A Complete Guide to Increase the Testosterone Naturally in 2023

Last Updated December 2023

Testosterone, a word rarely mentioned daily, holds significant importance in fitness and interests many fitness enthusiasts. Testosterone levels directly impact muscle growth, fat loss efficiency, and maintaining sexual function in men.

So, let’s dive deeper into the science behind testosterone to understand its role and uncover strategies for optimizing its levels for improved health and fitness.

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is the primary androgen found in men. It is predominantly produced by Leydig cells under the regulation of luteinizing hormone (LH). As a steroid hormone, testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol and exists in two forms in the human body: free testosterone and conjugated testosterone. The latter, accounting for approximately 98%, is the main form.

Although women also possess testosterone, it is primarily produced in their ovaries. On average, adult males have testosterone levels around 7-8 times higher than adult females, with a daily output of approximately 20 times greater. Testosterone levels are age-dependent, peaking around 20 and gradually declining after that.

The Physiological Mechanism of Testosterone

The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis predominantly governs the regulation of testosterone levels and gonadal function. The hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which travels to the anterior pituitary via the hypothalamic-pituitary hilar system. The anterior pituitary gland then secretes luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). LH, in particular, acts on Leydig cells in the testes, enhancing testosterone production.

Testosterone exerts negative feedback to regulate its secretion, inhibiting GnRH secretion in the hypothalamus and reducing the anterior pituitary gland’s response to GnRH stimulation. This interplay of functions constitutes the hypothalamus-pituitary-testis axis, contributing to the organism’s complete endocrine system. Testosterone can directly bind to its receptor and exert its effects. It can also undergo conversion into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which exhibits higher androgenic activity, or be converted into estradiol by aromatase, subsequently exerting its biological effects.

Testosterone exists in two forms in the human body: free testosterone and bound testosterone. Free testosterone, comprising only about 1%-2% of the total testosterone, plays a physiological role and influences bound testosterone’s concentration, transformation, and metabolism.

The Role of Testosterone

Testosterone exerts various effects on different aspects of male development and physiology. Here are some key functions of testosterone:

1. Effects on Fetal Differentiation

During fetal development, the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) through the action of 5α-reductase plays a vital role in normal sex differentiation and the growth and development of the penis in male fetuses with a genetic sex of 46, XY. Insufficient androgen action during sexual differentiation can result in male pseudohermaphroditism or androgen insensitivity syndrome (feminization of the testes).

2. Effects on Penile Development

Puberty activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-testis gonadal axis, leading to the synthesis and secretion of significant amounts of androgens, including testosterone. This hormone contributes to male sexual characteristics, spermatogenesis, and the development of the male reproductive system. Testosterone influences external masculinity during this period. Insufficient androgen levels before puberty can lead to sexual immaturity, castration, and underdeveloped secondary sexual characteristics.

2. Effects on Spermatogenesis and Maturation

Androgens, primarily testosterone, are crucial in promoting spermatogenesis and maintaining normal sperm production. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) mediate spermatogenesis through high testosterone concentrations within the seminiferous tubules. Testosterone and its conversion product, estradiol (E2), also contribute to sperm maturation and acrosome formation. Testosterone deprivation or reduction in the testes can lead to spermatogenesis arrest and loss of sperm count.

4. Effects on Male Sexual Function

Testosterone regulates sexual desire and erectile function through central nervous system signaling and localized action in the corpus cavernosum. Adequate testosterone levels are crucial for male sexual desire, spontaneous penile erections, and healthy sexual function.

In addition to these primary functions, testosterone influences various non-reproductive aspects of male physiology. It promotes central nervous system function, cardiovascular health, bone growth and development, muscle volume and strength, liver metabolism, and body weight regulation. It supports immune function, making significant contributions to overall male health. Adequate testosterone levels help men develop and function optimally, enhancing their masculine appearance.

In addition to these primary functions, testosterone influences various non-reproductive aspects of male physiology. It promotes central nervous system function, cardiovascular health, bone growth and development, muscle volume and strength, liver metabolism, and body weight regulation. It supports immune function, making significant contributions to overall male health. Adequate testosterone levels help men develop and function optimally, enhancing their masculine appearance.

Causes of Testosterone Level Imbalances

Here, several factors can negatively impact testosterone secretion. In this article, we will discuss the ten testosterone killers in daily life and explore strategies to increase testosterone secretion.

1. Stress: The Silent Testosterone Destroyer

Chronic stress is a major testosterone killer. Elevated stress levels trigger the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, inhibiting testosterone’s positive effects. Managing stress through lifestyle changes, specific vitamins, and herbal remedies can help reduce cortisol levels and alleviate stress.

2. Poor Diet: Influencing Hormonal Balance

Diet plays a critical role in overall health, including hormone regulation. To optimize testosterone levels, avoiding processed foods and soy products while adopting a low-fat, low-carb diet is important.

Reducing sugar intake, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, is crucial. Prioritize organic, grass-fed meats and incorporate healthy fats like egg yolks and coconut oil, which promote testosterone production. Skeptical of extremely low or high-carb diets, maintaining a moderate carbohydrate intake is advisable.

3. Nutritional Deficiencies: Filling the Gaps

Even with a healthy diet, many individuals fail to efficiently consume adequate nutrients to maximize testosterone levels. Poor food choices, processed foods, and agricultural practices have led to substandard nutrition. Supplementation, encompassing everyday vitamins, minerals, and clinically proven botanical testosterone boosters, can help bridge nutritional gaps.

4. Lack of Exercise: Harnessing the Testosterone Boost

Exercise is a simple and effective testosterone booster. Engaging in the right kind of exercise will increase testosterone levels, while inappropriate exercise routines can diminish them. Aim for weightlifting or muscle-building workouts, as they contribute to increased testosterone. Avoid excessive cardio exercises like running, but embrace brisk walking, weightlifting, and yoga, all of which raise hormone levels.

5. Obesity: Impact on Hormonal Balance

Excess body weight can significantly affect testosterone levels. Fat cells produce estrogen, a hormone that lowers testosterone. With age, metabolism slows down, making it more challenging to shed excess body fat. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper stress management helps support optimal testosterone levels.

6. Alcohol: A Double-Edged Sword

Alcohol, when metabolized by the liver, produces compounds that inhibit testosterone release. Even moderate consumption can decrease testosterone while increasing estrogen and cortisol levels. Beer, in particular, contains hops that are rich in estrogenic compounds. Limit alcohol intake, especially beer, to maintain healthy testosterone levels.

7. Drugs: Hidden Testosterone Saboteurs

Several medications have been associated with declining testosterone levels. Some prescription drugs, like statins, are used to lower cholesterol and directly lower testosterone. High blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antacids, heartburn medications, and others can also impact testosterone levels. Men may unknowingly experience the effects of estrogen-like drugs present in women’s medications, like birth control pills. Awareness of medication intake and its potential unintended effects is crucial.

8. Lack of Sex: The Importance of Intimacy

Sexual activity is a natural way to stimulate the endocrine system and boost testosterone. Regular sexual activity contributes to the production of natural testosterone hormones. Even obtaining an erection can improve testosterone levels. Research has revealed that individuals above 65 years who engage in sexual activity have higher testosterone levels.

9. Estrogen-like Products: Environmental Factors

Estrogen-mimicking compounds, known as xenoestrogens, are abundant in skincare, personal care, household cleaning, and outdoor products. They can also be found in food, such as conventionally raised meat, soy products, flaxseed, and food packaging. These compounds negatively affect testosterone production and should be minimized or avoided.

10. Aging: A Natural Decline

Aging is an inevitable process that impacts testosterone levels. Testosterone peaks during adolescence and early adulthood, gradually declining with age. By the age of 40, hormone production decreases by 50%, and by age 80, it drops to only 15-20% compared to younger years. While aging is a natural cause of low testosterone, it is important to manage hormone levels at any age to optimize overall well-being and slow down the impact of aging.

Side Effects of Imbalanced Testosterone Levels

Excessive high and low testosterone levels in men can lead to health issues. Elevated testosterone levels can cause problems such as reduced sperm count, testicular atrophy, increased risk of heart muscle damage and heart attacks, insomnia, aggressive behavior, and mood swings. It’s important to note that congenitally high testosterone levels are not prevalent among men. Excessive testosterone levels are typically observed in individuals misusing anabolic steroids, testosterone, or related hormones to boost muscle mass.

As men age, their testosterone levels gradually decline by 1%-2% annually. This decline can be attributed to age-related decline in testicular function, reduced testosterone production, and increased sex hormone-binding globulin. Symptoms of testosterone deficiency, also known as low testosterone or hypogonadism, include hair loss, loss of muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, decreased sperm count, breast enlargement, hot flashes, and brittle bones. Low testosterone levels can be managed through testosterone supplementation (TST).

Methods to Support Testosterone Levels

To address low testosterone levels caused by unhealthy lifestyles or obesity, natural methods, and certain health supplements can bring testosterone levels back to normal. Here are some strategies:

1. Adequate Sleep

Getting sufficient sleep is the easiest way to increase testosterone levels. Establishing regular sleep patterns and aiming for around 7 hours of sleep each night is essential. Lack of sleep, even by an hour per day on average, can decrease testosterone levels by approximately 15%. Individuals who sleep only 4.5 hours daily may experience testosterone levels as low as half of those who sleep 7.8 hours.

2. Balanced Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet forms the foundation for sustaining normal testosterone levels. Consider the following aspects of the three major nutrients:

  • Fat: Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can increase testosterone levels. Recommended food sources include red meat, eggs, milk, olive oil, and nuts. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy body fat percentage and avoid excessive fat intake, as obesity can result. Aim for a daily fat intake of approximately 20% of total calorie intake.
  • Protein: Adequate protein intake directly supports muscle synthesis and normal testosterone secretion. Protein is also an essential nutrient element for muscle gain and fat loss. Generally, protein intake should comprise around 30% of total calories.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates serve as the primary energy source. During periods of fat loss, individuals may reduce carbohydrate intake. However, excessive carbohydrate intake increases cortisol levels, especially when combined with intense exercise. Cortisol and testosterone levels have a negative correlation, meaning that when cortisol levels rise, testosterone levels decrease. Therefore, even when reducing fat, daily carbohydrate intake should not exceed 45-55% of total calorie intake. For those engaging in significant physical activity, the carbohydrate intake range can be increased to 45-65%.
  • Trace Element Supplementation: Deficiencies in zinc, magnesium, and vitamins can contribute to declining testosterone levels. Incorporate foods rich in zinc (oysters, animal liver, peanuts, fish, eggs, milk, meat, etc.), magnesium (seaweed, grains, beans, dark green vegetables, bananas, etc.), and boost vitamin D levels through sunlight exposure. However, additional supplementation is unnecessary if the body does not exhibit deficiencies in these trace elements.

3. Exercise Habits

Medium-to-high-intensity strength training, rather than targeting specific leg exercises, can increase resting testosterone levels. Consistent adherence to such training significantly impacts testosterone levels. Moreover, adopting good exercise habits contributes to elevated testosterone levels in the following ways:

Exercise assists in increasing daily calorie expenditure, aiding fat loss. Body fat percentage and testosterone levels have a negative correlation, meaning a high body fat percentage leads to low testosterone levels. Maintaining a lower body fat percentage supports higher testosterone levels.

4. Avoiding Harmful Substances

In our daily lives, various harmful substances can have a significant impact on testosterone levels. Being mindful of these substances and minimizing their use can help maintain optimal hormone levels and promote better overall health. Here are a few key substances to watch out for:

  • Plastic Products: Prolonged exposure to plastic products can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels and contribute to several adverse health effects. While avoiding plastic completely may be challenging, minimizing its usage as much as possible is advisable.
  • Tobacco: Nicotine, found in tobacco products, acts as an inhibitor of male hormone secretion. The longer and more frequently one smokes, the more pronounced the decline in testosterone becomes. Quitting smoking as soon as possible is highly recommended to preserve testosterone levels and improve overall well-being.
  • Alcohol: While alcohol initially stimulates the brain, it subsequently suppresses testosterone production. After a brief period of excitement, testosterone levels can rapidly drop. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption is a known contributor to obesity, which further exacerbates hormonal imbalances. Find the 10 most damaging Testosterone killers.

By making conscious choices to avoid these harmful substances, individuals can protect their testosterone levels and reduce the risk of associated health complications. Striving for a healthier lifestyle ultimately benefits both sexual and overall physical.

5. Testosterone Supplements

Testosterone supplements, such as natural plant-based products, are designed to boost testosterone levels in men naturally. These supplements often contain zinc, a vital trace element for male health. Some supplements also incorporate ingredients that promote better sleep. Lack of sleep can decrease testosterone levels in men.

Testosterone supplements aim to increase testosterone within the normal range or stimulate the body’s natural testosterone production. They offer the benefits of faster post-workout recovery, increased muscle strength, and enhanced libido. Common ingredients found in testosterone supplements include:

  • Aspartic Acid (D-AA): Naturally occurring in the Leydig cells of the testes, D-AA acts as a messenger between the brain and testes, facilitating the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone. Supplementing with D-AA may increase testosterone levels by improving communication between the brain and the testes. Explore more effects of D-AA in sports supplements.
  • Vitamin D: Produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D, in its active form, acts as a steroid hormone in the body. Increasing vitamin D stores enhances testosterone levels and sperm quality. Spending time in the sun and consuming vitamin D-rich foods effectively boost vitamin D levels.
  • Tribulus: An herb known for increasing libido and raising testosterone levels. Supplementing with Tribulus weekly can raise blood testosterone levels by over 40%. Tribulus does not contain stimulants and is favored by athletes.
  • Fenugreek: Another herbal testosterone booster that inhibits the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen. It improves sexual performance and increases strength.
  • Ashwagandha: Also known as Indian Ginseng, this herb raises testosterone levels, reduces stress, supports brain health, possesses antioxidant properties, boosts immunity, and enhances muscle strength.
  • Ginger: A common spice used in households for centuries, ginger reduces inflammation, elevates testosterone levels, increases luteinizing hormone production, and boosts sperm count.
  • DHEA: A hormone naturally occurring in the body, predominantly produced in the brain’s adrenal cortex. It is one of the most abundant hormones and acts as a testosterone enhancer. DHEA plays a role in testosterone elevation, estrogen level control, increased human growth hormone secretion, fat reduction, and muscle gain.


Testosterone plays a vital role in men’s health and well-being. It is the primary androgen hormone responsible for numerous physiological functions, including fetal differentiation, penile development, spermatogenesis, sexual function, and various non-reproductive processes. Testosterone levels decline with age, and imbalances can lead to health issues.

Maintaining optimal testosterone levels is essential for overall health, body composition, and sexual function. Lifestyle factors such as sufficient sleep, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding harmful substances contribute to healthy testosterone levels. Additionally, natural testosterone supplements can assist in restoring testosterone to normal levels.

However, it is important to note that testosterone supplementation should be approached with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as elevated or artificially manipulated testosterone levels can have adverse effects.

By adopting a healthy lifestyle supporting testosterone production and maintaining testosterone within the normal range, individuals can optimize their physical and emotional well-being, enhance their physical performance, and enjoy the numerous benefits of healthy testosterone levels.