How To Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally

Testosterone?  Like steroids?  Isn’t that bad for you… and illegal?  And doesn’t it make your balls shrink like Sammy Sosa?

No.  Get that thought out of your head.

Testosterone is not dangerous.  It is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body of every single man and woman on earth.

Testosterone is a good thing.  It is what makes a man a man.

Signs and Symptoms of High Testosterone Levels [1]

  • Well-being (reduction in depression and mild euphoria)
  • Confidence (reduced social anxiety and greater assertiveness)
  • Energy improvements and greater work capacity
  • Motivation (greater ambition)
  • Sex drive/libido and response times heightened (shorter refractory period)
  • Concentration (greater ability to complete complex mental tasks)
  • Strength and muscle mass increases
  • Body fat reduction and higher basal metabolic rate

But, there is a testosterone epidemic in our society’s men.  Average T levels in American men are down 22% since 1980.  Today’s average man is SOFT.  He is a weak, passive, gutless yes-man.  And worst of all, this is normal.

Our great grandfathers plowed fields and ate meat.  We stare at laptops, drink soy lattes and walk on egg shells not to offend anyone.

It’s a joke.

Bro, I know you in real life.  You aren’t that tough, you would get your ass kicked in most street fights, and you are drinking Starbucks sitting on a laptop right now.

Well… I cannot deny any of that.

But changes I have made in diet and lifestyle have changed the way I think, behave and most importantly, the way I feel.

My Struggles with Low Testosterone

I’m gonna get a little personal here because I think it is important.  I’m eager to share my story if it will help some of you guys.

But first, people close to me have had real testosterone problems – my problems pale in comparison.

Friends as young as 24 years old have needed testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).  These are guys who have truly struggled.  I have not, and I don’t pretend that I have.

Guys I follow in the fitness industry have doubled their T levels without medical assistance.  John Romaniello tells the story of his own struggles with low T in his book Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha.

I have never had my testosterone checked nor have I knowingly felt overwhelming symptoms of low T.  I’m lucky.

Here is what I HAVE experienced.


For the first 24 years of my life, never once did I intentionally eat a caloric surplus. My physique remained the same as I constantly tried to lose fat while intermittently binging on desserts or booze.

Well, dieting didn’t actually start until age 16. And alcohol later than that.  You see, in my high school you either boozed and got girls or you played poker and talked fantasy football; I spent hours dealing cards and check raising rivers in basements across Bloomington, MN.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  There was no muscle added to my body for many years.  I did accidentally add ~1-2 pounds of muscle over this journey when my 2000 calorie ice cream binge would land itself shortly after strength training.  But that was it.

I never intentionally ate big.  I was afraid to add any bodyfat to my frame.  I was also a sucker for the 1990s SnackWells campaign that “low-fat” = healthy. Ha!

I didn’t think about my sex drive, general mood, level of aggression, strength, dominance or state of mind.

There were never any real issues; I thought the way I felt was the way every guy felt.  I mean, there aren’t easily quantifiable metrics.  How can you compare the way you feel with the way your peers feel?  I thought it was completely normal.

Unfortunately, it is normal.  But it doesn’t have to be.


I guess you could say I did the following: heavy weight lifting + saturated fat (think red meat) + caloric surplus.  Why?  My fitness interest was peaking, so I started reading more than ever before.  And everyone said you have to eat big to gain muscle.

I experienced something like I never had before.

I think and behave differently.  I quit doing things that I didn’t want to do, I stopped caring what other people think and I replaced daydreaming with action.

I experienced every “symptom” listed above for increased testosterone.

I’m not talking about wanting to have sex with every girl I pass on the street; that’s not what this is about. Okay, maybe it is.  But it is also the way I carry myself, the way I speak, the way action follows instinct and the physical changes in my body composition.

And it is all rooted in a funny little hormone that people associate with home runs.

10 Ways to Increase Testosterone Naturally

Now, I often rip broscience and correlations.  I like to provide strong scientific evidence for everything I recommend.  And while some of the strategies I suggest below have a causal effect on T increases, others are merely correlations or strategies that have been used by guys who increased their testosterone levels.

So don’t expect to implement one or two suggestions and double your T in a week.  But, implement a good number of them, and you should have a noticeable increase in testosterone.

Alright I’m done covering my butt for lack of extensive research.  Here we go…

1.  Eat FAT.  Not just the “good” fats; most of us know by now that fish oil, nuts and avocados are healthy.  Keep eating those.  Studies have shown that saturated fat consumption is positively correlated with increased T levels.  Red meat, baby.

2.  Sleep.  I believe six hours of high-quality sleep was the minimum threshold we decided on here.

3.  More Vitamin D.  A 2011 study showed that men with a vitamin D deficiency had lower free testosterone levels and higher estrogen levels than men who were not deficient.  So, take a vitamin D supplement and/or get out in the sun.

4.  Drop Bodyfat.  Many studies have shown that higher body fat means higher estrogen and lower testosterone levels in the male body.

5.  Eat a Caloric Surplus.  This might be the most broscience-y recommendation on the list, but my personal experience combined with the reputable backing of bodybuilding dot com misc forum posters unequivocally proves that a caloric surplus has a causal effect on an uncontrollable sex drive.

Oh, and #4 and #5 are sort of mutually exclusive.  Pick one or the other.

6, 7.  More Zinc.  More Magnesium.  I know, I know.  “Micronutrients? Who gives a $%&^?”  I once eloquently reasoned.  I’m eating my words now.

A 1996 study [2] had young men intentionally avoid zinc in their diet, and the average decrease in their testosterone was more than 50%.

Another study [2] fed tae kwon do athletes ~750mg of magnesium per day for 4 weeks.  Their free T levels increased by an average of 26%.

Both of these minerals can be supplemented rather inexpensively. However, most studies note that people deficient in either mineral will benefit the most.  If you already have adequate levels of zinc and magnesium, their effect on T will be negligible.

8.  Ditch the plastic. Trade your plastic containers for glassware and your plastic bottles for stainless steel.  Most plastics contain xenoestrogens.  When men are exposed to this chemical, testosterone levels drop, and they can drop significantly depending the level of exposure.

Also, never microwave your food in plastic containers.  Heating the plastic magnifies the negative hormonal effects from the plastic in your food.

9.  Eat Less Sugar.  I don’t follow this one; my sweet tooth won’t let me.  But testosterone is temporarily reduced after a spike in blood sugar [2].  I can’t speak to the long-term impact of sugar on T levels, but consistently consuming lots of sugar will continue to keep your testosterone levels down.

10.  Lift Heavy Weight.  Not yoga, pilates or low intensity cardio.  Perform compound movements to increase testosterone levels.  Additionally, studies have shown that higher volume work generates a greater increase in T levels.

That’s it men.  Throw a handful of these in your regimen and enjoy the benefits.

Low Fat Diet, Decreased T:
Zinc and T:
Magnesium and T:
Higher volume weight training leads to higher T:
Brett, from the Art of Manliness, double his T in 90 days:

Comments for This Entry

  • Shauna

    What about us women??? Hmmmm??? ;) Really though, should we be just as concerned about raising our T levels while trying to build muscle?? *** Antispam disabled. Check access key in CleanTalk plugin options. Request number 13de4e285e2ba92c02e789ae69b8e265. Antispam service ***

    September 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Reply to this comment

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