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How to increase testosterone

Oh boy, get ready. This will be a long, but worthy read. But before we start on how to increase testosterone, let’s answer the question of why should we increase testosterone. What are the benefits of having it higher or in the optimal range?

Well, you may or may not heard, but testosterone is a very important hormone for us men. It’s what makes men, men – literally. From the drive and determination to our muscle mass.

The benefits of optimal levels are.

  • increased ability to build lean mass (Kadi, 2008)
  • improved rate of lipolysis, aka. fat loss (Frederiksen et al., 2012)
  • improved mood, confidence, and motivation (Wang et al., 1996)
  • better erections, libido, and sexual performance (Rajfer, 2000)
  • increased desire for success, dominance, and power (Mazur et al., 1998)
  • stronger bones, improved cardiovascular health (Rodriguez‐Tolrà et al., 2013)
How to increase testosterone
Can you guess which has low testosterone?


So now that we know all the good stuff testosterone does for our body, our next question is. How to increase testosterone?


Testosterone levels in American men have been declining steadily over the past two decades, a new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concludes.

The reasons for this decline are unclear; the study suggests that neither aging nor changes in certain health factors, such as obesity or smoking, can completely explain the phenomenon.

Many endocrinologists are saying that this is the result of exposure to certain household chemicals, called “endocrine disruptors“. These chemicals interfere with our body and cause problems from weight gain to learning disabilities.

But when it comes to testosterone there is a particularly bad chemical, called Xenoestrogen. It’s a chemical that imitates estrogen in the human body.

Where can you find it? Sadly almost everywhere. Plastics, shampoos, gasoline, receipts, toothpaste. Name a household product, and chances are it contains xenoestrogen.

Some endocrinologists believe, that this chemical may be the reason why our testosterone levels are lower than that of our fathers and our grandfathers.

So how to increase testosterone with this information? You may want to at least replace certain cosmetic products and buy “natural” ones without parabens and such.


In conclusion, the data presented here indicate that strength training can induce growth hormone and testosterone release, regardless of age (Craig et al., 1989).

Regular exercise is also a way of how to increase testosterone. But only provided you’re weight lifting and going heavy, especially on compound lifts. Go heavy and go with intensity for best results!

We all love isolation pump exercises, but you should focus on the big compounds, like squats, bench, etc to get the most out of your training. You can always add isolations at the end if you have spare time to kill.


There are a lot of useless “testosterone boosters” out there, that are useless for everyone. Well for everyone except the people who market and sell them.

I will focus on proven vitamins and minerals, which you can get with whole foods, and cheap supplementation if necessary. Instead of wasting money on BCAA aka snake oil, you will actually get results and save money.

The longer you’re in the game you will notice the fancy expensive sexy stuff never works.

Its usually the cheapest supplements that have been on the market for ages that produce results. Creatine for example, but this is a topic for another article.

Vitamin D

Compared to baseline values, a significant increase in total testosterone levels, bioactive testosterone and free testosterone levels were observed in the vitamin D supplemented group.  (Pilz et al., 2011)

Depending on where you live supplementation may be necessary to achieve optimal levels.

If you supplement you should go with D3. As for food, eggs and oily fish are an excellent choice when it comes to vitamin D.


And here we are, one of the cheapest and most proven bodybuilding supplements out there. There are literally a thousand studies proving the safety and efficacy of creatine.

The mechanism for increasing testosterone levels isn’t quite clear yet, it could be due to lowering cortisol levels. (Van der Merwe et al., 2009; H. Arazi et al., 2015)

Not every store may accept dirt as payment

But while the mechanisms aren’t clear yet, the results are. Chances are you’re already using creatine, so continue doing it. If not, go buy some creatine, it’s dirt cheap and has quite a couple of other benefits besides increasing testosterone levels.


Zinc is something of an essential mineral. It is involved in regulating many enzymes. It is also an antioxidant and immune-boosting supplement.

Zinc is most commonly supplemented to reduce the frequency of illness and to support optimal levels of testosterone.

Dietary zinc restriction in normal young men was associated with a significant decrease in serum testosterone concentrations (Prasad et al., 1996).

You can either supplement it or eat foods that are rich in zinc. Certain seafood and most nuts are a good source of it.


Another very important mineral, over 300 enzymes require it to work properly.

But it’s supplementation is also how to increase testosterone levels and lower cortisol due to its anti-inflammatory properties and relaxing properties.

Our results show that supplementation with magnesium increases free and total testosterone values in sedentary and in athletes. The increases are higher in those who exercise than in sedentary individuals (Cinar et al., 2011).

Like with zink you can supplement it. If you do, I recommend magnesium citrate since it has better bioavailability.  Or you can just eat foods that contain it. Spinach, nuts, and avocados are a good choice.


Chances are you are like me, a caffeine addict so you are already receiving all the benefits. Be it through coffee or a pre-workout. Whatever floats your boat. If you drink coffee, you’re halfway there.

Unless you add sugar, then we can’t be friends and you will never make it!

Coffee, a gift of nature

Caffeine is a great example of another dirt cheap and widely available compound that produces results. At a fraction of the price, it has a bigger effect than some esoteric compounds found in the Amazon jungles.

That or at the top of Himalaya or wherever some secret herb was found this time.

Caffeine has some potential to benefit training outcomes via the anabolic effects of the increase in testosterone concentration (Beaven et al., 2008).

Drink your coffee, achieve greatness!


When it comes to, how to increase testosterone, having enough sleep is critical.

Most of us are sleep deprived and that could also be one of the reasons for declining testosterone levels. The thing is, our body makes almost all the testosterone it needs for the day during our sleep.

That’s one of the reasons we wake up with “morning wood”, so if you don’t have morning wood on a regular basis, chances are you might have low testosterone.

There was a study done at the University of Chicago, which found that young men who slept five hours a night for one whole week had lower testosterone levels compared to when they were fully rested. The difference was 10-15%.

The takeaway point? Get your sleep!


Losing weight may be the most important factor when it comes to how to increase testosterone. There is an enzyme, called Aromatase, and he hates you. Ok that’s not true.

The work of the devil

But it might as well be since the job of it is to convert male testosterone to female estradiol (estrogen). Due to not having ovaries, that is the way we guys get small amounts of estrogen. As we need it for joints and cardiovascular health.

And guess what, since it is located in your fat cells, the more fat you carry the more enzymes you have. The higher your body fat, the higher percentage of your testosterone is converted!

Besides higher body fat, other factors that can increase aromatase activity is age, insulin, and dare I say it – alcohol.

The solution? First focus on losing fat, then work on your muscle mass and strength if that is your goal.



Now that you know how to increase testosterone you’ll hopefully make a couple of lifestyle changes that will pay off in the short and long run.

  1. Kadi, F. (2008). Cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the action of testosterone on human skeletal muscle. A basis for illegal performance enhancement. British journal of pharmacology, 154(3), 522-528. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2439525/
  2. Frederiksen, L., Højlund, K., Hougaard, D. M., Brixen, K., & Andersen, M. (2012). Testosterone therapy increased muscle mass and lipid oxidation in aging men. Age, 34(1), 145-156 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260358/
  3. Wang, C., Alexander, G., Berman, N., Salehian, B., Davidson, T., McDonald, V., … & Swerdloff, R. S. (1996). Testosterone replacement therapy improves mood in hypogonadal men–a clinical research center study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 81(10), 3578-3583. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8855804
  4. Rajfer, J. (2000). Relationship between testosterone and erectile dysfunction. Reviews in urology, 2(2), 122. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476110/
  5. Mazur, A., & Booth, A. (1998). Testosterone and dominance in men. Behavioral and brain sciences, 21(03), 353-363. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10097017
  6. Rodriguez‐Tolrà, J., Torremadé, J., Di Gregorio, S., Del Rio, L., & Franco, E. (2013). Effects of testosterone treatment on bone mineral density in men with testosterone deficiency syndrome. Andrology, 1(4), 570-575. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23686863
  7. Van der Merwe, J., Brooks, N. E., & Myburgh, K. H. (2009). Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 19(5), 399-404. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19741313
  8. Craig, B. W., Brown, R., & Everhart, J. (1989). Effects of progressive resistance training on growth hormone and testosterone levels in young and elderly subjects. Mechanisms of ageing and development, 49(2), 159-169. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2796409
  9. Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., … & Zittermann, A. (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43(03), 223-225. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154195
  10. Arazi H et al., Effects of short term creatine supplementation and resistance exercises on resting hormonal and cardiovascular responses Science & Sports (2015)
  11. Prasad, A. S., Mantzoros, C. S., Beck, F. W., Hess, J. W., & Brewer, G. J. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12(5), 344-348. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875519
  12. Cinar, V., Polat, Y., Baltaci, A. K., & Mogulkoc, R. (2011). Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biological trace element research, 140(1), 18-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20352370
  13. Beaven, C. M., Hopkins, W. G., Hansen, K. T., Wood, M. R., Cronin, J. B., & Lowe, T. E. (2008). Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 18(2), 131-141. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18458357

Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the "why" of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don't, and that's fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that's why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

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