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Low testosterone (T) levels affect at least 2.1% of the global male population. That means two in every 100 men suffer from testosterone deficiency.
Although less prevalent, low T levels can also affect women. Experts estimate that between 10 and 15 million women have decreased androgen levels.
The big question now is, what exactly are the things that lower testosterone levels? Is there anything you can do to prevent reduced T levels or to at least get it back up?
That’s precisely what this post will delve into, so be sure to stick around and read on!
1. Normal Aging
Unfortunately, age is one of those unpreventable things that keep testosterone low. In men aged 40 to 70, for instance, the average decline rate ranges from 0.8% to 2% per year of age. Androgen deficiency (which includes the T hormone) also affects between 25.3% to 39.3% of those in this age group.
The good news is, there are natural ways to boost testosterone levels, one of which is to get more physical. That includes having more sex, or at the very least, making exercise a regular thing in your life.
Physical activities, for starters, can raise both short- and long-term T levels. In one study, men who carried out regular exercises had higher T levels than those who were sedentary. The former’s overall quality of semen was also better and healthier.
2. Sleepless Nights
A study found that sleeping for only five hours a night can reduce testosterone levels by as much as 10% to 15%. Moreover, it only took a week of sleep deficiency to affect testosterone levels. What’s even more shocking is that the study participants’ were healthy, young men.
The study’s participants also reported a decrease in their sense of well-being. This reduction occurred at the same time that their testosterone levels went down.
How much sleep you need depends on your age, but at the very least, it should be seven hours a night.
3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects more than one million people in the US. It results in extended periods of fatigue or extreme tiredness. Sleep disturbances and muscle aches are also common in people with CFS.
As if that’s not bad enough, low T levels may also occur in those suffering from CFS.
If you think you have CFS, it’s best to visit your primary physician. There’s no cure for this condition, but there are treatments available to help ease its symptoms. Besides, a doctor’s diagnosis can help ascertain if your low T levels have to do with CFS.
4. Excess Body Fat
Obesity has long since shown a strong link with low testosterone levels in men. Even being slightly above a healthy weight can already impact T levels. In some populations, low T levels have a 12% prevalence rate in obese but otherwise healthy men.
In a separate US-based study, four in 10 participants with obesity also had lower T readings. This increased to five in 10 among patients who also had diabetes. Moreover, the researchers said that the higher the body mass index (BMI) was, the lower the T levels were.
BMI is a measurement of a person’s weight in relation to their height. As such, a high BMI can signal excessive amounts of body fat. There are a few accurate BMI calculators online, such as this one from the CDC, that can help you find out your BMI.
Input the information required by the calculator. If your BMI falls within the 25.0 to below 30 range, it means that you are overweight. If it’s above 30, however, then that signifies a weight that’s within the obese category.
If your weight falls in either range, it’s time to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. The closer you can get your weight to the normal range, the higher your odds of improving your T levels.
5. Excessive Intake of Vegetable Oil
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are often a good source of healthy dietary fat. These are the fats that many types of vegetable oil, such as soybean and canola, contain.
Unfortunately, they appear to have a testosterone-reducing effect too. A small study, for instance, noted that men who consumed a lot of these fats had considerably low T levels.
One of the best alternatives to these veggie oils is extra virgin olive oil. It has a high vitamin E content, which is a type of antioxidant. Plus, unlike many types of vegetable oils, EVOO contains monounsaturated fat.
These features may be behind the claims saying that EVOO can help boost low T levels. One study, in fact, noted that it has shown to increase serum testosterone levels in healthy men.
6. Licorice Root
Even in modern times, many people still rely on licorice root to treat maladies like pain and colds. Yes, it’s the same licorice used as a sweetening agent in beverages and candies.
Although it may be helpful in easing the symptoms of mild health conditions, it may also reduce T levels. One study, for instance, found that men who consumed licorice root every day had a 26% drop in their T levels.
7. Processed Foods
These are among the top testosterone lowering foods in both men and women. Processed foods, after all, come loaded with added sugar, sodium, and trans fat. These “ingredients” can interfere with bodily processes, including T creation.
Researchers have, in fact, found a link between trans fat and testosterone levels. They noted that excessive consumption of trans-fat-packed food reduced T levels. Moreover, men who had lower T levels also had lower-quality sperm and reduced sperm count.
So, to protect your T and libido levels, stay away from these unhealthy food options. Instead, stick to products that contain vitamin D and zinc, such as tuna, egg yolks, beef, and beans. These are two essential nutrients that your body needs to make testosterone.
Stay Away From These Things That Lower Testosterone Levels
There you have it, your ultimate guide on the things that lower testosterone levels. As you can see, many of them are avoidable and preventable, except that bit about aging. Still, by keeping agile and fit, you can age gracefully without it affecting your T levels too much.
Ready for more health and lifestyle guides like this? Then please feel free to check out the rest of the Curious Mind Magazine site!