Testosterone and hormonal health are critical for overall male health. Low testosterone causes low energy, low sex drive, low strength, anxiety and depression. Ignore it at your own detriment.
Not a week goes by that I am not asked about testosterone levels. Especially one of the following questions:
—”How can I raise my testosterone?”
—”Can supplements actually boost testosterone?”
—”How do I know if I have low testosterone?”
The questions are endless. Testosterone is a hot marketing area for men, that strikes at the core of machismo and male health. Attach testosterone to any product with some hyperbole, and you can market it effectively.
But truth be told, testosterone levels are critical for male health. Low testosterone causes:
- Low energy
- Low sex drive
- Low strength
- Anxiety, depression, and general lethargy
There are no advantages to having low testosterone. Zero. Nada. In fact, hypogonadism (which is when your body is not producing enough testosterone) is linked to:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
Recent research even points to low testosterone being a precipitating factor for prostate cancer.
With all this in mind, it’s concerning that testosterone levels have been dropping in men worldwide for decades.
The reasons for this are legion:
Environmental endocrine disruptors, plastics, contaminants; lack of sunlight and solar radiation; lack of key micronutrients, skewed diets; lack of exercise, lack of sleep, increased stress; the list is long.
And this drop in testosterone is not only seen in humans, but animals as well. Across the world, environmental pollutants are affecting animal life and disrupting sex hormones.
The pragmatic reality is this:
Our environments and lifestyles do affect our bodies. And many men are slowly castrating themselves through their lifestyles.
Increasing your testosterone levels, and thus your general vitality, should be of paramount focus for all men.
High testosterone levels are a representation of overall good health.
You have everything to lose and nothing to gain by ignoring your hormone levels.
Raising testosterone naturally vs. artificially
The subject of how to raise testosterone levels can be argued endlessly. For every study that shows something causing a drop (say sugar), a dissenting opinion will say it doesn’t matter.
In researching this list, I poured through a massive amount of research. I wanted to find ways to improve the body’s own endogenous (i.e. natural) production of testosterone. While there is nothing wrong with TRT—hormone therapy—I have not tried it myself.
Instead, I practice an optimized way of life to keep my natural testosterone levels in the high normal range. A man’s health is his own responsibility, and your quality of life will rise or fall to the quality of your living.
This is not a list of generic supplements
Yes, there are supplements that can support natural production of testosterone. With that said, your natural production is almost entirely dependent on lifestyle. If you suffer from lack of sleep, lack of exercise, or a bad diet, no supplement is ever going to help you.
As such, I didn’t want to list generic “T-booster” supplements.
Rather, this is an article of broader tactics that support hormonal health, an optimized lifestyle, and better stress management.
Too often men get caught up in what a specific supplement does, and how much it raises T levels. This is a great mistake. Your health is your whole life. Good hormonal health comes from an optimized lifestyle, not a supplement.
I have no interest in arguing the individual points of this list. One can always pick apart various points as being unimportant or not the “gold standard”. But this pedantism overlooks the fact that testosterone and health operate on a continuum. One short-term acute decrease in T might not matter. Many acute decreases multiplied over a lifetime, do matter. The compound effect is always in effect.
At the end of the day, your health is your own experiment, you must try things yourself. You must decide which tactics you want to incorporate, and which ones you find irrelevant.
In any case, what follows is a set of practical tactics to increase your natural testosterone production, or to remove factors that could lower it. Whether you follow some, all, or even any of them, is up to you. I promote a high testosterone way of living: physically, mentally, and spiritually. Living with low testosterone long-term is unacceptable as a man. Do not let it be your status quo.
How to naturally increase T
As you will see, this list is extensive. If I had to reduce it down to three or four main points, I’d say this:
- Eat a low sugar diet
- Consume healthy fats and proteins
- Lift weights, and don’t be fat
To truly optimize your levels though, consider each and every one of the points below.
I’ve divided this list into three parts: Dietary, Physical, and Lifestyle. Starting with Dietary:
1. Cut out alcohol
Drinking is terrible for you, period. Alcohol in large doses will suppress your testosterone levels precipitously.
Beer is especially insidious: the hops in beer act as phytoestrogens, which create a double whammy of reduced testosterone and increased estrogen levels.
If you drink, drink minimally, or not at all. A few drinks of hard alcohol are a better option than beer.
(Side note: some research shows that small amounts of hard alcohol before exercise can increase your levels of free testosterone, so alcohol in small amounts is not all bad. This is not a suggestion to drink before you hit the gym though.)
2. Reduce sugar and processed carb intake
High doses of sugar acutely suppresses testosterone levels. A diet of large amounts of processed carbohydrates and sugar is hormonal hell. It causes increased insulin insensitivity, systemic inflammation, increased cortisol levels, and impaired glucose tolerance.
With that said, you still need to eat carbs. Which brings me to my next point:
3. Eat only clean carbs
Carbohydrates are necessary for testosterone production, and low-carb diets commonly cause testosterone decline. The solution is to only eat clean carbs, and to match your carb intake to your activity levels.
I define “clean carbs” as complex carbs and low-to-no-sugar carbs. If you get your carbs from tubers, whole grains, and vegetables, your diet will be immensely healthier and more nutrient-dense as a result.
4. Eat an adequate amount of protein
Contrary to popular belief, high-protein diets have been shown to lower testosterone levels. Now, that does not mean you shouldn’t eat protein. Rather, it means that beyond a certain point, extra protein is not helping you.
Additionally, the evidence that protein intake corresponds with increased lean body mass is indisputable. And as it happens, lean body mass corresponds with increased testosterone levels.
By current research, 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight is entirely adequate. I generally recommend 1 gram per pound, simply because it is less math, and even if you fall a bit short, you still ensure your intake is sufficient.
5. Use whey protein
Whey protein is extremely useful for general muscular recovery and maintaining a healthy diet. If you are trying to grow lean body mass through resistance training, whey protein is both convenient and cost-effective.
For people who struggle with protein intake (a common problem) a 50 gram shake could account for a large % of your daily intake. I recommend getting your protein from Truenutriton. I even have a partnership with them—use the code AJAC235 at check-out for 5% off your order.
6. Increase healthy fat intake
Low fat diets plummet testosterone levels. Increase your intake of saturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid ultra-lean cuts of meat and instead eat things like:
- Chicken thighs
- Fattier beef
Use coconut oil, olive oil, and butter.
7. Supplement with vitamin D
The majority of people are vitamin D deficient. This deficiency contributes to lower testosterone levels. Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it is best absorbed in the presence of fat. Consume with any kind of fat source. 2,000 ius a day is sufficient.
This is the supplement I use personally: Amazon link.
8. Supplement with magnesium
Magnesium is sometimes claimed to be a T-booster, but the research is rather inconclusive.
What is well-established, is that many people are deficient in magnesium, and that magnesium deficiency has adverse effects on exercise performance, energy levels, mood, and a multitude of metabolic processes. Magnesium deficiency has been a silent problem for many decades now, though most are unaware of it.
Additionally, there does seem to be an interplay between magnesium deficiency and suppressed testosterone levels. Per my own professional experience, I’ve been continuously surprised over the years by how many clients report feeling more energetic and improvements in libido when they supplement with magnesium.
I recommend this brand (Amazon link).
9. Use probiotics
Your digestive track does more than just digest food. It’s also a disposal system for toxins, heavy metals, and xenoestrogens.
If your gut is unhealthy, your body can reabsorb estrogen (sounds weird, but it’s true). For gut health, aside from cleaning up your diet, probiotics can help. Eat fermented foods like yoghurt, or things like sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi.
10. Supplement with fish oil
Some people almost never eat fish. Supplementing with fish oil is a good way to increase the amount of omega-3 acids in your diet.
Most often the effect noticed with fish oil is reduction in soreness. But fish oil also has cognitive and mood-boosting benefits.
This is the fish oil I use.
11. Consume bone broth
Bone broth contains saturated fat from bone marrow, and getting enough healthy saturated fat is critical for hormonal health. You also get the benefits of the collagen in the bone marrow, which improves your joint health.
12. Use olive oil
Olive oil is excellent for cardiovascular health. It also contributes to healthy cholesterol levels, which promotes testosterone production (cholesterol is a “precursor” hormone to testosterone). Just make sure you get real olive oil, and not fake olive oil.
Side note: If by chance any of my readers owns an olive oil farm, I’ll happily promote the hell out of your oil (I love olive oil, and go through a bottle a month).
13. Minimize usage of plastics with food
This can seem like a huge chore, but the evidence for plastics being an environmental xenoestrogen that damages everything from fish to polar bears is very powerful.
In your daily life, you can avoid plastic by eating whole foods, storing foods in glass containers, and reducing the amount of processed food in your diet.
Be reasonable about this—obviously it is not realistic to eliminate all the plastic in your life, unless you plan on living in the woods and carving and forging your own furniture and tools.
14. Avoid fake fats
What do vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and canola oil all have in common?
They all negatively impact testosterone levels.
They also inflame the gut, the arteries, may be one of the causes of heart disease, lead to fatty liver disease, and are linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Eliminate them from your diet, and minimize your consumption of them.
15. Remove soy from your diet
In moderate amounts some soy protein may be alright, and I’ll readily say that research doesn’t indict it.
That said, there’s also a ton of research on soy being a powerful phytoestrogen which adversely affects testosterone levels. I see no reason why any man should consume it. This is not to mention most foods that contain processed soy protein and soybean oil are highly unhealthy and awful for you on multiple levels (cardiovascular, hormonal, digestive, cognitive). Cut the soy out your life, gentlemen.
16. Eat avocados
Avocados were considered fertility food by Native American tribes, and for good reason:
They contain monounsaturated fat, which is the exact kind of fat you want to be consuming for healthy testosterone levels. They’re also loaded with many other nutrients (vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C).
Just don’t put them on toast, for the love of God.
17. Increase cruciferous vegetable consumption
Cruciferous vegetables—e.g. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach— are loaded with anti-estrogens and a multitude of other nutrients. They also improve digestive health (and are a great source of fiber). Add them into your diet as much as possible.
18. Eat eggs
I mentioned eggs before in this list, and I will mention them again here. Eggs are as close as you’ll ever get to a perfect food. They contain healthy fat, protein, and practically every vitamin (except vitamin C).
19. Supplement with a vitamin B complex
Vitamin B contributes to a multitude of metabolic processes. Deficiencies adversely affect energy, mood, strength, and concentration. Some research also suggests a deficiency can contribute to lower testosterone levels.
I usually order this vitamin B complex from Amazon.
20. Supplement with zinc
If you are deficient in zinc, you’ll get a solid testosterone boost when you start supplementing with it.
I usually recommend Zinc in the form of ZMA (which also contains magnesium). Here’s one such product.
21. Cook with turmeric, or supplement with curcumin
Turmeric is a very powerful antioxidant and anti-estrogen. Besides reducing estrogen levels, it also acts as an anti-inflammatory. This supports overall hormonal health and helps elevate testosterone levels. Recommended product.
22. Consume fresh ginger
I recently discovered the virtues of ginger while exploring ways for a client to improve his cholesterol levels (he was overweight at the time). Ginger surprised with its many health benefits. It:
- Is an anti-inflammatory
- Boosts your immune system
- Improves digestion
- Improves cholesterol
- Has anti-cancer effects
That said, it is not a testosterone booster, but an overall improver of health as a whole. For someone looking to improve their quality of health, I’d consider it a great addition to your diet.
23. Cut the stimulants
Excess stimulant consumption of caffeine and energy drinks increases cortisol. Which means it decreases T levels.
Caffeinated drinks can mask excess cortisol, and they certainly mask sleep deficits and being under-recovered. If you need coffee simply to feel semi-normal, and drink stimulant drinks throughout the day, you need to cut back. Try using non-caffeinated energy products like RED to increase your energy levels instead.
24. Aggressive Strength testosterone booster
Mike Mahler’s “Aggressive Strength” is the only T-booster I’ve ever found to work.
It’s formulated by Mike Mahler, a strength coach and hormone optimization specialist who I’ve followed for many years.
It works, and he’s got the testimonials and bloodwork to prove this many thousands of times over.
25. Supplement with Estrogen Control
If you are overweight, it’s quite possible you are estrogen-dominant. “Estrogen Control” is another supplement formulated by Mike Mahler.
It decreases the conversion of estrogen, and synergistically helps to increase testosterone production.
If your natural T levels are truly low, combine it with Aggressive Strength (mentioned in previous point).
26. Use intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a very effective strategy for reducing body-fat levels and improving dietary behaviors. Moreover, it is fairly easy to implement due to the time-based nature of it. The Metabolic Blowtorch Diet is the most powerful Intermittent Fasting system you can use. I’d strongly suggest getting the book and utilizing it, if intermittent fasting is something that interests you.
27. Lift weights
Being strong and muscular leads to increased testosterone levels. Conversely, increased testosterone levels facilitates greater strength and muscle gains. Lifting also leads to improved self-confidence, metabolic health, movement economy, and quality of life as a whole. I’ve got a lot of programs that cover how to do this.
28. Perform compound movements
Compound movement should comprise the majority of your training. These include squats, deadlifts, rows, presses, dips, chinups, pushups, lunges, and loaded carries.
29. Get more muscular
As I mentioned above, higher lean body mass correlates to higher testosterone levels. As a major benefit, you are also stronger, and harder to kill. And more useful in general. This is not a complicated point. Muscle is the holy grail for health.
30. Improve relative bodyweight strength
This is the most direct way to assess if you are building muscle and losing fat. How many pushups, chinups, dips, lunges, and squats can you do in one set? Aim for these numbers:
- 50 pushups
- 20 dips
- 12 chinups or pullups
- 100 lunges (50 on each leg)
- 100 bodyweight squats
Sprinting builds leg strength, improves conditioning, and increases fat burning (provided you are in a caloric deficit). It also improves relative bodyweight strength, and generally makes you more athletic. Do sprints of some kind as part of your training.
If you want to know how to get started, I have a whole article on the subject: How to start sprinting.
32. Do not get fat
Excess fat increases the secretion of estrogen, inflammation, decreases testosterone, and leads to reduced insulin sensitivity. These are not things you want to happen. Stay lean and do not let your body-fat percentage rise above the mid-teens, ever. I consider 15% the high point for men.
If you’ve never been lean before, diet down to 10% body-fat, and then adjust your lifestyle from there. Every man should be very lean at least once in his life, just to know what it’s like.
33. Perform high-intensity interval training
HIIT cardio is time-efficient, improves endurance and cardiovascular health, increases bloodflow, can help you get leaner. There are many different forms of HIIT—sprints, sleds, running, hills, swimming, weights—find something that works for you.
This means exactly what it says. Walking is an ancient health secret, and people overlook it simply because of how mundane it seems as a suggestion.
Walking can help you get leaner, reduce stress, improve bloodflow, improve recovery, increase focus. It’s an essential ability you never ever want to lose.
35. Get some sunlight
Sunlight exposure and testosterone levels unequivocally go together. Increased sunlight increases vitamin D levels, which in turn leads to increased T levels.
36. Don’t smoke cigarettes
There is conflicting arguments over the effect of smoking on T levels, but smoking also reduces bloodflow, and contributes to erectile dysfunction. A functional penis will do more for your T levels and quality of life than a broken one.
37. Get proper sleep
A lack of sleep can nearly cut testosterone production in half. The formula is very simple:
Less sleep = Less testosterone.
Do what you need to do to improve your sleep. Cut down on bluelight exposure, turn down the lights, quiet the mind, manage your time better, and get an alarm clock. Don’t wake up with your phone.
38. Reduce cortisol levels
Heightened cortisol (stress hormone) results in a decrease of testosterone. Stress is entirely a result of lifestyle. Fix your lifestyle and your stress levels will drop.
Supplementing with Ashwagandha is also proven to reduce cortisol. Consume 2-6 grams a day, depending on your level of stress. As a side note, ashwagandha also happens to be a powerful immune system booster.
39. Talk to attractive women
Talking to attractive women raises T levels and lowers stress levels. That is a scientific fact. Go talk to girls. I am dead serious about this. If you are a man who has zero confidence with women, work on this. I’m not a dating coach. Talk my man Pat Stedman to work on your social skills.
41. Learn violence
Train your aggression through competition and pain tolerance. Competitive environments are proven to increase testosterone levels. Learn how to box, do BJJ, do muay thai. Anything that gets your competitive instincts turned on and leads to you getting punched in the face.
I am completely serious about this. Men that do not know how to throw a punch and are scared to take a punch always lack a primal physical confidence, and it can be seen from a mile away.
Men who are confident with violence have an entirely distinct edge.
It is my belief all men should learn combative skills. I’d suggest boxing, muay thai, or BJJ if you want to learn how to fight. If you want to learn more real-world oriented violence and self defense, find a good Krav Maga studio.
41. Have sex
Get some. There are infinite resources telling you how to make this happen and be better at it. Not getting laid is no good, period.
Men that have sex regularly are happier, more confident, and healthier. I consider this an incontrovertible point.
42. Drop your loser friends
Low-T attitudes are contagious. Being friends with emasculated men that are pussy-whipped and passive is toxic. The same goes for your friends that do nothing but drink beer and watch sports highlights on the weekends. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, and high-T men have high-T friends. If this hurt your feelings, you just proved my point.
43. Find training partners
Find like-minded and red-blooded gentlemen to compete against and hold yourself accountable to. Put yourself around men who pursue excellence across multiple realms by pursuing it yourself.
44. Take cold showers
No, cold showers don’t boost testosterone. But they do do the following:
- Help your immune system
- Increase the production of antioxidants
- Improve mood by way of adrenaline release
Additionally, they are an excellent way to develop some pain tolerance and wake your ass up in the morning. Try them out.
45. Stop using age as an excuse
Don’t believe that decline is a biological inevitability. I deal with this constantly with men in their 30s and older.
Them: “Maybe I’m too old to do…”
Me: “With all due respect since you are paying me for this consultation, but you need to shut the f* up and grow some balls. That’s an excuse, and you know it.”
Age is an absolute excuse, and 80 plus-year-olds have been shown to build muscle from training. Your reasoning that you are “too old”, “not that kind of guy”, or that “working out is not for me”, or you “used to be in shape”—it is all bullshit. Your identity is weak, and you’re weak. And if I sound like Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross, it is on purpose.
46. Speak with authority
Your dialogue reflects your mindset. “Just”, “maybe”, “kinda”, “sorta”, “ehh”, “sorry” are how cowards speak. Tripping over your words and sounding like a scared child inspire confidence in no one. This is why people push you around at work, and why your woman (if you have one) speaks to you with contempt. Develop your confidence and elocution, and your hormones will reinforce your mindset accordingly.
Don’t be a coward. I mean it.
47. Improve your posture
How you stand reflects how you move, it affects how you breathe, it reflects your mentality.
Mentality is physicality.
Weak posture is a weak mindset, and it immediately indicates a lack of athleticism.
Research has proven that postural improvement affects brain chemistry. Don’t just stand up straight, move with confidence. And use my postural prominence program to strengthen your posterior chain.
48. Develop focus
Become the goddamn best and be uncompromising in your devotion and effort to it. Mastery lends itself to a necessary care of the physical and mental. Focus and testosterone go hand in hand.
49. Use TRT if necessary
The go-to resource for this is the TRT Manual. If you suspect you have low testosterone, are curious about TRT, you NEED to read this book. It is the definitive guide on the subject and explains everything in comprehensive detail.
50. Take your health seriously
Gravity is going to age you, your health will not last forever, and your quality of life will decline dramatically if you ignore it. You must be responsible for your health and maximize it, or it will unmake you.
There you have it gentlemen, fifty ways to naturally increase testosterone. Make good use of them.