Testosterone deficiency is an increasingly common problem in men. It is natural for testosterone to begin declining with age, from the 60s onwards. However, we regularly see below normal blood testosterone levels in men in their 30s.

Being overweight, having insulin resistance, or being a type 2 diabetic are all strong risk factors for testosterone deficiency. Having excess body fat can be a problem because fat cells can convert testosterone into the female hormone estrogen via the enzyme aromatase. However, it goes both ways. Being low in testosterone has a negative effect on the metabolic rate and can make weight loss far more difficult.

Testosterone is a sex hormone produced by the testes in men and by the ovaries in women. Men produce far greater quantities of this hormone than women. Testosterone has numerous health benefits for men; these include:

  • Stronger bones. This is one reason that men are far less likely to suffer from osteoporosis than women.
  • Increased muscle mass and improved muscle strength. Testosterone triggers muscle growth and development, and men naturally have a lot more muscle on their bodies than women. This is one reason why men almost always lose weight faster than women and they are less likely to feel the cold weather than women. More muscle means a faster metabolic rate.
  • Improved sexual function. Testosterone increases libido and it strengthens erections. Men with a high blood testosterone level generally experience greater sexual satisfaction.
  • Mood and mental health benefits. Testosterone has a very profound effect on a man’s mental and emotional state. This hormone increases motivation, determination, drive and competitiveness. Men with low testosterone often experience depression and loss of motivation.

Symptoms of low testosterone

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction or weak erections
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Mood changes such as depression and anxiety
  • Loss of motivation and low self esteem
  • A loss of muscle mass
  • Falling asleep on the sofa after dinner
  • Worsened joint pain in people with a joint condition

Men with type 2 diabetes benefit from additional testosterone

Low testosterone is men is often referred to as hypogonadism. Research has shown that men with hypogonadism who received testosterone therapy experienced a 25 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity. That means they became less insulin resistant; their syndrome X improved. This is significant because syndrome X promotes weight gain, poor blood sugar control, fatty liver and it worsens low testosterone.

Ways to increase testosterone naturally

Testosterone is available on prescription; however there are many natural ways to increase your level of this important hormone:

Try to maintain a healthy body weight. Ideally a Caucasian man’s waist circumference should not be greater than 35 inches. Any more than that indicates there is probably too much fat accumulating around the abdominal organs and inside the liver. If you need to lose weight I recommend you follow my eating plan in my book Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It.

Increasing the protein and zinc content of your diet helps raise testosterone. Red meat is a rich source of both of those nutrients and we’ve found that our patients who increase red meat in their diet achieve a higher blood testosterone level.

Magnesium is a mineral with a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system. It helps your body to cope with stress and it helps you achieve a deeper, better quality sleep. Magnesium also helps to increase the strength of erections.

If you have diabetes, it is critical to try and get your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible. That means having a fasting blood glucose level less than 110mg/dL. Glicemic Balance capsules contain the herbs bitter melon and gymnema, along with the nutrients chromium, lipoic acid and carnitine, which all help maintain a healthy blood sugar. Ideally one capsule can be taken with each meal.

Exercise helps to raise testosterone; muscle strengthening exercise in particular. That means lifting weights or using your own body weight (push ups, lunges, squats).

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Dhindsa S, et al "Testosterone replacement increases insulin sensitivity in hypogonadal men with type 2 diabetes" AACE 2013; Abstract 280.