Normal testosterone levels can vary widely. According to a study of more than 9,000 men, the normal range for testosterone in healthy, non-obese men is typically between 264 and 916 nanogram/dL.
Testosterone levels below this range may indicate that you have a testosterone deficiency. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from aging to medical conditions, certain medications, and even aspects of your lifestyle.
You can increase your testosterone levels naturally by making small but consistent changes to your lifestyle and habits.
Here are some natural tips you can use to boost your testosterone levels:
Exercise more often
We all know that regular exercise at the gym has its benefits, from helping you look and feel better to preventing disease. But did you know that it also overlaps with testosterone production?
While any type of exercise is better than none, research also suggests that resistance training or strength training may be the most effective way to increase testosterone levels through exercise.
For example, a study published in 2012 found that physically active men had higher levels of testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) than sedentary men.
Several studies have found that resistance training appears to increase testosterone levels in healthy people.
Exercise also offers several other benefits, from helping you lose weight (an important factor in your hormonal health) to strengthening your bones and muscles, improving your mood, and reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and countless other chronic diseases.
Take steps to minimize stress
Excessive or chronic stress can affect your body in many ways, including reducing testosterone production.
Research shows that elevated levels of cortisol—the hormone responsible for controlling your body's response to stress—can cause your body's testosterone production to drop.
In research published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, researchers identified a link between high cortisol levels and decreased testosterone levels.
In short, stress is a major testosterone killer and something you should try to reduce for your overall well-being.
While reducing stress isn't something that always happens overnight, making a few changes to your habits and lifestyle can have a big impact in the long run. Try to reduce stress:
• Practicing meditation. Meditation is a simple but rewarding activity that can help you manage stress and anxiety. It's also easy to incorporate into your daily routine within minutes each day. Read more about the link between low testosterone and anxiety here.
• Stay active. Physical activity can help reduce stress. As we mentioned above, staying physically active is also an important habit for maintaining optimal testosterone levels.
• Avoid things that trigger your stress. These may include certain people, environments or activities that make you feel anxious or worried.
Focus on healthy sleep
Your body produces and releases most of its testosterone while you sleep, so good sleep hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy testosterone levels and good overall health.
While there is no specific research on the optimal amount of sleep for testosterone, you can use the CDC's recommendation of seven or more hours each night as a baseline for healthy sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours for young adults.
If you're one of the 50 to 70 million American adults who struggle with some type of sleep disorder, or you're just not getting enough Z, it can definitely screw up your test production.
For example, a small study published in 2011 found that young men who underwent weekly sleep restriction (five hours per night) had daily testosterone levels 10 to 15 percent below their normal levels. A potential 15 percent reduction just by not getting proper sleep every night, guys.
Of course, it's worth noting that research on this topic is still evolving, accounting for very small sample sizes in many hormone-related sleep studies.
If you feel you need more or less sleep, you can adjust your sleep schedule based on how you feel during the day.
If you are overweight or obese, try to lose weight.
Dieting is quite a nuisance. But folks, the verdict is in: those extra pounds in your midsection could mean trouble with your testosterone levels.
Research shows that overweight or obese men have slightly lower levels of testosterone than their peers.
In a review article published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, researchers found that obesity is associated with lower levels of total testosterone in men.
The same review also concluded that low testosterone itself is associated with weight gain, which could create a self-perpetuating cycle in obese men with low testosterone.
Another study published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology also found that young, obese men had testosterone levels 40 to 50 percent lower than healthy men in the normal BMI range.
Shedding those extra pounds and leaning out a little may not be as hard as you think. In fact, in many cases, small changes in your habits and lifestyle can have a big impact.
Eat a testosterone boosting diet
They say you are what you eat. We don't know about it, but we do know that certain foods can help give your body some of the tools it needs to produce testosterone. They won't completely kick-start your testosterone production, but they can help.
These include foods rich in healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and other important nutrients.
To keep your body in optimal testosterone-producing condition, try prioritizing the following foods and ingredients:
• Whey protein
• Olive oil
• Dairy products enriched with vitamins
As we discussed foods that increase testosterone, many of these popular foods have been linked to increased testosterone levels in scientific studies.
Use vitamins and supplements to increase testosterone
While the vast majority of supplements touted as testosterone boosters are more hype than substance, several vitamins and minerals touted as testosterone supplements are backed by studies that suggest they can help increase your natural testosterone production.
• vitamin D. Scientific research suggests that vitamin D may be associated with higher testosterone levels in men, so a vitamin D supplement is worth considering if you want to increase your testosterone levels.
• Withania somnifera, is a herb that is often used in traditional Asian medicine. Research suggests that it can increase testosterone levels as well as muscle mass and strength