Low testosterone doesn’t just mean decreased libido, although that is often the most obvious indicator that a man has entered another phase in his life. With low testosterone, fatigue is common, thinking can be fuzzy, concentration can be short, mood can change drastically, and sleep may be harder to come by.
All of these combined can have a negative impact on one’s home and work life, but you don’t have to live with it and endure the consequences. There are plenty of ways to manage the effects of low testosterone, with an option to treat it with hormone replacement therapy when medically indicated.
Lose your belly
Just a 4-point increase in BMI (body mass index) can speed up your testosterone decline by 10 years, which means that if you are a 40-year-old male, your testosterone level could be that of a 50-year old if you carry around an extra 30 pounds – usually in your middle – in a 5’10” frame. This is because aromatase, an adrenal enzyme that converts androgens (testosterone being one) into estrogen (a female sex hormone), can be found in the adipose tissue, most of which is found in your belly. The more estrogen you have in your body, the more it’s going to suppress your testosterone production, which in turn makes you accumulate more belly fat.
To burn fat around your midsection, just any old weight loss exercise won’t do. Of course, you have to build up your endurance if you are getting little exercise now, but eventually, your aim is to get into interval training that has been proven to burn more fat over a longer period of time (as opposed to endurance training). But don’t overdo it either. While endurance exercises are good for your heart, extreme workouts that stress your heart can lower your testosterone level.
Keep an active lifestyle
If you have a sedentary lifestyle and spend most of your time on the couch or in front of a tv or a computer monitor, your body signals your brain that you don’t need as much testosterone to bolster your muscles and bones. As a result, a smaller amount of testosterone is released into your bloodstream.
To get a burst of testosterone internally, get into resistance training, which means pumping iron in the gym. Building your biceps has been found to boost your circulating testosterone levels by up to 49%. Resistance training also builds muscle faster, which will help you shed your visceral fat faster, too.
Eat the right food
There is a reason why nutrition is a vital component in age management medicine. Testosterone works hand in hand with your diet to build muscle. Eat a variety of amino acids, which means not just turkey or chicken breast. By eating different protein foods each day, you’ll get a better chance of consuming enough of each essential amino acid.
Don’t exclude dietary fat, either. While you have to eat those heart-healthy kind (omega-3 and -6), the cholesterol in saturated fat is precursor to testosterone production. Aim for about 5-10% saturated fat in your daily calories. Red meat and egg yolks, which you are likely enjoying now, are good sources.
For overall good health, of course, amino acids and fats are just a small part of the picture. To achieve better body composition, you may have to follow a nutrition plan specific to your needs. This is why the Optimagenics nutrition program, one of the components of Optimagenics Age Management Program offered in an anti-aging clinic in Singapore, emphasizes low glycemic and anti-inflammatory nutrition to achieve optimal blood sugar and insulin levels. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death among the elderly, not to mention a possible cause of erectile dysfunction.
Consider testosterone replacement therapy
While lifestyle changes are vital for drastically turning around low testosterone level and overall health, exercise, diet and sleep are only part of a holistic approach used in age management treatments that include hormone replacement therapy (HRT). If you are 40 or above and suspect you have a low testosterone level, get yourself checked for serum testosterone.
For men with very low testosterone, medical treatment involving testosterone replacement or TRT might be in order. Assuming you don’t have an underlying medical condition impeding testosterone production, TRT could help normalize your testosterone level and help you become more energetic throughout the day, increase your muscle strength and mass, decrease your belly fat, put you in a better mood, give you a sharper mind, and rev up your sex drive.