Speaking to a PHD scientist last week it was a bit of a shocker to find her research has found that as we get older, from 30 years and onwards, our testosterone levels decline, on average by 1% per year.
It gets worse – she also found that the “average” 18 year old’s testosterone levels now are significantly lower than the “average” 18 year old, 20 years ago. In English, we aren’t as we were, nor is it getting any better. Significant as in 25% plus lower!!!
Why was this such a shock to me?
I guess if you are like me, you still think and behave (well sometimes) like you are 18, so you try not to notice the various signs of ageing. If like me, you are actually stronger in the gym now, than ever before, you think it doesn’t apply to you.
Well it probably does, and like most (all) men, we don’t like to admit, even to ourselves, that we aren’t the man we were. It’s a sign of weakness, a sign that the torch is passing to the young bull, and we are getting ready for the slippers, pipe and rocking chair.
There are the signs that the old testosterone levels are not as high as it was. A little bit more around the mid-section, night sweats, lethargy, feeling not as lively as you were, not as active, as well as the dreaded “not tonight darling” may well creep in unnoticed (or unacknowledged).
Well F..k that – I for one am not ready to pass on the torch!
So what to do about this, because as sure as night follows day, we are getting older by the day, and our environment (diet, pharmaceuticals in the water supply, plastic poisoning, booze and stress) is not supportive to maximise our testosterone levels.
Of course, there is the 21st century method – go see the Doctor, get a testosterone patch and all will be well. This quick fix method is only that. Not being a medical person, I don’t seek to dismiss these items, but what I have seen is that these patches cause the body to shut down its natural testosterone production further, so it’s a patch for life. With this, is also the fact that the body’s testosterone receptors overload and block up, with excess testosterone being converted to the dreaded estrogen, further exacerbating the problems outlined above. And what about the notion of needing more and more of a dose, as the body becomes accustomed to the level, to gain the same effect. What about the effect of excess testosterone converting to not so good things and its effect on the prostate!
Well, what if there are more natural ways of self-production! After all, the body knows best, and if we support the body, it will come back into balance.
Well a few tips from what I have learnt along my journey (please remember that these are not exhaustive, nor should they replace medical advice.)
1. What if the acknowledgement of this actually empowered us to change the situation?
After all, it’s just an average. And there are things that can be done to change the decline. Hiding health issues doesn’t make them go away, it just makes them grow and appear when we least want them to.
So maybe ask the body “Body, what do you require here to normalise the levels of testosterone?” “What can I be here to change this?” and “Body, what will it take to produce more testosterone than when I was 18?”
Science is finding now what the ancients knew all along – the power of intention is incredible, and we can become what we think, with ease. At worst, you may get some sense of what needs to change, and more than likely, change will happen naturally.
The next one is one my favourite findings.
2. Regular exercise is a top way to stimulate testosterone production and improve the free levels in our body.
As well as feeling good, looking good, being good for the heart and mind, exercise has been shown as the key step to encourage the body to produce testosterone. After all, think about it – we ask the muscles to work, and grow, and they ask the body to help them in this process. The way of growth is protein synthesis, and that anabolic reaction requires natural testosterone to support it. So guys, get down to the gym 3 times a week for some good old heavy intensive weights. (The Dorian Yates style of training works best for me.) It’s a great way to look good, relieve stress, and most of all, pump up the test!
3. Diet plays a big part in the decline of testosterone.
Too much Booze – not good. Too much “bad fat” food – not good. Too much ‘wrong’ salt – poor choice. And too many simple carbs – sugar crash, low energy, and a few inches on the waist to boot.
Low fat diets are fashionable, but unhelpful. The body needs “good fat” from which to synthesise testosterone. What about giving the following a go – a diet rich in zinc, magnesium, and good fats (from plants) helping the body to produce more free testosterone. Oysters – not my cup of tea, but are renowned for the libido effect, as are bananas, pumpkins, macadamias, cashews, eggs and my favourite – avocados are suppliers of the good fats required to make testosterone. The new super foods, like maca and cacao are also worth a try, and I can certainly tell when I’ve had maca in my hemp milk shake after the gym!
In the ancient time, Gladiators were famed for training with no pants on, as the sun on their “best friend and his mates” helped stimulate the body to produce testosterone. Maybe they didn’t have any awareness of what this was, maybe they did, but they could see the results – stronger, fitter and more aggressive (helpful if you wanted to live to fight the next day and not become lion food!). What if a bit of al fresco sun bathing was possible, and this became part of your regime – even better if you can persuade your partner to do the same, as it will be great for them too, and you never know what may come up.
The body knows what to do, and most repair and rejuvenation comes during sleep. Stress, alcohol, medication, can all cause us not to sleep enough. However, a nice bath, some relaxing essential oils, and peace of mind, can all aid in creating the deep sleep required.
Now this needs to be carefully considered, as not all supplements are the same. With a great diet, exercise, sleep and a bit of sun, the levels will start to increase. However, if like me, you really want the Gold Standard of testosterone, then supplementation may be the answer. There are so many test boosters on the market today, but what I have found from experience, is that some use a sledge hammer to crack a nut (pardon the pun), and gave me the shakes and feeling sick, and some may be famed in cynical trails but unless your life is a clinical trial, they are unlikely to work.
My point of view, shaped by 30 years of searching, is that the supplement market is full of promising advertising, but little that transpires to the gym or the bedroom.
So do your research carefully, and when in doubt, try it out! Look for products supported by reputable tests (like the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia, The FDA in the USA, and associated bodies), and most of all, if the website is full of disclaimers – walk on by and save your money.
7. The more you use something, the stronger it becomes.
This is the best tip yet. It’s no secret, that us men need to use our equipment, for our sexual health (prostate issues and all). It’s also good to know that the body responds in a feedback loop – “ah, he is getting busy, he needs more testosterone!” Elite athletes have been tested during competition, and happily it was found that performance was improved, and testosterone levels improved, for those that had more sexual activity.
So use what you have, in the knowledge that the more you do, the healthier you become.
These are just a few of the things I have found helpful so if you are looking for that something extra, beat the average man, and age disgracefully.
Until next time,
Shaun, co-founder of Be Spunki