What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the predominant hormone in men (women also have it, but to a lesser extent). It is a natural steroid produced by the body, and belongs to the class of androgenic hormones, which also includes dihydrotestosterone (DHT), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione and androstenediol. There are 3 types of testosterone that can be found floating in the blood:
- Free testosterone.
The first two are proteins that bind to testosterone themselves and are not available for the functions we will see below, as it is free testosterone that will ultimately provide us with the properties described.
What are the main functions of Testosterone?
- Male characteristics,
- Increased muscle mass,
- Bone density,
- Fat distribution,
- Hair Loss Patterns,
- Mental and physical energy.
During puberty, the period from childhood to adulthood, is where the highest peaks of testosterone occur in men. This stage is where masculine expressions occur and are maximized, such as:
- Male reproductives organs growth
- Increased facial, pubic and body hair in general
- Voice change
- Muscle mass
- Strengthening the bones
- Growth in height
Where is testosterone made?
The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, is responsible for controlling the production of testosterone by the gonads. For this, the luteinizing hormone is released, which travels to the gonads and regulates testosterone production. It may vary during the daytime, peaking during the morning and being lower at night. In men, it is estimated that daily endogenous production is around 7mg
In healthy people, the limit of testosterone production is determined by the ratio of the conversion of cholesterol to the hormone pregnenolone. As can be seen, low cholesterol diets can be a misleading sign when it comes to improving hormone production. The first step to the “manufacturing” of the hormone, where you have two possible schemes, going through several hormonal conversions until you finally get to testosterone:
- Cholesterol -> Pregnenolone -> Progesterone -> Androstenedione -> Testosterone
- Cholesterol -> Pregnenolone -> DHEA -> Androstenodiol-> Testosterone
Once it is sent into the bloodstream, almost 98% binds to albumin and globulin, for the purpose of protecting it for transport, or to reserve it or store it in deposits to fix any variation in blood plasma.
Symptoms of low Testosterone levels
As we age, natural levels begin to decline. The maximum levels during the life of reach in the range between 20 and 30 years, and begin to lower from the 35 approximately. However, there are factors such as stress, lack of exercise, bad habits such as alcohol or tobacco, lack of sleep or poor diet can further aggravate the decrease in testosterone levels in men. The symptoms that a man may experience with poor testosterone levels are reflected such as:
- Lack of desire,
- Erectile disfunction,
- Low sperm production,
- Loss of muscle mass,
- Increase in fat percentage,
- Bone fragility,
- Lack of energy,
- Less motivation
In some cases, this low testosterone production may happen because the person is going through a certain situation, where the factors mentioned above appear; otherwise, it would be a priority to go to the doctor.
Diet to Increase Testosterone
We look for foods with the following premises to incorporate into our diet that allow us to maintain favorable habits to establish a better hormonal environment:
- Monounsaturated and also saturated fats
- Foods rich in micronutrients, that is, essential vitamins and minerals
- Minimize refined foods, and high in sugar
- Control of alcohol intake
Best Foods to Increase Testosterone
In this article we focus on locating the 10 best foods to increase testosterone levels. So take note and add them to your shopping cart the next time you go to the grocery store!
Oysters have a high zinc content that raises testosterone and sperm production. They are also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, a very good source of protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, copper, manganese and selenium. Zinc regulates a large number of essential processes that affect the body, helps to form new cells, stimulates the immune system, promotes growth, mental alertness, helps in the proper functioning of the brain and plays an active role in male and female reproductive system health. Zinc is an aromatase inhibitor that helps block the conversion of excess into estrogen.
The Aztecs called the avocado tree “ahuacatl”, or “testicle tree”. Nature is wise and beyond the appearance of this part of the male body, avocados contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, K2, C, B2, B5, or B6 and minerals Zinc, Magnesium and Copper. Vitamin B6 acts as a regulator of the production of androgens, steroid hormones produced naturally, so it acts as a precursor to testosterone. Thus, B6 helps keep prolactin levels low. Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, with benefits that affect hormone production.
Few foods have such a positive impact on testosterone levels as lean meats, which are replete with protein, iron, magnesium, zinc and saturated fats. Proteins are important nutrients for optimizing it and promoting muscle building. Although we don’t want too much saturated fat in our diet, we need a certain amount to produce testosterone. The liver is responsible for synthesizing cholesterol to supply the minimum level required to use it in cell membranes and to produce it and other steroids.
As mentioned above, testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol and the egg is well known for its pure, unadulterated cholesterol content. In addition, a recent study has shown that excess cholesterol in eggs is not as harmful as previously thought. The egg yolks are a rich source of vitamin D. This vitamin helps promote proper immune function, regulates calcium levels, and can produce higher levels of the hormone.
Nutritionally, Brazil nuts are perhaps the largest dietary source of selenium, an essential trace element and a powerful antioxidant. Just 30g of Brazil nuts contains more than 10 times the recommended daily amount of selenium. Selenium can increase testosterone levels in men, and it has been found to improve sperm production and motility. On the other hand, they also provide cholesterol, which as mentioned before can be converted to testosterone in Leydig cells located in the male gonads. We offer powerful antioxidant protection.
These are rich in B vitamins and potassium which are important ingredients in the production of healthy male hormones. Bananas also contain an enzyme called bromelain that stimulates male desire and also provides a boost of extra energy.
Beans are an excellent plant source of zinc, in addition to vitamin D, which could have beneficial effects on testosterone levels. There are studies that can demonstrate the relationship between the mineral zinc and hormonal increase.
Eating more cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower could increase testosterone production in the body by eliminating excess estrogen. Excess estrogen in the body decreases its production. Broccoli is still very rich in fiber, which is excellent for controlling weight, as it provides satiety.
Garlic can improve testosterone levels, according to a study in animals by researchers at Kobe University in Japan. In this study, it was found that mice that performed a high-protein diet with garlic powder for 28 days obtained increases in testosterone levels. Scientists have found that diallyl disulfide, a compound found in garlic, stimulates the release of luteinizing hormone and is the cause of increased production.
Tunnas are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acids omega-3 shown to reduce SHBG. Levels of SHBG slowly increase with age, meaning that more of it binds to testosterone leaving less free testosterone. The net effect of taking fish oil is very beneficial in increasing free testosterone. Fish oil has also been shown to increase luteinizing hormone, the hormone that activates or indicates production in the body.