Today we are talking about testosterone. That muscle-building hormone. However, I’m not going to recommend that you take anabolic steroid hormones. Instead, I want to share how you can boost your testosterone levels naturally with nutrients. Let’s take a look.
First – get enough zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral that supports several processes in your body, including serving as a co-factor for over 300 enzymes. Zinc also bolsters your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and assists with wound healing. In fact, I recommend adding supplemental zinc before and after surgery, to aide in a speedy recovery. Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and assists in our ability to taste and smell. Zinc is an antioxidant and supports optimal levels of testosterone because it helps the enzymes that convert cholesterol into testosterone. It is especially important to men because zinc is found in higher levels in the prostate, and supports prostate health.
Food sources for zinc include red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish. Some plant foods also provide zinc such as beans, nuts and seeds – especially pumpkin seeds. The best dietary source is oysters.
The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it’s 8 mg/day). Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in vegetarians/vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot (zinc is lost in sweat). Low zinc levels have been linked to low testosterone levels.
If you don’t get enough zinc in your diet, or you need a little extra, you can supplement. Most multi’s contain some zinc. Extra zinc, beyond what is in your multi, can be supplemented when needed. Before you do, however, consider a few things:
- It is possible to get too much zinc. As a rule of thumb, do not supplement with more than 40 mg/day on a long-term basis. Add up the zinc in your supplements to determine how much you are taking on a daily basis.
- Zinc supplements are best taken with food.
- Talk with your healthcare practitioner to determine the best intake for you. If we meet for a consult, I can give you a simple test called the zinc challenge to help determine your zinc level.
Do you need an extra boost of zinc? Zinc Supreme provides 30mg of zinc as zinc glycinate with synergistic nutrients like B6 and taurine.
Second – get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D, commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is one nutrient many North Americans are deficient in. Not only is it hard to find in foods, but most places far north of the equator don’t get enough sunlight to produce adequate levels year-round. Hello winter; goodbye sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D is known to help us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system. As with zinc, if you’re deficient in vitamin D, you may experience increased testosterone levels after starting to supplement.
Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in fatty fish, organ meats, and egg yolks. Unfortunately, it isn’t abundant in most other un-fortified foods.
The bottom line with vitamin D is that you may need to supplement. Many of my clients who do get tested by their doctor, find they are deficient or on the very low end of normal. Of course, if you’re always outside in the sun, and live in the southern part of the country, you may be the exception. Consider asking your doctor to check your blood levels to be sure, because vitamin D is one of those nutrients where more is not always better.
Here are a few tips to supplement with vitamin D safely and effectively.
- Read your supplement labels and don’t overdo it. In general, do not supplement with more than 4,000IU/day unless supervised by your doctor and getting tested to monitor blood levels.
- As with zinc (and most other supplements) you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications.
- Take your vitamin D with some fat to help your body absorb this vitamin. Take it with a meal that contains fat.
- Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil, and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately. Read your labels and count how much you are taking.
Now, here is a recipe that provides both zinc and vitamin D, plus the protein to build muscle. Enjoy!
I hope you found this information helpful. As always, if you enjoyed this blog post, please share with family, friends, or the man in your life.