older-coupleWhile it is true that testosterone is highest in adolescent males and decreases as men age, recent data demonstrates that the decline in testosterone level in men is occurring at an earlier age. When one looks at some of the causes associated with low testosterone levels in men it is not surprising that this trend is present. Fortunately, the same causes associated with this early loss of testosterone are ones that can be readily changed or managed. Three important factors that have been attributed to the decline in testosterone include high levels of stressinadequate sleep, and increased body fat. Men who have at least 15 pounds of excess body fat especially in the belly area have been shown to have decreased testosterone levels. This is attributed to the fact that abdominal fat increases the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This creates a bit of a negative cycle in that the lower testosterone levels and higher estrogen levels tend to promote additional fat deposition at the expense of muscle, and hence, more estrogen. Loosing that belly fat can go a long way to improving testosterone production and bioavailability. Fortunately modalities used to reduce this excess belly fat such as proper diet and exercise also result in improved testosterone production and levels giving one two benefits for the price of one. Additionally, other modalities can be used both to help support and increase natural testosterone production and levels in middle-aged men. Adequate sleep, at least six hours and preferably eight hours, improve the hormonal balance. Healthy ways to manage stress also result in lower cortisol levels which competes for, and even inhibits, testosterone production.  Management of stress can  improve overall testosterone production. Fortunately again many of the modalities use to manage stress and help get a good night sleep include exercise and healthy eating which alone also improve testosterone levels. Resistance training, weight lifting, and endurance training all can increase testosterone levels with as little as 30 minutes 4 to 5 times a week.  Be careful of excessive training where the body is not allowed to rest and repair- this can have a reverse effect on testosterone and libido. Diet is a critical part of healthy testosterone levels in men.  It is important to recognize that testosterone, as are most of our hormones, is produced from healthy fats including cholesterol. Therefore decreased saturated fat intake with adequate amounts of healthy fats including some cholesterol is necessary for adequate hormone production.  A good source of fat and cholesterol for hormone production include eggs, lean meats, and seafood such as salmon and even oysters. Other foods and beverages that have been shown to support testosterone production and metabolism include whole grains and oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potatoes, vitamin D, Green tea, and spices such as Tumeric. Partly by decreasing estrogen production, with a subsequent increase in testosterone ratio,  vegetables such as broccoli,  brussels sprouts,  cauliflower and radishes can also be beneficial. In short regular exercise, adequate sleep, reducing belly fat, stress management, and healthy eating can improve testosterone production and levels in most men.

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