Testosterone is the male hormone. It increases ambition, motivation and drive while helping men build strength, muscle and lose body fat. It goes without saying that we want, at minimum, our normal levels to be on the higher side. High testosterone is an overused phrase and can only be achieved with illegal anabolic performance enhancing drugs. That’s not the discount all the merits and benefits of having optimal testosterone on the higher range of normal.
Low testosterone is directly linked to male infertility. Low testosterone, as medically denoted as hypogonadism, can lead to multiple negative consequences such as
-Increased body fat
-Loss of muscle mass and strength
-Impaired sleeping patterns
-Reduced cognitive function
-Loss of sex drive
It can also lead to infertility by affecting sperm development and quality,
Why would you have low testosterone to begin with?
From our article on how to treat low testosterone
“The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a study, in 2007, that concluded that men’s testosterone levels have progressively dropped by 17% in the timeframe between 1987 and 2004. Why did this drop happen? The study pointed out that it is not age alone that can be attributed to this drop in testosterone nor is it body fat, diabetes or mental health issues. While all of those factors contribute to lower testosterone, they aren’t the direct cause of this large drop. A 50 year old man in 1991 had more testosterone than a 50 year old man in 2003 (1). “
It’s not just as cut and dry as “testosterone drops with age”. There appears to be numerous other factors since at a given age 40 years ago, there was less decreases in testosterone seen in men of the same age 40 years later.
Sleep and Low Testosterone
Sleep directly impacts every metabolic process including testosterone and fertility. After just one week of restricted sleep quality to 5 hours or less, subjects saw a 10-15% drop in daytime testosterone levels. Not to mention that impaired sleep leads to increased hunger (potentially causing weight gain), reduced energy and impaired blood sugar levels. (2)
(Does fasting boost testosterone levels? )
Xenoestrogens, industrial created compounds found in plastics, cosmetics and canned linings, have been linked to low testosterone levels. Since they are not easily detoxified by your liver, these xenoestogens bind to testosterone receptors and render any usable testosterone useless. (3)
(Natural treatments for men infertility)
Stress in of itself decreases testosterone levels. By increasing your “fight or flight” nervous system, adrenal dysregulation occurs and depletes your hormonal reserves.
Stress also raises cortisol which increases your blood sugar leading to another issue. Consistent and quality sleep can help to reverse the harmful effects of stress.
You have elevated blood sugar and inflammation.
When your blood sugar is elevated consistently, the aromatase enzymes changes testosterone to estrogen. Less testosterone goes hand in hand with male infertility. (4)
Maintaining blood sugar control from exercise, rest and a low carb paleo type diet not only will help improve your testosterone levels but will help them stay elevated.
A big issue most athletic men face is that they do not eat enough carbohydrates to fuel their activity levels. When I say “low carb” I mean lower carbohydrate, not minimum. You need carbohydrates primarily from quality sources like fruit, vegetables, oatmeal, rice and potatoes. With less sugar and processed carbohydrates, inflammation will be lower.
(How vitamin D3 raises testosterone)
Post workout carbohydrates will preferentially be stored as much glycogen to fuel recovery and not go to fat stores.
Supplements such as Physique Formula Glucose Support and Omega-3 fish oil are critical for managing blood sugar and inflammation.
Two primary causes of low testosterone and infertility are a result of a poor diet that increases body fat and environmental toxins that impair proper hormone function. Sleep, exercise and a proper diet consistenting of high protein, moderate fat and lower carbohydrates can encourage a positive hormonal system.