Testosterone level: Can you boost it naturally?
Aside from making healthy lifestyle choices and addressing medication side effects or untreated medical conditions, there's little you can do to naturally boost your testosterone level.
Testosterone levels vary greatly among men. In general, however, older men tend to have lower testosterone levels than do younger men. Testosterone levels gradually decline throughout adulthood — about 1 percent a year after age 30 on average.
A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level or a reduction in the bioavailability of testosterone. Some men have a lower than normal testosterone level without signs or symptoms. For most men, no treatment is needed. But for some others, very low testosterone levels lead to a condition in which bones become weak and brittle (osteoporosis). For others, low testosterone might cause changes in sexual function, sleep patterns, emotions and the body.
However, some of these signs and symptoms can be caused by factors other than low testosterone, including medication side effects, thyroid problems, depression and excessive alcohol use. There are also conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that might affect testosterone levels. Once these conditions are identified and treated, testosterone typically will return to a normal level.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms that might be the result of a low testosterone level, consult your doctor. He or she can evaluate possible causes for the way you feel and explain possible treatment options. In addition, these steps might help:
- Be honest with your doctor. Work with your doctor to identify and treat any health issues that might be causing or contributing to your signs and symptoms — from medication side effects to erectile dysfunction and other sexual issues.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Eat a healthy diet and include physical activity in your daily routine. Healthy lifestyle choices will help you maintain your strength, energy and lean muscle mass. Regular physical activity can even improve your mood and promote better sleep.
- Seek help if you feel down. Depression in men doesn't always mean having the blues. Depression can cause men to suppress their feelings and become more aggressive or irritable. Men also might try to self-medicate by abusing alcohol or other substances.
- Be wary of herbal supplements. Herbal supplements haven't been proved safe and effective for aging-related low testosterone. Some supplements might even be dangerous.
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