It was recently reported that Singapore men have falling testosterone levels. This problem is nothing new, and I suspect it will only get worse because our lifestyle and environment encourage low testosterone levels.
Even the "normal" ranges shown by laboratory tests are, in my opinion, too low for optimal health. Many of these standards in different countries have been lowered to adjust to the new average amounts in people today. Lowered averages doesn't mean that lowered results are normal!
More on this topic can be found in an excellent book on testosterone by Nelson Vergel called "Testosterone: A Man's Guide".
In my experience, unless you are a very focused healthy lifestyle person, or on anabolic steroids, your current levels are probably too low! Here are 5 things you can do to improve them naturally. While it's not an exhaustive list, these are simple lifestyle changes that can make a difference.
1. Stop being a fatty!
Fat is not simply a place where you store excess food that didn't get used. It is part of your endocrine (hormonal) system and because it is a survival mechanism, it wants to keep itself in business. I.e. the fatter you are, the fatter you tend to stay.
Fat releases chemicals that aromatize testosterone. In effect changing it to feminizing hormones.
The best way to drop fat overall, is to get rid of all sugars, refined starches and processed foods. My article here is a good place to start.
2. Manage your stress
Imagine you buy some bricks to build a house, but a thief keeps stealing them to build his own house... before you consider getting more bricks, its more important to catch the thief and put him in jail! This principle I call "turning off the tap".
The main hormone your body produces when it is under chronic stress is called cortisol. Some of the raw materials to make cortisol in your adrenal glands are also used to make testosterone, so if they are being stolen, you will never have great testosterone levels. The test used to measure this is called the DHEA/Cortisol ratio.
The mistake commonly seen is people taking supplements to boost testosterone, but at the same time not sleeping well, drinking alcohol, or suffering a stressful job.
This is pointless, as all you are doing is adding more raw material, and giving it to be converted to cortisol, or aromatized (as in point 1) to female hormones.
3. Eat more healthy meat
Yes, more meat. But it has to be healthy (get grass fed meat at great prices from places like this). I am a big fan of a high vegetable intake and highly encourage them, but vegetables alone do not cover your nutrient needs completely. Some of the nutrients needed for higher testosterone levels can only be found in adequate amounts in meat. Examples of these are Vitamin D, creatine, zinc and iron.
Another benefit of eating healthy meats is that you get healthy fats. Yes. Fats. Why? Because if your diet contains between 30 and 40 percent of calories from fat, you will produce the highest testosterone levels - But the fat has to be saturated as well as mono-unsaturated for best results.
One of the reasons fat is so effective in raising testosterone, is that healthy fats (from natural sources like butter, cream, grass fed animals, nuts, seeds, and omega-3s) contain cholesterol. Testosterone is built from cholesterol. You don't need to specifically eat more cholesterol, but if you totally avoid it, your testosterone levels will likely be affected.
The dangers of cholesterol are actually over-stated and it is actually bad quality heated/processed fats like vegetable oils and trans fats that cause cardiovascular problems.
4. Lift heavy (for your current ability and fitness level) weights.
In the journal "Sports medicine" in 2010, research was done tracking the type of resistance training which gave the best testosterone boost. And it was found that lower repetition, heavier weights, with longer rest periods gave the best result. Workouts using weights where you complete 4-6 reps with difficulty and repeat that for 5-7 sets per exercise should do well to boost testosterone levels.
Long jogs and lifting only light weights don't do much for boosting testosterone levels. In fact, long cardio activities are perceived as excessive stress by your body (as if you are lost in the jungle), and can contribute to the problem in point 2.
5. Keep yourself estrogen free
Our environment is full of molecules which disrupt our hormone balance. The most common "imbalance" is the shift towards excess female hormones. As time passes many species including reptiles, fish and humans get more and more feminine features. A good indicator of this is in new born boys. It is called the "Anal to Genital Distance" i.e. how far your anus is to your genitals. It is generally twice the distance in boys as in girls. However this distance has been shortening recently.
Some things to avoid include personal care products (hair gels, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos) which contain hormone disruptors. A good article on hormone disruptors in personal care products is here.
So stay away from those things and you will reduce the chances of excess estrogens.
A good indicator that you are too high in estrogens is actually excess accumulation of fat on your chest, thighs and buttocks. This is actually a feminine fat storage pattern and is not normal in men. Taking note of the 5 steps above should help you deal with this as well.
For the best fitness boot camp program, ExpressFIT program in the CBD, and personal training in Singapore visit www.genesisgym.com.sg or the Genesis Gym facebook page. Or visit Coach Jonathan's homepage and blog at www.coachjon.com