As most men move into their 30s, 40s, and beyond, they often start noticing a gradual constellation of symptoms such as decreased energy and muscle mass, low libido, and even mood fluctuations. This may not be alarming due to its gradual nature, but at some point you may begin to wonder, “How can I get my mojo back?” If you’re a man who can relate to any of these experiences, then this article is for you.
There are various reasons for those symptoms, but one major concern that may be at the center of it is a decline of the hormone testosterone. The major causes of this decrease are unresolved chronic stress, lack of optimal sleep, nutritional deficiencies, and obesity. Age is also a cause, but we prefer to focus on things we have control over. Ironically, by addressing the other causes you can actually influence, your biological age, which is more important than one’s chronological age. Let’s get into how.
In your teens and twenties, you may have been able to get away with perpetually living for the moment. While we’re all for present-moment awareness and enjoying life to the fullest, sometimes that means throwing caution to the wind and not taking care of your body, eating fast food or being more sedentary. If you are still living this way and are not feeling quite like you used to, it may be time to reassess that strategy and start thinking about how to move toward a more health-oriented lifestyle. You don’t have to become obsessed, but you do need to think in terms of getting a well-balanced diet, quality sleep, emotional stability, and to a healthy weight. Let’s get into more specifics about each of those components so you can get some take-home action steps.
In this context, a well-balanced diet means that you are not cutting out a major food group or macronutrient unless you were prescribed to by a healthcare practitioner. Evidence suggests that low-fat diets may decrease testosterone levels. While there is some preliminary evidence that the keto diet may improve testosterone levels, the diet excludes so many foods that nutrient deficiency becomes more likely, which is another risk factor. Because of this, and due to the difficulty of the diet, we do not recommend this strategy without addressing the other lifestyle factors and working with a healthcare practitioner. A Cambiati Clean diet, similar to a Mediterranean diet that moderates carbohydrates and mostly excludes processed carbohydrates, is a safer and more sustainable strategy for most people.
This diet also prevents and can eliminate the risk factor of obesity, which is known to reduce testosterone levels. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30 or above. You can calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703. You then take that result and divide it by your height in inches. You then divide that result by your height in inches again. You can look up a BMI chart online for more information and see where your result falls within a larger context.
A healthy diet goes a long way toward correcting nutrient imbalances and reducing obesity, but it may not be enough without addressing your emotional health. The reasons for this are multi-fold, but the important points are that your emotions impact your ability to sleep and to eat well.
We have limited capacities to exert willpower. It is not possible to use extreme willpower indefinitely. This is important because if we are going through a lot of stress in our lives, we are already using a lot of willpower to function in that environment. Because of this there is less willpower to focus on improving your diet. We can all relate to wanting to just let go and eat whatever we want. That impulse is stronger when we are unhappy or under chronic stress.
Stress and mood imbalances also impact and are influenced by our hormones, which creates a feedback loop. It can be hard to figure out what came first, much like the chicken or the egg. What we do know is that sleep is critical for optimal hormone production, and the stress hormone cortisol can negatively impact sleep. Therefore, knowing how to deal with emotions and stress is critical to keep your body balanced and to maintain optimal testosterone levels.
Some things you can do are journal your feelings, focus on solutions to your stressors, appreciating what is working in your life, deep breathing practices, and meditation. It is oftentimes helpful to talk to someone like a close friend, relative, or a qualified therapist as well.
Perhaps the most powerful way to improve sleep includes creating a regular schedule. This schedule would ideally include specific times that you wake, eat, exercise, and sleep. You don’t need to be perfect but try to keep these activities to within 30 minutes of your scheduled time. It can be very helpful to get light in your eyes and on your skin in the morning to set your circadian rhythm. It is also helpful to do strenuous workouts earlier in the day so you don’t elevate stress hormones too late in the day, which can be stimulating and interfere with a restful sleep.
Exercise is a powerful way to improve testosterone levels. Focusing on strength training and high-intensity interval training will likely give you the best results. Be careful not to over-train, which can have the opposite effect and can impact sleep.
Now that we’ve provided an overview on how to address the causes of low testosterone and balance it naturally, we will mention another strategy that can be used as an adjunct to support what you’ve cultivated in your lifestyle. This would be nutritional supplementation. One option that we really love is a Designs for Health product called LibidoStim-M.
Like its name suggests, this product is designed to improve the male libido. It does this through a variety of ingredients. Some of those are shown to increase testosterone. One is called Tongkat Ali. It is an adaptogen in traditional Malaysian herbal medicine. Research has shown that it helps stimulate the production and action of testosterone. Another ingredient included in this formulation is boron, which may increase the conversion of total testosterone to free testosterone.