This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in March of 2021. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A_H2UJOv6Q
Brad: We have Chris here today. He’s done a ton of research on the most recent information we have on testosterone levels and how to boost it naturally. I don’t know, I’m assuming people want to boost their testosterone, is it mostly so they can get more muscle mass, or are there other benefits?
Chris: Testosterone is a unique steroid hormone that’s based off of cholesterol, which is funny. People think, my cholesterol is high so is my testosterone high? It’s not the case, it doesn’t work that way.
Brad: Testosterone is just in men or women too?
Chris: Both have it. Men, it’s going to be made in your testicles and the adrenal glands. Women, it’s going to be made in the ovaries and the adrenal glands but at a much lower level. Guys have a certain level and women have a certain level. They both have testosterone and men also have a certain amount of estrogen they produce as well. But, with respect to what’s high, what’s low, what’s good, and what’s bad, I think that’s the question we’re all trying to figure out. Testosterone is responsible for a lot of different things. As early as seven weeks in the womb, if you’re male, you start producing testosterone. Which is an interesting study, I thought. What’s more intriguing is, that it helps with our development. As we go from being a little boy to adolescence to a man, so we’re going to see different levels of testosterone being fostered. It’s what determines our growth, hair growth, voice deepening, and sexual organ functioning. As we age, it’s going to be your bone health, your muscle development, and your mood. It does many different things. It’s your libido, your desire for procreating and just having fun in the bedroom. It’s a lot of different things, it governs a lot of things for us. There’s a condition called low T that your doctor would be specifically dialing in things for you and it would require a blood test. Because if you have to have medical testosterone supplementation it requires serious monitoring because if you’re just taking steroids off the street or trying to find the greatest and latest testosterone booster and you have low T but you’re doing it indiscriminately, higher risks for cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and cholesterol. It must be tightly monitored. When we want to look at things naturally, we want to do it safe and keep it at a normal safe guideline. What can we do? It’s going to be just our pillars of health in a lot of ways. It’s going to be eating well, getting our proper rest, and it’s going to be exercising. Those three things, and we’ll get into those, will help to naturally raise our testosterone levels. Albeit for short periods of time because it doesn’t stay up. Interestingly, when we wake up in the morning, our testosterone levels are higher. Usually for most people between 7 and 10 in the morning is what most studies suggest. It must have to do something with rest.
Brad: And you measure testosterone levels with blood?
Chris: Yes, via blood. You’d have to take a blood test. If you were worried about it, you should discuss it with your doctor because what does it mean? Maybe you have a depressed mood, feeling weak, gaining weight, or fat around the midsection. It’s interesting, but that comes down to cortisol and that’s another thing. When we talk about diet, cortisol is something that is like a testosterone blocker. It runs interference. Testosterone helps us to produce lean mass. It helps with stronger bones. When we eat a bad diet through processed foods, anything that comes in the box. We’ve talked about this on many occasions, you don’t want that. You want whole foods, fruits and veggies, and fats. Another unique thing, for testosterone you need carbohydrates. You want about 50% of your calories to come from good carbohydrates.
Brad: Example or good carbohydrates are?
Chris: It would be food-wise, things like yams, potatoes, brown rice, those types of things. They are starchy, sugary foods. But those foods also have other phytonutrients in there, but things that are important for our body to help it process testosterone to get that natural raise. Coupled with about 20% of your calories coming from protein and the remaining 30% of your calories should be coming from healthy fat. I don’t mean ice cream, it must be avocados, nuts, animal fats, sardines, and fatty fish.
Brad: Meat if you have the fat that is associated with meat.
Chris: Yeah. You can do lean ground beef, that’s going to have healthy animal fat in there. If you’re vegan then it’s going to be your nuts and legumes. Soy is somewhat controversial because they say that stimulates estrogen and may block some of the effects of testosterone. Much as I could garner, I would say even though it’s a good protein source for a lot of people, it may be counterintuitive but it’s so inconclusive that I would tell you if it’s been working for you, you can stick with it. If you feel like you need to shake it up, try a different protein sources.
Brad: All right. Diet, you’re going to be eating good proteins, good meat, and good fats.
Chris: Correct and timing is everything too. Let’s say we did a workout, and we’ll talk about exercise more. The timing of getting those nutrients in you is shortly after workouts. If you and I are going to do an interval ride or if we swam and then lifted weights or did resistance work with the bands. Right after, within 15-30 minutes of having our workout, we want to be ingesting something with the right kind of proteins.
Chris: It doesn’t matter what you get it from. Let’s say it was eggs, chicken breast, or a powder that you bought from the local health food store. Those are all excellent sources. It’s all clean protein. From a body weight standpoint, you probably want to do and what I’ve found is 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Let’s say you’re 200 lbs, it’s going to be about 160 grams of protein.
Brad: So, is that like three steaks?
Chris: Yeah. So, that would be throughout the day. Try to ingest 160 grams of protein, that’s going to be a lot. You’re going to divide that, but if you want to get 30 grams in after you work out, whether it’s a protein shake, that’s a quick easy way.
Brad: There are some people that get into their diet so well they know.
Chris: They do the macros and micros.
Brad: If you’re not that, do you just make sure you eat plenty of meats and stuff?
Chris: Yeah, whatever protein source you choose. You’re going to want that ratio or if you’re metrically based, it’s going to be 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram. Whatever protein source you choose and it’s going to help to foster development, but you can’t have a diet high in protein. If you’re just eating a high-protein diet, it can hurt you. It decreases the amount of testosterone your body makes. You need to have a healthy blend of carbs. Healthy carbs, you don’t want to be white sugaring it all day long. It’s a carbohydrate, but it’s not good for you. Then you also want to have a healthy blend of fats. Things that have your omegas. Those things are going to be important. Those fats do other things. They help with not only cholesterol. Cholesterol is a building block for testosterone. That’s why fats are important. That balance, although very complex, is important for us. If you lean to all protein all the time, you’re going to end up finding, if you did blood work, you would find lower testosterone levels. I thought that was interesting because I thought it would be, a high protein diet and off they go. They’re like, no, not so fast my friend. It’s something we must be careful with.
Brad: So, we’re going to eat the high protein with the fats and the good carbs. Right after you get done working out is best.
Chris: Yeah, and like I said, say your 200 lb. guy like myself, you’re not going to take all 160 grams at once. Healthy meals throughout the day. You do want to ingest protein right after a workout because it will help with recovery which gets you ready for the next event, your next workout, your next race, or your next whatever. But it does help to facilitate that and actually, you just get a spike. It's not a sustained thing either. But over time, it helps you to develop, put on more muscle mass, and take care of your bones. So very important.
Brad: Right. Are there any supplements that can be taken?
Chris: Yeah. You can use Vitamin D. That one is an interesting study that showed that if you took 3000 IUs a day and you would look on your bottle and you want vitamin D3 because it’s the most bioactive form of D, they showed that over eight weeks that it raised people’s testosterone to the tune of about 25%. Our testosterone levels peak at about 18 to 19, plateau in our twenties, and from 30 on for the rest of our lives it’s going to decrease at about 1% a year after the age of 30. That’s not a doom and gloom thing either. Everybody has a different range of testosterone and on the low end of normal, it’s going to be 300 nanoliters per deciliter which is small, to about 1,250 nanoliters per deciliter. That would be something your doctor would determine if you had a blood test. The average person, I mean if you’re feeling depressed, you don’t have any libido, you don’t have a desire to do anything, you’re weak or gaining weight, these would be signs to see your doctor. Then it might have to be medically managed. For the majority of us, if we are exercising well, eating well, or maybe taking a Vitamin D supplement or getting good sunshine is enough. They’ve shown, particularly more in fertility cases, zinc is a supplement, zinc sulfate, 20 milligrams twice a day, improves sperm motility, but also will help to give you more testosterone. Small percentages, not very significant. The other supplement that seemed to be interesting, it’s not so much for how much testosterone it fostered, but what it did against cortisol, which blocks it, it’s Ashwagandha. It’s an Indian herb that’s been used for thousands of years. It’s kind of an anti-inflammatory of sorts. It helps to minimize anxiety. I think that’s the target. Anxiety tends to raise cortisol. Cortisol is what makes us develop that belly fat, but in times of stress, it makes you burn a lot of sugar. That natural fight or flight reaction. If you’re stressed at work, let’s say Bob’s getting on you at work all day and telling you, Brad, we need more research, we need more product, we need more videos. You’re like, I can’t deal with it. Well, your body will go into a mode where it starts to produce more cortisol and you’ll feel sluggish, you won’t feel quite right. Even though it’s giving you quick energy to deal with the problem right in front of you, it’s creating long-term deficits in your body, you’re developing more fat, and you’re getting weaker. This herb, Ashwagandha, works well by reducing the amount of cortisol you produce. You’re also relaxing better, you sleep better, and is a natural anti-inflammatory which is a totally different side effect.
Brad: So where do you get this?
Chris: Any health food store, or Amazon. The doses range from a variety of different doses. It’s most commonly 500 milligrams, twice a day. You must watch it with that. If you have a thyroid condition, pregnancy, absolute no-nos. So, check with your pharmacist or doctor, or do some research before you take it.
Brad: It’s not in food or a diet thing, right?
Chris: No. It’s an herbal supplement used in Indian medicine, but it’s something you would find on Amazon, local pharmacies, and health food stores will have it in a pill form or powder form. Even drops. They have sublingual drops that absorb better. It had a range of 500 milligrams to 1250 milligrams. So, there’s not a cut a dry dose. It seems to work more on helping protect against cortisol development or that stress hormone, which we’ve found in cases of helping improve fertility and in a backward mechanism, free up more testosterone to help you with strength. Those will be from the supplements. You want your good proteins, the carbohydrates, and some of these supplements might be beneficial. More importantly, is exercise. Specifically weightlifting. All exercises are good, you can still stimulate testosterone production from a long run, and swimming, but weightlifting seems to be best. Followed up by HIIT training, that high-intensity interval training. There are a lot of different ways that you can do those workouts and you can find zillions of workouts that are catered to people online. Resistance training if you haven’t done anything then this is your arena. Proper form, making sure that your body is capable of being able to do these types of things. Start small and build up. You will find some sources that tell you that going heavy is better, but you need to build that up. If you go in and do a 300-pound deadlift doing three sets of those and you could blow out your back and now you’re set back again.
Brad: You’re doing your one-rep max right off the bat.
Chris: Exactly, don't do that. Resistance training is key, but anything is good. That helps our bodies because when you exercise, you tear your muscles. One of the body’s mechanisms and testosterone helps it heal and then develop growth and strength. When we have healthy testosterone levels, those things are all working in the right direction. We have more lean mass, energy, better bones, more libido, clearer thinking, and better health overall. That exercise component is critically important. The other thing with exercise is sleep. Getting proper sleep, good quality sleep. When I sleep, it’s the recovery processes that are going on. Seven to 10 hours is what’s classified as good sleep. But does it mean, oh I only sleep four hours a day, is that bad? It’s not the best for you. It’s interesting. There’s a paradoxical point in this study that I was reading, five hours of sleep was more detrimental than four hours of sleep. I don’t understand what that hour did, it was peculiar. They didn’t explain it, so, I think more research needs to be done. They said at four hours, you would have more testosterone than five hours. Somehow in the study, the graph has gone up and down. If you get good quality sleep, that’s ultimately going to be the key. It’s a restorative process. You’ll find that if they did blood work in the morning, your testosterone will be a little bit higher. It gives you the energy and everything else we’re looking for. Those are the components that are going to naturally help us to do it. If you’re still not feeling right, a blood test is going to determine if it is or not. The doctors are getting more specific between bound and free testosterone. 98% of our testosterone is bound to albumin and other things. Then there’s free testosterone and that’s the one that does the intrinsic actions in our body. That’s the thing that most physicians and endocrinologists are looking at more specifically now. And to help to create a healthier target to create a better you. Again, eating well, sleeping well, and exercising are the ways to naturally do that.
Brad: Yep. Good, healthy living. I don’t know what else to say, Chris, you covered all the details here. Thanks!
Visit us on our other social media platforms:
Bob and Brad also have a Podcast where we share your favorite episodes as well as interviews with health-related experts.
For this week’s Giveaway visit: https://bobandbrad.com/giveaways
Bob and Brad’s Products
Check out our shirts, mugs, bags, and more in our Bob and Brad merchandise shop
The Bob and Brad Community is a place to share your experiences, ask questions and connect with others regarding physical therapy and health topics.
Medical Disclaimer All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
Affiliate Disclaimer: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We are highly selective in our products and try our best to keep things fair and balanced in order to help you make the best choice for you.