What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the basic male or sex hormone in men produced by the testes that performs and maintains various body functions e.g. muscle mass and strength. It encourages the development of male sexual characteristics (penis growth, muscle development and Masculine features), fat distribution; bone mass, sperm production, sex drive, and potency. For these characteristic functions, testosterone is also known as “Male Hormone”. Testosterone is also the most potent of the naturally occurring androgens. The androgens in general also cause the development of male sex characteristics, such as a deep voice and a beard; they also strengthen muscle tone and bone mass.
Production and release of testosterone
Testosterone is produced by the testes from the onset of puberty throughout adulthood under the influence of Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH). Sex hormones are manufactured from cholesterol which is converted to Pregnenolone by the ACTH. High levels of ACTH therefore stimulate greater manufacture of testosterone from cholesterol. Testosterone is indeed produced in large quantities in the testes, and androgens (the parent hormones that give rise to testosterone) are actually produced by two small glands next to the kidneys, the adrenals, in both men and women.
Testosterone is produced in both men and women however adult males produce significantly more than females. On an average, men have 10 times greater level of testosterone than women as the adult male body manufactures 2.5 – 11 mg per day while females only produce 0.25 mg through ovaries. This discrepancy causes many of the biological differences between the sexes including the penis growth and enlargement.
Significance of testosterone
Testosterone is so important because it plays many crucial roles in our bodies throughout our lives and even before we’re born. For example, testosterone helps to determine the gender of the fetus in the womb. Testosterone leads to the development of the male genitals (the penis and testicles) in the womb and at puberty helps all of the male characteristics to develop – like deeper voice, increased muscle mass, body and facial hair etc. Testosterone also continues to be important during all stages of a man’s life. In fact testosterone could be thought of as being central to a man’s mind, body and sexual function.
Can you enhance your testosterone levels naturally?
As mentioned earlier, testosterone levels can have a direct impact on your health, especially your sexual health (including that of the penis) and the quality of your life. Testosterone increases will enhance your sex drive and muscle size. Here are some nutritional and dietary recommendations to raise your testosterone levels:
Lose fat: If you are too fat, then your testosterone level will be naturally low. Therefore, shed those extra pounds.
Have more sex: Sex triggers your body to produce more testosterone. When you get aroused you are signaling your sex organs to perform so they start taking action to follow that order. This is great news. Inform your partner/s to step up the action. The hotter that better.
Gain more muscle: Bodybuilders use compound exercises, exercises that use more than one muscle group, to accelerate muscle building. Free weights and squats increase this process.
Proper rest: Increasing your workout will fatigue you so you need to counter that with adequate sleep and power naps.
Monounsaturated fat: Research has found that men who ate diets rich in monounsaturated fat, the kind found in peanuts, avocados, fish and healthy oils like flax seed, olive and canola are a great way to naturally boost testosterone levels. Try not to eat too much fat but remember that the fat in any kind of nuts will push up your testosterone level.
Alcohol addiction: Research indicates that excessiveness of the alcohol use lowers testosterone levels.
Cruciferous vegetables: Increase your dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, turnips, cabbage and brussel sprouts have all been shown to dramatically reduce estrogen levels, thereby raising testosterone.
Oysters: Because of their high zinc levels, foods known to raise testosterone levels often are called aphrodisiacs. Oysters are one such food. The high zinc levels in foods like oysters help increase both testosterone and sperm production.
Avocados: Avocados are high in both vitamin B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B6 will increase male hormone production while folic acid is key in sustaining a high metabolic rate.
Eggs: Eggs are high in both vitamin B5 and B6. The presence of these vitamins helps balance both stress and hormone levels in the body. The helps ensure testosterone stays at a constant level.
Red meats and poultry: Red meats and poultry are rich in zinc, a strong testosterone promoter. Red meats like beef, mutton, and lamb along with chicken, goose and turkey provide the needed zinc and saturated fats that have been found to raise testosterone levels.