing testosterone doesn't work quite the same way.
Testosterone as you age
The highest levels of testosterone in men usually occur in early adulthood. As men age, the levels of the hormone decrease gradually. The rate of decline is usually about a percentage point each year after 30 years of age. The gradual decline of testosterone levels is a normal part of aging in men, but if the decline is too soon or too dramatic, it can be the result of hypogonadism-a condition only your doctor can diagnose. It is important to note that not all age-related changes in men have to do with decreasing testosterone.
If your issues with lower testosterone are due to hypogonadism, testosterone therapy can help address the disorder's effects and reverse them. If you are a healthy older man and you try the therapy, the benefit is not as clear. The Mayo Clinic reports very mixed results in these types of trials.
Raising testosterone levels naturally
It may be possible to naturally increase the levels of testosterone, or at least maximize the testosterone you have. These methods are not verified or irrefutable, but you may wish to talk to your doctor about trying these natural methods for raising testosterone. A study done at Penn State suggests that a drop in levels of testosterone happens with diets that have a lot of protein and few carbs or high-carb, low-fat diets. A good diet with vitamins A, B6, C, boron, zinc and branched chain amino acids promotes testosterone production and usage. Additionally, curbing alcohol intake may help maintain healthy testosterone levels.