Maintaining optimal levels of hormones is important for exercise recovery as well as just feeling your best each day. Below is a list of some nutritional tips for helping to ensure your testosterone levels are at optimal levels.
Get Adequate Vitamin D: A recent study found that men who were deficient in vitamin D (a level below 20 ng/ml) had much lower free Testosterone levels and higher estrogen. Those same men had more body fat, less lean mass, and a greater chance of depression, higher rates of cardiovascular disease, and poorer fertility than men with higher vitamin D levels.
This news was followed up with a groundbreaking study that tested the effect of giving men with vitamin D deficiency who suffered from low Testosterone a supplement of 3,332 IUs of vitamin D or a placebo daily for a year. Men taking the vitamin D supplement increased free Testosterone by 20 percent the supplement also brought vitamin D up to 36 ng/ml. The placebo group had no change in testosterone or vitamin D.
Get Enough Zinc: A 1996 study found that young men with normal Testosterone levels who avoided getting zinc in their diets for 5 months experienced a drop in total Testosterone of more than 50 percent.
Another study showed that giving zinc gluconate to older men who had low Testosterone resulted in doubling the men’s Testosterone levels. More recent data support the relationship between normal Testosterone and higher zinc, and conversely low zinc and low testosterone.
• Low zinc leads to an increase in estrogen receptors and a decrease in androgen receptors.
• Zinc is necessary for androstenedione to be converted to Testosterone.
• Low zinc may increase aromatization of Testosterone to estrogen, just like vitamin D.
Get Enough Magnesium: A recent study found that giving tae kwon do athletes roughly 750 mg of magnesium daily for 4 weeks raised free Testosterone by 26 percent at rest and by 18 percent after a shuttle running test.
Getting adequate magnesium is necessary to avoid throwing off hormone balance and for keeping you lean. A 2011 Italian study was one of the first to show that older men with low magnesium had lower free and total Testosterone than those with the highest magnesium levels.
Avoid Sugar and High Glycemic Carbohydrates: Testosterone is temporarily reduced by having your blood sugar spike, and low Testosterone is pretty much a given if you have diabetes. For example, a new study found that men who had normal insulin health had a 25 percent decrease in Testosterone after ingesting a drink containing sugar. Testosterone remained low for 2 hours, and nearly 80 percent of the men had their Testosterone drop to levels that would be considered clinically deficient.
Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and TMRzoo.com and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.