If we asked you what testosterone does, you’d undoubtedly mention things like build strength and muscle mass, and improve sex drive. In short, all the attributes we’ve come to equate with masculinity, especially when we’re at our peak in our late teens and early 20s. So, not surprisingly, when you no longer feel like the man you were and start to ask why, lower T is often the culprit.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone belongs to a class of male hormones known as androgens (aka steroids). It’s both androgenic (causing male physical characteristics) and anabolic (causing development and growth of muscle), the latter being far more interesting to the average guy trying to get jacked.
Produced primarily in the testes and the adrenal glands, testosterone is involved with a variety of important processes in the body. It helps control development of male sex organs and kicks into high gear during puberty, when secondary sexual characteristics develop. These include not just an increase in size of the penis and testicles, but also the sprouting of facial and body hair. In addition, it’s typically accompanied by a growth spurt and the development of stronger, more visible musculature.
As men mature, testosterone plays a critical role in sex drive, maintaining healthy red blood cell and sperm counts, and—drumroll, please—the maintenance and increasing development of muscle mass and strength.
Signs of lower testosterone
Testosterone doesn’t just get up and leave the body on a whim. Instead, the side effects sneak up on you as you age, first causing you to question how good you used to feel in the sack or in the gym. Then you start to notice your muscle-mass gains are nonexistent, and you’re actually getting smaller and weaker.
Fatigue and a growing lack of interest in sex, training, and sports are the next indication that something’s just not right. Before you know it, you’re crying at movies and dog food ads.
How to boost lower testosterone levels
The good news: Lower testosterone doesn’t have to happen to you…or keep happening to you. There are steps you can take to eliminate the symptoms and get to the core of the issue. It starts with diet and exercise.
Among the foods that can improve your natural testosterone production are oysters, which are rich in zinc; fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, which have high levels of vitamin D; and eggs, which contain cholesterol, the building block of testosterone (note: you don’t want to overdue it with the cholesterol, since too much can lead to health issues down the road). Other good foods to prioritize for increased T levels include onions, garlic, spinach, and broccoli.
In the gym, intense workouts involving large muscle groups, heavy resistance, and minimal rest between sets are the best prescription for T production. Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, bentover rows, and bench press should be used in place of leg extensions, pec deck, and hyperextensions. It’s critical you stress your body to get the biggest hormonal surge, and isolation movements just don’t cut it.
Finally, sleep is a critical part of the lower-T conundrum.
If you don’t get eight hours of sleep per night, your body becomes catabolic. First, your body is unable to adequately recover from hard training sessions. Second, reduced sleep causes an increase in the manufacture of cortisol. This burns up muscle tissue, increases fat deposition (especially in the belly), and reduces testosterone production.
How supps can help increase testosterone
If you feel as if you may be experiencing reduced testosterone levels, take the quiz below to find out. Depending on the results, adding a supplemental testosterone booster might help put you back in the game. One good option to consider is Nugenix Total-T. You might be familiar with the supp from its appearance in this SNL skit:
Think of Nugenix as a supercharged multivitamin. It’s got vitamins B6 and B12; zinc; L-citrulline malate (amino acid); Testofen®, a patented fenugreek extract (ayurvedic herb); ElevATP® Blend, a natural combination of ancient peat and apple polyphenols; and eurycoma longifolia extract, a plant in which the root is thought to heighten testosterone levels.
Nugenix Total-T may increase sex drive, improve sexual function, and increase muscle strength and endurance in men suffering from lower testosterone.
Do you have lower testosterone levels?
To find out, tally up how many of the following you’ve experienced:
1. Low sex drive: Any reduction is bad; a drastic drop-off signals problems.
2. Difficulty achieving erection: If you depend on Viagra or Cialis, that’s not good.
3. Significant loss of muscle mass
4. Increase in body fat
5. Fatigue and lack of energy: If you’re sleeping seven to eight hours a night yet feel sluggish, something’s wrong.
6. Lack of enthusiasm: The inability to get excited about life in general is a sign of low T.
7. Mood changes: Are you irritable or depressed most of the time? It could be hormonal.
8. Low semen volume: A noticeable decrease in ejaculate isn’t normal.
9. Hair loss: It could be on your head, but also on your face and body.
10. Shrinkage of testicles: If your gonads feel smaller or softer to the touch, be cautious.
If you answered “yes” to three or fewer of the above symptoms, you’re in pretty good shape. If you’re in the four to six range, you may have lower-T trouble brewing. It’s time to look closely at your diet and exercise regimen. Finally, if you’re experiencing seven or more of the symptoms, lower T is the likely cause.