Men’s testosterone levels naturally decrease with age. In fact, after age 30, men’s level of the hormone begins a slow but steady decline of about 1 percent each year, according to the Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Low testosterone can lead to a number of undesirable side effects, including a lower sex drive, depression, and problems concentrating or remembering things.
Is there anything you can do to slow the inevitable decline of testosterone? Are there vitamins for low T or health exercises for low T that might help?
No Quick Fixes
It’s important to recognize that general health measures like these have not been proven to help reverse low testosterone levels. When it comes to supplements, few studies have been rigorous enough to prove that they work in healthy men. Smaller studies have drawn mixed results (Mayo Clinic, 2012).
Exercise also isn’t a cure; in fact, low testosterone can lead to physical changes that can affect your experience of working out, including a decrease in muscle strength and mass, increased body fat, and decreased bone density.
However, it’s a good idea to develop healthy habits that promote general wellness, some of which may also help address the symptoms of low testosterone. Here are some guidelines to follow:
Vitamins for Low T
No vitamin has been proven to help low testosterone levels. However, vitamin D aids in calcium absorption, which can help you maintain strong bones. Those with low testosterone may also have fragile bones, and are at greater risk for developing osteoporosis (Cleveland Clinic, 2009).
If you don’t already take a vitamin D supplement, start now. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults often get less vitamin D from their daily diet than the recommended daily allowance of 600 IU of vitamin D a day (or 800 IU for those over age 70) (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Additionally, although vitamin D is produced naturally in the body—a process that begins with the skin’s exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) energy from the sun—people who live more than 37 degrees from the equator (this includes much of the United States) only get a minimal amount of vitamin D from sun exposure (Harvard Health Publications, 2008). Taking a vitamin D supplement can help those with low testosterone levels increase their bone density.
Health Exercises for Low T
While low testosterone can reduce your ability to add muscle mass, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the many other benefits of exercise. Low testosterone can lead to an increase in body fat, so it’s important to engage in regular physical activity to help control your weight.
Exercise is also a proven mood-booster and energy enhancer, and may help combat a depressed mood due to low testosterone. Any type of physical activity can be beneficial, from walking to gardening to taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Aim to be active 30 minutes a day, five days a week, per guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) (AHA, 2013).
Eating a nutritious diet is essential for general health. Since there is no one type of food that can provide all of the nutrients that you need, it’s important to eat a variety of foods from different food groups. Focus on eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as well as lean protein.
It’s important to understand that while practicing healthy habits can help your general health and wellness, these actions may or may not affect symptoms of low testosterone, depending on your individual condition. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have low testosterone, and ask for recommendations for the symptoms that you’re experiencing.