What nutrients can help boost testosterone in men?

There can be numerous causes of low testosterone, but no matter what the cause, without proper nutrition, your body won’t have the proper building blocks to generate testosterone. Let’s take a look at what your body needs to create the hormone, and what you can do to help the process along.

Essential Fatty Acids, the Building Blocks

A low fat diet is certainly a good thing, but some of the fat is actually helpful in building hormones, including testosterone. You’ve probably heard about “good cholesterol” versus “bad cholesterol” a little bit. This is one area where it comes into play. Your body builds testosterone from good cholesterol.
The omega-3 class of fatty acids is necessary for your body’s health. Aside from their key role in producing testosterone, they have been proven to aid your cardiovascular system, and are often thought to promote mental acuity as well.

For the most part, foods are very low in this class of nutrient. Fish is one of the finest sources of omega-3 fatty acid, but to using dietary fish to provide adequate levels is difficult, due to the volume of fish one would have to eat, as well as differences in the quality and absorbability of oil present in the fish. The best source of it is probably fish oil supplements, which are inexpensive and readily available.
The usual doses are between 1,000mg and 2,000mg per day. Be sure to use a fish oil supplement which is manufactured to pharmaceutical standards to insure purity and low, or no, heavy metals or PCB contamination.

Vitamin A, Creating Helpful Proteins

Protein synthesis is heavily aided by vitamin A. Among other things, this is the process that begins the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone. It also decreases estrogen production in the testicles. Laboratory experiments on rats deficient in vitamin A showed a remarkable drop in testosterone levels, until their sex organs eventually atrophied [2].

The good news about vitamin A is that you can get sufficient levels from most multi-vitamins. The RDA for men is 900IU per day, a fairly small amount. If you’re on a high protein diet, you will utilize more of the vitamin, so you may need slightly higher doses if that’s the case. However, this is a fat soluble vitamin, so we have to be careful not to take doses too high. While the toxicity level itself is fairly high, and you’d be in little danger of reaching it without huge doses, there are studies showing that doses in excess of 200% of the RDA value contribute to brittle bones and calcium loss [3].

A deficiency in vitamin A would render all your other efforts to boost testosterone useless, so just make sure to take a daily multivitamin, and feel secure that you’re getting a good supply of this necessary vitamin.

The best source of Vitamin A is Beta Carotene. You can take high doses of Vitamin A as beta carotene without any dangers of receiving too much. Beta Carotene is basically two vitamin A molecules joined together and your body will convert the beta carotene into Vitamin A as it needs it.

A note on Cholesterol. As mentioned above, testosterone is made from cholesterol. If you are on cholesterol lowering statin drugs like Crestor, Zocor, Lipitor, etc. These drugs poison the metabolic pathway which produces cholesterol and CoEnzyme Q-10, and ultimately the sex hormones. So if you are taking one of these drugs, they could be contributing to low testosterone too.

Vitamin D, a Cornucopia of Men’s Health Benefits

A remarkable body of research over the last few years has shown that vitamin D may be one of the most beneficial of all the vitamins, in maintaining and promoting good health. Among the laundry list of positive effects attributed to vitamin D are virility [4], hair growth [5], weight loss [6], and much more. A recent study by the University of Graz showed a direct correlation to vitamin D levels and testosterone levels. Our levels of D have been falling in recent decades though, due to avoidance of the sun and shifts in dietary patterns.

The RDA for vitamin D is only 200 IU, which seems horribly low in light of recent findings. While some doctors who are experts in the field suggest 2,000 to 5,000 IU a day as ideal.
Because of the chronic lack of this key nutrient, you may want to consider an extra supplement of it. It’s inexpensive and easy to get in large quantities. Most multivitamins don’t provide very high doses of it.

Zinc, Aiding in the Use of Vitamins A and D

An essential trace mineral, zinc is necessary to the production of testosterone, as well as the utilization of vitamins A and D. The RDA for zinc is 11mg per day in men, though the US National Research Council has set a tolerable upper intake of 40mg per day [7]. Multivitamins often provide the RDA value, and diets high in meats will provide plenty of zinc as well. If supplementation is desired, insure you are using a chelated form of zinc such as zinc citrate vs the salt such as zinc oxide which is poorly absorbed.

Calcium D-Glucarate to Dispose of Estrogen

Excess levels of estrogen are passed through the liver and disposed of by the body, binding them with an acid. The problem is that an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can step in and break down these bonds, allowing the estrogen to be re-absorbed in the body. Calcium D-glucarate inhibits production of beta-glucuronidase, helping your liver flush toxins (and excess estrogen) more efficiently. It won’t increase your testosterone levels, but it can aid in keeping your free testosterone levels high, and unaffected by excess estrogen [9].

There are several ways you can control the amount of estrogen that is reabsorbed into your bloodstream.

  • The first is obvious; reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens by eliminating as many toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and plastic products from your environment as you can. Also eliminate the use of any body care products which contain parabens (methylparaben, butylparaben, etc.) Parabens are readily absorbed through the skin and mimic estrogen.
  • Second, cut down or eliminate meat from your diet because it increases the level of the enzyme that rips the estrogen loose in the gut.
  • Also eat at least 2 vegetables from the cruciferous family every day, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli & brussels sprouts, and take antioxidants

Tongkat Ali to Increase Testosterone Levels

Tongkat Ali is popular for enhancing the sexual performance of males for hundreds of years. It has been used in many forms in the past and it is now available in more user-friendly forms.
Tongkat Ali has a direct impact on the body’s testosterone levels. Although the herb is a testosterone booster, it does not produce testosterone. The herb just help the body to produce testosterone more effectively and it also increases the strength, or in other words, the ‘tone’ of testosterone.

Final Thoughts

After considering these facts, it’s apparent that to make sure your body has everything it needs to produce testosterone (and get the best effect from a supplement like tongkat ali,) a multivitamin is probably one of the simplest, most effective supplements you can take. Here’s a summary:
A good multivitamin will provide plenty of vitamin A and adequate levels of zinc, as well as a small amount of vitamin D.

Consider a separate supplement of D, with a dose of around 2,000 IU or more per day.
Boost your omega-3 fatty acids level with a fish oil supplement. Aside from the testosterone creation benefits, the cardiovascular benefits are great.

Finally, a supplement of calcium D-glucarate can aid your body in disposing of excess estrogen, allowing your free testosterone to have a greater effect. The other supplements mentioned should take priority over this, but if you’re looking for the most dramatic results, it’s one to consider.
By following these guidelines to give your body the building blocks for testosterone, mixed with a regimen of tongkat ali to boost its production, you’ll achieve the optimal results. In addition, these supplements all provide a number of other beneficial effects for your body, such as improved immune response and cardiovascular benefits, making them all smart choices.

How to Choose a Good Multivitamin

There are thousands of different multivitamins on the market and the walk down the aisle of any store will leave your head spinning trying to figure out which to purchase.  Click here for a good article on how to choose a good multivitamin.

Citations

[2] Livera, et al., “Regulation and Perturbation of Testicular Functions by Vitamin A” (Review), Reproduction (2002) 124, 173-180
[3] Forsmo, Siri; Fjeldbo,Sigurd Kjørstad; Langhammer, Arnulf (2008). “Childhood Cod Liver Oil Consumption and Bone Mineral Density in a Population-based Cohort of Peri- and Postmenopausal Women: The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18033763
[4] Kwiecinski GG, Petrie GI, DeLuca HF. (1989) “Vitamin D is necessary for reproductive functions of the male rat” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2723823?dopt=Abstract
[5] Vegesna V, O’Kelly J, Uskokovic M, Said J, Lemp N, Saitoh T, Ikezoe T, Binderup L, Koeffler HP. (2002) “Vitamin D3 analogs stimulate hair growth in nude mice”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12399436?dopt=Abstract
[6] Kamycheva E, Joakimsen RM, Jorde R. (2003) “Intakes of calcium and vitamin d predict body mass index in the population of Northern Norway”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12514276?dopt=Abstract
[7] (2001) “Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc” Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10026&page=442
[8] Barrie, SA.; Wright JV, Pizzorno JE, Kutter E, Barron PC. (1987). “Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humans”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3630857
[9] Jim Wright “The Toxic Avenger: Calcium D-glucarate”, Flex (Feb 2002)http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KFY/is_12_19/ai_82476436/