Testosterone is a hot topic these days. When men talk about it, women roll their eyes. They hear steroids, pimples on our backs, and steroid-rage, all the while envisioning our necks disappearing due to trap development, while we’re talking about our health, eggs, animal fats, and being the men that nature intended for us to be – at least biologically.
Stop equating testosterone with rage, and instead with happiness. It reduces the risk of depression. Higher natural T levels also equates to more muscle mass and greater fat loss. It’s a hormone we naturally have within us that helps us look and feel the way we want to look and feel. It’s a piece of a bigger puzzle, but an important piece none-the-less.
The ‘Alpha Male Series’ is focused on helping you finish that puzzle – becoming the physical, emotional, financial success story of a man you could be at this very moment. We’re diving deep – balls-deep – into every piece of this puzzle. With the first two articles we’re tackling our hormones, one by minimizing bad hormones (cortisol and estrogen), and the second by maximizing the good ones (GH and Testosterone). We’ll move on to other training and nutrition tips, as well as style, motivation, and career-focused articles soon as well.
With that, let’s start with the second piece of the Alpha Male Puzzle:
How to Naturally Raise Testosterone
Through a series of chemical reactions, our body converts cholesterol into testosterone. I’ll spare you the big words that we won’t remember, and focus on the process. Needless to say, cholesterol is a very important aspect of producing testosterone. We get cholesterol directly – from eggs for example – or from fats (monounsaturated and saturated – trans fats get no love).
Testosterone is also at it height in the wee hours of the morning, from 4-6 am. This gives us two important times to fill our body with nutrients and calories that will raise our testosterone levels, taking advantage of this two hour window: at night before bed, and in the morning. As such, our testosterone-raising protocol’s (or routine, whatever you want to call them) will primarily consist of a morning and an evening routine, as well as an optional late afternoon shake that I’ll get to a bit later.
A couple things to do before we get started:
1. Get your T levels checked at your family doctor.
2. Understand that, if he/she prescribes testosterone-replacement theory, that it’s only a temporary solution, and doesn’t actually help our bodies produce more T on their own – it can actually have the opposite effect.
3. Try the following routine(s), then get your levels tested again and report back here.
Foods That Naturally Raise Testosterone
I brought you briefly through the process of where testosterone begins: with cholesterol. There are certain foods – eggs, fish, meats – that contain properties that help us naturally raise our testosterone levels. While having a diet high in these foods is important, its maybe even more important to have high concentrations of these foods, plus the supplements I’m going to tell you about, in the evening and upon rising.
There are also foods that lower testosterone – like we talked about in the estrogen + cortisol-lowering article. By having a high-fructose diet, men experience lower T levels. A diet high in vegetables and fats (omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats), without the accompaniment of high-sugar foods, results in higher testosterone levels, but also lower body fat – something that is correlated to higher T levels in men also. Fatter guys typically have lower T levels than guys who are in great shape.
The foods we’ll focus on in our T-boosting routine will be the following:
Foods High in Good Fats
A recent study looked at the effect of lipid consumption on levels of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), free testosterone and cholesterol in men. After consuming a diet with a high fat content (greater than 100 g fat/day) for two weeks, the mean plasma cholesterol level increased (p less than 0.02) while the mean SHBG level decreased (p less than 0.02). About 2/3 of your testosterone is bound to SHBG, and not free. Some believe that “free testosterone” is the only form of the hormone that counts, as it’s the only form of T that is actually ready to work on your tissue.
One way to measure testosterone includes a T to Cortisol ratio. By limiting cortisol levels – like we talked about in the first article – we raise T levels. Omega-3’s have been shown to lower cortisol levels. Make sure you include the following foods that are high in these powerful fats in your diet on a daily basis:
- Eggs – rich in testosterone-boosting cholesterol, saturated, and monounsaturated fats.
- Almonds and Brazil nuts – high in Omega-3’s that have been shown to naturally raise T levels in men.
- Unpasteurized Raw Organic Milk – milk that’s high in good fats, nutrients, but without all of the added hormones that they pump into pasteurized milk, and the cows that produce it. Hormones that can raise estrogen levels in men.
- Chia – chia is a seed that’s extremely high in Omega-3’s, and will be a part of our 3x a week shake along with the Organic, unpasteurized milk.
- Fish – whether it’s just the oils, or if you have fish in the morning – an optional food source. Fish, such as salmon, is rich on protein, but also a great – maybe the best – source of omega-3’s.
- Meat – grass-fed beef is a great source of saturated fat. Opt for grass-fed to avoid the hormones pumped into the mass-produced cattle found in most grocery stores.
Foods High in Zinc
A study at the University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, found that zinc raises testosterone levels by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase from working. Aramatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen.
Foods like red meat, oysters, beans, and pumpkin seeds are all high in zinc. Include these in your diet on a regular basis to stop the flow of estrogen, and raise your T levels.
Other Foods to Include
- Broccoli is high in indole-3-carbinol, a food compound that can help reduce estrogen in half in men.
- Garlic contains allicin, an ingredient that raises T levels and lowers cortisol.
Some supplements help us raise T levels by blocking the production of estrogen (zinc), while others help us increase our levels of “free” testosterone by separating our T from the proteins bound to them. With one exception, each of these supplements can be found at your local drug store
Vitamin D – vitamin D has been shown to target the male reproductive system. A study by researchers at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, evaluated whether vitamin D supplementation influences T levels in men. Participants received either 3,332 IU daily for one year, or a placebo. Free testosterone levels increased significantly (from 0.222 ± 0.080 nmol/l to 0.267 ± 0.087 nmol/l; p = 0.001) in the vitamin D supplemented group. There was no significant change in any testosterone measure in the placebo group.
Most men should take 3,000-5,000 IU daily; however, get your D levels checked as many men are deficient in vitamin D and may require a greater dose (I take up to double as I’m not in the sunniest of climates up here in Vancouver).
Zinc – we can get zinc from the foods mentioned above, or we can supplement. If you eat enough of the foods talked about, supplement with low amounts – 10-15 mg, but if you’re lacking in this nutrient (again, go see your doctor), 25-50mg may be called for.
Keep Testosterone’s Home Safe (your balls)
Ever notice that when it’s warm (or they’re warm), that your balls drop. Then when it’s cold their they’re brought back up closer to your body. Well, they drop because they want to move away from our body because it’s too hot. They need to cool down so they wander away. Things like boxers briefs and underwear bring our balls closer to our body when they want to be moving the other way. This brings more heat, heat that kills sperm and creates a less-than-optimal atmosphere for testosterone.
The thing is, we’re surrounded by heat. We take hot showers in the morning, then again after we train. We’re putting our balls through hell, what we need is less heat and more cold in that area. A couple options:
1. Take cold showers, but especially focus on your boys. Have a cold shower when you wake up, then again before you go to bed. I also take a cold shower after a workout to help expel lactic acid and glycogen from my muscles. Keep in mind that the most important area to keep cool is your balls, so if you don’t want to shower, make sure you get some cold water on your boys – use your imagination, I don’t even want to go down that road, but do what you gotta do.
2. Wear loose boxers – or nothing – when you sleep. During the day, my guys need support. I like boxer briefs even though they aren’t great for me. But when it comes time to sleep, I wear loose boxers or shorts, some opt for nothing at all – each of which is a viable choice. If you’re not willing to wear loose boxers during the day, make sure you give your balls some cool air when you sleep.
Lift Heavy Weights
Not only does weight lifting help decrease body fat and increase muscle mass, resulting in higher testosterone levels, but it directly effects T levels. Men – and women – need resistance training. Exercises like deadlifts, squats, and O-lifts help naturally raise both T levels and human growth hormone levels.
This is a topic we’re going to cover in an upcoming article in the Alpha Male series, about how to construct the Alpha Male Physique, but even on a hormonal level, lifting weights is very important. Find a routine (like this one), that contains the prescribed exercises I mentioned, and get started!
So we’ve seen foods that naturally raise testosterone, foods that we should be including in our diets. Now, let’s get down to the protocol’s. Have the following cocktail every morning and night before you go to bed. Accompany this cocktail with a cold shower to maximize benefits of both.
- 2 whole eggs (cooked or raw)
- 2,000-4,000 IU vitamin D
- 25 mg zinc (only once daily)
- 3 Omega Blue is the fish oil pills
Optional testosterone shake:
I got this shake from Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour body. It’s a great book. I’ve altered some of what he says due to new studies, but his information is great, definitely a book I suggest picking up. Have the following shake – similar to his – 3 times a week to elevate T levels.
- 2 raw eggs
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 cups organic unpasteurized raw milk
Testosterone shouldn’t be a conversation relegated to meatheads in the gym. It deserves intelligence, facts, and attention from men everywhere, of all shapes, sizes, and goals. If your goal is to be ripped, healthy, well-conditioned, jacked, or happy, you should be taking care of your testosterone levels.
Hopefully this article gave some valuable information. Information you’ll apply and scrutinize, but will help you not only raise your testosterone levels in a natural manner, but serve as one more piece to the puzzle that sees you becoming your very own alpha male.