There are few hormones as powerful and important for peak performance as testosterone. Not only will a testosterone booster enhance physical size and strength, but it can have a marked improvement for cognitive markers as well.
With any testosterone booster, the idea is not simply to get more, but rather to get optimal. That’s a distinction few people know how to make. If you’re looking for a quick testosterone fix to shortcut your way to six pack abs, killer biceps, and the blonde girlfriend of your dreams, do not read any further. This simply won’t be the article for you.
My objective is to use a combination of lifestyle biohacks for testosterone, strategic supplementation, and help optimize this hormone correctly. Towards the end I’ll provide a list of my favorite testosterone booster ideas and everything in this article will prioritize a scientific approach.
Quick Lifestyle Testosterone Booster Biohacks
Men (and women) are suffering from low testosterone. Some estimates suggest 24% of men are suffering from low testosterone and much of this is due to lifestyle habits and modern industrial environments .
Before we get into the supplements that can act as a testosterone booster, it’s best to start on the right foot. Briefly consider these “Step 1” for improving testosterone levels. Sometimes low testosterone is a sign that other things in our life might be wrong.
Modern agriculture and technology has brought us two big testosterone killers:
- Plastic – bisphenol A (BPA)
While soy products are a great food source for feeding the world’s population, numerous studies suggest over consuming this plant increases our conversion of testosterone into estrogen . The ubiquitous plastic bottles (for water etc) leech a chemical called BPA into water, which not only reduces testosterone levels, but also fertility .
In both of these cases, my suggestion is to simply avoid these compounds. I use a reverse osmosis filter (Berkey brand) to clean my water and I have glass or metal jars to consume them.
Beyond these two modern, environmental problems there are a host of others that impact testosterone:
Sunlight – we all know vitamin D (aka: the sunlight vitamin) is important for our health, but it is key for testosterone specifically. A molecule called 25(OH)D forms from vitamin D, which directly improves testosterone levels in men . Given that almost 50% of the global population is deficient in vitamin D , simply spending time outdoors may be helpful.
Sleep – despite feeling useless, sleep is one of our body’s best mechanisms for repairing itself. The sleep cycle in our circadian rhythm influences many hormones. Without adequate or restful sleep cortisol levels will go up (associated with stress), which will bring testosterone down . I track my sleep with an Oura ring to make sure I’m getting restful sleep nightly.
Diet – as mentioned above, the more soy one has, the less testosterone. The same can be said for excessive calories and sugar. Obesity and markers of diabetes are associated with lower testosterone levels . In fact, for every extra 5 pounds of body fat testosterone drops significantly.
The typical response to being overweight is low calorie, low carb, and low fat, but this isn’t helpful for testosterone either. Make sure to eat plenty of saturated fats (which are associated with boosting testosterone) and eat enough calories so your body doesn’t feel it is starving.
Exercise – most people seeking a testosterone booster are gym rats (or at least do some type of weight training) so this will be brief. In general, endurance competitions like running and cycling can reduce testosterone while HIIT or weight lifting increases testosterone .
A Drink With Friends: Alcohol in Moderation
The final point, which many people might find disappointing, is the effect of alcohol on testosterone levels. One 2004 study in the journal of Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research found that moderate alcohol consumption could decrease testosterone levels by 6.8% .
The exact amount will vary by person, but even moderate consumption of alcohol will decrease testosterone. Try to drink lower quantities if any at all.
Testosterone Booster Supplements and Nootropics
As a peak mental performance media resource, Nootropedia focuses on nootropics and supplements that impact brain health. The brain and body are closely connected; to increase testosterone, signals from the brain must be sent throughout the body.
The following nootropics and supplements have scientific evidence in their favor while many of the popular supplements you’ll see for sale do not work. Don’t be tricked.
Finally, many of these natural testosterone boosters will provide small, but meaningful boosts. They will not radically transform testosterone levels like a steroid will. If you genuinely have a problem with low testosterone, it could be a medical condition that requires prescription therapy so you should see a doctor and get “the real deal”.
Ashwagandha – although used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat anxiety and stress, ashwagandha also has testosterone enhancing properties . Some evidence suggests it could be in the magnitude of 10 – 22% . Some of the evidence is in infertile men, but there are studies on healthy adults as well.
Creatine – most people should be supplementing with creatine monohydrate anyway as it helps provide cellular ATP (energy) to increase cognition and muscular strength. Besides that, there is a noticeable increase in testosterone (up to 15% in some studies).
DHEA – this hormone is used to convert into testosterone or estrogen based on the body’s need. There is ample evidence DHEA can support testosterone levels, but often the research is in infertile men or menopausal women. There are some healthy male studies, which show benefits .
D-Aspartic-Acid – this amino acid regulator of testosterone production increases testosterone in the short-term, but evidence is mixed for long-term usage. This seems “hit or miss”, but for those who see results with D-Aspartic-Acid, it’s usually quite large (60 – 100%) .
Shilajit – another Ayurvedic herb, shilajit is used for cognitive performance, but has side effects for testosterone. One study on infertile men suggested shilajit could improve levels by 23.5% .
Royal Jelly – despite the name, this actually refers to a nutritious compound created by worker bees. Taking 3 grams daily for 6 months showed significant testosterone booster effects .
CoenzymeQ10 – along with creatine, CoQ10 is another generic must-use compound for mitochondrial health and longevity. A side benefit of CoQ10 could be increased testosterone . The change was not high, but this is a relatively low risk nootropic compound that aids in many aspects of health anyway so it might be worthwhile to try.
Testosterone and Cognition
Even though adequate levels of testosterone will enhance peak mental performance, added testosterone does not seem to improve markers of cognition. A major 4 year study of nearly 800 men called the Testosterone Trials (TTrials) found no significant change in cognitive ability with increased testosterone .
Objectively, this might be true, but confidence plays a major role in peak mental performance. Testosterone will assuredly increase confidence, mood, and numerous other factors that can aid in optimal mental performance.
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